Kilimanjaro - Machame Route & Wildlife Safari

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A popular route to the summit of Africa's highest mountain combined with a drive-fly wildlife safari through Tanzania's magnificent National Parks

Details

Duration: 14 Days
Starts in: Tanzania
Group Size: 2-15

Operated by:

World Expeditions

World Expeditions is an adventure travel and ecotourism company that offers guided small group trekking and adventure holidays.

Itinerary

Join Arusha, trip briefing

Today is an arrival day. If you choose to fly into Kilimanjaro Airport we recommend a private transfer to Arusha where the rest of the day is at leisure. We stay at the Moivaro Coffee Lodge which has spacious rooms, a pool, and restaurant. This afternoon at 16:30 you will meet the rest of the group and your guide for a trip briefing.

Drive to Machame Gate, commence climb to Machame Camp (3000m)

After completing the necessary registration formalities, the climb starts from Machame Gate (1800m) and follows a ridge through dense montane forest. This is the richest forested area on the mountain, and also the zone from where 96% of the water on Kilimanjaro originates. On sunny days, and especially in the dry season, this section is very lush and beautiful; it can also be a very muddy experience, particularly if it has rained recently! We have lunch at ‘Halfway Clearing’, a small opening in the trees, and continue climbing steadily. The gradient becomes gentler as the forest slowly merges into giant heather close to the next camp near the ruins of Machame Hut (3000m). We may get our first closer look at the glaciated dome of Kibo if the evening clouds permit. [6-8 hours walking]

To Shira Two camp (3840m)

A shorter day that begins by climbing up a steep ridge to reach a small semicircular cliff known as Picnic Rock. There are excellent views of Kibo and the jagged rim of Shira Plateau from here, and it is a good rest point too! The trail continues less steeply to reach the Shira Plateau. We camp near Shira Hut (3840m) which has some of the most stunning views on Kilimanjaro; close to the huge volcanic cone of Kibo, the spectacular rock formations of Shira Plateau, and looking across to Mt Meru floating on the clouds. [4-6 hours walking]

Trek near Lava Tower junction (4550m)

A morning of gentle ascent and panoramic views, leaving the moorland plateau behind to walk on lava ridges beneath the glaciers of the Western Breach. After lunch near the Lava Tower junction (4550m) we descend to the bottom of the Great Barranco valley (3900 m), sheltered by towering cliffs and with extensive views of the plains far below. [5-7 hours walking]

To Karanga (4000m)

A steep climb up the Barranco Wall leads us to an undulating trail on the south-eastern flank of Kibo, with superb vistas of the Southern Icefields. The terrain changes to scree, with pockets of lush vegetation in sheltered hollows, and there is only a short distance to our camp at Karanga (4000m), the last water point on the way to the summit. There is plenty of time to rest, or for a short optional acclimatisation walk in the afternoon up the valley above the camp. [4-5 hours walking]

To Barafu campsite (4600m)

We follow an easy path on compacted scree with wide views that gains altitude unrelentingly to reach the Barafu campsite (4600m) for lunch. There is a short acclimatisation walk to the plateau at the bottom of the South-East valley (4800m). The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent before a very early night. [4-5 hours walking]

Summit Uhuru Peak (5895m), then descend to Millenium Camp (3800m)

We will start our ascent by torchlight at about 1 a.m. so that we can be up on the Crater rim by sunrise. The steep climb over loose volcanic scree has some well-graded zig-zags and a slow but steady pace will take us to Stella Point (5735m), in about five or six hours. We will rest there for a short time to enjoy the sunrise over Mawenzi. Those who are still feeling strong can make the two hour round trip from here along the crater rim to Uhuru Peak (5895m), passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Barafu is surprisingly fast, and after some refreshment, we continue to descend to reach our final campsite Millenium (3800m). [11-15 hours walking]

Descend to Mweka, transfer to Arusha

A sustained descent on a well constructed path through lovely tropical forest alive with birdsong and boasting lush undergrowth with considerable botanical interest. Our route winds down to the National Park gate at Mweka (1650m). Here we sign out from the National Park before walking on for a further 15 minutes through coffee and banana farms to Mweka village where our vehicle awaits. The shower, the beer, and the swimming pool are tantalisingly close! Overnight at Moivaro Coffee Lodge. [4-6 hours walking]

To Tarangire National Park, game drive

After breakfast, we will drive to Tarangire National Park (approx 2- 3 hours) where we will have lunch on arrival. Later in the afternoon we will spend time game viewing within the park. This area has the largest population of elephants in northern Tanzania, with approximately 2000 sighted along the river at certain times of the year. In the dry season, (July–November) most of the wildlife in the Tarangire ecosystem migrates to the permanent water of the Tarangire River. The lush green shores of the river are a big attraction to many varieties of wildlife, so they offer fantastic game viewing. Dry baobab and acacia trees are scattered widely throughout Tarangire National Park and these provide an ideal home to over 500 species of birds. Most people who have visited East Africa give fabulous accounts of their safaris in this national park, which is famous for both its flora and fauna. Accommodation: Migunga Tented Camp, or Tarangire Sopa Lodge (4 star upgrade) or similar.

Ngorongoro Crater

Today is a long but rewarding day, filled with scenic driving and fabulous wildlife viewing. We leave early this morning for a 3 - 3.5hr drive up the Rift Valley escarpment to Ngorongoro Crater. At nearly 2300m on the Crater rim, the mornings are brisk and low cloud sometimes covers the area. Please bring some warm clothing as it can be cold here. We drop down into the Crater for a day of game viewing, including a picnic lunch. The World Heritage listed Ngorongoro Crater is one of the last refuges for the endangered black rhino in northern Tanzania; the rhino population here is carefully protected and they are quite commonly seen. With over 30,000 animals, the 100 sq km caldera of the Ngorongoro Crater is a natural amphitheatre for wildlife with its permanent water source and varied habitats. We drive to our accommodation back up on the rim of the Crater in the late afternoon. Accommodation: Crater Forest Tented Camp, or Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge (4 star upgrade) or similar

Masai village and Olduvai Gorge, to Serengeti National Park and game drive

On our way to the Serengeti National Park we visit the world famous Olduvai Gorge, where our earliest ancestors were discovered by Professor Richard Leakey. We will also visit a Masai boma (village) to learn about Masai traditions and way of life.The hills and plains en route are home to wildlife as well as the Masai people and we are likely to see both on our journey. After passing through the Serengeti park gate we have opportunity to see a variety of wildlife as we game drive our way to our accommodation. We begin to get an idea of the vastness and remoteness of this incredible park as we travel across the savannah to our base for the next two nights. Accommodation: Kati Kati Tented Camp, or Serengeti Serena Lodge (4 star upgrade) or similar. (NOTE: Kati Kati is a semi-permanent tented camp operating from December - March and from June - October. Outside of these months, an alternative property will be used which may attract a small surcharge)

Serengeti National Park, game drives

We spend a full day in the Serengeti National Park, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage area for its wildlife and natural beauty. Mornings and late afternoons are the best times for wildlife spotting, as the animals retreat to the shade of trees to escape the heat of the day. We will follow this pattern to make the most of the time when wildlife is most active. We will wake with the sun and generally return to our camp or lodge after sunset, with time in the middle of the day to relax. Depending where we find most game, we may take a picnic lunch and stay out all day or return to our accommodation over lunch for a siesta before going out again in our 4WD safari vehicle to explore the different habitats found within the park. Famed for its annual migration, the Serengeti offers amazing game viewing at any time of the year: herds of buffalo, groups of elephant and giraffe, zebra, eland, topi, kongoni, impala and gazelle, among other wildlife. We hope to experience a blazing Serengeti sunset, with silhouetted acacia trees, to top off a magical day. Accommodation: Kati Kati Tented Camp, or Serengeti Serena Lodge (4 star upgrade) or similar. (NOTE: Kati Kati is a semi-permanent tented camp operating from December - March and from June - October. Outside of these months, an alternative property will be used which may attract a small surcharge)

Early morning game drive, fly to Arusha

We will enjoy one last early morning game drive in the Serengeti before transferring to the Seronera airstrip for a 11:00 flight back to Arusha. (Please note that flight schedules are subject to change and availability.) On arrival in Arusha we will be met at the airport and transferred to our accommodation. There is time for an optional visit to a cultural market en route if you wish. Accommodation: Moivaro Coffee Lodge

In Arusha, trip concludes

In Arusha, after breakfast at your hotel, the trip arrangements end.

Additional Information

The Machame Route is well known as the "Whiskey Route" and one of the most popular trails on Mount Kilimanjaro, fondly known as Kili. It is reported that around 50% of trekkers use this route to ascend to the highest point in Africa and for good reason. The trail, whilst challenging, also offers spectacular vistas, ascends the Barranco wall and allows good acclimatisation opportunities. From lush rainforest, the trail rises steeply towards the Shira Plateau, providing trekkers with scenic mountain views and varying landscapes. While the ascent does not require any technical climbing, the trails are demanding and a sound level of fitness are essential pre-requisites. With seven days on the mountain, there is excellent opportunity for a safe and successful climb, with a sound sense of achievement more than reward for your effort. Before or after ascending Kilimanjaro, we indulge in an all encompassing fly-drive safari highlighting the best game parks in northern Tanzania including huge herds of elephants in Tarangire, the spectacular World Heritage listed Ngorongoro Crater, visits to a Masai village and the renowned paleolithic site of Olduvai Gorge, and culminating in the distinctive scenery and abundant wildlife in the world famous Serengeti National Park.

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