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Upon arrival into Kilimanjaro Airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure
After breakfast, you will leave the hotel at approximately 8.00am for the village of Machame, where the trek begins. From the park entrance gate (Machame) you will walk for about 2 to 3 hours through a dense mixed forest of fig and rubber trees, begonia flowers and other tropical vegetation. A stop for lunch will be made halfway to the evening's campsite. As you continue your ascent, you will find that the tropical forest gas given way to tall grasses and large heather bushes. You will be walking on a ridge to the left of which is the Semira stream, and on the right, the Weru. Depending on your individual pace arrival at Machame Camp is usually between 5 and 6pm. Your camp is set up near some old metal huts, which were once used for shelter. .
On this and subsequent mornings, the wake-up call is at around 6:00am. You will be greeted with a steaming cup of tea or coffee, and weather permitting, a fabulous view of Uhuru peak. Today's trek takes you up a steep track through a savannah of tall grasses, volcanic rock, and bearded heather. You will encounter giant groundsels as you hike through a ghostly landscape of volcanic lava, caves, and foamy streams. Lunch will be taken just below the Shira Plateau, about three to four hours from Shira Camp. The hike to the next campsite takes approximately six hours and you should arrive between 2 and 3:00pm. Most climbers tend to pace themselves, walking slowly and resting about every half-hour. Many will feel lethargic by the time they reach camp.
Wake up and see the entire Shira Plateau greeting you this morning with sweeping vistas across to Meru and the Shira Needles. A steady walk takes you up to the pass at Lava Tower (15,000 ft), where you stop to have lunch. Crossing the Bastains Stream, you will begin to descend towards Barranco Camp. The descent takes you along an immense canyon called Grand Barranco. Along the way, you will see numerous waterfalls which are fed by streams coming from the mountain, converging here to form the Umbwe River. Your camp is set at almost the same altitude as the night before. Today's trek lasts for about six hours and arrival at camp is between 4:30 and 5:30pm.
This morning you begin your hike to Karanga Camp, which is on the same altitude as the Barranco Camp. You will encounter a bit of a climb at Barranco Cliff and spend the rest of the day climbing up and down the slopes of the mountain most of the way to camp. The climbing is not considered difficult and you should arrive in time for lunch (around 1:00pm) having trekked for about four hours. This afternoon you can explore the surrounding areas of the Karanga Valley where giant senecios and lobelia grow - you'll get some amazing photographs!
This morning you will begin your scenic climb to Barafu, which is situated for the greater part on a moraine with a view of Mawenzi peak towering majestically above - and Kibo peak seemingly just out of reach. The Alpine desert terrain encountered at this point is mostly a rocky mineral-rich ground with a few lichens and mosses growing. Climbers who choose to ascend the peak should go to bed very early this eveing, as the next day is the longest one.
You will be awoken at midnight and after a light 'breakfast', start climbing at around 1:00am. It is at this stage that the climb becomes more difficult. Now, very few will not be feeling the effects of the thin air in some form or another, and climbers should carry as little as possible on this portion of the climb. Temperatures will be as low as -20 Celcius - so that means cold. As we ascend, the full moon will hang above us in the night sky (assuming it is clear weather), illuminating our path. Making your way up a path that is flanked by the Ratzel and Rebman glaciers, you will climb for about six hours before reaching the edge of the crater, between Stella and Hans Meyer points.
On the final day of the journey, climbers descend from Mweka camp to the base. The descent to the gate will take approximately 5 hours and climbers usually arrive before noon. Upon arrival at the gate climbers will be rewarded with certificates attesting their success at climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. You will then be driven to your hotel for a day room, allowing you to take a well earned shower and change of clothes. There will be a transfer available for your departure flight