The Atlas Mountains & the Kilimanjaro trek



                                  KILIMANJARO TREK


                                            8th February 2010

Day at leisure. In the afternoon meet your guide for a pre-trek briefing. Please note that lunch and dinner are not included.

                                             9th February 2010

After breakfast drive to Machame Gate 1900m and then start the 4-6 hours walk to Machame Hut at 3000m.  You will be walking through the rainforest, and the track can be very muddy, so good boots and gaiters are recommended.  Machame Hut is on the edge of the forest and at the beginning of the moorland.  There are good views of the mountain from here. 

                                             10th February 2010

It is a 4-5 hours walk to Shira hut at 3840m, situated on the Shira plateau. The walk starts with quite steep inclines, and you soon get some of the best approach views of Kibo. You should also be able to see Mount Meru, about 50 kms to the south, above the clouds. Once you reach the Shira plateau it is noticeably colder and you will need to have a fleece jacket or sweater with you.  About now you will also start to feel the effects of altitude, so drink and walk slowly.  

                                             11th February 2010

 Another day without much height gain, but many ups and downs via Lava Tower, to Barranco Hut at 3950m. The day's walk is effectively a west to east traverse with a height gain at the end of the day of only 100m.  However during the day's walk you will ascend to almost 500m and then drop back down to Barranco camp at 3950m. You should allow about 7 hours for the walk and enjoy the incredible views of Kibo ahead of you and down the valleys to the plateau and rainforest below. The camping spot at Barranco is perhaps the most spectacular on the Machame route. In the even you may be able to see the lights of Moshi in the valley below.

                                             12th February 2010

 Extra Day: We strongly recommend an extra day, in order to acclimatise better, at Karanga plateau. Most people only have their lunch here, but we will set up camp here. This means that you will also have the afternoon off to rest and that you avoid a long day before the summit day and get to Barafu hut early the following day.

The first part of this day's climb is spectacular.  You start the day with a climb of what appears to be an incredibly steep face, also called Baranco Wall. However the guides and porters carrying the gear ahead of you will show you that it is in fact a good path. At the top of the steep section there are some more marvellous views of Meru to the south lit up by the early morning sun.

From here on you continue to cross the typical valleys and ridges that radiate from the summit downwards.

                                             13th February 2010

IIt will take about 4 hours to get to the Barafu hut at 4600m. This is the first morning that an early start is recommended since it seems wise on the previous days to sleep as much as you can in order to build up your reserves. It's probably the last time for a long time that you'll feel half human - so enjoy it!

 This part of the walk is over and up moonscape ridges to Barafu camp. There are new toilets here. Eat as well as you can and get to sleep early, because you will be getting up at around 23.00hrs for a hot drink and biscuits. You will usually depart between 23.30hrs and midnight. It cannot be stressed enough that up to this point you should have been drinking and eating as much as possible including a good intake of high energy snacks.

                                           14th February 2010

You start in the very early hours with the 7 hours walk to Stella Point on the rim of the crater.  You must remember to go as slowly as you can, but your guide will as always set the pace. There will be enough guides for your party to divide into slow and very slow groups. It is crazy to rush, and speed could cause your climb to end in disaster.

Drink a lot as you walk and take high energy snacks/chocolate bars. Do bear in mind that the water bottles can freeze up and that they are well insulated. You will begin to see a change in the light at about 05.00hrs and from then on the top will become discernible. You usually reach Stella Point 5795m on the crater rim, between 07.00 and 08.00. Those whose reach this point will receive a certificate after the climb at Mweka Gate.

Your guide has been instructed to forbid any climber who has been sick from continuing. Remember that this is the point of maximum risk to your health and that you must be prepared to take advice from your guide and friends and be reasonable if they feel you should descend. The rewards on the top are superb views of the summit glaciers and ice walls and, of course, standing on the highest point in Africa - 19,340 feet.

The descent commences at Stella Point and leads steeply down over snow and later over broken rocks and scree. After about 2-3 hours you reach Barafu hut, where you can have a rest and something to eat. From here it’s another 3-4 hours down, but the path is much clearer. Mweka Hut at 3100m is on the edge of the forest.

                                          15th February 2010

The home run is about 3 – 4 hours! The steep descent continues through the forest following a broad ridge. Your vehicle will be waiting for you at Mweka gate 1700m and you return to the Springlands hotel in Moshi in time for lunch (included) for overnight. Please note that dinner is not included.   

                                          16th February 2010

After breakfast time to relax until it’s time for your transfer to the airport. Own flight arrangements tbc.