Day 1:

The scale starts from Machame Gate (1,800m) and follows a ridge through thick forest. This is the richest forested area on the mountain, and also the zone from where 96% of the water on Kilimanjaro originates.  On sunny days, and especially in the dry season, this section is very lush and beautiful.  It can also be a very muddy experience, particularly if it has rained recently!  We will then have lunch at ‘Halfway Clearing’, a small opening in the trees, and continue climbing steadily.  The gradient becomes gentler as the forest slowly merges into massive heather close to the next camp near the ruins of Machame Hut (3,000 m).  We may get our first closer look at the glaciated field of Kibo if the evening clouds permit.  [6-8 hours walking]

Day 2:        

A shorter day that begins by climbing up a steep ridge to reach a small semicircular cliff known as Picinic Rock There are outstanding views of Kibo and the jagged rim of Shira Plateau from here, and it is a good relax point too!  The path continues less steeply to reach the Shira Plateau. We camp near Shira Hut (3,840m) which has some of the most stunning views on Kilimanjaro; close to the huge volcanic cone of Kibo, the spectacular rock formations of Shira Plateau, and looking across to Mt. Meru floating on the clouds [4-6 hours walking]

Day 3:

A morning of calm ascent and panoramic views, leaving the moorland plateau behind to walk on lava ridges beneath the glaciers of the Western Breach.  After lunch near the Lava Tower junction (4,550 m) we descend to the bottom of the Great Barranco valley (3,900 m), sheltered by towering cliffs and with widespread views of the plains for below. [5-7 ours walking]

Day 4:        

A steep mount up the Barranco Wall leads us to a surging trail on the south-eastern flank of Kibo, with superb vistas of the Southern Ice fields.  The terrain changes to scree, with pockets of lush vegetation in sheltered hollows, and there is only a short distance to our camp at Karanga (4,000m). The last water point on the approach to Barafu, in a contracted valley.  There is plenty of time to rest, or for a short optional acclimatization walk in the afternoon up the valley above the camp. [4-5 hours walking]

Day 5:        

A short but steep climb out of Karanga, and an easy path on compacted scree with wide views to reach Mweka Juction (4,150 m).  We then climb steadily to reach the Barafu campsite (4,600 m) and continue to the plateau at the bottom of the South East Valley (4,800 m). The rest of the day is spent resting in proportion for the final ascent before an early night.  [4-5 hours walking]

Day 6:        

We will start our ascent by torchlight at about 1 am so that we can be up on the crater rim by sunrise. The steep climb over loose volcanic scree has some well-graded zig-zags and a slow but steady pace will take us to Stella Point (5,735 m), in about five or six hours. We will rest there for a short time to enjoy the sunrise over Mawenzi. Those who are still feeling strong can make the two hour round trip from here along the crater rim to Uhuru Peak (5,896 m), passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area.  The descent to Barafu is surprisingly fast, and after some refreshment, we continue to descend to reach our final campsite (3,800 m) Millenium. Most of us will be too tired to notice the beauty of the forest surrounding the campsite [11-15 hours walking]

Day 7:

A sustained descent on a well constructed path through lovely tropical forest alive with bird song and boasting lush undergrowth with considerable botanical interest.  Our route winds down to the National Park gate at Mweka (1,650 m). Here we sign out from the national park before walking on for a further 15 minutes through coffee and banana farms to Mweka village where our vehicle awaits.  The shower, the beer, and the swimming pool are tantalizingly close!  [4 – 6 hours walking]