July 18 - August 05, 2014
(18 nights 19 days)
Experience the wilder side of wild Africa on this trip. Start with a multiday hike through every concievable type of forest habitat; ascending from Tropical Rain Forests through Moorland, Semi-Desert and Alpine Desert terrain to finally reach the snow covered Kilimanjaro Peak – a slice of Arctic on the Equator!
You come down to the wild & vast Tanzanian Savannah for the latter part of this trip, all the while pining for the snowy heaven you left behind. Voila! Over the next few days your experience ascends to a new high each day, courtesy a series of wildlife safaris in the pick of African game sanctuaries, staying in hand-picked forest lodges that offer an unbelievable combination of luxury & wilderness. We start with Taringere and then go to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, covering both the Crater & the Highlands. You then fly to neighboring Kenya, and drive via the spectacular Great Rift Valley to experience the wild pleasures on offer in neighboring Kenya – Lake Naikuru, Lake Naivasha and the legendary Masai Mara.
- Day 1: July 19: Fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport from Delhi/Mumbai
- Day 2: July 20: Transfer to Moshi. Rest and relax
- Day 3: July 21: Moshi - Mount Kilimanjaro Machame Gate (5,400ft) 1 hr drive . Machame Camp (9400 ft) 11 km / 6- 7 hrs hike through Tropical Rain Forests The drive from Moshi to the Mount Kilimanjaro National Park Gate takes about 50 minutes. The journey passes through the village of Machame which is located on the lower slopes of the mountain.
After registering, we now leave the park gate and walk through the rain forest on a
- Day 4: July 22: Machame Camp - Shira Camp (12,500ft) 5 km/ 4- 5 hrs hike through Moorland/Heather After breakfast, we leave the glades of the rain forest and continue on an ascending path, crossing the little valley walking along a steep rocky ridge, covered with heather, until the ridge ends. The route now turns west onto a river gorge. Time for rest, dinner, and overnight at the Shira campsite.
- Day 5: July 23: Shira Camp - Lava Tower - Barranco Camp (13,000ft) 10 km / 6- 7 hrs hike through Semi-Desert habitat From the Shira Plateau, we continue to the east up a ridge, passing the junction towards the peak of Kibo. As we continue, our direction changes to the South East towards the Lava Tower, called the "Shark's Tooth." Shortly after the tower, we come to the second junction which brings us up to the Arrow Glacier at an altitude of 16,000ft. We now continue down to the Barranco Camp at an altitude of 13,000ft. Here we rest, enjoy dinner, and overnight. Although you end the day at the same elevation as when you started, this day is very important for acclimatization and will help your body prepare for summit day.
- Day 6: July 24: Barranco Camp - Karanga Camp (13100 ft) 5 km / 3- 4 hrs hike into Alpine Desert Habitat After breakfast, we leave Barranco and continue on a steep ridge passing the Barranco Wall, to the Karanga Valley campsite. This is a short day meant for acclimatization.
winding trail up a ridge. Lower down, the trail can be muddy and slippery. Gaiters and trekking poles are a good idea here. We continue a short distance until we reach the Machame Camp.
- Day 7: July 25: Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp (15,300 ft) 4 km / 3- 4 hrs hike through Alpine Desert habitat After breakfast, we leave Karanga and hit the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. We continue up to the Barafu Hut. At this point, you have completed the South Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Here we make camp, rest, enjoy dinner, and prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are to be seen from this position.
- Day 8: July 26: Barafu Camp - Summit (19,345ft) 5 km / 7- 8 hrs ascent through Arctic habitat - Mweka Hut (10,000 ft) 12 km / 4- 6 hrs descent Very early in the morning (midnight to 2am), we continue our way to the summit between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers. You head in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek.
At Stella Point (18,600 ft), you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see (weather permitting). From Stella Point, you may encounter snow all they way on your 1-hour ascent to the summit. At Uhuru Peak, you have reached the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. Faster hikers will see the sunrise from the summit.
From the summit, we now make our descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. You will want gaiters and trekking poles for the loose gravel going down. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.
- Day 9: July 27: Mweka Camp - Mweka Village 10 km/ 3- 4 hr hike through Rain Forest habitat - Moshi (5,400ft) short drive After breakfast, we continue the descent down to the Mweka Park Gate to receive your summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts will probably be plenty to wear (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy).
From the gate, you continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet you at Mweka village to drive you back to hotel in Moshi.
- Day 10: July 28: Moshi Taringere National Park After a leisurely breakfast you will drive west towards Arusha and Mount Meru, with hopeful sightings of magnificent Mount Kilimanjaro as you leave town. After Arusha you continue South East towards the Rift Valley Wall, enjoying a gourmet lunch on the way to the Lodge situated just outside Tarangire National Park. Take your time to check in and refresh yourself at the Lodge – keep an eye open for monkeys and the diverse species of birds for which Tarangire is famous. When rested, drive to the Park gate to register, then keep your eyes peeled for animals as soon as you drive through the gate. Tarangire National Park is famous for its mighty Baobab trees, elephants, and the Tarangire River, which is the source of life for all animals in the Park. You will follow the loops along the Tarangire River, hoping to see the cats as they start looking for their evening meal. Leave the Park by sunset in order to arrive back at the Lodge in time to freshen up for dinner, then retire to fall asleep to the sounds of the African Bush.
- Day 11: July 29: Taringere Ngorongo Highlands Wake up at dawn and after an early breakfast head once again back into Tarangire National Park to surprise the animals as they awake and start looking for food in the cool of the dawn. Spend the morning enjoying the incredible diversity of animals and birds, before stopping for lunch while taking in the beautiful scenery. After lunch you will leave the park and drive West towards Ngorongoro Crater, driving close to the forest of the reserve to the idyllic Endoro Lodge set just outside the nearby town of Karatu. Here you leave the heat of the Tarangire bush for the cooler altitude and rainforest surrounds of the Ngorongoro Highlands. Check into the Lodge in time to freshen up and relax before dinner then retire for a good nights rest.
- Day 12: July 30: Ngorongo Highlands - Ngorongo Crater Ngorongo Highlands Following an early breakfast, drive up to the gate of Ngorongoro Crater. Having registered you then continue to climb up through the rain forest until you finally reach the rim and are exposed to the stunning view of the crater floor laid out before you. From there you continue to drive around the rim until you come to the main descent road which then leads you down to where all the animals are. Spend the day exploring the crater floor and delighting in the diversity of wildlife – it is possible to see the ‘big five’ here, as well as cheetah. Enjoy a boxed lunch beside the Hippo pool, then slowly ascend back up the wall of the crater to return to Endoro Lodge before a much needed relaxing dinner and sunset.
- Day 13: July 31: Ngorongo Arusha by road - Nairobi by air Great Rift Valley Lake Naivasha After a leisurely breakfast check out of the Lodge and return to Arusha for your flight home. Enjoy a lunch box along the way, and if you have time before your flight you can explore some of the curio shops in Arusha before departure. Reach Nairobi and drive north towards Lake Naivasha. We travel through the spectacular Great Rift Valley on the way. Check into the luxurious Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge, lunch and spend the afternoon relaxing by the pool, taking an optional boat-ride on the lake, or exploring the lake shore.
- Day 14: August 01 : Lake Naivasha - Lake Nakuru The tour begins on arrival at Nairobi and we drive north towards Lake Naivasha. We travel through the spectacular Great Rift Valley on the way. Check into the luxurious Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge, lunch and spend the afternoon relaxing by the pool, taking an optional boat-ride on the lake, or exploring the lake shore.
- Day 15: August 02: Lake Nakuru - Masai Mara National Reserve After breakfast driven to Lake Nakuru National Park famous as the home lesser and greater flamingo with picnic lunch boxes and enroute game drive. This park also provides sanctuary for Rothschild giraffe, rhino and leopard. Arrive for check in the evening. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.
- Day 16: Aug 03 : Explore Masai Mara National Reserve After breakfast drive via Narok to the Masai Mara National Reserve. It is the Kenyan side of the Serengeti National Park (located in Tanzania). Masai Mara National Reserve spreads out for about 1,510 sq km. It has the Serengeti Park on the south, the Siria escarpment to the west and Maasai pastoral ranches to the north, east and west. It is home to several animals including the Wildebeests, Zebras and Thomson's Gazelles. Other than the "Big Five", the park is home to Cheetahs and Hippopotamuses.
- Day 17: Aug 04 : Explore Masai Mara National Reserve We spend most part of the day driving around the park and will indulge in some spectacular game viewing. The park is a photographer's paradise and you get to capture some of Africa's unique wildlife and exquisite natural beauty. We spend two days at the Masai Mara reserve.
Famous for the annual migration of around 1.5 million wildebeest, the Masai Mara is also a home to many other open plains animals, including the Masai lions.
- Day 18: Aug 05: Masai Mara Nairobi by road Leaving Masai Mara, we drive to Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. Upon arrival, you will be driven to Carnivore restaurant for a specialty lunch. The Carnivore is an award-winning, meat specialty restaurant. The atmosphere of The Carnivore combines the rustic feel of a rural environment with that of an elegant, medieval banqueting hall. Later arrive at the Hotel,and check in & rest of the day at leisure.
- Day 19: August 06: Fly back to home