Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, is the highest peak in Africa, reaching 19,340 feet into the sky. National Geographic hosts a 10-day trip to Tanzania that involves trekking up a lesser-known path up the mountain, on the Western slope. The hike on the Shira Route takes 8 full days and traverses five temperate zones. This excursion is truly an experience unlike any other, and that one will not soon forget. The views are unparalleled, spanning hundreds of miles of gorgeous African terrain.
This trip not only allows one to reach the peak of one of the world’s highest peaks and sleep on the crater floor of said mountain, but one will also have the opportunity to experience the breathtaking rain forests, the heather moors, see indescribable lava formations, and traverse glaciers.
Day one of the trip is arrival day. Travelers will touch down at the Kilimanjaro International airport, and then travel by car to Arusha National Park, which hosts a luxurious camp site and is seated at the base of Mount Meru,a volcano reaching 14,980 feet. The camp itself is already at an elevation of 6,200 feet, helping to ease travelers into the acclimatization that comes with reaching such high altitudes. Day 2 is orientation, checking equipment and warming up with shorter hikes. It is common that travelers see some incredible wildlife at this time, such as black-and-white colobus monkeys, bushbick, giraffe, rare birds and much more.
The trek itself begins on the third day in Africa, beginning with a drive up to the edge of the montane forests of the mountain, which is where the hike kicks off. It will consist of about 3-6 hours of hiking, ultimately reaching a fully set up camp, with refreshments and dinner waiting.
Along the way, there are incredible sights and landmarks, such as the Shira Plateau, the Lava Tower, Arrow Glacier. Ultimately, on the 9th day of the hike, you reach the peak of mount Kilimanjaro. This part, well, you’ll just have to see for yourself. To read more about this trip and all that it consists of, check out this page.