The summit of Kilimanjaro stands at 19,341 feet (5,895 meters), the highest point in all of Africa and one of the famed Seven Summits.
Our expedition travels away from the crowds by climbing the Rongai Route. While somewhat longer than the busier routes, the trek is stunning. As it climbs from the trailhead at 6,000 feet (1,829 meters) to the summit, it passes through every ecological zone found in this area of East Africa. You begin in the rainforest, pass through alpine pines, then into grassland, alpine tundra, and eventually the barren world of the crater itself. And over the first 5 days on the mountain, you will see few other climbers or camps.
- Day 1
Arrive in Tanzania
Arrive into Kilimanjaro International Airport in the evening, where you will meet your guides. Transfer to our hotel in Arusha, at the base of Kilimanjaro, where we’ll meet up with the rest of the team and get ready to start the expedition.
- Day 2
Explore Local Villages
In the morning we explore the local villages surrounding the base of Kilimanjaro. In the afternoon we hold our first team meeting and organize our gear for the climb.
- Day 3
Head to our First Camp
Drive to the Rongai trailhead, with stunning views of the mountain along the way. Once there, we meet our Tanzanian porters and staff, organize loads, and then begin our climb through lush forests. Four hours of walking will take us to our first camp, at 9,500 feet (2,696 meters).
- Day 4
Move to Camp 2 at 12,000 feet
Our 6-hour hike takes us out of the humid forest and onto a stunning ridge with our first views of the upper crater walls of Kilimanjaro. The trail continues climbing on this ridge to our camp at 12,000 feet (3,658 meters).
- Day 5
Hike to Mwenzi Tarn
Today is a 5-hour hike to the Mawenzi Tarn. This camp is a favorite with our groups. The camp at 13,000 feet (3,962 meters) is next to a small lake and below the Mawenzi Towers, with unbelievable views of the entire summit cone and our route to the top.
- Day 6
Hike to Kibo Hut
Today’s hike takes us through the last of Kilimanjaro’s vegetated zones and into the barren alpine world of the upper mountain. A four hour hike takes us past species of plants found only here on Kilimanjaro’s upper flanks, and ends at our camp at the Kibo Hut, at 15,500 feet (4,724 meters). This camp is the staging point for many teams’ summit push. With so many other climbers here, the camp has a true international feel.
- Day 7
Today is an important additional acclimatization day. We wake up, eat a good breakfast, and go for a 2-3 hour hike to a bit over 16,000 feet (4,877 meters). This dramatically aids in our acclimatization, and gives us a perfect view of our summit route. We get back to camp early, and spend the afternoon resting and preparing for our summit attempt.
- Day 8
Summit Day! We wake around midnight for a hot drink and snack and then begin our climb. The first 5-6 hours are steep and we occasionally scramble over rocky sections (no ropes or technical experience are necessary) as we ascend the crater wall. Around sunrise we top out on the wall at Gilman’s Point and step onto the crater. The route from there crosses the small crater glacier and then ascends easily to the true summit, the highest point in Africa at 19,341 feet (5,895 meters)! Our descent is via the Marangu route. After at least a 12 hour day we will set camp at 12,000 feet (3,658 meters).
- Day 9
Head down to our Hotel
6+ hours of descent take us through the Marangu’s lush rainforests (a completely different ecological zone than we saw on our ascent) to the end of the trail (6,000 feet/1,829 meters) and our van. We return to our hotel for much needed showers and a celebration dinner. Those who only have time for the climb fly home (after 9pm). We highly recommend our Safari Extension, an unforgettable East African experience.
- EXTENSION- Day 10
Head to Ngorongoro Crater
A 3 hour drive in the morning takes us to the Ngorongoro Crater. Ngorongoro holds the highest concentration of big game anywhere in Africa. It is an unbeatable place to see herds of wildebeest, zebras, antelope, and buffalo, along with the predators that feed on these herds – lions, cheetahs, and leopards. It is also one of the better places to spot rhinoceros. We will return to our hotel on the rim of the crater that evening.
- EXTENSION- Day 11
Drive to Central Serengeti
Today we drive to the central Serengeti to continue our Safari. We end our day at a luxury tented camp in the central Serengeti.
- EXTENSION- Day 12
Final Safari Day and Departure
An early morning wake up call for a half day game drive allows us to explore at the best time of the day when animals feed. An afternoon bush plane flight brings us back to Arusha in time for evening flight out.
Bring your favorite baseball hat for shelter from the sun. No white under the brim – the reflection off of it from the sun is blinding.
Recommended: Alpenglow Hat
A comfortable, warm well-fitting hat that covers your ears. Make sure that one of your hats fits under a helmet.
Recommended: Black Diamond Levels Beanie
We recommend a tight-fitting balaclava that is worn under your hat. Make sure that it covers as much skin as possible, but is comfortable enough to wear for hours.
Recommended: Black Diamond Coefficient LT Balaclava
Neck Gaiter (Buff)
A multi-purpose neck gator that can also be worn under your hat. Make sure that it covers as much skin as possible and yet is still comfy.
Recommended: Alpenglow Buff
Must have dark lenses. Minimal light should come in below, above, or around the sides of the lenses.“Wrap” style is best. Ventilation is important and a retainer strap is very useful (Chums or Croakies).
Recommended: Vaurnet Ice Rounds
These gloves keep the inside of your mitts or other gloves from accumulating sweat on the inside and turning inside out when you take them off, as well as provide additional insulation.
Recommended: Black Diamond Lightweight Wooltech Gloves
All-around gloves for mountaineering, backcountry skiing, and hiking. These gloves (and similar options) are warm, wind-resistant, durable and have a sure grip. You will rarely take these gloves off. They should be snug-fitting, and have some sort of reinforced palm.
Recommended: Black Diamond Tour Gloves
These gloves should be full GORE-TEX®, and insulated. These will be the workhorse glove for any expedition.
Recommend: Black Diamond Mission MX Gloves
These gloves should be full GORE-TEX®, with a removable fleece liner (so you can take the liner out and dry it at night). These gloves are used at higher altitudes and are needed to keep your hands dry, and warm. Over the cuff style is desired.
Recommended: Black Diamond Guide Gloves
A super-thin wicking sock that repels moisture. Liner socks help to reduce the likelihood of blisters. The socks should be thin wool, nylon, or Capilene®. NO COTTON
Recommended: Ice Breaker Merino Liner
Your everyday sock, good for day hikes, trekking, and in-town. It’s good to bring several pairs of these socks. NO COTTON.
Recommended: Darn Tough Hiking Sock
A wool synthetic blend. Pure rag wool socks are not nearly as effective in wicking moisture or retaining their shape and reducing blisters. Bring a few pairs of these socks. NO COTTON.
Recommended: Darn Tough Mountaineering Sock
These light to mid-weight shoes are for everyday use. The ideal shoe is comfortable to wear for multiple days and scrambles decently on rock. A Gore-tex lined shoe stays drier when hiking in rain or snow.
Recommended: La Sportiva TX Guide
General Mountaineering Boot
Should be warm single boots that have a stiff sole and accept a step-in crampon. The boots should be comfortable, have adequate wiggle room for your toes, and your heel should not lift more than 1/8 of an inch when walking.
Recommended: La Sportiva Trango Tech GTX
Ultra-light base layer that effectively wicks moisture away from your body and is breathable. Quick-dry is important as well. One light-colored shirt is recommended for extremely sunny days.
Recommended Men’s: Black Diamond Lightwire Short Sleeve
Recommended Women’s: Black Diamond Lightwire Short Sleeve
Mid-Weight Puffy Jacket
Hard Shell Jacket
Expedition-Weight Base Layer
Fitted, light-weight and quick drying. The mid-weight will be a base- layer that will get you through a wide range of temperatures. Bring multiple changes of layers.
Recommended Men’s: Black Diamond Mens Solution 150 Merino Bottoms
Recommended Women’s: Black Diamond Women’s Solution 150 Merino Bottoms
Full-length side zippers are recommended, for throwing on top of all of your layers.
Recommended: Black Diamond Stance Belay Pant
2 Duffle Bags – At least one bag should be extremely durable, waterproof, and big – between 90L and 120L. You should feel comfortable leaving it in a puddle for several hours. Remember dry clothes are hot commodities in the mountains! Large enough to fit everything you own, plus what you anticipate buying. Two duffel bags are necessary to fit all your equipment for travel (we don’t recommend checking your backpack, best is to put all gear and backpack into your duffle). Once in country, you can consolidate your gear into one duffel and your backpack. It’s common to leave the second duffel with city clothes and other non-necessary items behind in a locked and secure location that your guide will arrange for you.
Recommended: Black Diamond Stonehauler 90L
Mid-size pack for city days and trekking. Streamlined, neat and lightweight (10-20 liters).
Recommended: Black Diamond Bullet 16 Pack
Climbing Pack: 50-60L
Internal frame pack that is between 50 and 60 liters. Either purchase a matching pack cover, or use garbage bags as liners. Make sure the pack is fitted to YOUR body.
Recommended: Black Diamond Speed 50L Pack
Sleeping Bag (0°F)
Rated to 0º F. Make certain that the sleeping bag is the right length. DON’T FORGET A COMPRESSION SACK FOR THE SLEEPING BAG. Many climbers also like a silk liner. For the Ecuador Climbing School: If you’re on our 9-Day (non-extension) trip, then a 20º F rated bag is ok.
Recommended: Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0°F
Inflatable Sleeping Pad
72-inch long inflatable pad required. Make sure you also purchase and bring a repair kit + bag for the sleeping pad.
Recommended: NeoAir Xtherm
Foam Sleeping Pad
Foldable foam sleeping pad for sleeping and using as a sit-pad.
Recommended: Thermarest Z-Lite Sleeping pad
Make sure that they are durable, lightweight + easily adjustable.
Recommended: Black Diamond Pursuit FLZ Trekking Poles
L.E.D. headlamps are required. Make sure they have 3+ bulbs. Bring extra batteries. We highly recommend a tilting lamp.
Recommended: Black Diamond Storm 450
Should carry 70-100 ounces. Must be durable and have a reliable closure system. Recommended: MSR Dromlite 2L with Hydration Tube
Two 1L Nalgene Bottles
Two 1 Liter Wide Mouth Nalgene bottles.
Recommended: Nalgene 1 L wide mouth
Compressible 1-1.5L Bottle
Wide mouth compressible 1-1.5 liter bottle
Recommended: Nalgene Flexible Cantene
A fully insulated thermos is recommended for warm drinks that help with comfort, hydration, and safety on cold days in the mountains.
Recommended: Thermos STAINLESS KING™ DRINK BOTTLE 24OZ
Plastic Bowl, Mug, and Spoon
A lightweight and compact cookware setup. You’ll want a plastic bowl, mug and spoon.
Recommended Kit: MSR 2-Person Mess Kit
2 BIC Lighters
- Passport (with visa, if necessary)
- 2 luggage locks (TSA compliant)
- Non-cotton underwear
- Wag bags, 1 per night camping as to leave no trace
- Stuffsacks: assorted sizes, for organizing your clothes and gear
- Sunscreen: SPF 30 (or higher)
- Lip balm with SPF 15 (or higher)
- Personal first-aid kit (Band-aids, Ibuprofen, Cough Drops, Moleskin, Pepto-bismol, Imodium, Personal Medications)
- 3-4lbs of Snack food (a variety of snack food, some whole food, some bars, some gels)
- Hand Warmers
- Face Mask
- Hand Sanitizer
It was my first trip with Alpenglow and certainly won’t be my last
“The Kilimanjaro trip with safari extension was amazing and exceeded my expectations. Having never hiked above 10k feet before, I was anxious about what to expect. But from the moment our guide, Will Sperry, picked us up from the airport, it was clear that extreme care had been taken by Alpenglow to ensure it was going to be a fantastic experience—and it was. With the knowledge and support of Will and team of African guides and staff, I was able to tackle the physical and mental challenge of successfully summiting the highest mountain in Africa. It was my first trip with Alpenglow and certainly won’t be my last. Bucket list checked!”