Duration – 15 days
July 25 – August 8, 2018
Trip is escorted by Rich and Cathy Brooks, and Garrett Madison himself.
Located in Tanzania, Kilimanjaro is surrounded by many famous game-viewing parks. Our route up Kilimanjaro, the Machame, is a non technical journey through five very distinctive climate zones, allowing ample time for acclimatization. We ascend Kilimanjaro in style, enjoying the incredible views, camaraderie, and sense of accomplishment in climbing one of the famed “7 Summits.”
Madison Mountaineering offers the premier climbing experience on Kilimanjaro. Quality is unsurpassed throughout the expedition, and our service reflects a well thought out menu plan, enthusiastic and supportive local staff, and well appointed accommodations on the mountain. Our professional guides (see guide roster) are seasoned Americans who have led expeditions on many continents, and for whom Kilimanjaro is one of their favorite programs. These guides know how to run a mountaineering expedition, and are well equipped to handle the challenges that arise in any high altitude endeavor. This is the primary difference between us and other Kilimanjaro ‘outfitters’ who employ local Tanzanian staff to lead the expedition, and whose primary business involves game viewing excursions. As a mountain climbing company, Madison Mountaineering offers climbers the highest chance of success in conjunction with the highest standards for safety.
Although Kilimanjaro is partially covered in glacier, our route meanders around the icy slopes to Stella Point and then onward to Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa. We do not use crampons, or rock climb at any time (unless teams elect to scale the Lava Tower), making this expedition a high altitude trek.
This adventure appeals to the seasoned climber in pursuit of the “7 summits” as well as first time trekkers who are eager to experience a high altitude expedition in the natural wonder of Africa. We arrive in camp every afternoon, and alongside our very enthusiastic and robust Tanzanian staff, participate in song and dance to celebrate another successful day.
We conclude our climb of Kilimanjaro then head out on safari! This is a truly rewarding transition in that we have just returned from mountain climbing and now enjoy spectacular game viewing during the day, then retire in luxury lodges to recount the day’s wildlife sightings over a gourmet meal. Our safari is expertly organized to maximize game viewing opportunity and minimize drive time. During the safari we visit these parks:
Tarangire Park: Though relatively unknown, this park is potentially Africa’s best kept secret in terms of abundant wildlife and minimal crowds. The Tarangire takes us back in time thousands of years to a land untouched by man and in it’s natural state.
The Serengeti: Perhaps one of Africa’s best known game parks, the Serengeti is one of the largest game parks in the world. Oftentimes our Land Cruisers are caught among large herds of animals in migration. Here we have the opportunity to visit a traditional Masai village and interact with a people who live much the same as they did thousands of years ago.
The Ngorongoro Crater: Nearly eight miles across, this was once an active volcano that sunk in on itself, and is now a rich ecosystem with immense biodiversity and wildlife. Our lodge is located on the crater rim and provides a sweeping panorama of the world below. We save this park for the last day as we will surely see the most wildlife, and return to our hotel in Arusha very satisfied.
We regularly organize custom programs for private groups. We are happy to accommodate your program dates, as well as other specific requests related to the itinerary, amenities, and group size. Please contact us if you would like to know more about custom programs.
Day 1: Depart country of residence
Day 2: Arrive in Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), you will be met by one of our representatives and taken to our hotel.
Day 3: Climb orientation and equipment check.
Day 4: Drive from hotel to the Machame entrance (5,900’), and begin our ascent in the lush forest. We arrive in the afternoon at our Machame Camp (9,950’) and enjoy a wonderful dinner before retiring to bed.
Day 5: After breakfast we head out and wind our way through the moor lands to Shira camp (12,450).
Day 6: We leave Shira Camp and trek to the Lava Tower, where we enjoy lunch and views of the Western Breach route. We descend to Barranco Camp (12,750’). Upon reaching camp we size up the next day’s crux, the Great Barranco wall.
Day 7: After ascending the Great Barranco wall, we pause for photographs above the clouds and then descend down into Karanga Camp (12,950’).
Day 8: Today we ascend to Kosovo Camp (15,550’), this will be our high camp. We have an early dinner and drift off to sleep in anticipation of the early morning start for our summit climb.
Day 9: We have an ‘alpine start’ shortly after midnight, and climb through the night using head lights until the first rays of sunlight illuminate the mountain and surrounding landscape. We arrive at Stella Point, take a short break, and then continue on to Uhuru Peak and savor our moments here at the “roof” of Africa. After summit photos, and ample time for rest and snacks, we descend to Mweka Camp (10,150’) and return into the lush green forest for our last night on the mountain.
Day 10: Still savoring our summit success, we awake and enjoy our last breakfast together on Kilimanjaro, then descend to the Mweka Gate and have a celebratory buffet style meal to quench our burgeoning appetites! We thank our Tanzanian staff, and drive back to Arusha to shower and enjoy a meal together in town.
Day 11: Safari begins! After breakfast, you will be collected from the Mt Meru hotel in Arusha at 8:00 AM, and drive to Tarangire National Park. On arrival into the park, we experience our first ‘game drive’, then in the evening we drive to Tarangire Osupuko lodge for overnight, which is located strategically at the border of the park, where guests can see wildlife ‘close up’ that visit the lodge. This property is near the exit gate which means no time is wasted on the second day when leaving for the Ngorongoro crater. The location of the lodge is useful particularly for logistics on the second day, unlike Tarangire Sopa Lodge that is located deep inside the park, safari participants can leave the Osupuko lodge at Tarangire park and enjoy ample quality time at Ngorongoro crater.
Day 12: After an early breakfast we depart Tarangire park for Ngorongoro Crater with picnic lunch. On arrival into the park we descend to the crater floor for game viewing. With wildlife concentrated in a small area in the Ngorongoro crater, safari participants can do the game drive then visit a cultural ‘maasai boma’ visit and game viewing in the Serengeti en route to the luxury tented lodge. In the afternoon we drive to Serengeti National Park, with many game viewing opportunities en route to Osupuko Lodge in the Serengeti.
Day 13: Full day in the Serengeti with morning and afternoon game drives. Alternatively, you can take a packed lunch and spend the whole day in the bush (keep in mind the best times to view game are early and late in the day). Dinner & Overnight Serengeti Osupuko Lodge. The following day offers guests a full day of game viewing in the Serengeti while enjoying a game drive en route to the exit gate and then continuing the drive to Arusha.
Day 14: After breakfast start your return journey to Arusha, game drive en-route to the exit gate. Upon arrival in Arusha, you will drive direct to Kilimanjaro Airport where you will board your KLM flight departing that evening. *On this day, guests do have the option of flying from the Serengeti to Arusha at US $220 per person. If guests select this option you will fly to Arusha, be collected by one of our vehicles, then driven to the Kilimanjaro airport about an hour away.
Day 15: Arrive home.
Given that the Serengeti is huge, our itinerary above allows guests more quality time to explore this exceptional park, also removing the need to overnight at Ngorongoro Crater as it is not necessary with only 3 nights as we try to make most of the time we have. Another reason we suggest the smaller boutique style lodge properties is because most of our guests are familiar with large luxury chain hotels, and when journeying to Africa these smaller properties provide a unique experience while offering personalized service. In Tarangire, the Osupuko lodge has only 12 rooms while in Serengeti the Hemingway style ‘tent camp’ has only 10 luxury tents. This suggested itinerary offers a combination of a “normal lodge” and luxury camping with huge “Hemingway” style tents with en-suite bath facilities. In the evenings in Serengeti guests enjoy beverages around the camp fire, with Africa’s finest natural setting a stones’ throw from the camp.