Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru combine to make an excellent trek with plenty of acclimatisation. The ascent of Mount Meru (4566m), Kili’s little sister, makes for a superb training and acclimatising trip before the main ascent of Kilimanjaro. It is a four day round-trip and a wonderful climb in its own right. It is far, far less crowded than any of the routes on Kilimanjaro. You can also expect to see wildlife on the lower slopes and in the Arusha National Park which we pass through after the climb. After a night in Moshi, where you will meet any clients joining just for Kilimanjaro, we head off to the start of the Machame route.
The Machame route approaches from the wetter south side of the mountain, initially through dense, lush montane cloud forest and on up to the eastern side of the Shira plateau to Shira 2 campsite. Shortly beyond here the route merges with Lemosho route as it passes the Lava Tower (4600m) on the acclimatisation day en route to Barranco. From this point on the trail can get very busy, but there is never any need to rush on our itineraries. Descent is via the Mweka route.
All flights are to Kilimanjaro airport, avoiding the overland journey to and from Nairobi. And finally we include ALL PARK FEES in our prices.
The departure date is based on an overnight flight departing the UK in the evening and arriving the following day at Kilimanjaro International Airport. Some same-day flights may be available but the overnight flight allows you to arrive earlier in the day giving you more time to recover from the flight before heading up the mountain.
The Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru trek can be extended with visits to Zanzibar or a safari.
11 Days Mount Kilimanjaro Climb Mt. Meru Trek
Day 1 – Momella Gate to Miriakamba Hut
- Elevation – 1500m to 2500m
- Time: 3 – 4 hours
- Habitat – Montane Forest
We will collect you from your hotel in the morning and take you to the Momella Park Gate from where your trek will begin. The trail starts by winding its way through montane forest where you will see waterfalls, wildlife and some pretty oddly formed trees! Remember, an armed national park ranger will accompany you on your route. The first day of trekking will end when you reach Miriakamba hut. Unlike Kilimanjaro, accommodation on Meru consists of huts dotted up the mountain.
Day 2 – Miriakamba Hut to Saddle Hut
- Elevation – 2500m to 3550m
- Time: 3 – 4 hours
- Habitat – Moorland
On the second day you will ascend over a 1000m to Saddle Hut at 3,550m. The air will get cooler and you may feel slightly more out of breath as the air gets thinner. Saddle Hut will be reached by early afternoon which will give you time to visit ‘Little Meru’ at 3,820m. Not only will you get great views of Kilimanjaro, but it’s a good way for your body to acclimatize to the altitude.
Day 3 – Saddle Hut to Socialist Peak to Miriakamba Hut
- Elevation – 3550m to 4256m to 2500m
- Time: 8 – 10 hours
- Habitat – Semi Desert, Alpine Desert, Montane Forest
Your summit ascent begins in the middle of the night at 2am. Following a quick midnight snack you trek to 3,820m where you find Rhino Point. After a quick break you then climb a further 4-5 hours where, towards the top, you will traverse the exhilarating and very narrow crater rim path! This is all rewarded as you hit the summit just before sunrise. The 360 degree views are spectacular, especially the sun rising over Kilimanjaro! Before you descend, you can explore Meru’s ash cone within the crater.
Day 4 – Miriakamba Hut to Momella Gate
- Elevation – 2500m to 1500m
- Time: 2 – 3 hours
- Habitat – Montane Forest
The fourth day is an easy going few hours down through the montane forest area where you will once again see wildlife and beautiful habitat. Seeing the forest from above is a completely different experience to seeing it on the way up – look out for birds!.
Transfer to Keys Annex Hotel for an overnight rest on bed and breakfast in readiness for the next day’s hit to Kilimanjaro.
Day 5: Machame Gate (1490m) – Machame camp (2980m
Hiking time: 7 hours | Distance: About 18 km’s | Habitat: Montane forest
Your day starts early with a briefing, followed by breakfast and a 45-minute drive from Moshi (910m) to the Machame village (1490m). The guides and porters prepare and pack the supplies and your equipment in the village. You will receive a lunch pack and you can also buy mineral water in the village. Depending on the condition of the road, it is possible to drive from the village to the Machame gate, but if not, the muddy 3 km walk will take about 1 hour to complete. After registering at the gate office, you start your ascent and enter the rain forest almost immediately. There is a strong possibility of rain in the forest, which will transform the trail into a very soggy, muddy and slippery experience. You will have a welcome lunch stop about half way and will reach the Machame camping area in the late afternoon.
Your porters (arriving at the camp site long before you) will have erected your tent on your arrival. In the evening the porters will boil drinking and washing water and the cook will prepare dinner, before you retire to your tent for the night. Night temperatures can already drop to freezing point at this campsite, B,L,D.
Day 6: Machame camp (2980m) – Shira camp (3840m)
Hiking time: 6 hours | Distance: About 9 km’s | Habitat: Moorland
You rise early at Machame camp and after breakfast you climb an hour or so to the top of the forest and then for 2 hours at a gentler gradient through the moorland zone. After a short lunch and rest, you continue up a rocky ridge onto the Shira plateau. By now you will be able to see in an easterly direction, the Western Breach with its stunning glaciers. You are now due west of Kibo and after a short hike you will reach the Shira campsite at 3 840m. The porters will boil drinking and washing water, before serving dinner. The night at this exposed camp will even be colder than the previous night, with temperatures dropping to well below freezing, B,L,D.
Day 7: Shira (3840m) – Lava Tower (4630m)-Barranco camp (3950m)
Hiking time: 7 hours | Distance: About 15 km’s | Habitat: Semi desert
The route now turns east into a semi desert and rocky landscape surrounding Lava Tower, where you reach an altitude of 4630m after about a 5 hours walk. Lunch is served in a designated area before ascending the rocky scree path to Lava Tower (4630m). Definitely, the toughest day so far. It is normally around this point, where for the first time, some climbers will start to feel symptoms of breathlessness, irritability and headaches. After lunch you descent again by almost 680m to the Barranco camping area and after reaching the high altitude of 4600m at Lava Tower, the true acclimatisation benefit of this day becomes clear. This descent to Barranco camp takes about 2 hours and offers great opportunities to take some beautiful photographs of the Western Breach and Breach Wall. The camp is situated in a valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall, which should provide you with a memorable sunset while you wait for the preparation of your dinner, B,L,D.
Day 8: Barranco camp (3950m) – Barafu camp (4550m)
Hiking time: 7 hours | Distance: About 13 km’s | Habitat: Alpine desert
After spending a night at the Great Barranco Wall (a very imposing sight at first), you make your way up this awesome looking obstacle, which in the end normally turns out easier than what you anticipated. Topping out just below the Heim Glacier, you now appreciate just how beautiful Kilimanjaro really is. The route then heads down through the Karanga Valley over intervening ridges and valleys, and then joins up with the Mweka route. This is the preferred route down from the summit, so remember it. Turn left up the ridge and after another hour or so, you reach Barafu Hut.
The last water stop on the route is the Karranga Valley, as there is no water at Barafu camp. Barafu is the Swahili word for “ice” and it is a bleak and inhospitable camping area to spend the night. Totally exposed to the ever-present gales the tents are pitched on a narrow, stony, and dangerous ridge. Make sure that you familiarise yourself with the terrain before dark to avoid any accidents. The summit is now a further 1345m up and you will make the final ascent the same night. Prepare your equipment, ski stick and thermal clothing for your summit attempt. This should include the replacement of your headlamp and camera batteries and make sure you have a spare set available as well. To prevent freezing it will be wise to carry your water in a thermal flask. Go to bed at round about 19h00 and try to get some precious rest and sleep, B,L,D.
Day 9: SUMMIT ATTEMPT, Barafu camp (4550m) – Uhuru Peak (5895m)-Mweka (3100m)
Hiking time: 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak | 7/8 hours to descend to Mweka | Distance: About 7 km’s ascent – 23 km’s descent | Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
You will rise around 23h30, and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the night. You will head in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. This 6-hour walk to Stella point is for many climbers, mentally and physically the most challenging on the route. At Stella Point (5685m) you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see (weather permitting). From Stella Point you will normally encounter snow all the way on your 2-hour ascent to Uhuru Peak. The time you will spend on the summit will depend on the weather conditions. Do not stop here for too long, as it will be extremely difficult to start again due to cold and fatigue. Enjoy your accomplishment and a day to remember for the rest of your life. The walk back to Barafu from the summit, takes about 3 hours. Here you will have a well earned but short rest and collect the rest of your gear, before heading down to Mweka hut (3100m). The route is not difficult and will take you down the rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually into the forest. The camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Dinner and washing water will be prepared, B,L,D.
Day 10: Mweka camp (3100m) – Mweka Gate (1980m)
Hiking time: 3 hours | Distance: About 15 km’s | Habitat: Forest
After an early and well-deserved breakfast, it is a short 3-hour and scenic hike back to the Park gate. At Mweka gate you sign your name and details in a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Those climbers who reached Stella Point (5685m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m) receive gold certificates. From the Mweka Gate you will continue down into the Mweka village, normally a muddy 3 km (1 hour) hike. In the Mweka village you will be served a delicious hot lunch!! You now drive back to Moshi for a long over due hot shower, dinner and celebrations!! Overnight at Keys Annex Hotel, B,L.
Day 11: Departure
Transfer to Kilimanjaro Airport for your flight back home or continue with your safari schedule. End of services. B