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Aim 4 Africa » Mount Kilimanjaro

Quality tailor-made holidays at the heart of Africa


Very few people haven't heard of this majestic and mysterious snow-capped mountain, Africa's highest peak, standing 3 degrees south of the Equator. Kilimanjaro is one of the most famous and highest free-standing mountains in the world, rising from the northern part of Tanzania.

Kilimanjaro comprises 3 volcanoes of which the most famous (and the most recent), snow-capped dormant Kibo stands at 5,895 m (19,455 ft). The rugged peak of Mawenzi (also dormant) is 5,149m (16,992 ft) and Shira (the oldest and extinct) stands at 3,962 m (13,075 ft).

The mountain is situated in the Kilimanjaro National Park entirely in Tanzania. The Kilimanjaro trek (as it is more of a "walk" than a "climb") crosses five distinct eco zones: The rainforests have an abundance of flora and fauna and is one of the most important water sources supplying Northern Tanzania.

This is followed by a beautiful moorland which not only has an absolutely inspiring view but which gives protection to exotic plants like the giant groundsel and the giant lobelia.

More rare plant species such as the delicate Impatiens Kilimanjaro do not occur anywhere else in the world.

The next eco-climatic layer is the alpine desert where bird species such as the rare African crowned eagle, (aka African hawk-eagle) and the Lammergeier vulture (aka the Bearded vulture) may occasionally be seen at higher altitudes. The penultimate eco-zone is the volcanic scree desert - barren and sparse, the more challenging part of the trek up this mighty mountain. The ice or glacial cap at the summit is the final layer, which has made Kilimanjaro legendary (although this layer is receding due to global warming).

Why trek with Aim4Africa?
  • Firsthand experience of the mountain and surroundings
  • Private, bespoke expeditions with full local experienced mountain crew
  • Flexible dates, proceed at your own pace
  • High quality, safe, successful and enjoyable experience
  • Responsible tourism, ethical treks, support local community
  • The “in” people to trek with

Thank you for a great holiday! With such meticulous preparation, we had confidence that the whole trip would run smoothly and it did! Climbing Kilimanjaro was an experience of a lifetime. We must have had the best team on the mountain constantly attentive to our well-being. The safari was equally enjoyable and we had a great guide Tesha who went out of his way to maximise our time in the parks.
- Tim and Cheryl B, UK

Our most popular routes and sample itineries up Kilimanjaro:
Easiest (least strenous) of the routes and very popular (thus nicknamed "the CocaCola route").

Scenic and varied vegetation zones (rainforest, moorland, alpine desert and icecap). Easy trails through the rain forest, but parts of it (nearer the top) are more challenging. Accomodation is in huts.

Usually takes 5 days, however an extra day at Horombo hut is highly recommended to assist acclimatization.

erste lieben zweite chancen DAY DESCRIPTION
1 Transfer from Arusha to Marangu Gate a.m. Trek to Mandara Hut (2750m) about 3-4 hours
2 Trek to Horombo Hut (3807m). (approx 5-7 hours)
3 Kibo Hut (4725m). (approx 5-7 hours)*
4 Midnight ascend to the Summit (5895m)! Then back down to Horombo Hut (3807m). (Total approx 7+5 hours
5 Descend to park gates via Mandara Hut (6 hours). Lunch, then transfer to Arusha.

*NOTE: An extra day at Horombo Hut on Day 3 is recommended for acclimtisation

A very popular route and one of our favourites, the Machame route is more challenging and much more scenic than many of the other routes. This route offers much wilder and more natural views across the mountain surrounds and the iconic glaciers.

Machame route can be rather strenuous, however the ascent is rather gradual unlike that on Umbwe. It is a slightly shorter route than the Lemosho or Shira Route which meets the Machame route at Shira Hut Campsite.

The climb via Machame can be done in 6 days however it is advisable to add a day to assist with acclimatization. Accommodation is in tents. (Descent is via the Mweka route which provides a different scenery and easier descent).

1 Arusha - Machame Gate. Trek to Machame hut (3100m). (approx 5-7 hours)
2 Shira Hut (3840m). (approx 5-7 hours)
3 Barranco Hut (3950m). (approx 5-7 hours)
4 Barafu Hut (4600m)*. (approx 8-9 hours)
5 To Summit and down to Mweka Hut (3100m). (approx 8+5 hours)
6 To Mweka Gate and transfer to Arusha. (approx 3-4 hours)

This is one of our most popular routes, involving trekking across the Lemosho Glades and Shira Plateau (Shira was once an active volcanic vent on Kilimanjaro, now extinct). This route offers absolutely breathtaking views including those of the iconic glaciers.

The walking can be quite strenuous as there are a series of ridges to climb and descend as well as mountain streams to cross. The Lemosho/Shira route usually takes a minimum of 7 days although we can extend this to one or two more days to assist with acclimatisation. Accommodations are in tents (mobile camping).

The Lemosho route meets with the Machame route at Shira Hut Campsite, so for those wanting to spend less time on the mountain, the Machame route is one we would recommend as an atlernative. However the Shira/Lemosho route is a lot quieter and less busy particularly for the first couple of days.

1 Morning drive from Arusha to Lemosho or Londorossi gate and begin trekking to campsite for dinner and overnight stay (2250m)
2 After breakfast trek past Simba River to Wilderness Camp. Dinner and overnight stay (3800m)
3 Circuit trek on Shira plateau. Overnight at Shira Hut Campsite (3840m).
4 Morning begin trek for 6-7 hours to reach Barranco Hut Campsite(3950m)*
5 Early breakfast and trek for 5-6 hours to Karanga Valley Campsite for a late lunch and on to Barafu Hut Campsite taking about 4-5 hours (4600m). Early night.
6 Just after midnight trek to Stella Point on the Crater rim (5745m)which should take 7-8 hours. Trek along the crater rim for about 45 minutes to reach the coveted Uhuru Peak - the highest point in Africa (5895m)! Descend to Mweka hut campsite (3100m) where you will spend the night.
7 Breakfast and leisurely descend to Mweka Gate (4-5hrs) and transfer to Arusha.

*NOTE: An extra day to assist with acclimatisation and rest before final push to the summit is recommended at Karanga Valley Campsite (4200m) between Days 4 and 5

This is one of our favourite routes offering better acclimatisation for the less experienced trekker or for people just wanting to escape the crowds and enjoy the solitude the mountain offers.

This trail involves an almost complete mountain transverse with absolutely breathtaking views including those of the iconic snowy peak and glaciers. The route is less "touristy" than Marangu or Machame, however the route meets with the Marangu route prior to the final push to the summit.

The trek to the summit and back usually takes a minimum of 6 days although an extra day will give you added rest and better acclimatisation. Accommodation is in tents and caves.

1 To Rombo Gate. Begin trek to the first cave (2700m). (approx 3-4 hours)
2 To second cave for lunch and onwards to Kikelewa cave on Mawenzi trail (3900m). (approx 6-7 hours.)
3 To Mawenzi Tarn hut (4330m). (approx 4-5 hours)
4 Across the saddle to school hut (4800m). (approx 4-5 hours.)
5 To Uhuru peak and back down to Mweka hut campsite.
6 To Mweka Gate (3-4hrs) and transfer to Arusha.

This is the most direct, shortest but steepest route to the summit. The walking is quite strenuous and the altitude gain is very rapid.

The climb usually takes a minimum of 4 days.

This route takes you via the Rebmann and Ratzel Glaciers to Stella Point and then the Uhuru Peak. The accomodation is in huts and tents.

1 Arusha - Machame Gate. Trek to Machame hut (3100m). (approx 5-7 hours)
2 Shira Hut (3840m). (approx 5-7 hours)
3 Barranco Hut (3950m). (approx 5-7 hours)
4 Barafu Hut (4600m)*. (approx 8-9 hours)
5 To Summit and down to Mweka Hut (3100m). (approx 8+5 hours)
6 To Mweka Gate and transfer to Arusha. (approx 3-4 hours)

*NOTE: An extra day at Karanga Valley for acclimatisation is recommended

A steep, strenuous, quite scenic route to Uhuru peak. Altitude gain on this route is quite rapid.

A route suitable for more experienced trekkers provided they avoid rushing up!

More advanced planning required for this route.

1 Arusha - Umbwe gate(1400m), trek to Forest caves (2850m), 5hrs
2 Trek past glacier streams to Barancco hut* (3950m), 4hrs
3 To Arrow Glacier hut(4800m), 6hrs
4 Uhuru peak and down to Mweka hut (3100m), 7+6hrs
5 To Mweka gate (3-4hrs) and transfer to Arusha

*NOTE: An extra day at Barranco hut to assist acclimatization is recommended

Private small group Kilimanjaro treks

Aim 4 Africa organises private Kilimanjaro treks for small groups in order that people get to have the best experience, without having to keep up with a large group. Trekkers proceed at their own pace and have personal attention from a qualified and experienced mountain crew. Our success rates up Machame and Lemosho/Shira routes are 95% increasing to 98% with an extra day to assist with acclimatisation.

On the Rongai and Marangu routes our success rates are higher (97% with the standard trek rising to over 99% with the additional day to assist with acclimatisation). Umbwe route is one we would only recommend to experienced high altitude mountaineers; whilst this too requires no technical expertise, care and consideration about ascending the mountain whilst avoiding the effects of high altitude illness is one we take very seriously. All too often we have witnessed people with other tour organisations being carried down on stretchers fighting for their lives.

We at Aim 4 Africa, have personally done the treks up to the summit several times using different routes (Kili has been our playground whilst we were growing up!!). Our mountain crew is second to none - amiable, extremely professional, experienced and knowledgeable. Our guides and cooks are trained to recognise symptoms of high altitude illness and take appropriate action if necessary. We have a responsible tourism policy which mirrors our ethos for ethical working conditions for all of our staff including mountain porters. Our staff are paid more than the average recommended wage. This means that whilst we are not the cheapest tour operator, we know that the safety and welfare of our personnel as well as our clients is fundamentally important.

Climb Kilimanjaro with Aim 4 Africa and see Africa the way it is meant to be seen - through the eyes of those who live in this beautiful part of the world. Enjoy the landscape, the beautiful surroundings, learn about the flora and fauna on Kilimanjaro and relish the entire experience. Our services are second to none, our high attention to detail, professional and highly experienced crew and proven high success rates using different routes up Kilimanjaro will ensure that your trek up this iconic mountain is an achievement well worth remembering for many years to come.

Contact us for more information and to plan your trip.