Mount Kilimanjaro day hike
Overview: Day Hike on Mount Kilimanjaro
Please note: Expert Africa only books excursions as a part of a full, Expert Africa itinerary.
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is on many a bucket list, however we haven’t yet had a chance at Expert Africa to explore all the routes to the summit so we don’t offer multi-day guided ascents of the mountain. However, for a flavour of Kilimanjaro, how about adding a day hike to your safari itinerary? Kili, which is the highest mountain in Africa at 5,985m, can take around a week to climb to the summit, but if you head to the less visited western side of the mountain you can do a one-day excursion, which incorporates some hiking on the high moorland.
What to expect on a hike on Mount Kilimanjaro
From your accommodation in Arusha, depart with your guide after an early breakfast for the drive to Kilimanjaro National Park. Depending on the location of your hotel, the journey will take 1½–2½ hours.
You will be driven to the western side of the mountain and up through the forests to the Londorossi Gate, at an altitude of 2,100m, where the hike begins. The ascent you will be tackling is more than 1,000m, as you hike steadily up through tropical montane forests, home to a variety of animals and birdlife. With the help of your guide, you may spot colobus monkeys, crested turacos and more. As well as being the less visited side of the mountain, these western regions are known to be frequented by big game from Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, which neighbours Kilimanjaro National Park. It is not uncommon to hear elephants rumbling through the forest and you may even catch sight of them through the trees.
Your hike takes you up to the Shira Plateau, at 3,400m, a 500,000-year-old volcanic caldera that is now a World Heritage Site. You can stop for lunch here, or continue on to Shira 1 Camp, Lion Gorge and the foothills of the Shira Pinnacles. Kilimanjaro’s iconic snow-covered table top, Kibo Peak, should be visible from here, as well as neighbouring glaciers.
Then, at the end of the day, walkers are driven back to their accommodation, allowing you to make the most of your time on the mountain.
For those with limited fitness or mobility: It is possible to drive all the way up to the Shira Plateau and then gently explore the surrounding areas on foot. Reasonable levels of fitness would be ideal for the longer hike.
What to wear: The walk can be over uneven ground in places, so closed shoes are recommended. Due to the altitude, warm clothing and/or waterproofs are also advisable.