Kilimanjaro and Parks

THE SHINING MOUNTAIN

  • Tanzania
  • Duration: 15 days
  • Trekking
  • Self-drive

Areas of Interest

Mt Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain 19,340 ft (5,895m) in the world that is not part of a mountain range, and the easiest mountain in the world for a climber to ascend to such heights.

The park has 6 different corridors that climbers can use, through tropical forests with blue and colobus monkeys, semidesert alpine areas with Giant Groundsels trees, to its snow-capped peak, situated only 3 degrees South of the Equator line.

Our expert partners and guides help choose the best route for you, that with the correct acclimatization time, will help you to successfully reach the summit.

Our ground staff will take care of all the logistics: tents, meals, water, and toilets, during the climb. While we can suggest the best training plan to prepare your body for this adventure!

Lake Manyara National Park is well known for the tree climbing lions, the soda ash lake and its flamingos, we are talking about breathtaking scenery!

Located on the way to Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti, Lake Manyara National Park is worth a stop in its own right. Its groundwater forests, bush plains, baobab strewn cliffs, and algae-streaked hot springs offer incredible ecological variety in a small area, rich in wildlife and incredible numbers of birds.

It is the most famous park in Tanzania, and probably the most famous in the World for wildlife viewing.

The park covers 5,700 sq mi (14,760 sq km), it is larger than Connecticut, and it is a huge landscape of grassland plains, savanna, riverine forest, and woodlands.

The park lies in northwestern Tanzania, bordered to the north by the Kenyan border, where it is continuous with the Maasai Mara National Reserve. To the southeast of the park is the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, to the southwest lies Maswa Game Reserve, to the west are the Ikorongo and Grumeti Game Reserves, and to the northeast and east lies the Loliondo Game Control Area. Together, these areas form the larger Serengeti ecosystem and the legendary Great Serengeti Migration, a stunning natural spectacle‎.

The park is usually described as divided into three regions:

  • Serengeti plains: the almost treeless grassland of the south is the most emblematic scenery of the park. This is where the wildebeest breed, as they remain in the plains from December to May.
  • Western corridor: the black clay soil covers the savannah of this region. The Grumeti River and its gallery forests is home to Nile crocodiles, patas monkeys, hippopotamus, and martial eagles. The migration passes through from May to July.
  • Northern Serengeti: the landscape is dominated by open woodlands and hills, ranging from Seronera in the south to the Mara River on the Kenyan border. Apart from the migratory wildebeest and zebra (which occur from July to August, and in November), this is the best place to find the elephant, giraffe, and dik-dik.

The migratory -and some resident- wildebeest, which number over 2 million individuals, constitute the largest population of big mammals that still roam the planet. They are joined in their journey through the Serengeti – Mara ecosystem by 250,000 plains zebra, half a million Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle, and tens of thousands of topi and Coke’s hartebeest. Masai giraffe, waterbuck, impala, warthog, and hippo are also abundant. Some rarely seen species of antelope are also present in Serengeti National Park, such as common eland, klipspringer, roan antelope, bushbuck, lesser kudu, fringe-eared oryx, and dik-dik.

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a protected area and a World Heritage Site located 110 mi (180 km) west of Arusha in the Crater Highlands area of Tanzania.

The main feature of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest inactive, intact and unfilled volcanic caldera. The crater, which formed when a large volcano exploded and collapsed on itself two to three million years ago, is 2,000 feet deep and its floor covers 100 square miles. The crater was voted by Seven Natural Wonders as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa in Arusha, Tanzania in February 2013.

Approximately 25,000 large animals live in the crater. Large mammals in the crater include the black rhinoceros, the African buffalo or Cape buffalo, and the hippos.

Although conceived as “a natural enclosure” for a very wide variety of wildlife, 20 percent or more of the wildebeest and half the zebra populations vacate the crater in the wet season, while Cape buffalo stay; their highest numbers are during the rainy season.

A safari holiday in Tanzania is not complete without a descent to the mighty Ngorongoro Crater.

Itinerary

  • Day 1 – Arrive Arusha – Mount Meru Hotel

One of our Team members will be waiting for you at the airport for your transfer to Mount Meru Hotel. Situated at the foothills of Mount Meru in the city of Arusha, the Mount Meru Hotel lies on 15 acres of serene and lush landscape. As the topographic centerpiece of the Arusha National Park, the hotel is also surrounded by some of Africa’s most breathtaking vistas, rich with a diverse array of wildlife, etched against the fertile slopes of this beautiful mountain, the fifth highest peak in Africa.

Service: Half Board

 

  • Day 2 – Arusha – Machame Camp

From Arusha, we will drive to the Machame Park gate, then a gentle climb up through the original montane forest, carpeted with unique “Busy Lizzie” flowers, begonias and ferns. First camp amongst the giant heather at 9,800 ft (3,000 m).

Service: Mountain Camp, with lunch and dinner

Driving time: 2h30′ (transfer)

Ascent: 3,900 ft (1.200 m)

Walking time: ± 5-6h

 

  • Day 3 – Shira – Shira Camp

We will emerge from the giant heather zone and hike through fine open moorland to camp by the Shira Cave at 12,600 ft (3,840 m). Herds of elands up here (& occasional lion!) and there are fascinating geological features in the old volcanic caldera which can be viewed during a half hour optional walk in the afternoon.

Service: Mountain Camp, with Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Ascent: 2,700 ft (840 m)

Walking time: ± 4-5h

 

  • Day 4 – Barranco – Barranco Camp

From Shira, climb towards the main peak Kibo, with the western glaciers clearly visible across the rugged high-altitude desert of volcanic rocks and boulders. Skirting around its base and under the imposing Western Breach, descend into the sheltered Barranco Valley for midway camp at 13,000 ft (3,950 m).

Service: Mountain Camp, with Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Ascent: only 360 ft (110 m)

Walking time: ± 5-7h

 

  • Day 5 – Karanga Valley – Karanga Camp

Up the steep Barranco Wall with some sections of very easy scrambling and drop down again to the Karanga Valley. This is a short walking day, around 3 hours, and again you climb about 1,000 ft (300m) but drop back down again to around 13,100 ft  (4,000 m). There’s an optional further acclimatization hike in the afternoon up onto the screen below the glaciers.

Service: Mountain Camp, with Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Ascent: 1,000 ft (300 m)

Walking time: ±3h

 

  • Day 6 – Barafu – Barafu Camp

Up to a new camp, about 350 ft (100 m) above Barafu Hut perched high on a rocky bluff at 13,100 ft (4,000 m). Fantastic views across to Mawenzi peak, and a bit less to climb tomorrow morning! This is another short walking day, about 4 hours with a 2,300 ft (700 m) height gain, and time for a good rest in the afternoon immediately before the hard summit day.

Service: Mountain Camp, with Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Ascent: 2,700 ft (700 m)

Walking time: ±4h

 

  • Day 7 – Summit Day – Mweka Camp

Today is the summit day, and a very early start is needed. A bracing 1 am start to climb the steep frozen slopes. This is unavoidable on any route but we aim to reach Stella Point on the crater rim for sunrise – another 40 mins and you’re at the highest point on the continent: The Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa, usually in the warm sunshine. We return on the Mweka descent route. This is a long and hard day – you’ll feel tired but absolutely ecstatic after you’ve done it!

Service: Mountain Camp, with Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Ascent: 4,300 ft (1.300 m) – Walking time: ±7h

Descent: 9,200 ft (2.800 m) – Walking time: ±5-6h

 

  • Day 8 – Arusha – Kisongo Farmhouse

A 4-5h descent through the forest to Mweka Gate to collect our certificates and meet our vehicle. Return to Arusha, arriving early to mid-afternoon to Kisongo Farmhouse. Kisongo Farmhouse is a family run farmhouse. The farm is the perfect place to start or finish your self-drive part of the trip and the ideal spot to run through the logistics and spend time looking at the routes and the maps.

Walking time, descent: ±4-5h

Service: Half Board

Driving time: 2h (transfer)

 

  • Day 9 – Special Campsite – Lake Manyara

Game viewing within Lake Manyara National Park is excellent all year round, but the best views can be enjoyed from late June to the end of September since it is the dry season. The campsite is simple and clean, with a beautiful view of the lake. If you are lucky, you may see the famous tree climbing lions.

Service: Rooftop tent and self-catering

Driving time: 6h

 

  • Day 10 – Ngorongoro Farm House

The time has come to visit the Ngorongoro. It is very important to stay as close as possible to the Crater, in order to be able to visit the crater floor as early as possible in the morning. We chose Ngorongoro Farm House, a small and exclusive hotel built on a 500-acre coffee plantation, all of which has been designed to take you to the comfort and style of past times.

Service: Half Board

Driving time: 1h + full-day overland in the Crater

 

  • Day 11 – Lemala Tented Camp – Ngorongoro Crater Rim

After your visit to the Crater, a relaxing stay at one of the iconic camps in the area is what you need. Lemala Ngorongoro is intimately set in a delightful ancient acacia forest close to the rim of the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater.

Service: Half Board

Driving time: 4h

 

  • Day 12 – More Kopjie Campsite – Serengeti

Our suggestion is to have a very early start and drive into the Serengeti early morning. It will be a long day, and you are likely to spend some time at the entrance of the Serengeti for the park permits. The campsite we chose for your first two days in the Serengeti is stunning, with its spectacular views over the Serengeti Plains.

Service: Rooftop tent and self-catering

Driving time: 4h

 

  • Day 13 – Serengeti Safari Camp – Serengeti

You will spend the entire day in the Serengeti. Wildlife is abundant, and you will enjoy a unique wildlife experience. Depending on the seasonality, we will choose the right camp for you and hope, fully get you as close as possible to the Great Migration. This is likely to be a seasonal flying camp, with all the comforts included.

Service: Half Board + picnic lunch

Driving time: 2h

 

  • Day 14 – Serengeti Safari Camp – Serengeti

You will spend the entire day in the Serengeti. Wildlife is abundant, and you will enjoy a unique wildlife experience. Depending on the seasonality, we will choose the right camp for you and hope, fully get you as close as possible to the Great Migration. This is likely to be a seasonal flying camp, with all the comforts included.

Service: Half Board + picnic lunch

Driving time: 2h

 

  • Day 15 – Return to Arusha – (Kisongo Farm House)

Drop off of the vehicle and debriefing with our on-ground manager. Depending on the schedule of your flight, you can have an additional night at the Kisongo Farm House. Road transfer to Kilimanjaro Airport [JRO] for your outbound flight.

Service: Half Board

Driving Time: 5h

Extensions

Flamingoes!

The lake is the only regular breeding area in East Africa for the 2.5 million lesser flamingoes, whose status of “near threatened” results from their dependence on this one location. When salinity increases, so do cyanobacteria, and the lake can also support more nests. These flamingoes, the single large flock in East Africa, gather along nearby saline lakes to feed on Spirulina (a blue-green algae with red pigments). Lake Natron is a safe breeding location because its caustic environment is a barrier against predators trying to reach their nests on seasonally forming evaporite islands. Greater flamingoes also breed on the mud flats.

The lake has inspired the nature documentary The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos by Disneynature, for its close relationship with the Lesser flamingoes as their only regular breeding area.

Ol Doinyo Lengai, 9,650 ft (2,870 m), also known as “Mountain of God” in the Maasai language, is an active volcano located in the Gregory Rift, south of Lake Natron within the Arusha Region of Tanzania, Africa.

A beautiful shape, a perfect cone, ideal for a climb. You can combine this fascinating trek with a visit to Lake Natron. Once at camp, you can go to a waterfall and relax in the river, or drive out to the shoreline of Lake Natron and see the massive flamingo colonies wading in the shallows. You can climb the volcano the whole year round, only in the wet seasons (March to May, October to December), the roads are in bad conditions.

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