Countdown 44 days until I leave for Nairobi. I leave Houston on Oct. 6th. The 22hr flight gets me there by 7pm Oct 7th. Sleep, then wake up for the Trek.

Day 1: Nairobi – VSO project visit –  8th October
Meet in reception of the hotel in Nairobi at 11am. In the afternoon you will be visiting a VSO partner, such as ‘Lea Toto’ (meaning ‘to raise a child’ in Swahili), which provides healthcare for children living with HIV and AIDS in the slums of Nairobi. You will hear about the programme, share lunch with the community and visit beneficiaries. This evening you will have dinner and stay overnight in the hotel.
Day 2: Nairobi to Marangu –  9th October
After breakfast you will transfer to Tanzania (approx 4hrs). You will cross countries at the Namanga border and be driven to your hotel where you will have your briefing and pre-expedition kit check. Dinner and overnight in a hotel in Marangu.
Day 3: Forest trek (2,600m) – 3-4hrs trek –  10th October
After completing the necessary registration formalities at Marangu National Park gate, you transfer by Landrover to Rongai. The climb begins from the attractive traditional village of Nale Moru (1,950m) on a small path that winds through fields of maize and potatoes before entering a pine forest. The track then starts to climb consistently but gently, through attractive forest that shelters a variety of wildlife, including the beautiful Kilimanjaro Colobus monkey. These monkeys are black with a long ‘cape’ of white hair and a flowing white tail. The forest begins to thin out and the first camp is at the edge of the moorland zone (2,600m) with extensive views over the Kenyan plains. Dinner and overnight camping.
Day 4: Acclimatisation trek to Second Cave (3,450m) – 3-4hrs trek – 11th October
Today offers a morning trek up to the ‘Second Cave’ (3,450m). The walk is steady uphill with superb views of Kibo and the Eastern ice-fields on the crater rim. You can spend the afternoon enjoying the view over the Kenyan plains or taking a short acclimatisation walk up towards Third Cave. Dinner and overnight camping.
Day 5: Towards Mawenzi (3,600m) – 3-4hrs trek – 12th October
After breakfast you will head off and leave the main trail striking out across the moorland on a smaller path, towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi. After a hot lunch there is time to wander in the valleys and see the special vegetation. Your campsite is in a sheltered valley with giant senecios near Kikelewa Caves (3,600m).
Day 6: Mawenzi Tarn (4,330m) – 4-5hrs trek – 13th October
After breakfast there is short but steep climb up some grassy slopes which is rewarded by superb all round views and a tangible sense of wilderness. You will leave the vegetation behind shortly before reaching the next camp at Mawenzi Tarn (4,330m), spectacularly situated directly beneath the towering spires of Mawenzi. The afternoon will be free to rest or explore the surrounding area as an aid to acclimatisation. Dinner and overnight at campsite.
Day 7: Kibo Crater (4,750m) – 4-5hrs trek – 14th October
After breakfast you will trek across the lunar desert of the ‘Saddle’ between Mawenzi and Kibo to reach School Campsite (4,750m) at the bottom of the Kibo crater-wall. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent before a very early night! Dinner and overnight at campsite.
Day 8: Summit Day (5,895m) – 11-15hrs trek – 15th October
You will need to rise at around midnight (if you’ve managed to get some to sleep!) to commence the trek up the scree slopes to Gillman’s Point, continuing around the rim to the highest point Uhuru Point. Be sure to wear all your layers of thermal clothing. It can seem mild at first; but as you reach the exposed ridges, wind chill causes the temperature to plummet. First light is around 0530hrs and this really gives you hope to push on upwards. You should reach Gillman’s Point (5,685m, on the crater rim) just after dawn and if you are strong enough you may, after a short rest continue for another couple of hours round to Uhuru Point. After reaching Kilimanjaro’s summit (5,895m) and having enjoyed the amazing views, you will then return via Kibo (4,700m). This is to be the toughest day that most trekkers have ever experienced, involving 1,295m of ascent, 2,145m of descent, and 11-15 hrs walking. It is however VICTORY DAY! You will have a final camp meal and overnight at Horombo.
Day 9: Descend to Marangu Gate – 4-6hrs – 16th October
Today you will set off early and walk down through the moorland to Mandara Hut (2,700m). This is a long walk on a pretty gently sloping track that takes you from the lower heath into the rainforest and finally down to the National Park gate at Marangu (1,830m). After lunch you will be driven to your Marangu hotel for a well-appreciated shower and a celebratory dinner.
Day 10: International Travel – 17th October
This is the final day of the trip. You will either journey home or continue your exploration of East Africa.

After the Trek I’ll be taking vacation and traveling through Tanzania with 2 other VSO Trekkers. Also I’ll visit a friend of mine doing her Peace Corp work in Tanzania. I get back to the states on Oct 31!

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