Past Meetup

Mt. Kilimanjaro on New Year’s. (Climb Only. No Safari)

This Meetup is past

23 people went

Price: $2,300.00 /per person


This is the post for the Kilimanjaro climb only, without safari. If you want to do a safari afterward, go here:

If you are concerned about finances and want to RSVP and pay your deposit for the climb only [masked]), and try to add the safari later, that's OK. This way you are guaranteed your spot for the climb, and the safari can be added all the way up until 2 months before the trip.


Do you already know where you are going to spend New Year’s? No, not 2014, but 2015. No? Now you do: On top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa, and the tallest free standing mountain in the world.

Earlier this year I had the idea of doing Mt. Kilimanjaro. But as you already know, we don’t do things just the usual way. Oh no, not us! We take things to the next level! And so we did, and decided not only to do Kilimanjaro, but do it so that we will summit early morning on January 1, and watch the first sunrise of the New Year on top of world. Well, not literally on top of the world, but on top of Africa!

You know Kilimanjaro is on your bucket list. If it wasn't, well, it is now.

When you read the itinerary, you will say, “I have to make this happen!” So, make it happen! And forever you will remember that sunrise on top of the world, and one day you will be telling your grand-kids about it. ;-)

Now, one of the perks of doing this with me is that you all know I’m a fitness trainer and a VERY thorough organizer. Just like we did a few years ago when we climbed Mt. Whitney and all the high peaks in Southern California, I will make sure we will all be in top condition to maximize our chances of summiting. We will be climbing and hiking throughout the year, especially the second half of the year. We will do Whitney again and several other high elevation peaks. And even through the fall and early winter we will be keeping that high altitude conditioning so that when we get to Kilimanjaro, we will summit that bad boy. :-) Climbing together throughout the year will also allow us to get to know each other, which will be an important factor when we are up there: when we are with friends that have conquered other mountains together, we will motivate each other to keep on going and succeed.

We are going with Zara Tours. I researched A LOT in order to come up with the best company and the best price. And Zara is exactly that: a top-of-the-line company with very competitive prices. The difference between Zara and the other African companies is that Zara is the actual provider of all the services, thus eliminating middle men. Zara even owns the hotel in which we are going to stay!

Now, ZARA is not the cheapest company you will find. But it is the lowest priced top-of-the-line company. Simply because they own their entire operation. I suggest you do your own research, and you will agree with me. Now, when you look around you WILL find cheaper companies. Some A LOT cheaper. But you DON’T want to go with those companies. I know many people who have attempted Kilimanjaro. Some succeeded, and some didn’t. The quality of the company you use will greatly influence your chances of succeeding. My friend Macon Dunnagan has summited Kilimanjaro 32 times (yes, you read that right thirty two successful climbs!) and is an expert in Kilimanjaro, having even written a book about it. He has ALWAYS used Zara. Zara has a 95% client successful summit rate. That means that 95% of the people who go with Zara successfully summit! That is an AMAZING record. That’s why we are going with Zara.

Looking at our itinerary you will notice that we did two things that some of the other groups don't: I requested an extra day at Springland Hotel after we arrive. Most people start the climb the very next day after their arrival from a long 24hour+ flight. We are taking that extra day to enjoy an exotic Christmas in Africa and to rest. This way we can start the climb nice and rested. Also, we are taking a full day of only acclimatization at Shira Camp. Some companies/groups don't do that in order to cut cost. Our goal is to make the summit and enjoy our trip. Making sure we have every possible chance to stay rested and acclimatize is one the things we will do.

OK, here is our itinerary:

Macheme Route. Duration: 7 Days, Total hiking distance: About 90 km's

Sometimes called the Whisky Route. This is a popular route up steep paths through magnificent forests to gain a ridge leading through the moorland zones to the Shira Plateau. It then traverses beneath the glaciated precipices of the Southern Ice fields to join the Barafu Route to the summit. The Mweka Route is used for the descent.

Accommodation on the mountain is in tents, which the porters will pitch for you. You will need a sleeping bag, warm clothes and walking poles. This is a steep, tough trek within the limits of a fit individual used to walking in mountain areas.

Day 1: 25th Dec 2014: Arrive at the Kilimanjaro airport, picked and transferred to Springlands hotel or similar hotel for overnight. Bed and breakfast

Day 2: 26th Dec 2014: Leisure Day at Springlands hotel.

Day 3: 27th Dec 2014: Machame Gate (1,490 m/4,890 ft) to Machame camp (2,980 m/9,780 ft). Hiking time: 7 hours; Distance: About 18 km's - Habitat: Montane forest.Your day starts early with a briefing, followed by breakfast and a 45-minute drive from Moshi (910m) to the Machame village (1,490m). The guides and porters prepare and pack the supplies and your equipment in the village. Depending on the condition of the road, it is possible to drive from the village to the Machame gate, but if not, the muddy 3 km walk will take about 1 hour to complete. After registering at the gate office, you start your ascent and enter the rain forest. You will receive a lunch pack at the gate and you can also drink bottled water you bought at Springlands Hotel in Moshi. There is possibility of rain in the forest, which will transform the trail into a very soggy, muddy and slippery experience. In the evening the porters will boil drinking and washing water and the cook will prepare dinner, before you retire to your tent for the night. Night temperatures can already drop to freezing point at Machame campsite.

Day 4: 28th Dec 2014: Machame camp (2,980 m/9,780 ft ) to Shira camp (3,840 m/12,600 ft ). Hiking time: 6 hours; Distance: About 9 km's Habitat: MoorlandYou rise early at Machame camp and after breakfast you climb an hour or so to the top of the forest and then for 2 hours at a gentler gradient through the moorland zone. After a short lunch and rest, you continue up a rocky ridge onto the Shira plateau. By now you will be able to see in an easterly direction, the Western Breach with its stunning glaciers. You are now due west of Kibo and after a short hike you will reach the Shira campsite at 3,840m. The porters will boil drinking and washing water, before serving dinner. The night at this exposed camp will even be colder than the previous night, with temperatures dropping to well below freezing.

Day 5: 29th Dec 2014: Shira camp (3,840 m/12,600 ft)): Full Day Acclimatization Habitat: Moorland

Day 6: 30th Dec 2014: Shira Camp (3,840 m/12,600 ft) to Lava Tower (4,630 m/15,190 ft) to Barranco Camp (3,950 m/12,960 ft) 15 km, 7 hours. Habitat: Semi-Desert

The route now turns east into a semi desert and rocky landscape surrounding Lava Tower, where you reach an altitude of 4,630m after about a 5 hours walk. Lunch is served in a designated area before ascending the rocky screed path to Lava Tower (4,630m). Definitely the toughest day so far, It is normally around this point, where for the first time, some climbers will start to feel symptoms of breathlessness, irritability and headaches. After lunch you descent again by almost 680m to the Barranco camping area and after reaching the high altitude of 4,600m at Lava Tower, the true acclimatization benefit of this day becomes clear. This descent to Barranco camp takes about 2 hours and offers great opportunities to take some beautiful photographs of the Western Breach and Breach Wall. The camp is situated in a valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall, which should provide you with a memorable sunset while you wait for the preparation of your dinner and overnight at Barranco Camp site.

Day 7: 31st Dec 2014: Barranco Camp (3,950 m/12,960 ft) to Karanga Valley to Barafu Camp (4,550 m/14,930 ft), Hiking time: 7 hours. Distance: About 13 km's. Habitat: Alpine desert.

Totally exposed to the ever-present gales the tents are pitched on a narrow, stony, and dangerous ridge. Make sure that you familiarize yourself with the terrain before dark to avoid any accidents. The summit is now a further 1345m up and you will make the final ascent the same night. Prepare your equipment, ski stick and thermal clothing for your summit attempt. This should include the replacement of your headlamp and camera batteries and make sure you have a spare set available as well. To prevent freezing it will be wise to carry your water in a thermal flask. Go to bed at round about 19h00 and try to get some precious rest and sleep for not more than 5 Hours.

Day 8: 1st Jan 2015: Summit Day! Barafu Camp (4,550 m/14,930 ft) to Uhuru Peak (5,895 m/19,340 ft ) to Mweka (3,100 m/10,170 ft ). Hiking time; 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak, 7/8 hours to descend to Mweka. Distance: About 7 km's ascent, 23 km's descent. Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit.

You will rise around 23h30, and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the night. You will head in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. This 6-hour walk to Stella point is for many climbers, mentally and physically the most challenging on the route. At Stella Point (5685m) you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see (weather permitting). From Stella Point you will normally encounter snow all the way on your 2-hour ascent to Uhuru Peak. The time you will spend on the summit will depend on the weather conditions. Do not stop here for too long, as it will be extremely difficult to start again due to cold and fatigue. Enjoy your accomplishment and a day to remember for the rest of your life. The walk back to Barafu from the summit, takes about 3 hours. Here you will have a well earned but short rest and collect the rest of your gear, before heading down to Mweka Camp (3100m) for Dinner and Overnight.

Day 9: 2nd Jan 2015: Final descent, Mweka camp (3,100 m/10,170 ft):- Mweka Gate (1,980 m/6,500 ft). Hiking/Descend time: 3 hours. Distance: About 15 km's. Habitat: Forest.

After Breakfast, From the Mweka Gate you will continue down into the Mweka village, normally a muddy and long hour walk. In the Mweka village drive to Springlands Hotel and you will be served a delicious hot lunch!! You now drive back to Moshi for a long over due hot shower, Overnight in Springlands hotel. It is recommended and tips are highly appreciated at the end of their trip. Tips can be given to the Guide at Springlands Hotel. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Those climbers who reached Stella Point (5,685m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5,895m) receive gold certificates.

Day 10: 3rd Jan 2015: Transfer to Kilimanjaro airport for flight back home

This itinerary was put together exclusively for us by Zara. I designed this itinerary with the people at Zara, with the help of Macon. This is the single best itinerary I've ever seen for a Kilimanjaro and safari trip. That should go without saying, because we always do the best and always have the most fun. :-)

We have over a year to make sure you have the time off, to save the money, and do everything we need to do to make this happen. This is one of your dreams and there is no way you will pass on it! :-)

The cost will be 2,3000

Price includes:

National Park gate fees

Transport from Moshi to starting point on mountain and return to Moshi

Hut / camping fees and tents

Certified, experienced, English-speaking guides for all routes

Porters’ salaries

Rescue fees (required by the national park)

All meals on the mountain

Two nights accommodation in Moshi bed and breakfast, double or triple occupancy

Tents, foam sleeping pads, cooking equipment, and eating utensils

Oximeters are available upon request

Not included:

Tips for guides and porters

Mountain equipment (e.g. sleeping bags)

Some equipment is available for rent. See our rental price list (

Transfer to and from Kilimanjaro Airport ($20/person one-way)

Transfer from Arusha per private car hire $100 one way

Lunches and dinners at the Springlands Hotel

A 20% deposit [masked]) is required at sign up. After that you have until two months before the trip date to finish paying. Again, if you would like to also do the safari but are concerned about finances, you can RSVP and pay your deposit for the climb only, and try to add the safari later, that's OK. This way you are guaranteed your spot for the climb, and the safari can be added all the way up until 2 months before the trip.


I would like to have the deposits by February, or March at the latest. If you don't get it in by then, you will most likely still be able to RSVP, but of course the closest you get the more chances are that the hotel will be booked or permits all given out, etc. Also, the longer it takes for you to pay the deposit, the less time you have to save for the remaining balance. So put that deposit in ASAP and make that commitment! This is too great of a trip risk losing. :-)

All right, please e mail me if you have any questions. I can also give you my number or Zara's number. I'm sure we'll have many questions as the months go by. We have a great, strong and experienced team by our side who will answer all of them. Let's do this! Let's conquer Kilimanjaro and let's have the best adventure of our lives so far. I hope we’ll get to see each other a lot throughout the year as we train, and fulfill a dream together.