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After breakfast you will meet your guides and porters, finish packing and transfer to the park entrance where you begin your Kilimanjaro climb. After formalities at the park entrance, you enter the rain forest for a gentle walk through verdant scenery to Mandara Hut. This can be done faster, but the slower the better for the eventual success of the climb. This is very important because walking slowly allows the body to acclimatize. The speed at which you walk during the first 2 days will partially determine the chances of reaching the summit. Paces should be short, measured, and rhythmical with each step placed gently. Each day you will have a packed lunch to eat along the way. The forest teems with bird life and colobus and other monkeys may be seen. You will have a cooked dinner and will stay in A-frame huts lit by solar power. Each room sleeps 4 people and there is a total capacity here of 60. Water is piped into the camp from springs and there are flush toilets behind the main hut. Your head guide will let you know the agenda for the next day.Overnight Mandara Hut – Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
Hiking time: 4-6 hours, 6,004 feet to 8,856 feet
You will be woken up early and given a cup of tea along with warm water for washing. After a cooked breakfast, leave Mandara and trek to Horombo Hut. About one half hour after leaving Mandara Hut, you will emerge from the rain forest onto alpine meadows. This will be a very pretty day with splendid views of the peaks and the plains below the mountain. The vegetation is also quite spectacular, especially higher up, where endemic giant lobelias and senecios may be seen. Higher still, the vegetation becomes thinner and the effects of altitude may begin to be felt. Then you will reach Horombo Hut, where you will have warm washing water, rest, and an evening meal. The buildings are similar to Mandara, but total capacity is 120 and each hut sleeps 6 people. Water is piped from a stream behind the huts. There are platform toilets southeast of the main hut and one flush toilet. Overnight Horombo Hut – Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
Hiking time: 6-7 hours, 8,856 feet to 12,225 feet
Your climb continues to Kibo Hut at the foot of Kibo Peak. The route takes you up to the saddle between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi and then across the high altitude desert to the huts. Until you reach the saddle, the terrain is very similar to the previous day with the landscape rugged and rocky. Again, take it slowly in order to acclimatize; the last half hour to the hut can be very tiring as the hut is some way up the peak. Slow down and drink a lot of water! Be sure to keep a positive attitude as the sight of the next day’s path can be quite daunting. Get as much rest as possible and prepare your things for the next day. The stone house with a small dining room and a number of dormitory rooms leading off a main corridor has bunk beds for 60 people, sleeping 12 to a room. There is no water so it’s important to bring an adequate supply from Horombo Hut, but your guides will help you with this. If you cannot sleep, just relax as much as you can as your body needs the rest before the next very strenuous 24 hours ahead.
Hiking time: 5-7 hours, 12,225 feet to 15,520 feet
Overnight Kibo Hut – Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
You will be woken around midnight with a hot drink. Finish putting on all your warm clothing and get ready to attempt the summit. The rim of the crater at Gillman’s Point (18,635 feet), recognized as the top, is reached after a stiff climb up a very steep, loose scree slope. The first part of the ascent to the Hans Meyer cave is indirect, going around large rock outcrops. It is important to pace yourself to be ready for the steep scree slope that you have to climb in a zigzag fashion. Try to maintain a very slow but steady pace, trudging up rhythmically through the starlight. On average, this takes 6 hours from Kibo to Gillman’s Point, where you will hopefully see a fiery sunrise behind Mawenzi. Since Gillman’s Point is recognized as the top, you will receive a certificate for your achievement from the Park authorities. After a rest, if you are able, if the weather and time permit, and if your guide says it is possible, you can then continue for 2 hours along the crater rim to reach Uhuru Peak, at 19,340 feet, Uhuru is the highest point of Mount Kilimanjaro. If you reach Uhuru, you will get a gold certificate and the satisfaction of reaching the “Roof of Africa”. The descent is in some ways as difficult as the ascent and you will be tired as your make your way down the steep slope. Back at Kibo Hut, you will have a rest and something to eat. Then, take off much of your warm clothing and continue on to Horombo Hut for the night.
Hiking time: 8 hours to Uhuru, 19,340 feet! 6 hours descent to Horombo Hut
Overnight Horombo Hut – Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
After breakfast, continue your descent (slowly so as not to sprain an ankle or twist a knee) to Marangu Gate. If you have made it to Gillman’s or Uhuru, you will sign the book and your head guide will pick up your certificates. You will then be driven back to Hotel for the celebration. Hiking time: 5-7 hours