Mount Meru Day Trek, then Game Safari, and Waterfall Walk vs Kilimanjaro Climb
21st February 2022: Arrive to Kilimanjaro International Airport on morning flight at 0740. Once you complete customs formalities, please exit arrivals and look out for one of the team. We should be wearing a black T-shirt with Aspera logo. We will transfer you to Hatari Lodge for check-in and breakfast. On the way, please be aware that we need to pause at the park gate and complete a park entry registration process.
On arrival at Hatari Lodge, please occupy your rooms and make yourselves comfortable. These are the room allocations:
- Suite: DON
- Junior suite: NAU and SVE
- Junior suite (double): ELI and RUS
- Deluxe room (twin): EVG and SAM
- Deluxe room (single): IAN
Having occupied your rooms, please proceed to the dining area for breakfast.
After breakfast, would ELI, RUS, EVG and SAM please make yourselves available for two of our guides to check your equipment in your rooms, and confirm that everyone has all the equipment they need to summit Kilimanjaro safely. If there are any deficiencies, the guides will arrange gear hire items to be ready by the time we collect you on the morning of 22nd February.
At around 1100 to 1200, we expect to leave Hatari Lodge and proceed to the Mount Meru start point, where we collect two rangers, complete some unavoidable registration processes and, thereafter, proceed in vehicles along the four wheel drive track towards the centre of the horse shoe-shaped collapsed crater, occasionally pausing along the way to enjoy some of the scenery.
The family will then separate, with Group 1 - DON, NAU, and IAN - heading to the viewpoint to begin a lower altitude trek, and Group 2 - ELI, RUS, EVG and SAM - continuing to a point close to Miriakamba Hut to begin their acclimatisation trek ahead of their Kilimanjaro climb tomorrow. Group 2 will proceed to a point somewhere between Miriakamba Hut 2541m and Little Meru Peak 3820m, aiming to reach a maximum altitude of at least 3,100 metres, before descending back to the vehicle point. Lunch will be taken along the trail.
Concurrently with Group 2, Group 1 will complete a trekking circuit through rainforest towards the foot of the ash cone, and back towards the viewpoint, where they will meet the vehicle and return to Hatari Lodge. A picnic lunch will be taken along the way.
Group 1 will return to Hatari much earlier than Group 2, who will be aiming to maximise the available time at high altitude, to acclimatise optimally.
Dinner and overnight for all 7 trekkers and SVE at Hatari. We aim to ensure that all can have dinner together. However, if Group 2 decides to spend longer at high altitude, and chooses to defer dinner, Group 1 should please be ready to communicate to Chuchu their wish to move ahead with starting dinner.
22nd February 2022 - Hatari to Shira 1 (3508m)
After breakfast, Group 2 should please be ready to be collected from Hatari at around 0830. We proceed by vehicle for around 2 hours to Londorossi Gate to complete registration formalities and, thereafter, continue a further 2 hours along the vehicle evacuation track to the second barrier where we have lunch and then begin the trek southwards from 3390m. Moving 2km south, we reach Shira 1 Camp at 3505m.
After occupying your tents and organising your personal equipment at Shira 1, we have an optional afternoon acclimatisation excursion across the Shira Plateau to Shira Peak 3872m for some of the best views of Kibo (clear weather permitting).
Descend to sleep lower at Shira One 3508m for overnight. Excursion distance = 9.0km.
23rd February 2022 - Shira 1 Camp to Moir Hut (4166m)
Trek from Shira 1 Camp (3508m) to Moir Hut (4166m) across Shira Plateau before rising along the flank of a re-entrant. Height gain 658m. Distance = 9.4km.
Sunset acclimatisation into the Lent Group of outcrops above Moir Hut before dinner. Ordinarily we aim to reach 4305m on the ridge, however, if you are feeling strong and experiencing no symptoms of headache or nausea, please express your wish to your guide to proceed higher. Altitude gained on this acclimatisation excursion is critical to making comfortable and safe progress over the next two days, and is one of the peculiar advantages of this route. Typical excursion distance = 1.9km.
24th February 2022 - Moir Hut to 3rd Caves Camp (3971m)
Today is a long day. The 8 day itinerary divides this day into two, however, while it may be somewhat of an endurance challenge, this route has been configured to ensure that there is no altitude-related risk today in spite of effectively combining two days into one, as we end the day 195 metres lower than where we started - a feature that makes this route so ideal both in terms of acclimatisation and conserving physical reserves for your summit bid.
Trek clockwise around the northern slopes of Kilimanjaro from Moir Hut (4166m) via lunch at Pofu (4040m) to 3rd Caves Camp (3971m). Gradual traversing of Kibo’s northern slopes, with classic views to the North-West, North and North-East. Distance today = 17km.
25th February 2022 - 3rd Caves Camp to School Hut (4722m)
After gently traversing the northern slopes of Kilimanjaro yesterday, today we trek upwards from 3rd Caves Camp (3971m) to School Hut (4722m) - a shorter distance than the previous 2 days, but a very respectable 751m of height gain. Note however, that on your evening acclimatisation excursion on Day 3, you came within some 400 metres of School Hut’s altitude, so your body will be very well prepared to install you into position to assault the summit tonight. Distance = 4.9km.
Please aim to get to sleep as soon as possible as you will be woken at around 2300-0000 to begin your assault. Don’t worry about waking yourself for meals - your staff will wake you for these. You probably won’t feel like eating but please endeavour to do so as you’ll need the energy reserves.
Please relax your breathing and have a calm mind. The previous 4 days have prepared you extremely well for tonight’s challenge, so there is nothing to worry about. Being relaxed and having packed your gear ahead of time, not needing to be in a rush or worry about whether you may be forgetting anything, will aid appetite - essential to fuel this long day’s activities.
You are advised to get all your gear ready for the summit bid before you go to sleep as you may feel disoriented when woken for the assault.
26th February 2022 - School Hut to Uhuru Peak (5895m)
Avoiding the energy-sapping loose scree slopes above Kibo Hut, we ascend from School Hut (4722m) via Hans Meyer Cave (5243m) and Gilman’s Point (5708m), to Uhuru Peak (5895m).
Around midnight of Day 5 - quit camp for the assault via Gilman’s Point (5708m) to the summit. Tonight is very difficult - particularly the final 550m - and you’ll need to commit to fight for the summit.
Somewhere between Hans Meyer Cave and Gilman’s Point, you will inevitably feel like giving up and going to sleep. This is normal and can be overcome with perseverance. When resting please ensure you only stand or sit and do not lie down or close your eyes. Please trust your guide; he is very adept at judging whether your condition will allow safe progress or whether you have succumbed to a potentially dangerous condition and to proceed will not be safe.
Nausea and headaches are normal and around a quarter of climbers will vomit at or near Gilman’s Point. While very uncomfortable, these are not symptoms that are indicative of being at risk, per se. The onset of cerebral and pulmonary oedema are marked by distinctive early warning symptoms that your guide is capable of identifying. Please maintain regular dialogue with your guide and frequently update him on how you are feeling.
When you reach Gilman’s Point you will sit and rest. At this point the body and mind often think you have finished your uphill fight and will be trying to coerce you into giving up and turning around. While you may genuinely believe that you have already exhausted your reserves in reaching this point, this is actually very unlikely to be so. Remember that you are only 187 vertical metres short of the summit (via Stella Point), the journey from here is much less steep, and you have plenty of time for further pauses.
If you do feel the need to give up at Gilman’s Point please proceed towards the summit for just two minutes before making your final decision. In most cases this act of re-establishing momentum is enough to persuade the mind and body to cooperate with your intentions and you will ordinarily find hidden reserves for a final push, reserves that you were not aware you still had.
On the summit your guide will advise how much time you can spend there in consideration of your condition, your timings, and the weather. The brain does not function very intelligently at this altitude so please remember to take many photographs in all directions or you will probably regret not having done so at a later stage. Also, please consider in advance asking a companion to be ready to shoot a video of you, and likewise you of them, at the summit, to record your impressions of getting to the highest point of Africa and for achieving what for many will have been the most difficult feat of endurance in their lives.
The descent - Uhuru Peak to Millennium Camp (3820m) or Mweka Camp (3090m)
From the summit you will turn around and descend to Stella Point. When you reach Stella Point your guide will make an assessment of each climber’s physical condition. If everyone is in optimal physical condition, normal procedure is to turn right at Stella Point and descend towards Mweka Gate.
However, in the event that the guide has concern that about the possibility of a fatigued muscle set resulting in imminent injury to ligaments and tendons that support the knee or ankle joints, he will opt to continue to Gilman’s Point, and turn right there and descend to Kibo Huts, where we will pause for refreshments before continuing to Horombo Huts.
Tipping of the mountain crew at Horombo Huts
Typical tips for mountain crew tend to average some 10-15% of climb costs. All climbers’ contributions are usually added together and the total amount is presented to the chief guide at Mweka Gate. (However, where we have utilised an evacuation procedure, this would instead take place at Horombo Huts). Our guides always divide these tips fairly amongst their crew according to a customary scale that is determined by the responsibilities and experience of each staff member.
From Kibo Huts, the guide will have requested an evacuation off the mountain by ambulance. This ambulance should be waiting at Horombo Huts (3705m), to drive you to Marangu Gate, where a vehicle will be waiting to transfer you to Machweo Retreat for dinner and overnight.
Distances on summit day: School Hut to Summit via Gillman’s Point: 5.4km Summit to Gillman’s Point: 2.0km Gillman’s Point to Kibo Huts: 3.4km Kibo Huts to Horombo: 9.6km Total summit day’s distance: 20.4km
Typical total trek distance = 74.3km or 46.2 miles.
27th February 2022 - Machweo Retreat to Chem Chem (Safari)
After breakfast, please be ready at 1030 for your driver to collect you from Machweo Retreat and transfer you to Arusha Airport for your Coastal Aviation charter flight to Chem Chem, where you will join Group 1 on safari.
RUS should please be ready to be collected for his return flight home at around 1300 in order to be on time to check in for flight QR 1476 departing at 1700.