African Safari Family Cruise Tanzania Adventures Safari Cruises

Tanzania: Family Kilimanjaro Trek & Wildlife Safari

19 Days / 18 Nights for Ages 12 and Up

Without a doubt, climbing Kilimanjaro is one of the world's great adventures and challenges. Thomson's Family Trek & Safari will give your family the opportunity to relate in a unique environment as you share this challenging and extremely rewarding adventure of a lifetime. Thomson Safaris' approach to climbing Kilimanjaro is as unique as we are. In fact, Thomson Safaris is the only company endorsed by filmmaker and mountaineer, David Breashears.

Our 9-day Western Breach Route is designed to follow in the footsteps of the IMAX film crew during the filming of Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa. This climb is a world class trekking experience, with a high camp amidst towering glaciers at 18,750 feet, inside Kili's dormant volcanic crater! The summit is reached by the least traveled route and because of the short distance (only 600 ft.), you can trek to the summit in daylight!

Days 1-2  Depart U.S. / Arrive Arusha

Depart the U.S. late afternoon, and arrive in Amsterdam the following morning. Check in for connecting flight to Kilimanjaro, arriving in the evening. You are met by your guide and transferred to the Mountain Village Lodge, a beautiful working coffee plantation, six miles from Arusha, set in a stunning location overlooking Lake Duluti, with magnificent views of Mt. Meru and Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Overnight: Mountain Village Lodge

Day 3  Arusha National Park

Full day wildlife viewing and walking in Arusha National Park. This park is one of Tanzania’s best kept secrets, with beautiful landscapes ranging from lush woodlands and lakes to the dramatic black cliffs of Mount Meru. Moreover, this is a great chance to acclimatize to higher altitude and recover from long flights.

Overnight: Mountain Village Lodge

Day 4  Kilimanjaro Climb

After a hearty breakfast and a comprehensive climb briefing, you'll be transferred to the Machame Gate (5,900 ft.) to begin your climb. This first trekking day is through dense rainforest (approx. 80 in. precip/yr), under the tangled canopy of moss coated vines which are home to the black & white colobus monkey, blue monkey, and a vibrant array of exotic birds. Arrive at your camp set in the lower heather belt, with a hot dinner awaiting you in your mess tent.

Overnight: Machame Camp (9,850 ft.)

Trekking: 5-7 Hours

Day 5  Kilimanjaro Climb

Trek into the heath and moorland, across a small valley and up to the Shira Ridge, with expansive views of Kibo and the high plateau which stretches to its flanks. Your camp is set high on the ridge, with fabulous views of the Shira Ridge and Mount Meru (14,979 ft) to the west.

Overnight: Shira Camp (12,600 ft.)

Trekking: 4-5 Hours

Day 6  Kilimanjaro Climb

Today you'll hike across the stark high desert of the great Shira Ridge, stopping for lunch as you near Lava Tower. You'll reach 14,700 ft. as you pass below Lava Tower, and then in the afternoon descend into the majestic Great Barranco Valley, amidst the forest of giant groundsels. Camp is set in a beautiful spot surrounded by waterfalls, in an amphitheater of steep rock, with the summit's brilliant hanging glaciers looming above.

Overnight: Barranco Camp (12,800 ft.)

Trekking: 6-7 Hours

Day 7  Kilimanjaro Climb

Acclimatization Day. You can take your time today, absorbing the spectacular scenery, and/or take a guided scramble up the Barranco Wall, for spectacular views of the southern glaciers and some of the technical routes to the summit.

Overnight: Barranco Camp (12,800 ft.)

Trekking: None (Optional 3-Hour Rock Scramble)

Day 8  Kilimanjaro Climb

Ascend the Barranco Valley to Lava Tower pass, where you will arrive at your camp for lunch. Lave Tower is the gateway to the Western Breach, and from here you can peer up the steep slopes of the Western Breach. You can test your ardor by scrambling to the top of Lava Tower, from which you're rewarded with amazing views.

Overnight: Lava Tower Camp (15,100 ft.)

Trekking: 3-4 Hours

Day 9  Kilimanjaro Climb

Today you'll wake a bit later, and take a short hike to your next camp, up a steep boulder strewn path to Arrow Camp. All that remains of the Arrow Glacier and Little Breach Glacier here are some snow patches and terminal moraine, but nowhere on the mountain is there a more spectacular view of the Western Breach headwall, which glows red in the setting sun. The weather here is often windy and constantly changing, with snow squalls and freezing temperatures.

Overnight: Arrow Glacier Camp (16,100 ft.)

Trekking: 1-2 Hours

Day 10  Kilimanjaro Climb

Today presents the toughest challenge of the entire trek, as you'll wake at about 5 am to begin your day in darkness. You'll leave camp at first light (about 6 am), and scramble nearly 3,000 ft. up the Western Breach. You'll come over the top of the Breach wall in 5-6 hours, and then another 30 minutes to your camp, which is set in the wide crater of Kili's summit, amidst the indigo streaked Furtwangler Glacier, in an arctic moonscape. In the afternoon, you have the option to explore Reusch Crater and the ash pit.

Overnight: Crater Camp (18,750 ft.)

Trekking: 5-7 Hours (Optional 3-Hour Trek to Reusch Crater)

Day 11  Summit and Begin Descent

Arise with hot tea and some breakfast, and then amble your way up the last 600 feet to Uhuru Peak (19,340 ft.). Descend the Mweka Route to Barafu Camp for lunch, then continue to your camp nestled in thick heather on the southern slopes.

Overnight: Mweka Camp (11,000 ft.)

Trekking: 1-2 Hours to Summit / 5-7 Hours to Reach Mweka Camp

Day 12  Finish Descent and Drive to Arusha

Complete your descent through the rainforest to the Mweka Gate, where you will be met and transferred back to your lodge for a much-needed shower and some merry convalescence.


Those guests not continuing on the safari extension will have day use of a hotel room before being transferred to the airport for their evening flight to Amsterdam - arriving back in the U.S. on day 13.

Overnight: Impala Hotel

Trekking: 2-3 Hours

Days 13-14  Ngorongoro Crater

Meet your safari guide this morning, and after a safari briefing we drive into the Rift Valley, continuing up the escarpment into the verdant Ngorongoro Highlands. For the afternoon and the entire next day we'll descend 2,000 feet to the crater floor for magnificent wildlife viewing. Here we'll witness some of the highest concentrations of animals in East Africa.

Overnight: Ngorongoro Serena Lodge

Days 15-17  Serengeti National Park

We head out this morning for Olduvai Gorge, before continuing into heart of Africa— the vast Serengeti. The sight of herds of animals running across the plains, and predators stalking their prey is unforgettable. We have many game drives amongst the wildlife in this great, untamed wilderness. Our first two nights are spent in a private Classic Camp allowing us to explore off the beaten path. The final night we spend in a luxury lodge.

Overnight: 2 Nights at Thomson Safaris Classic Camp / 1 Night at Serengeti Serena Lodge

Days 18-19  Serengeti National Park / Depart / Arrive Home

Morning wildlife viewing in the Serengeti before your flight to Arusha. We’ll say our good-byes over lunch, with time in the afternoon to relax at the Impala Hotel or shop before transferring to Kilimanjaro Airport for the flight to Amsterdam. Arrive home on the afternoon of Day 19.

 

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