THE THREE PEAKS AFRICA CHALLENGE ROUTE
Day 1: Arrival Day - Welcome and Introductions
The adventure begins! You will be picked up from Kilimanjaro Airport and transferred to our hotel in time for introductions and a welcome dinner. Spend the evening resting and relaxing in the hotel before an exciting two weeks ahead. (Dinner - D)
PEAK 1: MT LONGIDO
Day 2: transfer to mt longido
After breakfast, we will spend the morning being briefed by our guides and will complete an equipment check. Any gear specific to Meru and Kilimanjaro can be left at the hotel. After lunch we depart for a transfer to Longido Town, the Maasai town at the foot of Mt Longido. We will meet our Longido guides before enjoying a short trek in the surrounding area to help you acclimatize, test your walking gear and give you a first insight into the typical African acacia bush. This is also your first opportunity to try to spot some of Africa's wildlife! Spend the night at a local guest house. (Breakfast - B, Lunch - L, Dinner - D)
Day 3: mt longido climb and Summit (2,637m) - 6-8 hours hiking
A 6am early start, departing for the mountain at 7am after breakfast to start our expedition! Today’s walk will pass through a variety of vegetation including dense natural forest and buffalo trails to reach the Dawa Ya Supu "medicine soup" viewpoint. On a clear day you can look across the plains for a view of Meru and Kilimanjaro or west across the Great Rift Valley to the Crater Highlands in the distance. After a break we continue on to the summit, with a tough scramble near the top where our lunch reward awaits. After lunch, we descend the mountain and return to the vehicles and hotel for a well-deserved rest overnight. (B, L, D)
PEAK 2: MT MERU
Arusha National Park
Mt Meru lies in the heart of Arusha National Park, an area of outstanding beauty encompassing a wide variety of habitats and teeming with a magnificent array of animals including elephants, giraffes, hippos, buffalo, zebra, antelope, blue monkeys, black and white Colombus monkeys, hyenas and even the elusive leopard.
Day 4: Begin Meru Climb. Momella Gate (1,500m) to Miriakamba Hut (2,515m) - 4-6 hours hiking, Elevation Gain: 1,015 meters
After breakfast, orientation and a kit check we leave at 9am for Arusha National Park, reaching the climb registration gate at approximately 10:30am before we begin our ascent of Meru. We trek through the rainforest which covers the foothills of Meru, home to a vast array of birds and other animals. After a relatively easy first day of ascent we reach our destination for the day, the Miriakamba Hut. Located deep in the forest, it offers beautiful views of the U-shaped Meru crater, the ash cone and the towering cliffs that make up Meru's crater walls. (B, L, D)
Day 5: Miriakamba Hut (2,515M) to Saddle Hut (3,570m). acclimitisation little meru (3,820m) - 3-5 hours hiking, Elevation Gain: 1,055 meters
We leave the Miriakamba hut after breakfast and walk along flat land before entering the Montane forest. We continue hiking until we reach a brief opening in the woods called Elephant Ridge before arriving at Saddle Hut. The normal cloud cover of Arusha National Park burns off at about 3,200 meters, with Saddle Hut sitting at 3,570 meters, we will be able to take in the views above the clouds.
Those of us who are feeling more energetic can take the short climb to summit Little Meru (3,820m) in the afternoon for breathtaking views of Meru and Kilimanjaro. The hike should take one to two hours. (B, L, D)
Day 6: Mt meru summit climb: Saddle hut (3,570M) to socialist peak (big Meru) (4,566m) to miriakamba hut (2,515m) – 8-10 hours hiking, Elevation Gain: 996 meters, 3,270 feet
After a light breakfast at 1:30am, we begin the hike to Mount Meru's summit, Socialist Peak. We start with a steep climb up to Rhino Point (3,800m), descending to cross a small rock bridge, and then continue going up and down over the mix of rocky and sandy trail. The trail involves rock scrambling and there are steep drops to either side of the trail in some places.
We reach the crater rim around dawn and continue to Meru’s peak. The views are spectacular all the way to the summit, offering a close look at the crater's sheer walls, the ash cone, cloud formations and the surrounding park.
The hike to the summit can be slow-going due to the sandy trail conditions, high winds and altitude, however the effort is well rewarded with magnificent views of Kilimanjaro from the summit. After some mini-celebrations at the top and the obligatory photo taking, we descend to the Saddle Hut for brunch and continue on to Miriakamba Hut for dinner and rest overnight. (B, L, D)
Day 7: Miriakamba Hut (2,515m) to Momella Gate and Arusha (1,500m) - 2-4 hours hiking, Elevation Loss: 1,015 meters
After breakfast we descend to Momella Gate from Miriakamba Hut. The descent is usually fast unless it has rained on the trail and we pass first through scrubland, then into the Montane forest and finally into the open grassland. If the trail is wet, the road might be used instead for the descent. Upon reaching the gate, we receive our certificates for reaching the summits of Mount Meru and Little Meru before transferring back to the hotel. (B, L, D)
DAY 8: REST DAY
Spend the day at leisure or rest & relax at the hotel before your the last of the three peaks and the Kilimanjaro climb.
PEAK 3: MT KILIMANJARO
Day 9: begin Kilimanjaro climb. Machame Gate (1,800m) to Machame Camp (3,000M) - 5-6 Hours, Elevation gain: 1,200 meters, Distance: 10KM
At 9am, we will leave for Machame Gate. On arrival, we will register the climb and our guides and porters will make our final preparations, and then we're off! We hike through the moss-covered trees of Kilimanjaro's cloud forest before the forest thins at the end of the hike and vegetation will change to include heathers, tall grasses and wildflowers. If the weather is clear, you will be able to view the surrounding area and your ultimate destination, Kibo Peak. (B, L, D)
Day 10: Machame Camp (3,000m) to Shira Camp (3,840m) - 3-4 Hours, Elevation Gain: 840 meters, Distance: 7 kM
Our route continues up into the forest and as we gain altitude we continue to notice a change in the vegetation. Although considered to be the easiest day on the Machame Route, today’s trek includes several uphill sections. Carry plenty of drinking water, as the exposed hike can be hot on a clear day. There are several viewpoints from which we can see the plains and forests below and Kibo and Mawenzi peaks above.
As we gain altitude, we will notice a change in vegetation. The trees will diminish in size, giving way to Kilimanjaro’s famous high altitude plants, Scenecio kilimanjari and Lobelia deckenii. After eating lunch, we climb the Shira Plateau, created when Kibo’s lava flows filled the Shira crater. We continue to Shira Camp, where you will relax for the rest of the day. You will see Kibo lying to the west and Mount Meru to the east. (B, L, D)
Day 11: Shira Camp (3,840m) to Barranco Camp (3,950m) - 5-7 Hours, Elevation Gain: 690 meters, Distance: 10 kM
Although this up and down day ends with an elevation gain of only 110 meters, by early afternoon you will have climbed 690 meters to a height of 4,530 meters before beginning your descent to Barranco Camp. This day is crucial for acclimatization.
After breakfast, we hike east on the Shira Plateau before reaching the junction for the Shira and Lemosho Routes. We continue on through the barren landscape before stopping for lunch. Shortly after lunch, we will reach the highest point of the day before descending quickly to Barranco Camp.
Faster hikers can take a detour via Lava Tower, a 300-foot lava formation jutting out of the mountainside.
Barranco Camp, set among stands of Senecio kilimanjari, and is considered to be the most scenic campsite on the Machame Route. (B, L, D)
Day 12: Barranco Camp (3,950m) to Barafu Camp (4,600m) - 7-8 Hours, Elevation Gain: 650 meters, Distance: 8 KM
We leave Barranco Camp after an early breakfast to begin the hike to Barafu Camp. The day begins with an hour and a half scramble up the Barranco Wall, which forms probably the hardest part of the day and in some places you will have to use your hands to pull your body up.
On reaching the top, you will make a short descent into the greener Karanga Valley before continuing on to Barafu Camp. As we make our way to Barafu, we will have the opportunity to view several of Kibo’s glaciers as well as the junction that connects the descent route, Mweka, with the Machame trail.
During the day we will hike by the Heim, Kersten and Decken Glaciers for some amazing camera opportunities. Though the trail to Barafu passes through an alpine desert with often very little vegetation, Barafu Camp offers stunning views of Kibo and Mawenzi peaks.
We reach camp and have dinner and then it is early to bed for some rest before we awaken just before midnight for our summit hike. (B, L, D)
Day 13: Barafu Camp (4,600m) to Uhuru Peak (5,895m) to Mweka Camp (3,100m) - 12-14 Hours, Elevation Gain: 1,295 meters, Elevation Loss: 2,795 meters, Distance: 18 kM
This is it, what we’ve all been working up towards! At around midnight, we begin the final ascent to Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa. For the next six hours, we will be hiking by the light of your headlamp. The ascent to the crater rim is the most challenging part of the entire trek as the trail is very steep until you reach the crater rim at Stella Point around dawn. Watch an amazing sunrise as we continue climbing more gradually from Stella Point to Uhuru Peak. On reaching the summit of Africa, take a moment to take in the stunning views of the mountains, crater, clouds and glaciers, take some photos and reflect with pride on what you’ve achieved over the last two weeks.
We then start our descent via the scree to Mweka Camp via Barafu Ridge where we will stop for breakfast and a short break. Take a very well deserved rest overnight before we are on the home stretch tomorrow.
This will quite possibly be the toughest day that you will have with the 12-15 hours of walking. But it will also be the day you reached the top of Africa! (B, L, D)
Day 14: Mweka Camp (3,100m) to Mweka Gate (1,500m) - 2-3 Hours, Elevation Loss: 1,600 meters, Distance: 10 kM
After breakfast, we finish the trek with a descent to Mweka Gate. Your last hike on Kilimanjaro is a beautiful one, passing through Kilimanjaro’s cloud forest. Watch your step during the descent, as the trail can be slippery. Reaching the gate you can look forward to your certificate and a celebratory Kilimanjaro beer or two before our vehicles take us back to the hotel.
After a long awaited shower, it’ll be time for our celebration dinner and drinks together. (B, L, D)
Day 15: Departure Day/Volunteer day
Today is our last day and transfers will be available to take you back to the Kilimanjaro Airport.
You are however more than welcome to extend your stay with us after your challenge, we are currently looking at options of volunteering with some of the projects that Three Peaks Africa. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Itinerary is indicative and may be subject to some small changes. Hiking times are also approximate and will depend on the group.