Kilimanjaro Trek Itinerary
Get an insight into what this iconic Kilimanjaro trek will involve.
You’ve got a long leg from the UK to Tanzania. One of the Breaking Strain team leaders will either be travelling with you, or be there to meet you at the airport upon your arrival. For your convenience, the first night in country will be spent at a Kilimanjaro International Airport Hotel.
Jambo! Wake up and absorb the African culture. Preparation is key today. We’ll transfer through to Moshi, the town known as ‘the gateway to Kilimanjaro National Park’. Here, you’ll meet your trek guide, who can answer any of your queries. We exclusively use local guides – we like to support local communities, plus these guys know the routes and surrounding habitats better than anyone else. We’ll arrange a kit check to ensure that everyone’s comfortable and raring to go. Tonight, we’ll be staying at the 3* Weru Weru River Lodge (or equivalent), where you can chill out and psych yourself up for the challenge ahead.
Trek Day 1: Machame Gate to Machame Camp
Elevation: 1790m – 3010m
Trekking time: Approx. 5-7hrs
Habitat: Montane Forest
Rise and shine, we’ve got a one hour drive to Machame Gate (1790m), the starting point on the Machame route. From the southern base, we’ll ascend from the arable lands of Kili’s first zone of vegetation into the lush rainforests of zone two. As the air thins later in the day, you’ll notice the trees transform into moorland, as we ascend further into zone three. 10.8km and approximately 5-7 hours later, we’ll arrive at our first night camp - Machame Camp (3010m). Time to refuel and get some much needed shuteye. Day one complete.
Trek Day 2: Machame Camp to New Shira Camp
Elevation: 3010m – 3845m
Trekking time: 4-6hrs
It’s onwards and upwards from Machame Camp (3010m), for a slightly shorter but steeper trekking day. We’ll be challenged by rocky ridges and river gorges, as we ascend through more moorland to Shira Plateau. 5.4km and approximately 4-6 hours later, we'll arrive at New Shira Camp (3845m). Gaze over the Western plains of Kilimanjaro and take in your first full glimpse of Uhuru Peak (a daunting yet empowering view of what’s to come!).
Trek Day 3: New Shira Camp to Lava Tower to Barranco Camp
Elevation: 3845m – 4640m – 3960m
Trekking time: 8-9hrs
Today we’ll ‘walk high, sleep low’, to allow for acclimatisation. A short burst of high altitude before descending again to camp will prepare our bodies for summit day. From New Shira Camp (3845m), we’ll climb to Lava Tower (4640m) – nicknamed ‘Shark’s Tooth’. The unique rock feature was formed back in Kili’s active volcanic days. This will be your first taste of life in zone four, and you may well begin to experience symptoms of altitude sickness. From this point, we’ll descend to Barranco camp (3960m) for the night. Achieving a daily distance of 10.8km in approximately 8-9 hours.
Trek Day 4: Barranco Camp to Barafu Camp
Elevation: 3960m – 4640m
Trekking time: 3-6hrs
Habitat: Alpine Desert
This morning, we’ll head East from Barranco Camp (3960m) onto a steep ridge that passes the Barranco Wall, through the Karanga Valley. We’ll be exposed to extreme temperatures, high evaporation and blinding glare up in the barren Alpine Desert region. Keeping hydrated, fuelled and appropriately geared up is critical. After covering a substantial 3km in approximately 3-6 hours, we’ll arrive at our night camp at Barafu Camp (4600m). Time to mentally and physically prepare for summit day tomorrow.
Trek Day 5: Barafu Camp to Summit (Uhuru Peak) to Millennium Camp
Elevation: 4600m – 5895m – 3790m
Trekking time: 12-15hrs
Habitat: Stone Scree and Ice-Capped Summit
We’ll rise before the sun today, starting our summit ascent from Barafu Camp (4600m) in darkness. Expect heavy scree, snow, glaciers, and strong sun today. Conditions can change dramatically when ascending into the Arctic Zone - Kili’s fifth zone of vegetation, so be alert. After climbing one of the most demanding portions of the trek, we’ll reach Stella Point (5739m) to take in the sunrise. We’ll then ascend to the summit or 'roof of Africa', reaching Uhuru Peak (5895m). Mission accomplished. Time to bask in the glory (and take a couple of selfies) before we start our descent. After a long descent where we’ll travel through the day’s stepping off point, Barafu Camp, we’ll arrive at our last night camp - Millennium Camp (3790m).
Trek Day 6: Millennium Camp to Mweka Gate, Moshi
Elevation: 3790m – 1630m
Trekking time: 6hrs
Habitat: Alpine Desert – Moorland – Montane Forest
The final leg of the trek down from Millennium Camp (3790m) to Mweka Gate, Moshi (1630m). We'll descend rapidly through Kili’s diverse zones of vegetation, arriving back in the lush lowlands, after 12km and approximately 6 hours. After a short drive, spend your last night back at the 3* Weru Weru River Lodge (or equivalent). You didn’t know a real bed could feel that good. Rest and relax.
You’ll wake up with a bittersweet feeling, it’s home time. We’ll transfer back to Kilimanjaro International Airport and depart back to the UK. A once in a lifetime experience ends, but the epic memories and new friendships will stay with you. Congratulations, you can tick Kilimanjaro off your bucket list.
*Please note - this itinerary is a flexible sample, other routes and durations are available on request. Get in touch with the Breaking Strain team to discuss your bespoke trek.*