Tanzania 2017

Kilimanjaro – Rongai Route

July 24 – August 3, 2017

Join Science in the Wild for an off-the-grid science adventure as we make our way to the top of Africa: Kilimanjaro (5,895 m/19,341 ft.)!

We’ll travel via the less-frequented Rongai route which approaches the mountain from the North along the border of Tanzania and Kenya. You’ll get to experience the changing terrain as we journey through forest, moorland, and alpine desert landscapes. We’ll also enjoy exploring the glaciers in the summit crater.

This trip requires a minimum of 3 participants to run.

Includes: airport/hotel transfers; transport from Moshi to starting point on mountain and return to Moshi; National Park gate fees; hut/camping fees; certified local guide; porters’ salaries; rescue fees (required by the national park); all meals on the mountain; three nights’ accommodation in Moshi bed and breakfast (double/triple occupancy); tents, foam sleeping pads, cooking equipment, eating utensils, and portable toilet.

Excludes: international airfare; excess baggage fees (international); tips for guides and porters; mountain equipment (e.g. sleeping bags); lunches and dinners at the Moshi hotel

As a citizen-scientist participant you’ll be actively involved in the following:

WEATHER/CLOUDS: Collecting weather data (e.g., air temperature, humidity, wind speed) on trail and as we transition between the biomes/mountain zones (forest, moorland, alpine desert, summit glaciers) to understand day-to-day, day/night, and altitude variations. We’ll have a chance to download and plot this in the evenings. In addition, using your SITW provided cloud notebooks you’ll observe clouds and cloud changes during our journey up the mountain. Learn how to forecast the weather based on your observations. This will be crucial for our ascent!

GEOLOGY/HYDROLOGY: Helping us sample and measure soil, volcanic rock and water properties in the biomes/mountain zones (forest, moorland, alpine desert, summit glaciers) to document variations between the zones and altitudes. You’ll join us on a geo treasure hunt in the high alpine desert, searching for rocks with light-colored weathered “coatings” as these serve as an analog to rocks on the surface of Mars!

GLACIOLOGY: Exploring the summit glaciers up close. We’ll have a laser rangefinder for you to use for measuring glacier heights and variations in glacial layer thicknesses.  You’ll learn about how deforestation and other land use changes have affected these masses of ice. You’ll also learn how to figure out the age of these glaciers and predict how much time they might have left based on what you learn about air temperatures and past melting and sublimation rates.

ASTRONOMY: Using your SITW provided star notebooks, learn how to recognize constellations and how to use an astrolabe for predicting Sun, Moon, planet, and star positions. We’ll also break out a telescope at our camps.

We look forward to taking you on this unique journey to the top of one of the world’s 7 Summits!


Trip Itinerary

July 24 - Travel and Arrival Day

Plan to arrive today at the Kilimanjaro International airport, where you’ll be greeted by the SITW team and transferred to our hotel for the night.

July 25 - Moshi, with optional safari add-on

Today is a rest/adjustment day at the hotel with optional local safari at Arusha National Park (add-on: $350), where you can see hippos, monkeys, buffalo, elephants, and giraffes. In the evening we’ll have a discussion and presentation on the geology and volcanology of Kilimanjaro.

July 26 - Nale Muru and Simba Camp

After breakfast, we’ll be picked up in a Land Rover and drive for 4-5 hours through villages and coffee plantations to the gate at Nale Muru (1,950 m/6,398 ft). From there we will hike through fields of maize and potatoes until we enter the pine forest. We climb gently but consistently through the forest until we reach Simba Camp at 2,600 m/8,530 ft. (3-4 hours of walking). This is near the “First Cave” at the edge of what is called the moorland zone with extensive views over the Kenyan plains. We’ll chat geology here and explore the terrain.

July 27 - Kikelewa Camp

Today is a longer day as we hike from Simba camp to Kikelewa camp (5-6 hours walking) at 3679 m/12,070 ft. We’ll start by ascending to the Second Cave where we’ll have lunch and look at more rocks. After another few hours through moorland terrain, we’ll reach our camp in a sheltered valley with giant Senecio trees nearby. We’ll chat botany and geology here and explore the nearby Kikelewa Cave.

July 28 - Mawenzi Tarn Hut

We do a short steep climb up grassy slopes as we hike from Kikelewa camp to Mawenzi tarn hut (3-4 hours walking) today at 4303 m/14,117 ft. There’s plenty of exciting geology around given the towering spires of Mawenzi, so we’ll take some time to explore.

July 29 - Acclimatization/rest day

Today is a rest day with optional acclimatization hike to a higher altitude. We’ll also carry out small science experiments nearby to our camp.

July 30 - Kibo Hut

Today we’ll cross the high alpine desert of the saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo Hut (4-5 hours walking) at the bottom of Kibo’s crater wall (4730 m/15,518 ft.). The rest of the day will be spent rock hunting and resting.

July 31 - Summit Day

Today we wake up to a light breakfast, then prepare for our summit ascent. We plan to reach Gilman’s Point on the crater rim at 5,861 m/18,640 ft by mid-morning. Here, views of the crater and its glaciers greet us. Another 2 hours of hiking along the crater rim takes us to Kilimanjaro’s true summit, Uhuru Peak. After celebrating at the summit, we descend to the summit crater where we’ll explore the glaciers up close. We then descend back to Kibo Hut.

August 1 - Horombo Hut

Today we descend further to Horombo hut, where we stay overnight.


August 2 - Descent and return to Moshi

Today we make our way down from Horombo hut to Marangu gate (5-6 hours walking) with pick-up and transfer to our hotel for dinner and celebration!


August 3 - Travel Day

Transfer to Kilimanjaro airport for the flight back home today*.

*We recommend budgeting 1 – 2 extra days in Moshi (food and hotels at your own expense), in case of delays on the mountain – e.g., bad weather.

Please contact us for more information if interested in adding a short excursion to the beaches of Zanzibar, post-climb!

Ok, I'm interested, what do I do now?

Send us an email or give us a call to register your interest. We’ll provide you with a more detailed itinerary, route map, equipment list and required medical forms.

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