– Africa 5,895m / 19,341ft.
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 a 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.
Day 1: Arrive Kilimanjaro International Airport. After immigration, retrieving your bags, and clearing customs, our representative, identifiable by a Madison Mountaineering sign, will transport you to our hotel in Arusha: The Mount Meru Hotel. (approximately 1-hour travel)
Day 2: Gear check and climb orientation. After a leisurely breakfast, your climb guide will conduct a gear check at the hotel and provide an orientation of the days ahead on Kilimanjaro. Your guide with provide instructions for packing trekking duffel and day packs. Afterward, there are options for exploring the Arusha area or spending the remainder of the day relaxing by the pool.
Day 3: Machame Camp (3022 m / 9,915 ft). In the morning, we drive from the hotel to the Machame Gate entrance (1814 m / 5,950 ft) and begin our ascent in the lush forest. We arrive in the afternoon at our Machame Camp and enjoy a wonderful dinner before retiring to bed.
Day 4: Shira Camp (3833 m / 12,575 ft). After breakfast, we head out and wind our way through the moorlands to Shira Camp.
Day 5: Barranco Camp (3981 m / 13,060 ft). We leave Shira Camp and trek to the Lava Tower, where we enjoy lunch and the views of the Western Breach route. From there, we descend to Barranco Camp. Upon reaching camp, we size up the next day’s crux: The Great Barranco wall.
Day 6: Karanga Camp (4029 m / 13,200 ft). After ascending the Great Barranco wall, we pause for photographs above the clouds and then descend slightly to Karanga Camp.
Day 7: Kosovo Camp (4870 m / 15,978 ft). Today we climb to our high camp, Kosovo Camp, passing by the popular and often very crowded Barafu Camp. The additional ascent to Kosovo Camp provides a much quieter camp that also positions us for a slightly shorter summit day. We have an early dinner and drift off to sleep in anticipation of the early morning start of our summit climb.
Day 8: Summit Day! We have an ‘alpine start’ shortly after midnight and climb through the night using headlamps until the first rays of sunlight illuminate the mountain and surrounding landscape. We arrive at Stella Point (5745 m / 18,848 ft), take a short break, and then continue to the summit of Kilimanjaro, Uhuru Peak (5895 m / 19,341 ft), 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 (3075 m / 10,090 ft) and return into the lush green forest for our last night on the mountain.
Day 9: Mweka Gate (1638 m / 5,375 ft). Still savoring our summit success, we awake and enjoy our last breakfast together on Kilimanjaro. The morning will be spent descending to the Mweka Gate where we will have a celebratory buffet style lunch to quench our burgeoning appetites! We thank our Tanzanian staff and drive back to Arusha to shower and enjoy a dinner in town or at the Mount Meru Hotel.
Day 10: Safari begins! After breakfast, we depart the Mount Meru Hotel in Arusha at 8:00 AM and are driven in Land Cruisers to the Tarangire National Park to start our safari. On arrival to the park, we experience our first game drive. Then, in the evening, we drive to Kirurumu Tarangire Lodge for the night. The lodge is located strategically near the border of the park and frequently provides opportunities to view visiting wildlife up close. The location also gives us a jump start on the second day when leaving for the Ngorongoro crater.
Day 11: After an early breakfast we depart the lodge 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 12: Full day in the Serengeti with morning and afternoon game drives. Alternatively, we have the option to 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 and overnight at the Serengeti Osupuko Lodge.
Day 13: More Serengeti and return to Arusha. We will spend nearly a full day of game viewing in the Serengeti on a game drive as we make our way towards the park exit gate. From there, we will return to Arusha to the Mount Meru hotel for the evening.
Day 14: Depart for home. After our final morning in Tanzania, you will be shuttled to the Kilimanjaro Airport for your flight home.
Day 14+: Contingency day for any unexpected delays due to weather, route conditions, team health, etc.
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 that 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 campfire, with Africa’s finest natural setting a stones’ throw from the camp.
Kilimanjaro Climb and Safari
- December 5 – 19, 2020
- December 14 – 28, 2020
- January 18 - February 1, 2021
- June 15 – 28, 2021
- July 13 – 26, 2021
- August 1 – 14, 2021
- August 8 – 21, 2021
- September 30 – October 13, 2021
Deposit: USD 1,000
Climb-only option: USD 4,900
- Airport transfers
- Three-nights accommodations at the Mount Meru Hotel in Arusha (breakfast provided) – 1 pre-climb, 1 post-climb, and 1 post-safari
- Team welcome dinner
- All meals while on the climb and safari
- All group gear on the climb (sleeping tents, dining supplies. and tents, toilette tents, first aid, etc.)
- Porter service on the climb
- All climbing staff including mountain guides and local support staff
- All park fees, permits and tour fees
- All transportation in-country
- All accommodations on safari, including two nights in a Hemingway style tent camp on the beautiful Serengeti
- Travel in all-terrain Land Cruiser or similar safari vehicles with pop-tops for game viewing – driven by experienced professional safari tour guides
Costs Do Not Include:
- Round-trip airfare to/from Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO)
- Tanzania tourist visa
- Alcoholic or bottled beverages
- Specialty coffee or espresso drinks
- Trip cancelation insurance or the required medical evacuation insurance
- Any expenses incurred by early departure from the program
- Personal items and equipment
- Charges incurred as a result of delays beyond the control of Madison Mountaineering
- There are no refunds for the deposit or balance payments for this expedition. This includes but is not limited to, expeditions that conclude without reaching or making progress towards expedition objective(s) (for example, the summit) due to route conditions, weather, insufficient manpower, or any other factor outside the control of Madison Mountaineering.
- Expedition leader has the final say on the expedition conclusion and will make all best efforts towards reaching expedition objective(s) within our margin of safety.
- Participants that choose to leave an active expedition for any reason are not entitled to any refunds
- Madison Mountaineering, LLC highly recommends trip cancellation insurance for all expeditions
- Due to the nature and heavy costs of government and operator permits, Madison Mountaineering must adhere to a stringent refund policy
- Deposit due with registration materials
- All balances are due 120 days prior to departure date unless otherwise specified
- Participants whose balances are not received by the 120-day deadline as stated above, risk forfeiture of their funds and their place on the expedition
Note: Madison Mountaineering, LLC reserves the right to waive any fees. As we offer personalized service, we will attempt to accommodate changes and cancellations when necessary, waiving certain fees when feasible. Deposits paid by participants acknowledge the above cancellation terms.
- Synthetic Short Underwear (1-2 pair): non-cotton style underwear
- Lightweight Long Underwear (1-2 pair): long sleeve shirt and long pants
- Heavyweight Long Underwear (1 pair)
- Short Sleeve Synthetic Shirt (1-2)
- Soft Shell Jacket: to be worn over other layers
- Soft Shell Pants: very breathable and water repellant
- Lightweight Nylon Pants
- Hard Shell Jacket with hood: waterproof and breathable shell jacket
- Hard Shell Pants: waterproof and breathable shell pants
- Insulated Down or Synthetic Jacket with hood
- Heavyweight Insulated Down Jacket with hood
- Insulated Pants
- Warm Hat: synthetic or wool hat (ski hat)
- Balaclava: to protect your neck and face in high winds
- Baseball Cap or other sun hat: to shade your face/neck from the sun on a hot day
- Bandana or Buff: to protect your neck/face from the sun
- Glacier Glasses: full protection with side covers or wrap around
- Ski Goggles: to be worn in the event of high winds – (2nd pair optional)
- Lightweight Synthetic Base Layer Gloves: for wearing on warm days
- Soft Shell Gloves: to wear for moderate cold/wind
- Shell Glove with Insulated Liner: to wear for severe cold/strong wind
- Expedition Mitts: large enough to fit a liner glove inside
- Liner Socks (3 pairs)
- Wool or Synthetic Socks (3 pairs)
- Hiking Boots: comfortable hiking boots
- Sleeping Bag: rated to at least -20°F
- Self-inflating Sleeping Pad: full length is preferred
- Closed-cell Foam Pad: to be used in conjunction with the inflating pad for warmth and comfort when sleeping
- Trekking Backpack: approximately 35L
- Compression Stuff Sacks: for reducing the volume of the sleeping bag, down parka, etc. in your duffle
- Trash Compactor Bags: to line backpack and stuff sacks as well as for separating gear
- Backpack Rain Cover (optional)
- Trekking Poles: adjustable
- Headlamp: with 2 extra sets of new batteries
- Large Duffel Bag with Lock: for transporting gear on the mountain, no hard sides or wheels
- Small Duffel Bag with Lock: to store items in the hotel(s) while on the climb
- Travel Clothes and Shoes: for days in cities and towns
- Lightweight journal, sketchbook, pencils, pen
- U.S. cash: for currency exchange to purchase SIM cards or merchandise in cities and towns
Additional Food Items
- Snack Food: bring a few days supply of your favorite climbing snack food such as bars, gels, nuts, beef jerky, etc. variety of salty and sweet is good
- Cup: plastic 16 oz. minimum cup or mug
- Bowl: large plastic bowl for eating dinner or breakfast
- Spoon: plastic spoon (Lexan)
- Water Bottles (2): wide mouth bottles with 1-liter capacity
- Water Bottle Parkas (2): fully insulated with zip opening
- Water Treatment
- Thermos (optional): 1 liter
- Hand and Toe Warmers
- Sunscreen: SPF 50 or better
- Lip Screen (2 sticks): SPF 30 or better
- Toiletry Bag: include toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, baby wipes and hand sanitizer (2 small bottles)
- Pee Bottle: 1-liter minimum bottle for convenience at night in the tent
- Female Urination Device (FUD)
- Knife or Multi-tool (optional)
- Small Personal First-aid Kit: include athletic tape, band-aids, Ibuprofen, blister care, etc.
- Medications and Prescriptions: bring personal medications, antibiotics (Azithromycin, etc.), altitude medicine such as Diamox, etc.
- Handkerchiefs/Bandanas (optional)
- Country-appropriate power plug adapters and power transformers
- Adventure Sports Watch: such as Garmin fēnix 6
- GPS/Personal Satellite Communicator: such as Garmin inReach Mini
- Personal Power System: such as Goal Zero Nomad 28 Plus Solar Panel and Sherpa 100AC Power Bank
- Digital Entertainment: movies, tv shows, music, books loaded on to smartphone, iPad, Kindle
- Camera: bring extra batteries, charger, and memory cards
Madison Mountaineering is recognized for well thought out strategy in leading high altitude climbing expeditions, as well as high-quality service throughout. We have two decades of experience in the planning and coordination of mountaineering expeditions, our reputation is excellent. We strive to make each expedition the best possible experience for our climbers and focus on our 3 primary goals of success in reaching the summit, returning safely, and having fun! Safety is always our number one priority.
Our guides are some of the best and most experienced in the industry, having a strong grasp of technical climbing, expedition, and high altitude experience, along with strong interpersonal skills. Our teams are small and equipped with the best support available to ensure the highest chance of success. We are renowned for our comfortable base camps, high-quality food, first-rate communications, and medical support services, all of which are overseen by a professional member of our team.
Most of our climbers have either climbed with us before, been referred by a friend who has climbed with us, or met one of our teams while attempting another peak and decided to join us for their next expedition. We work hard to facilitate safe, successful, and enjoyable expeditions for all of our climbers. Our track record and past climber testimonials prove we are highly competent experts in our field and love what we do!