11 Days

Camping Safari and Kilimanjaro Climb, Marangu Route

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DAY 1: ARUSHA TO SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

Leave Arusha at 8am for Serengeti National Park. To get to the Serengeti, you have to first pass through Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area. You will arrive in Ngorongoro at approximately 12pm. Stop at the view point to take photos of Ngorongoro Crater and eat lunch. Continue driving to the Serengeti, viewing animals along the way.

Once you arrive in the Serengeti, youll drive across the Seronera Plain to the northwest gate of the Serengeti.

Serengeti National Park, which has been declared a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve, is a vast and beautiful expanse of 15,000 square kilometers, which supports the largest concentration of plain game in the world. Famous for its gregarious procession of millions of wildebeest and zebra that takes place from December to August, the Serengeti attracts thousands of visitors each year.

The migration offers excellent opportunities to view animal behavior due to the abundance of both predators and prey. Common animals are wildebeest, cheetah, zebra, lion, giraffe, and many species of antelope. Arrive at Seronera Campsite at around 6pm. Seronera Campsite is set in the middle of the Serengeti, and you will be able to easily visit any area of the park from the campsite.

DAY 2: SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

Spend all of day two in Serengeti National Park following the migration. Watch thousands of wildebeest and zebra in their natural habitat. See male wildebeest battle for control of the uninterested females. Watch zebra feed on the fresh grasses of the Serengeti Plain. The Serengeti region encompasses Serengeti National Park itself, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Maswa Game Reserve, the Loliondo, Grumeti and Ikorongo Controlled Areas and the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. The migration could be in one of several possible locations and we will alter the Serengeti schedule depending on where the migration is during your safari. Return to Seronera Campsite for dinner and overnight.

DAY 3: SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK TO NGORONGORO CRATER

Before dawn, wake up to go on a balloon ride over the Serengeti. Eat a champagne breakfast in the bush before proceeding on a final game drive. Drive to Grumet River to spend time watching bird and water life. We will have the opportunity to view crocodiles and may be lucky enough to see a crocodile hunt a wildebeest. Continue on a game drive watching lions and searching for cheetahs. After lunch, drive to Ngorongoro Crater.

Well make sure to get you to the crater rim Simba Campsite in time for the spectacular sunset. Simba Campsite overlooks the crater and offers breathtaking views. Be sure to bring warm clothes for this night as very cold temperatures can be experienced on the crater rim.

DAY 4: NGORONGORO TO ARUSHA

A full day in the world-renowned Ngorongoro Crater awaits. Leave the campsite at 7:00am to descend 2000 feet to the crater floor. The largest unbroken caldera in the world, Ngorongoro has an area of 260 kilometers and a depth of 610 meters. The crater provides a protected habitat for thousands of mammals and birds. The entire day is spent on the crater floor viewing lion, hyena, wildebeest, zebra, black rhinoceros, and many species of small antelopes. During some seasons, the soda lake on the crater floor is crowded with flamingo and other water birds.

You may also see Maasai herdsmen grazing their cattle in the crater. Enjoy your picnic lunch on the crater floor where Black Kites feed on tourists’ leftovers. Lunch offers an excellent opportunity to view the behavior of birds and observe the forest elephants that usually feed in the marsh near the picnic area. After lunch, continue on a game drive to spot the most elusive of the Big Five, rhinoceros and leopard. Leave the crater at 4pm for Panorama Campsite. The private campsite overlooks Lake Manyara National Park and the Rift Valley. You will have your own private canvas tent. The site has several sitting areas, showers and bathrooms, a bar, and kitchen. Dinner and overnight at Panorama.

DAY 5: LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK TO MOSHI

After breakfast, leave Panorama for a game drive in Lake Manyara National Park. Lake Manyara, a Rift Valley chain lake, is nestled at the foot of a spectacular 2,000-foot escarpment and is surrounded by a lush tropical forest filled with towering mahogany and fig trees. During the game drive, you will see elephants, baboons and giraffes at close range. You will visit the park’s five different vegetation zones and spend time at the lakeshore viewing magnificent birds.

If lucky, you may glimpse Manyara’s famous tree-climbing lions. At 1pm, return to Panorama for a hot lunch. After lunch, leave Panorama for Moshi, where you will spend the night at the Keys Hotel. Prepare for your Kilimanjaro trek.

DAY 6: MARANGU GATE (1,828m) TO MANDARA HUT (2,743m)

Elevation Gain: 915 meters
Hiking Time: 3 to 5 hours
Distance: 6 kilometers

After an 8am breakfast in Moshi, drive in the Buffalo Tours Land Rovers for just over an hour to Marangu Gate. During the drive, pass through scenic villages and coffee farms. At the gate, meet the Buffalo Tours Safari porters, guides, and cooks that will spend the next six days trekking with you to Uhuru Peak, the roof of Africa. You will spend about an hour waiting at the gate while Buffalo Tours Safari registers your climb and the porters and guides make final preparations.

After all the paperwork is finished, you will begin hiking with your guides to Mandara Hut, day ones destination. For the majority of day ones trek, you will walk along a narrow trail through the rainforest of Kilimanjaro. The trail follows a mountain stream and you will hear and possibly see small waterfalls through the trees.

While walking through the forest, enjoy the sounds of primates and birds and see many different species of trees, plants and flowers that thrive in the diverse environment. Eat a picnic lunch at Kisambioni, day ones halfway point. After lunch continue walking through the rainforest for another 1.5 hours to Mandara Hut.

You will reach the hut at approximately 2pm at which point you can rest until dinner or take a short walk (15 minutes one way) to the wildflower-covered Maundi Crater. The views to the east over Taveta and to the northwest to Mawenzi Peak are stunning, making the short hike well worth the effort.

The A-frame Mandara Huts can accommodate up to seventy people and consist of several sleeping huts and a dining area. All of Marangus huts have beds with mattresses and pillows. During high season, the huts can be crowded and you may have to wait your turn to eat dinner in the dining hall.

DAY 7: MANDARA HUT (2,743m) TO HOROMBO HUT (3,720m)

Elevation Gain: 977 meters
Hiking Time: 5 to7 hours
Distance: 11 kilometers

After a hearty breakfast, leave Mandara Hut, and Kilimanjaros forests, for Horombo Hut. Most of day twos hike passes through the bleak landscape of Kilimanjaros heather and moorland. The soil is rocky and the vegetation consists of grasses, heather and several species of wildflowers. During day two you will walk over several small bridges that cross seasonal rivers. Eat a picnic lunch at a spot called Kambi ya Taabu before continuing on to Horombo Hut. If the weather is clear on day two, you will have many excellent views of both Mawenzi and Kibo peaks. Arrive at Horombo Hut at around 3pm and spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing.

Although extremely busy, the Horombo Huts are considered to be the nicest lodging on Kilimanjaro. The small, A-frame buildings can accommodate up to eight people each and provide lodging for hikers ascending, descending and acclimatizing. Horombo can accommodate up to one hundred hikers and many more porters, cooks and guides. There is only one dining hut at Horombo, making meal times a bit hectic.

DAY 8: HOROMBO HUT (3,720m) TO MAWENZI HUT (4,600m) TO HOROMBO HUT (3,720m)

Elevation Gain and Loss: 880 meters
Hiking Time: 3 to 4 hours

Day three will be spent acclimatizing and exploring the area around Horombo Hut. Buffalo Tours Safari suggests hiking all the way to Mawenzi Hut to allow for greater acclimatization. You will not only increase your chances of reaching Uhuru Peak, but you will also be rewarded with magnificent views of Kibo. You will return to Horombo for a late, but hot, lunch. Spend the afternoon and evening relaxing at Horombo.

DAY 9: HOROMBO HUT (3,720m) TO KIBO HUT (4,750m)

Elevation Gain: 1,030 meters
Hiking Time: 5 to 6 hours
Distance: 11 kilometers

Leave Horombo Hut after an early breakfast to hike through the moorland and alpine desert of Kilimanjaros upper altitudes. After about an hour of hiking, you will come to Maua River, a small mountain stream. If you are carrying a water filter or water purification tablets, fill up your water bottles here as the only water available above this elevation is brackish. After Maua, the terrain becomes flatter and the vegetation begins to disappear.

The wind picks up and the hiking becomes less enjoyable. Break for lunch (and a much needed break from the wind) at Middle Red Hill. After lunch, continue on a steady incline for another two hours through the Saddle. Although the environment on the way to Kibo is bleak desert with little vegetation, you will see many stunning views of Kibo and Mawenzi peaks.

Reach Kibo Hut around 3pm to rest and prepare for your midnight climb. The Kibo huts are made of stone and are not very warm. Make sure you have a four-season sleeping bag or a three-season bag with an extra sleep sheet. Most hikers experience some of the effects of altitude sickness at this point. Be sure you know the symptoms of altitude sickness and if you are feeling very sick, please tell your guide.

DAY 10: KIBO HUT (4,750m) TO SUMMIT (5,895m) TO HOROMBO HUT (3,720) 

Elevation Gain: 1,145 meters
Elevation Loss: 2,175 meters
Hiking Time: 12 to 15 hours
Distance to Uhuru: 5 kilometers
Distance from Uhuru to Horombo: 16 kilometers

At midnight your guides will wake you up for your climb to Uhuru Peak, the roof of Africa. Your hike begins with a five-hour hike to Gillmans Point on the crater rim. Although this is considered to be the easiest of the three crater ascent paths, it is still extremely difficult and the chances of getting sick or turning back are high. The first major rest stop, Williams Point, lies at 5000 meters and is just under two hours away from Kibo Hut. You will need to drink water and eat a snack at this point.

Continue on for thirty minutes before beginning the rocky switchbacks that will continue to Gillmans Point (5,681 meters). The trek from Kibo Hut to Gillmans Point takes approximately five hours and is the most physically demanding part of the summit hike.

After reaching Gillmans Point, rest for a few minutes and then continue on the crater hike towards Uhuru Peak. The rest of the 1.5-kilometer hike is a gradual climb and, as far as hikes go, not very difficult. The altitude, however, makes the goinga psychological battleand you will needto go very slowly, and be very stubborn, if you want to make it to the top. The guide will watch your health and will let you know what to do to make your climb easier.

If the guide says you need to turn back, you must listen to him! During the crater hike, you will pass by several glaciers. Although you will not be able to see the glaciers on your way to the top, you will see them on the way down.

The crater rim hike takes about 1.5 hours and you should reach Uhuru Peak around sunrise. Take photos of your guide and group at the peak before beginning the descent to Horombo Hut. On the way down from the summit, you will see all of the magnificent views you could not see in the dark. Pass by the crater glaciers and rock formations knowing that you are on your way down from the summit of the worlds highest free-standing mountain. Stop for some tea and a short break at Kibo Hut before continuing on to Horombo Hut. Reach Horombo Hut in the afternoon and enjoy your last night on the mountain.

DAY 11: HOROMBO HUT (3,720m) TO MARANGU GATE (1,828m)

Elevation Loss: 1,892 meters
Distance: 17 kilometers
Hiking Time: 4 to 5 hours

After breakfast youll finish the trek with a descent through the rainforest to Marangu Gate. A Land Rover will be waiting at the gate to take you back to Moshi, where youll need a hot shower and hotel stay. You will meet your mountain staff in town to say a final farewell and distribute tips.

End Of Tour

 

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