XKS KILIMANJARO TREK & WILDLIFE SAFARI TOUR

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TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

Arusha National Park-warm up hike Lesser travelled Machame Route: trek high, camp low Northern Tanzania, Mt Meru, Kibo volcano-amazing views] Rest day-greatly increases chance of success Standing atop the 'Roof of Africa' Ngorongoro Crater: natural wonder Endless Serengeti plain Great Rift Valley

  • DATES & PRICES
  • FULL ITINERARY
  • MAP & HOTELS
  • TRIP INFORMATION

Dates & Prices

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Prices are in US Dollars (USD), before taxes (if applicable) - All pricing reflects per-person Land Only expenses, however, we can book flights from virtually every city. Please call us for an air quote.


Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Wed 02 Sep 2015Wed 16 Sep 2015 $5160
Wed 27 Jan 2016Wed 10 Feb 2016 $5160
Wed 07 Sep 2016Wed 21 Sep 2016 $5160

Optional Single Supplement: $900 (number of singles limited).
This tour may require a mandatory single supplement charge of $450, if twin-sharing accommodation is unavailable.


Tour Overview


The trails winding through the African terrain cannot be justified through frivolous or assuring words that make up the bulk of a detailed traveller's itinerary, but only through the words of our personal journals as we recount the days spent wandering a land whose imagery will forever be etched into our memory. Our hiking schedule will accommodate our gradual acclimatization to the high altitudes, but there is no becoming accustomed to the thrill that envelopes our senses as we look down from the mountain to the valley bellow. Descend 700 metres into the deep crater of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, where we can catch a glimpse at the wildebeests, gazelles, zebras and hippopotamuses in their secluded environment.

Regions visited: East Africa
Countries visited: Tanzania


Full Itinerary

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Day 1 Arrival in Tanzania
You are met on arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport and transferred to our hotel in Moshi.

PLEASE NOTE: The hotels indicated in this itinerary reflect our preferred properties in each location. We list these hotels primarily to provide a general sense of overall standard; the final hotel list (which supersedes this itinerary) is not 100% confirmed until approximately 30-45 days prior to departure. We reserve the right to make substitutions of a similar standard if necessary.

Overnight in Moshi. Protea Aishi Machame Hotel or similar.

Meal plan: dinner

Day 2 Arusha National Park
This morning we will meet the driver/guide who will take us on our day's excursion up Mt. Meru, to Arusha National Park. His specially outfitted Landrover has a poptop roof for ease of game viewing and seats 4 comfortably with guaranteed window seating. We begin our big game viewing in a beautiful highland rain forest park that wraps around the top of Mt Meru. Arusha National Park is the only place you'll be able to see a number of rare birds and the rare colobus monkey, but you're also likely to find zebra, giraffe, buffalo and much more. The scenery is spectacular. We will spend some time trekking on trails up Mt Meru; this is the perfect way to acclimate to the high altitudes of northern Tanzania before beginning our Kili climb tomorrow.

Return to Arusha. This evening we will have a briefing about the climb.

Overnight in Moshi. Protea Aishi Machame Hotel or similar.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 3 Moshi - Kilimanjaro National Park
This morning we depart for the Machame Gate of Kilimanjaro National Park (30 min) via 4-wheel drive vehicle (elevation approx 1818 M / 6,000 ft). We unpack and begin the first day of hiking (approx 4hrs of hiking/climbing). Reach the Machame Hut Campsite around 2.00 pm, stopping for lunch. Set up camp, rest and eat dinner during the early evening. This hike traverses the lush rainforest that belts Kilimanjaro. Elevation 2985 m / 9,850 feet.

Machame Route: We trek high and camp low, allowing you to acclimatize to the altitude and thus increasing your chances of success. This includes an overnight trek from 15,000' to the summit. This route is more "common", though still a world away from the heavily-touristed Marangu ("Coca-Cola") Route.

Overnight at Machame Hut Campsite.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 4 Machame Hut - Shire Hut
Wake to breakfast, break camp and begin the second day of hiking/climbing. This is a 5 to 6 hour hike, traversing the lower moorland and heath land. The rainforest gives way to large shrubs that decrease in size with increasing elevation. We stop for lunch, then continue on to Shire Hut Campsite. We set up camp, rest and eat dinner during early evening. The west face of the Kibo volcano (usually referred to as Kilimanjaro) looms above the campsite. Elevation 3788 m / 12,500 feet.

Overnight Shire Hut Campsite.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 5 Shire Hut - Barranco Hut
Wake to breakfast, break camp and begin the third day of hiking/climbing. This 5 to 6 hour hike continues through the lower moorland sometimes climbing steeply and sometimes descending just as steeply to reach Barranco Hut Campsite directly below the south face of Kibo (stopping halfway for lunch). Elevation 3879 m / 12,800 feet. The view of Northern Tanzania and Mt. Meru to the west are amazing, not to mention the view of Kibo itself. Set up camp, rest and eat dinner during early evening.

Overnight Barranco Hut Campsite.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 6 Rest Day
Today is a leisurely day of acclimatization and easy exploration of the terrain and unique flora of this rare African sub-Alpine bio-zone. Taking a day off en route to the summit greatly increases your chances of overcoming the affects of altitude and achieving the summit more comfortably.

NOTE: This day may occur earlier or later in our programme depending on local conditions and group inclination. The decision as to when the rest day wiill occur will be made by your Tanzanian Head Guide.

Overnight Barranco Hut Campsite.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 7 Barranco - Barafu Hut
Wake to breakfast, break camp and begin the fourth and final day of hiking/climbing before the summit day. Climb to the Barafu Hut Campsite on the southeast side of Kibo to meet the summit trail, stopping there for lunch. This 4 to 5 hour hike traverses the alpine desert where the sheer ruggedness of Kilimanjaro is breathtaking. Barafu Hut Campsite is situated at an elevation of 4576 m / 15,100 feet. Set up camp, eat a very early dinner and get some rest. The summit day starts early next day.

Overnight Barafu Hut Campsite.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 8 Barafu Hut - Summit - Mweka Hut
Wake at about 12:30 am to a light snack and begin the summit climb. The winding switchbacks climb slowly toward the crater rim and Stella Point (approx 5606 m / 18,500 feet elevation). From Stella Point one can see the inner crater and ash cone and the amazing glaciers covering the south face of Kilimanjaro. Continue another half-hour to the roof of Africa--Uhuru Peak at 5860 m / 19,340 feet. Stop for a bit of rest and photo opportunity. Views of Mawenzi to the east and Mt. Meru to the west as well as the Rift Valley, northern Tanzania, and southern Kenya are breathtaking. At this range Kilimanjaro's glaciers are as awe-inspiring as they are pristine. After a rest, descend back to Barafu Hut Campsite, break camp and descend to Mweka Hut Campsite at 2985 m / 9,850 feet elevation. Set up camp, eat dinner and get some well-deserved rest. A long day of hiking totaling approx 12 - 14 hours, depending on the fitness of the climber. We reach the peaks in the early morning light, and descend during the day.

Overnight Mweka Camp.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 9 Mweka Hut - Moshi - Arusha
Wake to breakfast, break camp and begin the short hike down to the park gates at Mweka at approx 1667 m / 5,500 feet elevation. Drive from park gates back to Arusha via Moshi.

Overnight Arusha. Mountain Village Lodge.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 10 Arusha - Ngorongoro Crater
Arusha is the starting point for the northern safari routes of Tanzania, and is one of the country's most attractive towns. The surrounding area is primarily a highland forest park and it is a good place to see black and white colobus monkeys and bushbuck. You may catch a glimpse of Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance. This afternoon we continue to Ngorongoro via Lake Manyara, another Rift Valley lake, renowned for its unique rainforest microclimate. A rough road takes us up the rift escarpment through dramatic rolling green fields and tiny traditional villages. Our arrival at the crater rim near sunset coincides with the best time to see the elusive leopard as they quietly patrol the thick forests.

Called the 'eighth wonder of the world' and stretching across some 8,300 sq km, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in northern Tanzania boasts a blend of landscapes, wildlife, people and archaeology that is unsurpassed in Africa. The volcanoes, grasslands, waterfalls and mountain forests are home to an abundance of animals and to the Maasai. Ngorongoro Crater is one of the world's greatest natural spectacles, its magical setting and abundant wildlife never fail to enthral visitors.

Overnight in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 11 Ngorongoro Crater
Today we enjoy a half-day tour in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.* After an early breakfast we descend into the crater far below for a game drive in this incredible setting, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We explore the Ngorongoro Crater, 20 km (13 miles) wide and 700 m (2,300 feet) high where we may see the "Big Five" as well as many herbivores like wildebeest, gazelle, zebra and hippopotamus, as well as thousands of flamingos.

* As of July 2005, in order to reduce congestion and stress on wildlife, the Tanzanian government will begin limiting visitors to half-day visits of the crater. Depending on what time "window" we are assigned, our excursion may take place first thing in the morning, or later in the afternoon (both of which are equally advantageous for game viewing, given the relatively mild climate at this altitude).

Overnight in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Sopa Lodge or similar.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 12 Ngorongoro - Serengeti
Departing the Ngorongoro Conservation area this morning we descend onto the Serengeti Plain, stretching out endlessly before us. Indeed the name "Serengeti" derives from a Maasai word meaning "Land-without-end." This is a land of superlatives, both in the vast landscape that surrounds you and the incredible biodiversity it supports. It is here that you have a chance to witness one of the most compelling natural dramas on earth--the annual migration, a sight unparalleled anywhere in the natural world. During our visit to the Serengeti we will be maximizing our opportunities to absorb all the aspects of this magical place.

Overnight in the Serengeti National Park. Serengeti Sopa Lodge.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 13 Serengeti - Olduvai Gorge - Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Travelling back to Ngorongoro today we make a stop at Olduvai Gorge, site of the Leakey excavations in the 1960s and 70s that established this region as the prehistoric habitat of some of the earliest species of hominids with some finds dating back 1.8 million years. Experts in the life sciences have argued that the Olduvai contribution to the story of human origins remains unsurpassed by any other prehistoric site in the world. A small museum on site outlines the
unique geological and human history of the area.

Called the 'eighth wonder of the world' and stretching across some 8300 sq km, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area boasts a blend of landscapes, wildlife, people and archaeology that is unsurpassed in Africa. The volcanoes, grasslands, waterfalls and mountain forests are home to an abundance of animals and to the Maasai. Ngorongoro Crater is one of the world's greatest natural spectacles and its magical setting and abundant wildlife never fail to enthrall visitors.

Balance of the day at leisure to enjoy our lodge overlooking the crater.

Overnight in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 14 Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Today we enjoy a half-day tour in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.* After an early breakfast we descend into the crater far below for a game drive in this incredible setting, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We explore the Ngorongoro Crater, 20 km (13 miles) wide and 700 m (2,300 feet) high where we may see the "Big Five" as well as many herbivores like wildebeest, gazelle, zebra and hippopotamus, as well as thousands of flamingos on Lake Magadi.

* In order to reduce congestion and stress on wildlife, the Tanzanian government limits
visitors to half-day visits of the crater. Depending on what time "window" we are assigned, our excursion may take place first thing in the morning, or later in the afternoon (both of which are equally advantageous for game viewing, given the relatively mild climate at this altitude).

Overnight in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 15 Ngorongoro - Arusha - Depart
This morning we descend the Ngorongoro Highlands, retracing our steps back to Arusha via a lunch stop at Gibb's Farm. Founded during German colonial times and still privately owned, Gibb's Farm is now a small hotel perched on the outer slopes of the Ngorongoro Highlands, surrounded by coffee plantations with long views over lush and beautiful agricultural country.

We pass again through the town of Mto Wa Mbu ('Mosquito Creek'), famous for its lively cosmopolitan atmosphere and red bananas, which taste the same as regular bananas but their skins are a startling bright red. We continue to Arusha to connect with homeward evening flights.

LAND ONLY PASSENGERS need to take into account our morning journey when booking their flights out of Arusha (JRO). Your departure should occur no earlier than 6:00 pm.

SAFARI NJEMA!

Meal plan: breakfast

Tour Map

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*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


Hotel List


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


Arusha Coffee Lodge

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Arusha
Country: Tanzania

Arusha Coffee Lodge is located within one of Tanzania's largest coffee plantations. It is designed around the original plantation house
... one the feel of the long bygone days. The rooms have mosquito netting hanging from a spacious wooden frame. The decor is inspired by the concept used in plantation houses: fire places, wooden floors, low lighting, and woven floor rugs. The bathroom is spacious, with basin, bath tub, shower, hairdryer and bath robe.

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Gibbs Farm

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Country: Tanzania

Immerse yourself in the peace and serenity of Gibb’s Farm. Overlooking the centuries-old Great Rift Valley and Ngorongoro Forest, Gibb’s
... was one of the first guesthouses in Northern Tanzania. Established as a coffee farm in the late 1920s and refurbished as a warm, rustic luxury inn, Gibb’s Farm is a welcome retreat for a few days’ respite while on safari or for an extended vacation or honeymoon getaway.

The main farmhouse and 17 cottages offer the warmth and charm of another era, with all of the modern amenities you could ask for. Inside, beautiful architectural details, such as the farmhouse’s original wooden beams, and colourful artwork reflecting the inspirations of local African artists greet you. Outside, the farm’s organic vegetable and terraced flower gardens provide a wonderful sanctuary for afternoon tea or a quiet walk to impart a sense of contentment and well-being.

Beyond the farm’s coffee fields, Ngorongoro Forest and the local village beckon. Experience a sense of place as you bicycle the back roads of Karatu, learn about Iraqw culture while visiting a local family or explore centuries-old waterfalls and elephant caves. To calm and restore, Gibb’s Farm offers indigenous Maasai healing treatments in the privacy of your room. After a full day of adventure, Chef Lisa Campbell’s delicious organic cuisine—fresh from our gardens, bakery and dairy—will replenish you.

Surround yourself with the rich traditions of East African life, exclusive to Gibb’s Farm, and share an eternal sense of history and community. Generations of local families have helped to create a truly special and authentic experience, based upon East African traditions and hospitality. Gibb’s Farm’s deep and long-standing connection to the community continues to inspire excellence and the farm’s sustainable, renewable practices serve as a model for living in harmony with nature.

During your stay you will often hear the Swahili word “karibu,” expressing the genuine, innate pleasure we take in welcoming our guests—an attribute at the heart of our hospitality.

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Ngorongoro Serena Lodge

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Country: Tanzania

Perched on the jagged rim of the crater, wreathed in morning mist, camouflaged in river-stone and cloaked in indigenous creepers,
... Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge is a triumph of ecological and architectural fusion. Lit by flaming wall-lanterns, clad in gigantic volcanic boulders and decorated by the iron spears, bright-beaded robes and intricately carved artifacts of the Maasai, the Lodge is a unique blend of world-class luxury, timeless volcanic splendour and ethnic style.


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Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Country: Tanzania

Facing the always magnificent sunsets to the west, and located at the highest point on Ngorongoro crater’s entire rim, Ngorongoro
... Lodge stands well over half a kilometre above the crater floor and offers unparalleled views across this enormous caldera.

Themed around traditionally circular African houses with conical roofs, and decorated with examples of Africa’s rich tapestry of artistic traditions by way of rich woodcarvings and sculptures, the lodge harmonizes perfectly with its dramatic surroundings. But the drama does not just stop with the great outdoors: it also flows through the split level interiors of the main building which all offer an unsurpassed generosity of space while somehow managing to combine an almost magically welcoming ambience of both warmth and cosiness.

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Mbuzi Mawe Tented Camp

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Serengeti National Park
Country: Tanzania

Scenically located in a glade, known as ‘the place of the klipspringer' (mbuzi mawe), and guarded by three million year-old
... towers, this luxury tented-camp in the Serengeti is unique. Cleverly located on one of the main annual migration corridors for over one million wildebeest, half a million zebras and gazelles, and their accompanying cast of predators it is also located at the very epicentre of one of the world's most famous national parks.


Our tented camp is located in the Western Serengeti, 335 kms from Arusha. By road: transfers by road from Arusha take approximately 8-10 hours.By air: the camp is adjacent to both the Seronera and Lobo airstrips and a ‘meet and greet' and transfer service is offered.

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Serengeti Migration Camp

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Serengeti National Park
Country: Tanzania

This luxury camp is hidden amongst the rocky outcrops, or kopjes, in Northern Serengeti, exuding decadence reminiscent of Old Africa.
... lavish and spacious tents on wooden decks with either king or twin beds, comfortable leather armchairs, coffee and writing tables. The tents are en-suite with showers and double vanities, surrounded by a verandah with rocking chairs.


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Serengeti Sopa Lodge

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Serengeti National Park
Country: Tanzania

Nestled in the acacia woodland on the edge of the escarpment overlooking the plains of the south-western Serengeti. 69 standard
... all with 2 queen size beds, carpeted, and tastefully furnished with local fabrics and pictures. The rooms have en-suite bathrooms and hairdryers.


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Trip Information

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Inclusions

Most meals are included. All transport, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for driver-guides, restaurant staff, porters. Airport transfers for land & air customers and for early arriving / late departing land & air customers who book their extra hotel nights through us. We provide the tents, stoves, pots, mess kits, all trek and camping arrangements in the field.

Exclusions

Some lunches and drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, sleeping bag, mattress pad-can be rented in Moshi for 10 USD per item); international air taxes (if applicable). Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on optional meal costs, packing, weather, shopping, and locally paid departure taxes.

Seasonality and Weather

TREK: Daytime temperatures on the lower parts of the mountain are often pleasantly warm, although brief rain in the afternoon is always possible. As soon as the sun drops the air becomes very cold. At night, and on higher parts of the mountain, temperatures often drop well below freezing point. The best months for climbing are January, February, and September as they are the warmest months and almost clear of clouds. SAFARI: Feb / Mar post-short rains with many migratory birds from Europe though high grass can make game spotting a challenge. Sept / Oct is often hot and dusty though game viewing is excellent due to short grass and animals congregating around water sources.

Transport and Travel Conditions

We grade this trek STRENUOUS. For any trek at this level, fitness is most important and you may have to improve yours before departure. This trek is equivalent to extended walking in mountainous terrain at home, but usually at significantly higher altitudes; climate and remoteness can also play a part. Walking days are usually between 5 to 8 hours. Previous trekking experience is desirable but not essential if you are confident of your physical condition.

All group camp equipment, food, etc is carried and set up for; all you carry is you day pack-water, lunch, camera, personal items, and extra clothing for the day. Road transport provided by vans or mini-buses, depending on group size.

Some road journeys are very long and very rough, possibly dusty. We travel via well-maintained, rugged 4x4 Land Rover / Land Cruisers. The same vehicles, with roofs that pop up, will be used for our game drives in parks and reserves. Please note that air-conditioned safari vehicles are non-existent in East Africa.

Accommodation

Hotels and lodges used are 4-5 star properties with hot water, electricity, mosquito netting, dining areas, bar, swimming pools. Remote lodges are not air-conditioned though many are at higher elevations where heat is not a factor.
Hotel porter service is available throughout (see 'Inclusions'). Single rooms are limited and likely smaller than twins.

Staff and Support

Head guide, assistant guide, 2 porters per person, camp cook, driver/guide.

Group Size

Minimum 5 participants