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Luxury Kilimanjaro: Grand Traverse Route View Full Screen Itinerary

12 NIGHTS TOTAL, 7 KILIMANJARO NIGHTS, MOST REMOTE ROUTE ON KILI, LUXURY LODGE ARUSHA, LUXURY SAFARI, NGORONGORO CRATER

Luxury, private Mount Kilimanjaro trek - Stand on the 'Roof of Africa' - trek with your own team of guides and porters. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Ngorongoro Crater, and enjoy a truly luxury safari at the incredible Chem Chem Lodge in the Lake Manyara National Park.

Trek to the summit of Africa’s highest and most famous mountain. This special route combination is by a wide margin the least-used route on Kilimanjaro, getting you far away from the madding crowd. 

Sandgrouse Travel & Expeditions' Luxury Kilimanjaro treks offer you the chance to scale this world famous giant in total comfort. All you need to carry on this luxury trek is a small day sack which offers you the best chance to reach the summit. Each day you will benefit from camps that have been professionally set up prior to your arrival by your private team of local porters. All amenities from dining tents, mess tents, to your own private tents will be at your disposal. Our luxury camps also feature a chemical 'toilet' tent unlike many other operators on the mountain.

CLIMB: 8 DAYS IN TOTAL INCLUDING 7 NIGHTS ON THE MOUNTAIN

One of the most diverse routes on Kilimanjaro, a mixture of varying terrain, habitat and eco-systems, taking in: Forest, Heather, Moorland, Alpine Desert, Summit. N.B. Some guide books may refer to these zones differently but they should be similar terminology. 

Almost the whole circumference of the mountain, The Great Traverse Route takes in parts of other famous routes, Shira Route, Lomosho Route, Rongai Route, Coca-Cola Route/Marangu, Mweka Route.

EXPERIENCE THE WHOLE OF MOUNT KILIMANJARO

By far the most remote route with a real lack of crowds and people on trail and in camp. This provides a true adventure feeling. An old school explorer style trip with your trusty team of porters and guides and few other people to be seen.

ITINERARY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Stand on the 'Roof of Africa' 
  • Most Remote Route up Kilimanjaro
  • Spectacular views of Kenya to the north
  • Includes parts of other famous routes
  • Diverse Eco-systems: Forest, heather, moorland, apline desert, glaciers
  • Multi-day expedition giving sense of real adventure
  • High chance of success
  • Tried and tested acclimatisation process
  • Professional team of guides and porters taking care of all your needs
  • Luxury accommodation both before and after your climb
  • Complete privacy with you and your guides and porters. This is your mountain, this is not a group climb

 

Day 1

Day 1: Arrive in Arusha

Today you will be arriving in Arusha at Kilimanjaro International Airport. Here you will be met by your driver guide who will personally drive you to your luxury Arusha lodge on the outskirts of the city. On checking-in you will be shown to your wonderful room where you can relax and...

Today you will be arriving in Arusha at Kilimanjaro International Airport. Here you will be met by your driver guide who will personally drive you to your luxury Arusha lodge on the outskirts of the city. On checking-in you will be shown to your wonderful room where you can relax and make sure you are all sorted for the beginning of your Kilimanjaro trek which starts tomorrow. 

This afternoon you will also have the opportunity to meet your head guide for the trek. He will come to your lodge and give you a briefing on the trek and make sure you have all the correct gear. If you do not, some items can be hired for the duration of the trek. 

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Day 2

Day 2: Morum Barrier Gate to Shira Camp 1

Departure from Arusha will be at around 7:30am for Londorossi gate, about 4 hours, where you will complete entry formalities. Then continue up by car to Morum Barrier Gate (another hour to reach the trailhead) Upon arrival at trail-head, eat lunch, then commence through heather and moorland which lead to...

Departure from Arusha will be at around 7:30am for Londorossi gate, about 4 hours, where you will complete entry formalities. Then continue up by car to Morum Barrier Gate (another hour to reach the trailhead) Upon arrival at trail-head, eat lunch, then commence through heather and moorland which lead to the first camp, only about 1-2 hours of trekking. The view of Kibo from across the plateau is stunning.

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Day 3

Day 3: Shira Camp 1 to Shira Camp 2

Full day exploration of the Shira plateau; Shira is one of the highest plateaus on earth, averaging 12,500 feet. Trek east toward Kibo’s glaciered peak, with the option to visit the ancient collapsed Shira cone and to scramble atop the ‘Shira Cathedral’ to overlook the oldest of Kilimanjaro’s three volcanoes....

Full day exploration of the Shira plateau; Shira is one of the highest plateaus on earth, averaging 12,500 feet. Trek east toward Kibo’s glaciered peak, with the option to visit the ancient collapsed Shira cone and to scramble atop the ‘Shira Cathedral’ to overlook the oldest of Kilimanjaro’s three volcanoes. Arrive at Shira 2 camp at 12,600 ft. Trekking time without the optional excursion is about 3 hours.

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Day 4

Day 4: Shira Camp 2 to Moir Camp

Proceed steadily upward trough the moorland and into the barren high altitude desert, toward Moir Camp. The surrounding landscape of bizarre plants, rock formations and caves mark this area. The trek is about 2-3 hours. Moir Camp is an isolated and seldom used camp affording views over the Shira Plateau,...

Proceed steadily upward trough the moorland and into the barren high altitude desert, toward Moir Camp. The surrounding landscape of bizarre plants, rock formations and caves mark this area. The trek is about 2-3 hours. Moir Camp is an isolated and seldom used camp affording views over the Shira Plateau, and upward to the rugged volcanic plugs called “the Lent Group”.

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Day 5

Day 5: Moir Camp to Pofu Camp

Begin the morning trek heading out of the moorland and into the stark alpine desert, on a steep ridge off the main trail, and begin our venture on the Northern Circuit Route. The total trekking time is about 5-7 hours. From the Pofu Campsite you will enjoy a magnificent view...

Begin the morning trek heading out of the moorland and into the stark alpine desert, on a steep ridge off the main trail, and begin our venture on the Northern Circuit Route. The total trekking time is about 5-7 hours. From the Pofu Campsite you will enjoy a magnificent view into Kenya’s wild lands to the north.

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Day 6

Day 6: Pofu Camp to Rongai 3 Caves Camp

Proceed onward through valleys and over ridges through the alpine desert and moorland, continuing our circuit to the east, enjoying a vast mountain wilderness to ourselves. We arrive at the intersection with the Rongai Route after 4-6 hours trekking. Overnight at Rongai 3 Caves for the night.

Proceed onward through valleys and over ridges through the alpine desert and moorland, continuing our circuit to the east, enjoying a vast mountain wilderness to ourselves. We arrive at the intersection with the Rongai Route after 4-6 hours trekking. Overnight at Rongai 3 Caves for the night.

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Day 7

Day 7: Rongai 3 Caves Camp to Outward Bound Camp

This morning when exiting your tent, Mawenzi should be in plain view: a stunning sight. Once you leave camp, the moorland gives way slowly to the stark highland desert as we near the massive saddle, where the landscape spectacularly stark. The temperatures turn cold as you near the foot of...

This morning when exiting your tent, Mawenzi should be in plain view: a stunning sight. Once you leave camp, the moorland gives way slowly to the stark highland desert as we near the massive saddle, where the landscape spectacularly stark. The temperatures turn cold as you near the foot of Kibo, reaching Outward Bound Camp after 4-5 hours of trekking. Prepare all your gear for the day ahead, and turn in early to rest.  Supply of fresh food and supplies will reach camp on this afternoon.

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Day 8

Day 8 : Outward Bound Camp to Uhuru Peak

A midnight wake – up call is the start of a long trek. You begin trekking at 1 am up the winding path of endless switchbacks. From your camp to the rim of the crater (Gillman’s Point (18,750 ft./5,712 m) to Uhuru Peak, the trekking time is about 7 –...

A midnight wake – up call is the start of a long trek. You begin trekking at 1 am up the winding path of endless switchbacks. From your camp to the rim of the crater (Gillman’s Point (18,750 ft./5,712 m) to Uhuru Peak, the trekking time is about 7 – 8 hours. The slope is steep, with switchbacks over loose rock and scree with some boulders as you near Gilman’s Point. You will stop at Hans Meyer cave on the way, the famous place where Kilimanjaro’s first western climber described in his journals. Once you arrive at Gilman’s Point at the edge of the crater, the trail to the summit is less demanding, and is reached after a further 1.2- 2 hours along the snowy crater rim (depending on the season). After a short time at the summit, re-trace your steps back to Gilman’s Point, then summon your strength again for further descent to Mweka Camp for the night.

 

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Day 9

Day 9: Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate

Descend straight to the gate (2 – 3 hours), where you’ll have lunch and will be awarded climbing certificates. Private transfer back to Arusha, and drop at the hotel. Returning to the comfort and luxury of your beautiful lodge today will seem like a magical experience. Enjoy a swim in...

Descend straight to the gate (2 – 3 hours), where you’ll have lunch and will be awarded climbing certificates. Private transfer back to Arusha, and drop at the hotel. Returning to the comfort and luxury of your beautiful lodge today will seem like a magical experience. Enjoy a swim in the pool, a soak in a bath or a massage which Sandgrouse Travel & Expeditions can pre-book for you. 

 

 

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Day 10

Day 10: Arusha to the Ngorongoro Crater

Today you will depart your Arusha based lodge and be taken to the wonderful Ngorongoro Crater area. Here you will check into the truly beautiful Gibb's Farm - a working organic farm and coffee plantation with stunning views of the countryside. 

 

Today you will depart your Arusha based lodge and be taken to the wonderful Ngorongoro Crater area. Here you will check into the truly beautiful Gibb's Farm - a working organic farm and coffee plantation with stunning views of the countryside. 

 

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Day 11

Day 11: Enjoy a morning visit to Ngorongoro Crater

This morning you will be able to enjoy a breakfast out on the terraces surrounded by nature and the sound of birdsong. Then your guide will take you from Gibbs to the Crater rim for some photographic opportunties of the famous Ngorongoro Crater. 

After you visit to the crater you will...

This morning you will be able to enjoy a breakfast out on the terraces surrounded by nature and the sound of birdsong. Then your guide will take you from Gibbs to the Crater rim for some photographic opportunties of the famous Ngorongoro Crater. 

After you visit to the crater you will be heading to the luxury Chem Chem Lodge which sits inside the Lake Manyara National Park and offers truly extraordinary safari experiences. 

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Day 12

Day 12: Full day on safari at Chem Chem Lodge

Today you will be on safari at the incredible Chem Chem Lodge. With 20 000 hectares (55 000 acres) of untainted African bush, Chem Chem Wildlife Concession protects an invaluable migration corridor between the ancient landscape of Tarangire National Park and the tranquil waters of Lake Manyara National Park – giving...

Today you will be on safari at the incredible Chem Chem Lodge. With 20 000 hectares (55 000 acres) of untainted African bush, Chem Chem Wildlife Concession protects an invaluable migration corridor between the ancient landscape of Tarangire National Park and the tranquil waters of Lake Manyara National Park – giving guests the freedom of a private concession, with the majestic wildlife of the National Parks. 

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Day 13

Day 13: Final day in Africa

Today is your final day in Africa. Enjoy a final breakfast in the African bush surrounded by nature before your driver guide will collect you. From here it is a trip back to Kilimanjaro International Airport in Arusha where you will collect your return flights home. 

Today is your final day in Africa. Enjoy a final breakfast in the African bush surrounded by nature before your driver guide will collect you. From here it is a trip back to Kilimanjaro International Airport in Arusha where you will collect your return flights home. 

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Sandgrouse Travel carefully planned the trip of a lifetime

"Sandgrouse Travel carefully planned the trip of a lifetime, an unforgettable experience to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. They meticulously planned all aspects of the trip from our first night stay in a fantastic lodge, the 8 day expedition and then finally a one night stay in one of Tanzania’s top Lodges which was much needed luxury after the long climb. I was particularly impressed with the guides and porters that Jonny at Sandgrouse had arranged to help us. We successfully summited at 6am on the 7th day to watch an amazing sunrise which had been the plan from the start, and was testament to Jonny’s careful planning and organisation of the trip. 

Dealing with Sandgrouse Travel has been an enjoyable experience, not only are they extremely professional but also very personal and enthusiastic. Coupled with their valuable first hand experience ensured we had the time of our lives. I have since travelled again with Sandgrouse Travel to Norway’s Hordaland Mountains and they are now currently planning my next trip for early 2016. 

I would highly recommend anyone looking for a personalised and authentic experience to speak to the Sandgrouse Travel team."

Mr Paul Wilson: Melbourne, Australia.

Legendary Lodge

A COLONIAL GEM FROM A BYGONE ERA On the western side of Arusha at the foot of the magnificent Mount Meru...

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Kilimanjaro Climb Camping

BE PART OF A REAL EXPEDITION TO THE SUMMIT OF AFRICA'S HIGHEST MOUNTAIN During your ascent of Africa's highest mountain you...

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Gibb's Farm

STEP BACK TO THE GOLDEN AGE OF COLONIAL AFRICA A luxury lodge in Northern Tanzania, Gibb’s Farm offers a welcome respite for...

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Chem Chem Lodge

THE PERFECT PLACE TO UNWIND AND RELAX IN THE AFRICAN BUSH With 20 000 hectares (55 000 acres) of untainted African...

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Trail Overview

The trailhead (start of the trek) is at high elevation and thus we start slow and easy on this route. The trail begins on the Shira Plateau and the hike across the plateau is said to be one of the most stunningly beautiful hikes in Africa.

After crossing the plateau, we leave the tourist trails and head off across the north side of the mountain, facing Kenya and the famous Amboselli National Park. The spectacular hike along the northern circuit provides opportunities to see some animals; possibly elephant. You will follow cairns which signal the route, there is no path. For the first five days we traverse the plateau valleys and ridges of mountain between 12,000 ft (3,650 m) to 14,000 ft (4,265 m) and on day 6 the trail reaches the northeast side of the mountain, cresting the saddle between Mawenzi, the second highest peak of Kilimanjaro (16,893 ft, 5,149 m) and Kibo. From here we trek to the Outward Bound camp before departing for the summit.

This trek is designed for you to be close to nature and to benefit from plenty of acclimatisation time early on in the trip. It’s the most diverse and complete ‘grand traverse’ of Kilimanjaro and runs from west to east following by far the most remote trails.

The accommodation is in mountain tents and dining is in a mess tent. Toilet tents with convenient sanitary portable flush toilets are set up at all camps.

Starting relatively high on the mountain at about 10,500 ft to 11,000 ft, this route option is great for those who are worried about acclimatisation because you spend more time at altitude.

Summit bid day is anywhere between 13 and 16 hours of walking and can be a considerable challenge. Average trekking duration per day is only 4 hours.

Fully Licensed Kilimanjaro Guides

In 1991, the park authorities at Kilimanjaro made it compulsory for all trekkers to arrange their walk through a licensed agency. Furthermore, they insist that all trekkers must be accompanied throughout their walk by a guide supplied by the agency. Sandgrouse Travel & Expeditions are partnered with a fully licenced agency and guiding service company regarded as one of the most respected guiding companies on the mountain. Your team of 30 or more guides and porters will be at your disposal no matter what size of group you climb in.

 

Difficulties to overcome: 

The obvious: a general good level of fitness. It’s hard to quantify someone’s level of fitness, and each sport is very different. The best form of training and gauging weather you’re capable of this is to actually walk/trek. A few weekends training with walking in the hills trekking would be suitable. This will also serve people very well trying out their kit prior to the expedition a few times. No doubt many people will be popping out and accruing new items, perhaps new boots even. It is important to have well worn in boots for this trip.

Keeping a Positive Mental Attitude. Hugely important on any challenge, especially physical challenges. If you have the general level of fitness mentioned above, coupled with the mental grit and determination you will likely succeed in this sort of event – especially taking a well thought and planned out route I’ve suggested earlier. A good sense of humour will help too.

The main difficulty is the altitude. The walking is not hugely strenuous, with an average of about 3 to 4 maybe 5 hours a day (not including the Summit Day which is a BIG day at nearly 13 to 16 hours). It’s recommended that clients take Diamox a prescription based drug that helps the body realise it’s at altitude and start acclimatizing soon. 

Keeping yourself together on the mountain. It may sound silly, but as you start to physically and mentally crack around the edges it’s easy to let things slip a little. You have to remember to keep drinking, keep washing your hands, applying your lip balm, suncreams etc. As you go on throughout the trek these things play a vital role in wheather you’re successful or not. It would be a great shame to be beaten by sunstroke or dehydration. However, your Guides are pretty good at reminding you of these things. 

Top Tips:

Buy a good Kilimanjaro Guide Book or go to the library and rent one – read it thoroughly if you can many weeks before your trip. The extra knowledge on flora and fauna on the mountain will be enjoyable and add to your experience whilst there. Finding out the geological history and human interaction and connection with the mountain also will add depth to your overall experience.

Remember lip balm. The air is thin and very dry and your lips will start to crack in this desert environment. Breathe through your nose so as to conserve body moisture and keep lips from drying out for longer.

If you have flexibility, September and October are great months to trek – crowds have desperate somewhat from the busier summer months. February is also great however, after the shorter rains, the mountain is snow covered and looks utterly beautiful.

Speak to your Sandgrouse Travel consultant, we will try to coincide your trek with a full moon, if you have flexibility with when you can go it is worth it.

Pack a wide brimmed sun hat.

Bring a buff or Arabic head scarf

Sun cream on your ears.

Drinking lots of water.

Taking enough clean socks – this is an amazing moral boost whilst on the mountain

Well-worn in boots.

Tried and tested kit before leaving for trip

Good organization – planning and preparation well before departure date

Pack tissues or a roll of loo roll. 

Try and learn a few Swahili phrases before you go – it helps break down barriers with your guides and porters and is fun.

Personal medical kit including Imodium pills, pain killers, aspirin. Diamox for altitude.

Alcohol based anti-bacterial hand wash

Good packing – familiarise yourself with packing your bag, good organization.

A quality head torch is essential.

Walking poles/sticks. These act as third and fourth legs and as you tire are a real Godsend.

It is a good idea to lay out all your kit before travel and make sure you tick off the items you think you will need.

Sample Food Menu:

BREAKFAST: Eggs made to order, sausages, toast, hash browned potatoes, banana bread / muffins, granola with cold milk, fresh fruits, fruit juice, hot coffee, lemongrass tea, cocoa.

LUNCH: Chicken breast sandwiches, pasta salad, crudites, salami, fresh fruits.

AFTERNOON TEA: Hot coffee, Lemongrass tea, cocoa, cookies with cheese, popcorn, roasted nuts.

DINNER: Different soups, Chinese rice / Italian-style lasagna, green bean salad, fresh fruit salad served in a watermelon.

TRAIL SNACKS: Mixed nuts or fresh-roasted peanuts, mixed dried organic fruits, fresh locally grown fruit, home-made cookies, candy bars, popcorn. We advise bringing a small selection of your favourite snack bars from home too. 

Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy-free, Gluten –free and other special dietary needs can be accommodated with advance notice. 

For further information on Mount Kilimanjaro nutrition, search our articles within our magazine and blog: Sandgrouse Traveller

On Day two at camp, in the evening you will have a full safety briefing with your head guide and also the medic who is with you almost like your silent shadow the whole trek. The medic is also a trained first aid responder. The head guide is also a trained first aid responder. The medic is trained to a very high standard and carries all the medical gear you will need in the event of an emergency. The briefing consists of a gear demonstration. The safety briefing is hugely important and puts your mind at rest.

Oxygen for emergency use - For groups of 6+, 2 kits (2 x 100L medical oxygen bottle, regulators & masks) are provided.

* Pulse-oximeter - The head guide checks and charts these numbers daily at dinner time, for each climber.

* Hyperbolic Chamber  - a portable altitude chamber, for emergency use

* Automated External Defibrillator (optional) - Included on treks with a night in the Crater Camp

* Stretcher - Converts into a rigid steel-framed litter

* First-aid & medicine kit, comprehensively stocked and kept as per WFR guidelines

* VHF handheld radios - Carried for quick communication between head and assistant guides. An extra battery accompanies each radio.

* Mobile phones - carried by all guides, for daily communications with our base in Arusha.

* Satellite phone - carried by the head guide for emergencies (in areas with no mobile network)

* Medical equipment porter – to stay with the group at all times, to ensure that the safety gear is always nearby and ready to employ.

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