Kilimanjaro Foothills Walk: Trails of Two Mountains

Summary

For the avid hiker who wants to diversify their trail experience with a multi-day cultural walk through two mountains: the foothills of Kilimanjaro, followed by the challenge and majesty of standing atop Mount Meru, Tanzania’s second highest peak.  The first four days of hiking, all between 1400 and 2200 meters, takes you on some remote and rugged trails through valleys and over ridges on the southern face of Kilimanjaro, where the Chagga people have established a successful intensive farming system of coffee, bananas, and maize amongst the verdant forest. These days acclimate and prepare you for 4,562-meter high Meru, offering unrivaled views of Kilimanjaro and the surrounding plains.

Brief Itinerary

Total:  10 DayS / 9 NightS

Day 1:  Arrival / Mbahe Village
Arrival and transfer to SENE’s Mbahe Village farm cottages at 1900m on the slopes of Kilimanjaro.
Drive time from Kilimanjaro Airport: 2 hours
Overnight: Mbahe Farm Cottages

Day 2:  Mbahe to Kidia
On our first day hiking, the path is long but easy, perfect for a start and letting us enjoy the landscape. We reach several superb viewpoints overlooking Moshi Town and up toward the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, which emerges as we leave Mbahe Village.
Approx. distance: 14km
Overnight: Fumyuhu School Camp

Day 3:  Kidia to Tema
The trail proceeds through more colorful mountain villages, past coffee and maize farms and rivers where you can refresh in the cool and crystal clear water. We pass Kidia village, the site of the first European settlement in the Kilimanjaro region.
Approx. distance: 12km
Overnight: Tema School Camp

Day 4:  Tema to Wondo
This hiking day pass through a dramatic landscape of high ridges and deep valleys, all covered by tropical rain forest, where we may spot blue monkeys hanging in the trees.  At the end of the day, we will inhale the sweet smell of the eucalyptus trees that create a natural border between the National Park and villages.
Approx. distance: 10km
Overnight: Kilimanjaro View Camp

Day 5:  Wondo to Mweka
Today we alternate passing through villages and back into the forest, crossing many rivers on wooden bridges or jumping from rock to rock. We encounter the traditional irrigation channels, used by local farmers for more than 100 years to grow coffee, bananas and many other fruits and vegetables.
Approx. distance: 10km
Overnight: Mtuy Farm Camp.

Day 6:  West Kilimanjaro
Hop in the vehicle for transfer to Simba Farm located in the West Kilimanjaro region. Relax, explore the farm and surrounding footpaths, and enjoy the spectacular sunset behind Mount Meru to which we will head tomorrow.
Drive time to Simba Farm: 2 hours
Overnight: Simba Farm

Day 7:  Momella Gate to Miriakamba Huts
At Momella Gate (1515m) we meet the climb support crew and start the climb to Miriakamba (2515m), our first overnight on the mountain. Following the more circuitous route on a 4WD drive track enables us to soak in the biological richness of the forested lower slopes, see the magnificent arched fig tree, and stop at the Maio Falls picnic site along the Jekukumia River that winds through the forest.  Keep your eyes open for dik dik, baboons, giraffe, and other retiring creatures of the forest.
Approx. distance: 13.5km
Overnight: Miriakamba Huts

Day 8:  Miriakamba Huts to Saddle Huts
Begin the day ascending through a grassy pastoral landscape before entering a forest in which elephant may be spotted.  At the rest stop Mgongo wa Tembo (Elephant’s back) we are provided beautiful views over the Crater Plain below and ash cone straight ahead.  Exit the forest and enter an alpine landscape leading to the Saddle Huts (3570m). After an afternoon rest, take the short (1.5 hour) round-trip acclimatization hike to Little Meru (3820m).
Approx. distance: 10.4km
Overnight: Saddle Huts

Day 9:  Saddle Huts to Meru Summit to Momella Gate / Arusha
Rise in the very early hours to start this ascent at night to reach the summit at sunrise. As the horizon starts to emit a dim light you can see Meru peak as well as the outlines of both Mawenzi and Kibo peaks on Kilimanjaro. Celebrate at the summit (4465m) and admire the views as far as Kenya. Descend to the Saddle Huts for a well-deserved rest and lunch before continuing to Momella Gate. Transfer to final accommodations in Arusha Town (Kibo Palace hotel) or Arusha Rural (Rivertrees Country Inn).
Approx. distance: 30km
Overnight: Kibo Palace Hotel or Rivertrees Country Inn

Day 10:  Arusha / Departure
For those staying in town, day at your leisure to visit Arusha, the bustling commercial capital of northern Tanzania. For those in the village, relax and explore the bucolic rural setting outside Arusha.

Trails of Two Mountains

Prices 2018

US $1,945   if 5+ people
US $2,045   if 4 people
US $2,345   if 3 people
US $2,725   if 2 people
Per Person, Double Occupancy (Single Supplement US$210)

Includes:

  • All accommodations for 10 days/9 nights
  • All meals for 10 days/9 nights through breakfast on last day
  • Services of hiking guide and camp crew
  • All camping and dining equipment (excluding sleeping bag)
  • Portable private toilet with bio-degradable waste system (Cleanwaste®) at all camps
  • Transfers to/from Kilimanjaro International Airport, Moshi, Arusha
  • All drinks at Mbahe
  • Filtered water (by Katadyn Expedition® filter) and coffee, teas, cocoa

Does Not Include

Tips and gratuities to leaders, guides, crew, or other staff; additional accommodations and meals made necessary by airline schedule changes, inability to complete the walk, or other factors; pre‐trip expenses such as immunizations, travel insurance, passports, and visas; international airfare; airport departure taxes; and any expenses of a personal nature such as souvenirs and laundry.

Photo Credits: Tim Leinbach, Nathalie Pigache