Kilimanjaro Climb and Safari

Destination: Marangu, Tanzania

| Activities: Trekking and Culture

Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, has long lured travelers looking for a challenging but non-technical ascent to the rooftop of the world. Situated in the stable country of Tanzania, trekkers from all over the world come to experience its many different ecosystems, challenge their stamina, enjoy the hospitality of Tanzanians, and relax after the climb with some of the best game viewing in the world. We climb on the Machame Route, which goes through a variety of ecosystems and is suitable for women in excellent physical condition without mountaineering experience. Our summit attempt occurs during the full moon, truly one of the most magical of experiences. After our trek we relax on a five-day safari, visiting Lake Manyara, the Serengeti, and Ngorongoro Crater, world-famous for abundant wildlife and giving us ample time to track the big five on the Serengeti plains. Maximum group size: 12


  • Following the Machame Route through many different ecosystems, including rain forest, the dry and dusty Shira Plateau, the Barranco area with its senesio trees and "Breakfast Wall", the exquisite Karanga Valley with its streams, and the rocky and inhospitable Barafu
  • Making the final ascent to the Uluru Peak (Kilimanjaro) by moonlight and reaching the ridge just as the rising sun lights up the glaciers
  • Visiting three completely different National Parks: Lake Manyara, Serengeti, and Ngorongoro Crater
  • Seeing herds of zebras, elephants, giraffes, wildebeest, and antelopes, as well as lions, leopards, hippos, many of whom have babies this time of year

Departures and Prices

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  • For the trekking portion of the trip (depending on the group size) 2 - 4 experienced trekking guides. There will also be 1 porter/person plus kitchen staff and other porters for equipment. For the safari portion of the trip: Experienced safari guides/drivers, depending on group size, 1 or 2. An AGC guide will accompany both trips provided there are 8 or more registered. (If there are fewer than 8 on the trip, there will not be an AGC guide).
  • Two nights at the Marangu Hotel before the trek and 1 night after the trek. During the trek, 6 nights camping in two-women tents. For the safari, four nights lodging in 'tented' lodges.
  • All meals from breakfast on Day 2 to lunch on Day 14.
  • All National Park fees (this is often not included in prices listed by other companies)
  • Transportation within Tanzania including transfer from Kilimanjaro airport on Day 1, if you arrive and leave with the group, in-country flight from Serengeti to Arusha on Day 14 and transportation as a group to the Kilimanjaro airport from Arusha late afternoon on Day 14.
  • All camping and cooking equipment along with porters and cooks.
  • Gratuities for local guides, porters and safari drivers

Not included: airfare to Kilimanjaro Airport, AGC guide gratuities, alcoholic beverages, evacuation/travel insurance, and items of a personal nature

Note: For this trip, evacuation/rescue insurance is mandatory and is often referred to as Post Departure Benefits. If you purchase regular travel/trip cancellation insurance, this is automatically included. You can also purchase the Post Departure Benefits through TravelEx as a stand-alone. To determine the cost for just the Post Departure Benefits package, put $1.00 in the blank for trip cost.

Trip Documents

Trip Info

This adventure is suitable for women who are in excellent physical condition. Prior hiking experience, a flexible and inquisitive attitude, and an adventurous spirit are all important. Please read the itinerary carefully. High altitude and mountaineering experience are not required.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro involves a steady and at times steep ascent over a period of 5 days on good trails. When not hiking we can relax at camps that have been set up by our porters. The final ascent is a tough day, with 4000 foot elevation gain followed by a 10,000 foot descent on trails that are rocky. We start before midnight and the pace is slow but steady. In contrast the safari is quite sedentary with almost all the time spent in vehicles. It's a totally amazing experience.

We spend two nights before the climb and one night after at Marangu Hotel. During the climb we spend six nights camping in two - woman tents. Our camp has a dining tent with chairs for meals and a toilet tent for privacy. On the safari we will stay for two nights at Tloma Lodge and 2 nights at Ndutu Kati Kati Safari Camp or similar accommodations. There are a limited number of single supplements available for both parts of the trip at an additional cost. A single supplement for the climb includes a single at the Marangu Hotel both before and after the climb as well as a single tent while on the climb (and additional $400). The single supplement for the safari will be a single at all the hotels throughout the duration of the safari (an additional $350).

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

After leaving the day before, we will arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) where we are transported to our hotel. Overnight in Marangu at the Marangu Hotel.
Yes, we really are in Africa! The morning and early afternoon will be spent exploring the Marangu area and learning about the Chagga people, both their history and their rich culture. After breakfast, we will meet our guide for the day. We will tour by bus and by walking so be sure to wear comfy walking shoes. Our tour will include a visit to the Chagga Live Museum with its history and cultural exhibits, then on to the unique underground tunnels (Chagga Bolt Holes). These Bolt Holes are tunnels that were used by the Chagga people to hide from their enemies and are designed for extended use. One of the highlights of our tour will be lunch, which will be in a traditional Chagga home with a hot, home-cooked meal and promises to include one of the area specialties - cooked plantain bananas “Machalari”. Time permitting we will stop by one of the local markets before heading back to our hotel to begin getting ready for our trek. The rest of the afternoon and early evening will be spent packing our trekking gear, having the traditional briefing about what to expect while on the trek and finally, enjoying a leisurely dinner Bedtime will probably be early to ensure a good nights sleep before our first day of trekking! Overnight at the Marangu Hotel. (B, L, D)
This morning we drive from Marangu to Machame Gate, one of the main trailheads on the mountain. We'll have tea and finish some last-minute preparations while our guides check in with the park ranger and our porters load our gear. Then it's off! We leave the park gate and walk through the rain forest on a winding trail up a ridge. This part of the trail can be muddy and slippery and gaiters and trekking poles are a good idea here. We spend our first night on the mountain at Machame Camp. Elevation gain: 5400 to 9300 feet, 5-7 hours. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we leave the glades of the rain forest and continue on an ascending path, crossing a little valley and walking along a steep rocky ridge covered with heather until the ridge ends. The route then turns west into a river gorge. Time for rest, dinner, and overnight at the Shira campsite. Elevation gain: 12,400 feet, 5-7 hours. (B, L, D)
From the Shira Plateau, we continue to the east up a ridge, passing the junction towards the peak of Kibo. There are two possible routes here and, to help us acclimatize, we'll go by way of Lava Tower, called the "Shark's Tooth". We then continue down to the Barranco Valley at an altitude of 12,800 feet. Here we rest, enjoy dinner, and overnight. Ending the day at the same elevation as when you started, this day is very important for acclimatization and will help your body prepare for summit day. Elevation gain: 12,800 feet, 6-8 hours. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we leave Barranco camp and scramble up the great Barranco Wall (sometimes called the "Breakfast Wall" because it is climbed right after breakfast). While there is no technical climbing involved, the rock scrambling is exciting and the view is magnificent. We then descend down into a wild-looking valley, before descending further to the Karanga River and ascending once more to the Karanga Valley campsite. This is the last chance the porters have to get water before our ascent and the sight of them carrying heavy buckets up the hill to our campsite is humbling. Elevation gain: 13,000 feet, 4-5 hours. (B, L, D)
Leaving the Karanga Valley campsite we come to the junction, which connects our trail with the Mweka Trail. We continue up to the Barafu camp. We have now completed the South Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Here we make camp, rest, enjoy dinner, and prepare for a very early morning summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo can be seen from this position. We'll go to bed very early this evening and while many of us won't really sleep, getting some final rest is critical. Elevation gain: 15,100 ft, 3-4 hours. (B, L, D)
This is undoubtedly our longest and toughest day, and will be one of the most amazing days of your life! Leaving our camp by midnight, we ascend slowly and steadily for about 6-7 hours. If the weather is clear, the full moon is so bright that our headlamps won't be necessary. We stop for a short rest at Stella Point (18,652 feet) and, weather permitting, will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise we are ever likely to see. From Stella Point, it is about a 45-minute ascent to the summit, Uhuru Peak, the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. From the summit we now make our descent, stopping at Barafu for lunch and a brief rest, before continuing straight down to the Millenium campsite. The descent is quite challenging due to steep terrain and loose gravel (scree) in places, and its difficulty should not be underestimated. Finally, after 14-18 hours of hiking, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep. (B, L, D)
A 4-6 hour descent on a better-maintained trail through beautiful forest brings you to the Park gate and our waiting transport. We drive back to the hotel, where hot showers and a great dinner complete our celebration before retiring to our soft beds for the night. (B, L, D)
DAY 10
Note: The following safari itinerary was originally developed for a visit in February. The basic itinerary will remain the same but changes will be made to account for the season. With the climb over, we completely switch gears today for the safari (Swahili for "trip"). Departing the hotel after breakfast, we head to Lake Manyara Park, enjoying lunch along the way. This park is located below a volcanic escarpment at the base of which numerous springs feed the forest meadows, keeping them lush and green, and attracting a large animal population. Elephant herds are frequently encountered on our game drive, as well as hippos, zebras, baboons, and mongoose. We'll spend the night at Tloma Lodge in their tented lodges - completely different from the tented camping we have done on the mountain! Our tents are actually tented cabins with real beds and an attached bathroom - such a feeling of luxury! We'll enjoy a delicious dinner and then go to sleep with the sounds of the forest all around us. Overnight: Tloma Lodge (B,L,D)
DAY 11
We will leave early in the morning after breakfast and drive to Ngorongoro Conservation Area for a full day game viewing in the Ngorongoro main crater. Ngorongoro Crater is quite different from the Serengeti: a huge collapsed volcano crater, the steep walls both confine and protect many of the animals that live here. Most animals live on the crater floor some 1200 feet below the rim. Herds of wildebeest, zebras, warthogs, buffalos, and their babies are common and we may also see the black rhino, one of Tanzania's "Big Five" and difficult to see other places. In the afternoon, we will take time out to stretch your legs and enjoy a picnic lunch at Ngoitokitok Springs while watching hippos jostle for position in the water. Overnight: Tloma Lodge (B,L,D)
DAY 12
Today we drive to Serengeti National Park. Along the way, we'll stop at Olduvai Gorge, site of Louis and Mary Leakey's famous discoveries of human ancestors, the Zinjanthropus Bosei. We will take a tour of the site and museum before proceeding with our drive to Serengeti National Park while game viewing along the way. We're likely to see lots of wildebeest this time of year, along with giraffes, gazelles, dik diks, and different wild cats. Overnight: Ndutu Kati Kati Tented Camp (B,L,D)
DAY 13
We will leave early in the morning after breakfast for a full day of game viewing in the Serengeti National Park. Our concentration today will be following the great migration of the wildebeests and zebras on the southern plains of the Serengeti National Park. In the afternoon we will stop to enjoy our picnic boxed lunch at a designated picnic site. Overnight: Ndutu Kati Kati Tented Camp (B,L,D)
DAY 14
After breakfast, we make our way to Seronera airstrip while game viewing on the way. We take a local flight from Seronera airstrip and fly to Arusha arriving in time for lunch. We have access to a day-room for the afternoon to refresh and relax before transferring to the airport in the evening for our international flight back home. But maybe you aren't ready to go home? You might choose to extend your trip with a visit to the mountain gorillas of nearby Rwanda or perhaps visit Zanzibar, a totally different island right off the Tanzanian Coast. (B, L)


(5 reviews)
3.8 Food
4.6 Lodging
4.6 Safety

*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "What made this trip special for you?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.

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Cassie S.
1 year ago

The team of women who joined this trip are all amazing. Great company and leadership (Jody rocks!). One of the hardest things I've ever done, but also the most rewarding.

Carrie D.
1 year ago

The thing that made this trip special for me was the amazing women I met. There were days each of us struggled and questioned whether we could make it, but we cheered each other on with encouragement and helped find strength when we thought there was not left to be had helping each one of us to persevere and summit as a group.

Glenda H.
1 year ago

I have to say that doing this trip with my daughter, Patricia Miguel, made this trip very special. But also, the the safari was fantastic through the Serengeti. Also, being able to pull the strength to do Kilimanjaro left me with an accomplishment I haven’t felt in a while.

Michelle F.
1 year ago

Jody was amazing. She was not only a strong supporter physically but as an advocate when we had questions, concerns, frustrations, or suggestions

Tracy W.
1 year ago

I wouldn't have attempted to organize on my own. Going with AGC allowed me to venture where I wanted, without the apprehension of traveling to Africa.

  1. What are the chances I'll make it to the summit of Kilimanjaro?

    Typically about 70% - 80% of women make it to the summit if the weather is favorable. Aside from conditioning, which is the most important part of preparation, the two primary factors determining the likelihood are whether you have acclimated to the elevation and whether you have stayed healthy. Our schedule has limited acclimatization time, 19300' is high, and many people have trouble with altitude or have gotten respiratory illnesses. This is truly a trip where the journey is more important than the destination.
  2. Is altitude sickness a concern?

    Yes, at 19,300 feet Kilimanjaro is the highest non-technical peak in the world. You may choose to discuss with your physician whether you should take a preventive medicine such as Diamox.
  3. What happens if I get sick anyway?

    Our trekking team, which consists of a head guide, 2 or 3 assistant guides, and porters will evacuate you in the most efficient way possible. Typically it simply means assisting you in walking down to a lower elevation but there are carts that can be used to carry you.
  4. What are the bathroom facilities like?

    During the trek there will be a "toilet tent" set up every night to give you some privacy and a hot basin of water will be brought to your tent in the morning and again in the afternoon. At the Marangu Lodge and during the safari there will be running water and toilets.
  5. Where do we eat?

    All your meals will be served at the lodges during the safari. During the trek there is a dining tent where you can eat.
  6. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    Overall food variety on the trek is limited, with few fresh vegetables and no fruit. This is even more true for vegetarian and vegans; options are available but the variety of foods is limited. If you are concerned about having enough protein during your trip, please bring some plant-based protein sources such as nut butter, instant dried hummus, or high-protein energy bars. If you cannot eat gluten or if you have other dietary restrictions, you will need to bring some supplemental food with you.
  7. I will be coming by myself. Do I need to pay a single supplement?

    You only need to pay a single supplement if you want to guarantee you have your own room. Otherwise we’ll pair you up with someone and then switch roommates every time we switch lodging.