For those of you who would like to journey along with us up Mt Kilimanjaro, here is our itinerary. We are taking the Rongai Route which is the only route that approaches the mountain from the North and retains a sense of untouched wilderness. It starts just south of the Kenya-Tanzania border and passes through farmland and forest, past Alpine moorland to the beautiful summit cone at 19,340 feet above sea level. There are magnificent views throughout , glaciers and ice cliffs of the summit, and across the East African plains far below.
The Rongai route is one of the less traveled routes. We will bond as a team on the way up and then descend the Marangu route, the most popular trail, and interact with the world on the way down. Here is where we will be…
Day 1 (Saturday/Sunday June 23/24) – fly from LAX to Dubai to Nairobi then a puddle jumper to Kilimanjaro Airport. – Total travel time approximately 22 hours.
Day 2 (Monday June 25) early breakfast, briefing and then drive to Rongai gate to meet guides and porters. After formalities a 2-3 hour hike to the fist cave where we will camp at Simba Camp. (9,300 feet). This will take us through the cultivation area of the mountain, where you can see how local farmers tend to their land on the slopes.
Day 3 (Tuesday June 26) Early morning begin trekking out past the second cave and on to the third cave. This will be about a 7-8 hour day. The climb will be relatively difficult, taking us through forest and well into the moorland. We will overnight at Kikelelwa camp (11,811 feet).
Day 4 (Wednesday June 27) We will set out for Mawenzi Tarn Hut, which should take approximately 7 hours. We will overnight at Mawenzi Tarn Hut, elevation 14,160.
Day 5 (Thursday June 28) This will be a shorter day so that we can get to bed early in preparation for a middle of the night assault on the summit. We will take about 4-5 hours to hike to Kibo hut, elevation 15,430.
Day 6 (Friday June 29) We will be wakened around midnight to begin a 5 hour hike on heavy scree to Gillman’s point, approximately 19,000 feet. Using headlamps to see we will hike in the dark while the ground is frozen making it easier to ascend this steep section. As we reach the crater rim, the sun should be rising to display Africa in all its glory beneath us. The views will be spectacular and it makes the entire journey worth every step… (so I’m told). From here we will continue on up another 1-2 hours around the crater rim to Uhuru Peak, (19,340 feet). After a few photos at the summit and an short time of worship and prayer for our sponsored children, we will begin our steady descent to Kibo hut for a rest and some nourishment, then continue to Horombo Hut for overnight at 12,205 feet. That is 4,000 feet up and 7,000 feet down on this one day.
Day 7 (Saturday June 30) After breakfast we will descend to Marangu Gate, (6,046 feet) with sore feet and memories that will last a lifetime. We will then be transferred to the Keys Hotel for a well needed shower and an evening of celebration by the swimming pool. The Keys hotel is a modern tourist hotel located in the small town of Moshi offering good views of the mountain we just climbed.
Day 8 (Sunday July 1) We will depart from the Keys Hotel after breakfast and head to Arusha town to be dropped off at our next hotel from where we will visit the World Vision projects and meet our children.
Days 9-12 (Monday-Thursday July 2-5) we will spend time interacting with children, meeting World Vision Staff, touring water sites and gaining inside into how important our sponsorship is to the hope and future of these precious people.
Day 13-14 (Friday-Saturday July 6-7) Depart Kilimanjaro Airport to Nairobi to Dubai to LAX, arriving in Los Angeles at approximately 2:15 pm on Saturday July 7. I will probably overnight with my cousin in LA pretty close to sea level.
Day 15 (Sunday July 8) Depart LA for a 5 hour drive to Phoenix where it will probably be beyond “Africa hot”, but home sweet home!
Well, Bags are packed and I have taken my first Malaria Pill. It is almost time to go.