11 Days / 10 Nights . Tanzania . Culture and Sightseeing
Arrive at the Kilimanjaro International Airport. You will be met at the airport and transferred to the Springlands Hotel or similar hotel in Moshi for your overnight.
After breakfast and a briefing from your guide, leave Moshi at 9 AM, drive for 45 minutes to the Marangu Gate on the eastern side of Kilimanjaro, register with the national park, and begin hiking at 10:30 AM. In the rainforest, look for towering Eucalyptus trees, bird life, and Colubus monkeys. At these lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy, so gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts should be sufficient, but keep your rain gear and warmer clothing handy. Stop halfway for lunch, and reach the Mandara Huts at 2 or 3 PM. Unpack, rest, and have some tea or coffee. A 15 minute side trip to Maundi Crater is a good way to see the surroundings including Northern Tanzania and Kenya. Dinner is served during the early evening at 7 PM. Bathrooms with running water are available.
Wake to a 7:30 AM breakfast, and pack for your next trek. Break camp by 8:30 AM, hike for an hour through rainforest glades, then follow an ascending path through heathland where you can look for giant lobelias and groundsels. Continue up into open moorlands where small shrubs are the main vegetation. Stop halfway for lunch, where you can enjoy amazing views of Mawenzi. Arrive at the Horombo Huts by 3 PM, where you can see Kibo’s summit. Rest, unpack, and prepare for dinner. Bathrooms with running water are available.
You may start to feel the effects of altitude here, and to aid your acclimatization, you can choose to spend an extra day resting at Horombo or climbing to a basecamp below Kibo’s sub peak Mawenzi.
Wake to breakfast as usual, but if you wake early you can get some great photos of the sunrise. The first part of the day’s hike climbs through the dwindling heathland that blends into a moonscape as you enter the sweeping saddle connecting Mawenzi and Kibo. When you stop for lunch, and later when you cross this surprisingly large saddle, you can examine the summit climb up Kibo that you will be starting in just a few hours. Be careful to notice any signs of altitude sickness. There is no running water at the Kibo Huts.
Wake at midnight to a light breakfast, then prepare for your summit ascent. The goal is to climb before dawn so that you can reach Uhuru Peak shortly after sunrise. Leave at 1 AM, switchback up steep scree or possibly snow, and reach Gilman’s Point on the crater rim at 5,861 m/18,640 ft between 5 and 7 AM. Here, views of the fabled crater and its icecaps greet you. Another 2 hours of hiking along the crater rim near the celebrated snows takes you to Kilimanjaro’s true summit, Uhuru Peak, by 9 AM. This is Africa’s highest point, and you would have to travel more than 3,000 miles toward the Himalayas to find a higher peak! Be sure to have your picture taken at the summit to show your friends. After your summit stay, descend back to the Kibo Huts, have lunch, rest, collect your things, and re cross the saddle to the Horombo Huts. Eat dinner and get some well-deserved sleep!
You do the beginning of this climb in the dark with headlamps or flashlights. It will be very cold until you start descending, so you will need all of your warm layers. This is, by far, the most difficult part of the trek. Slowly slowly, or, “pole pole,” and an optimistic attitude will get you there!
Wake as usual, pack, and descend through the moorland to the Mandara Huts. Have lunch there then continue your triumphant recessional down through lush forest to the park gate, which you should reach around 2 or 3 PM. Remember to tip your guides, cooks, and porters since you will be leaving them here. A vehicle will take you back to the Springlands Hotel in Moshi, where it is definitely time for celebration!
The drive from the Springlands Hotel to Lake Manyara National Park takes about 4 hours. After having a picnic lunch in Manyara, you start a late afternoon game drive, which is the best time to view animals in this park. When you approach it from the east, the Rift Valley escarpment looms on the horizon forming an impressive backdrop to the lake. In the tall trees of the ground water forest, monkeys leap from branch to branch, and on the escarpment, elephants stand in the shade. Other animals frequently seen are zebras, impalas, monkeys, giraffes, buffalos, hippos, and others. Overnight at the Highview Hotelor the Twiga Campsite – full board.
The drive to Serengeti National Park via Olduvai Gorge takes 3 to 4 hours. Olduvai Gorge is an archaeological site located in the eastern Serengeti plains, in which early human fossils were first discovered. It has an amazing landscape that resulted from the same tectonic forces that created the Great Rift Valley millions of years ago. Then in the late evening, drive to and overnight at the Ikoma Wild Camp or Seronera Campsite – full board.
After breakfast, venture into the Serengeti’s wilderness corners for a full day of game viewing in the park. With a picnic lunch beside you, take your leisure while exploring this world heritage site, where earth’s largest concentration of plain game still roams free! In the late evening, go to the Ikoma Wild Camp or Seronera Campsite for rest, dinner, and overnight.
After breakfast, drive to Ngorongoro Crater for a game drive inside the crater. This is the best place in Tanzania to see black rhino as well as prides of lion that include the magnificent black-manned males. There are lots of colorful flamingoes and a variety of water birds. Other game that you can see includes leopard, cheetah, hyena, other members of the antelope family, and small mammals. In the late afternoon drive to Highview Hotel or Simba Campsite for Dinner and overnight.
The drive from the Highview Hotel to Tarangire National Parktakes two hours. This park is spectacular in the dry season when many of the migratory wildlife species come back to the permanent waters of the Tarangire River. Huge herds of wildebeest, zebras, elephants, elands and Oryx gather to stay in Tarangire until the onset of the rain when they migrate again to good grazing areas. In the late afternoon, drive back to the Springlands Hotel in Moshi.