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The Definitive Guide to Kilimanjaro Part Four: Experiences on the Mountain

The Definitive Guide to Kilimanjaro Part Four: Experiences on the Mountain

At dawn

Your days on the mountain start at sunrise with steaming cups of coffee and delicious hot breakfasts served in the mess tent. (For more information on Kilimanjaro food and meals click here: mountain food is the source of success). Sandgrouse do high altitudes in style! A quick briefing follows breakfast – letting you know what to expect over the day ahead whilst the porters forge ahead with your tents and kit. Fortified, you trek on, the porters control the pace and pick the best tracks.

A sensory journey

During your climb you are active from dawn until the sky is lit with stars. This becomes as much of asensory journey as well as the physical ascent. The smell of the heather moorland on the lower slopes. Panoramic views of the cloud forest. Then higher, glacial meltwater streams bubble through rock crevices. You feel in touch with your natural surroundings. In touch with the elements. The weather around you and the rocks underfoot.

The plants become ever rarefied in the thinning air, rock formations start to feel otherworldly. Scenes from Tolkien spring to mind as you crest ridges to find ancient collapsed volcanic cones.

Onwards and upwards you continue, the stone crunching beneath your boots. Your steady breathing of the crisp pure air. Heathland gives way to alpine deserts, topographical features such as the Shira plateau become part of your daily lexicon.

At times you are surrounded by a skyscape where the horizons morph into cloud formations and then back into the sharp focus of the savannahs of Kenya and Tanzania below.


By rights you should be out of your comfort zone but with the support Sandgrouse Travel & Expeditions have in place for you, the right kit and the proper planning – you will be revelling in the experience. In these extremes you develop a solid familiarity and dependence with your team and your kit– a bond develops between you and just like your most comfortable hat - you come to appreciate the warmth, strength and reliability of the porters. They just won’t let you down.

On top of the world

Temperatures drop as you ascend to Kibo point, the mood in the group becomes more excited as you climb and a frisson of energy becomes palpable as you climb to a crescendo.

Your final day starts at midnight. This is the big one. The track cuts back and forth, zigzagging up the mountain to Gilman’s Point. A snow covered ridge is then the final push for the summit. The elation of reaching the highest point in Africa is huge. Many find this to be an emotional culmination of a testing week. The sense of accomplishment is huge, a lot of hugs and photographs are given and taken.

Memories are created that last a lifetime.

With Sandgrouse Travel & Expeditions you will be following in the footsteps of some of the world’s most eminent explorers and mountaineers but more than that – you will be standing on the shoulders of giants with the best team in the world.


For more information on our Luxury Kilimanjaro itineraries and how to arrange your tailormade tour of Tanzania speak to one of our travel designers today.

Call now on 0131 662 4731 or alternatively email

Sandgrouse Travel & Expeditions is a luxury travel company based in Edinburgh, Scotland. We specalise in tailormade holidays, Scotland, Scandinavia and Africa and bring a wealth of first-hand experience to each of the bespoke trips we carefully create for our clients. 

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