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Safari to Kilimanjaro - Machame Route


Experience some of Kenya and Tanzania's most famous natural wonders on a 16-day adventure that will see you tackling the most challenging and scenic way to the roof of Africa on a trek along the Machame route to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro. Once you descend, embark on an overland journey across the Serengeti plains and enjoy multiple game drives to seek out Africa's iconic animals. Descend to the floor of the gigantic Ngorongoro Crater in pursuit of elephants, lions, and elusive rhinos. This tour is a non-stop active action that's perfect for independent travellers who love a challenge.

16 days, from

$5,992

per person

GROUP SIZE

16 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

5
Trip code: YKXCC
Style: Basix
Theme: Overland

Details

Countries Visited:  Kenya Tanzania, United Republic Of
Accommodation: Camping (with facilities) (3 nights), Camping (with basic facilities) (8 nights), Cottage (1 night), Hotel (3 nights)
Transportation: Overland vehicle , minibus , 4x4 Safari Vehicle
Included Meals:

  • 14 breakfasts
  • 13 lunches
  • 14 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 

  • Do Mt Kilimanjaro via the incredible scenic Machame route, passing through cloud forest and moorland zones to the glaciated precipices of Kibo’s south face. 

  • You'll be in great hands during your trek – with one guide for every two passengers – so all you’ll have to worry about is soaking up the scenery and keeping your footing!

  • Explore the Serengeti National Park in depth with four game drives – two early-morning and two late-afternoon – through this spectacular wildlife arena.

  • Take a mind-blowing safari across the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater in an open-roof 4WD for a chance to see the endangered black rhinoceros.

  • We’re an official partner with the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project. Hike easier knowing that while our porters are taking care of you, someone is looking out for them.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Nairobi

Jambo! Welcome to Kenya. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm, and you can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important briefing. If you arrive early, perhaps head out and explore the National Museum of Kenya, the Karen Blixen Museum or the highly recommended Bomas of Kenya, where traditional homesteads of several Kenyan tribes are displayed in an outdoor village.

Day 2: Kisii

Board your safari vehicle and travel west (approximately 8–9 hours). Today’s destination is near the hilltop town of Kisii, which will be the last chance to stock up on supplies before heading into Tanzania. Crossing the incredibly scenic Great Rift Valley on your way to the tea-growing highlands is a fantastic introduction to the landscapes of Kenya. You will pass through the ancient homeland of the Maasai. Keep a look out for these tall tribesmen dressed in distinctive scarlet robes as they tend to their prized herds of cattle. The roads on the way are pretty rough, but there will be chances to stop and stretch your legs, including a local homestead lunch in the town of Kaprong. The food for the lunch is grown and sourced locally, plus the lunch is a great way to learn from and interact with the women from the local village.

Day 3: Lake Victoria

This morning, stop at Kisii for a visit to understand the work and art of soapstone carving in a local workshop. Travel towards the Kenya–Tanzania border and to the shores of Lake Victoria (approximately 7–8 hours). This is not only Africa's largest lake – it's the largest tropical lake in the world. Its shores are shared by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Visit an African marketplace and meet some locals or you can simply chill out on the lakeside sand with a cold drink. Make the most of the ATM and local market to stock up for your next three days of adventuring in the wilderness. You will camp on the shores of the lake tonight, at one of its least visited campgrounds, on the outskirts of a small town called Musoma.

Day 4: Serengeti National Park

Travel from Lake Victoria to the gate of Serengeti National Park on a smooth road (approximately 3 hours). Enter the Serengeti and enjoy a game drive and picnic lunch en route to your campsite. The wide-open plains of the Serengeti see myriad colours during the year – green after the rains, brown and burnt in the dry season – but one thing is a constant: this never-ending landscape is home to thousands upon thousands of animals travelling as herds across the plains. This region gets its name from the local Maasai word ‘siringet’, meaning the place where the land moves on forever, and you’ll begin to understand why on your game drive today. Enjoy a picnic lunch, then head to your campsite which is right in the action – located within the park itself! At night, listen out for the sounds of nocturnal animals as you drift off to sleep.

Day 5: Serengeti National Park

Start the day nice and early with a game drive at dawn. You will head out while the animals are at their most active, then head back to camp for brunch at around 11 am. This morning, there’s also the option of a balloon ride over the park today. If you have pre-booked this activity, you will be picked up before dawn and driven to the launch site. After a safety briefing, glide through the dawn, sometimes at tree height, where you’ll get some amazing photo opportunities. Sometimes you will ascend, getting an overview of the vastness of the plains and the early morning movements of the herds. After landing, dig into a delicious bush breakfast, then return to your camp. After spending the warmer part of the day relaxing with your herd – just as the animals do – depart again at dusk for another adventure through the wild, returning in time for dinner.

Day 6: Ngorongoro Crater

Enjoy a leisurely game drive and picnic lunch on your way out of the park today. Soak up final views of the animals and landscapes that make the national park such an incredible spot, before entering the Ngorongoro Conservation area. Your destination today is the rim of the crater about 3 hours away. Your campsite overlooks jagged volcanic peaks and rolling grasslands thousands of feet below – you can be sure that there are few campsites in the world with a better view than this!

Day 7: Ngorongoro Crater – Mto wa Mbu

A gigantic, perfectly intact volcanic crater, Ngorongoro is home to some 30,000 animals. Among these are endangered black rhinos, lions, leopards, elephants, impalas, zebras and hippos. The crater floor offers excellent wildlife viewing all year round, and the photo opportunities here are unrivalled. Later, join the local community for a guided afternoon stroll around the farming areas, milling machine and local homes before enjoying a traditional meal. Your campsite this evening is located in Mto wa Mbu.

Day 8: Marangu

Bidding farewell to your truck and crew, this morning we make our way back to Arusha where will catch a morning shuttle bus from Arusha to Moshi in the foothills (1300 metres / 4500 ft) of Mt Kilimanjaro (approximately 4 hours). This section of the trip is unaccompanied by a leader. The shuttle departs from the Impala hotel at around 9 am once your group drops you off. In the early evening there is a full briefing and kit inspection by an experienced Kilimanjaro climber.

Day 9: Machame Camp

Meet your guides and porters after breakfast and take the opportunity to organise your gear before setting off on a 1-hour transfer by road to the Machame Gate – the south western entrance to the Mt Kilimanjaro National Park. On the way, stop into one of the clothes lending offices of Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Projects and learn how their program, supported by the Intrepid Foundation, is assisting porters. Begin your hike around lunch time, starting with a pleasant stroll through the rainforest, where many species of brightly coloured birds can be seen. Set up camp at Machame in the mid-afternoon ready for your first night on Kilimanjaro. The huts fell into disrepair some years ago, so with the help of the porters you will set up tents for the night. Enjoy an evening meal prepared by the porters and savour the first night of sleeping outdoors.

Day 10: Shira Camp

Your second day on the mountain takes you out of the rainforest and up a steep ridge into moor land. Watch as the vegetation grows sparser as you ascend along the path to the Shira Plateau – soon, several distinct species, including the giant groundsel and lobelia, will be the only plants dominating the harsh landscape. Spend the night camping on the edge of the plateau and be treated to a golden sunset over the snow-dusted peaks of Kibo.

Day 11: Barranco Camp

Enjoy a fantastic walk as you continue through the rolling landscape and deep river valleys. The undulating landscape offers a great chance to acclimatise and as you ascend to the more rugged areas of the mountain, there are great views of the Kibo Massif and its magnificent surrounds. Tonight is spent at Barranco Camp.

Day 12: Karanga Valley

Today is an important acclimatisation day as you’re only going to be walking during the morning. First, climb the Barranco Wall (not a technical climb) and then follow the Kibo South Circuit. If the weather is clear, you can expect to have some magnificent views of Kibo's southern glaciers. Arrive at your camp around lunchtime and rest your legs as you enjoy great views by the river in the Karanga Valley.

Day 13: Barafu Camp / Uhuru Peak

From Karanga, head up to the intersection of the South Circuit and the Mweka route where you’ll start climbing up a ridge to Barafu Hut. Barafu is Swahili for ‘ice’ – it can be very cold here at night! You should arrive at Barafu around late lunchtime, allowing plenty of time to rest before the final summit attempt very early tomorrow morning.

Day 14: Uhuru Peak / Millennium Camp or Mweka Camp

At around midnight you’ll be woken by the guides with some hot tea and biscuits to give you energy before the long, difficult ascent up scree, and sometimes snow, to Stella Point (5780 metres). Pass the giant Rebmann Glacier en route and hopefully arrive at Stella Point in time for sunrise and superb views of the crater, the glacier glistening in the morning sun. From Stella it’s a further 1-hour hike along the rim of the crater to Uhuru Peak (5896 metres), the highest point in Africa. From the summit, take in unforgettable views of the crater, the ice fields and the vast and distant East African plains below. After photos and back-patting, begin your descent. Back at Barafu Camp, enjoy a well-earned lunch and much thicker air! After lunch, continue on to Mweka Camp for the night and have a well-deserved rest.

Day 15: Moshi

Today you’ll continue to descend the mountain, traversing alpine meadows and rainforest to the Mweka park gate. From Mweka Camp to the Mweka gate, trek for 10 kilometres (approximately 3–4 hours) descending a total of 1300 metres (4300 feet). Enjoy some lunch after checking out of the park and then transport back to the hotel for a relaxing shower – a real treat after the physical exertions of the last few days! Tonight, gather with your trekking companions for a meal, sharing your experiences of the past six days on the mountain.

Day 16: Moshi

With no activities or trekking planned for today, you are free to depart at any time. Transfers to Kilimanjaro Airport or a shuttle to Nairobi can be arranged locally – please speak to your leader at your welcome meeting if you wish to organise this.