The Saddle crossover is a direct and shortest approach to Uhuru peak. The route has the advantage of incredible views similar to the Mawenzi route but lacks a day for acclimatization.
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On arrival at Nairobi Airport our driver will be waiting to take us to Loitokitok for overnight at Kibo Slopes Cottages. In the evening, our mountain guide gives us detailed briefing about the hiking adventure ahead of us.
We have an early breakfast at 7.00 am and drive 100km (about 2 hours) to the Nalemoru Gate (1950m) on Kilimanjaro. The mountain crew is already waiting here and after brief introductions we set off into the hiking adventure. En-route we may spot some Colobus monkeys and baboons among a variety bird life. The day’s 10 km walk takes us about 4 hours to the Sekimba Campsite (2700m) at the edge of the forest belt. Dinner and overnight stay will be in a fly camp at the designated camp site.
With excellent views of the massive Kibo towering above us, we pack up after breakfast and leave the camp at about 8.00 am. The day’s hike takes us through the moorland leading to the 3rd Caves (3900), where vegetation ends giving way to alpine desert. It is a 12km hike which may take 6 hours with a lunch break at the 2nd Caves, a scenic spot at 3300m in the middle of the moorland. Overnight stay will once again be in a fly camp.
Today we have an 8km hike before us. Due to the altitude, it takes us 4 to 5 hours. The views are spectacular as walk through the rocky moon-like landscapes. The path leads to the School Hut (4750m) our base for the summit ascend. In the afternoon, we relax and watch the cloud formation below us. An early dinner and sleep at sunset is necessary in preparation for the next day’s early and challenging program.
After the short night’s rest and a hot drink, our final ascend starts at about 1.30am. The 4km long path gradually gets steeper, taking us to the Gillman's point (5685m) at sunrise at 6.00am. We can watch the sun rise over the Mawenzi Peaks in the East as it illuminates the magnificent Northern Ice Fields. After a short break, we proceed along the crater rim to the Uhuru peak (5895m) reaching there between 8.00 and 9.00am. After a summit photo session we descend to Kibo Hut for lunch. Another 3 hour hike takes us to Horombo (3720m) where we find our dinner and spend the night again in a fly camp.
After breakfast and a final glance at the Kibo summit which we have conquered, we embark on the final leg. The 6 to 8 hour hike takes us from the moorland into a beautiful natural forest characterized by giant ancient trees. After lunch at Mandara, we will get to the Marangu Gate (1800m) at 1.00-3.00pm depending on our speed and strength. Here, we will be awarded certificates for a successful climb & bid the crew goodbye. We drive to Moshi for our dinner and overnight stay at Aishi Hotel.
After breakfast, depending on the timing of our flight we transfer to Kilimanjaro airport for departure.