Three-peaks challenge: Lengai, Meru and Kilimanjaro | Discover Africa Safaris
 

15

days
Safari: Tanzania

Three-peaks challenge: Lengai, Meru and Kilimanjaro

Climb Tanzania's three magnificent peaks back-to-back and feel a deep sense of triumph

Price on Request

Our African Travel Expert

Megan Warrington

This challenge is for the serious climber or mountaineer, since conquering Tanzania’s three peaks is no easy feat. Start your three-peaks challenge by climbing Tanzania’s only active volcano, Ol Doinyo Lengai (The Masai Holy Mountain) at the bottom of the Great Rift Valley. Next, tackle Mount Meru at 4,565 metres – a great way to acclimatise for Kili. End your expedition with Kilimanjaro’s Umbwe route, the quickest and most challenging route up Kilimanjaro to 5,895 metres. Definitely not for the faint-hearted!

COST OF SAFARI

Price on Request

SEASON

Jan

FebPeak

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MayLow

JunPeak

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NovPeak

Dec

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What to Expect on This Safari

This popular itinerary can be customised to match your budget and travel dates by adding/removing a few days or selecting different lodges

day

1

Arrival and off to Lake Natron

You'll be met at Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro International Airport and transferred by road via Arusha to the Great Rift Valley to the west. At the bottom of the rift, you'll turn north towards Lake Natron at the foot of Ol Doinyo Lengai. Relax during the afternoon and have an early night, in preparation for starting your climb just after midnight. Overnight at Lake Natron Camp, with dinner included.

Meals: Dinner 
Transport: Private safari vehicle and transfer to Lake Natron included

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day

2

Lengai in a day

You'll be transferred to the mountain to start your ascent of Lengai at midnight. Lengai is steep and because of recent volcanic eruptions, it's loose underfoot so you really need to watch your step. What makes Lengai really tough is that you go both up and down in a single day. Enjoy the sunrise and the views up the Rift Valley as far as Kenya. Start your descent after an hour or so at the summit, reaching the bottom again around midday. Enjoy lunch and a rest before you're driven to Lake Natron, one of the major flamingo breeding grounds in East Africa. Overnight at Lake Natron Camp, with your meals included.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner 
Transport: Private safari vehicle and drive to flamingos included

day

3

Rest in Arusha and get ready for Meru

You'll drive back to Arusha with the first of your peaks already under your belt. Enjoy a day of rest and preparation for Mount Meru, which starts first thing the following morning. After a gear check and climbing briefing, you'll overnight at Arusha’s Blues and Chutney, with your meals included.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Transport: Private safari vehicle and transfer to Arusha included

Blues and Chutney in Arusha, TanzaniaBedroom at Blues and Chutney in Arusha, TanzaniaBedroom at Blues and Chutney in Arusha in TanzaniaFood at Blues and Chutney in Arusha, TanzaniaInterior of Blues and Chutney in ArushaDining at Blues and Chutney in Arusha, TanzaniaBlues and Chutney in Arusha in TanzaniaInterioir Blues and Chutney in Arusha in TanzaniaBedroom Blues and Chutney in Arusha, TanzaniaBedroom Blues and Chutney in Arusha

day

4

It's like a walking safari

In the morning you'll be collected from your hotel and taken to Arusha National Park. At the Momella gate, you'll complete registration formalities before setting off with your guide and armed ranger – there's lots of wildlife in the forests. The forest section is especially scenic, with strangler figs and the possibility of seeing buffalo grazing in one of the clearings. In the late afternoon, you'll reach a viewpoint before heading to your lodgings. Overnight at Miriakamba Hut, with meals included.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Transport: Transfer to Arusha National Park included

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day

5

To little Meru

Set off from Miriakamba, walking initially in the forest zone. In a few hours, you'll reach Saddle Hut in the alpine desert zone. After lunch and a rest, you can go on a walk to the summit of Little Meru for striking views. Overnight at Saddle Hut, with your meals included.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Transport: On foot

day

6

To the summit

Summit day has an early start at around midnight. There's a one-hour steep climb to Rhino Point (3,800 metres), then the path continues along a ridge of ash and rock to reach Cobra Point (4,350 metres). The summit of Socialist Peak (4,566 metres) is an hour further on a steep path with magnificent views of Kilimanjaro. Kilimanjaro can normally be seen clearly from here and the sheer cliffs of the crater fall dramatically 300 metres or more. Return to Saddle Hut for brunch before continuing down to overnight at Miriakamba Hut, with meals included.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Transport: On foot

day

7

Get your feet up

The final section of your descent takes up to three hours to return to the vehicles. You'll say farewell to your crew and have time for a short picnic lunch and game drive before returning to Arusha town for a well-deserved shower. Overnight at Blues and Chutney, with your meals included.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Transport: Transfer to Arusha from Mount Meru included

day

8

Prepare for Kili

Today is a rest day, and you're going to need the break as you prepare for the big one, Mount Kilimanjaro. Get your gear cleaned and sorted out while the support team gets everything ready for Kili. Overnight at Blues and Chutney, with your meals included.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Transport: None – rest day

day

9

Up to Umbwe, a long day

After breakfast, you'll be driven to the Machame gate to complete registration formalities before going through villages with coffee and banana plantations to the Umbwe gate (1,641 metres). This is where your climb will start. The air is thick with moisture and the path is usually muddy. The route initially follows a forestry track winding up through the natural rain forest. It then narrows and steepens to climb the ridge between the Lonzo and Umbwe rivers, with huge trees surrounding you. The path offers views of deep gorges and if you're lucky, glimpses of Kilimanjaro towering above you in the distance. The camp perches between huge trees and thick undergrowth. Overnight at Umbwe Cave Camp (2,850 metres), with meals included.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Transport: Transfer to Umbwe gate included

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day

10

Umbwe ridge to Great Barranco

Shortly after you leave the camp the forest starts thinning and is replaced by rockier terrain, sparser undergrowth and straggly, moss-covered trees. The path continues along a narrow but spectacular ridge. As you gain altitude, you'll catch glimpses of Kilimanjaro rising against the blue sky ahead of you. The path flattens as you approach Barranco Valley. From the Umbwe ridge the route descends slightly to Barranco Camp, which is situated in the valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall. This should provide you with a memorable sunset. Overnight at Barranco Camp, with your meals included.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Transport: On foot

day

11

Over Barranco wall to Karanga Valley

After spending a night at the Great Barranco Wall – a very imposing sight – you'll make your way up this obstacle, which usually turns out to be easier than expected. Topping out just below the Heim Glacier, you'll now appreciate just how beautiful Kilimanjaro really is. The route then heads down through the Karanga Valley, over intervening ridges and valleys, and joins up with the Mweka route. This is the preferred route down from the summit, so remember it. The last water stop on the route is the Karanga Valley, as no water is available at Barafu Camp. Overnight at Karanga Camp, with your meals included.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Transport: On foot

day

12

A short day but tonight you start

After breakfast at Karanga Camp, turn left up the ridge and follow the route that climbs 640 metres towards Barafu Camp. Barafu is the Swahili word for ice and it's a bleak and inhospitable camping area to spend the night. Totally exposed to the ever-present gales, the tents are pitched on a narrow, stony and dangerous ridge. Make sure you familiarise yourself with the terrain before dark to avoid accidents. The summit is still 1,214 metres higher and you'll launch your final ascent attempt the same night. Prepare your equipment, hiking poles and thermal clothing. This should include replacing your headlamp and camera batteries and making sure you have a spare set too. To prevent freezing, carry your water in a thermal flask. Go to bed as early as you can and try to get some precious sleep. Overnight at Barafu Camp, with meals included.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Transport: On foot

day

13

Up to Stella and Uhuru

You'll get up around 11:30pm, have tea and biscuits, then shuffle into the night. You'll head north-west and climb through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. For many climbers the six-hour walk to Stella Point is mentally and physically the most challenging on the route. At Stella Point (5,739 metres) you'll stop for a short rest and be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you're ever likely to see (weather permitting). From Stella Point you'll normally encounter snow all the way on your two-hour ascent to Uhuru Peak. At Uhuru Peak, enjoy your accomplishment and a day to remember for the rest of your life. The time you spend on the summit will depend on the weather conditions. Don't stop here too long because it'll be extremely difficult to get going again due to cold and fatigue.

The walk back to Barafu from the summit takes about three hours. Here you'll have a well-earned but short rest and collect the rest of your gear before heading down to Millennium Camp (3,820 metres). The route isn't difficult and will take you down the rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually into the forest. The camp is in the upper forest where mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Dinner and washing water will be prepared. Overnight at Millennium Camp, with your meals included.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner 
Transport: On foot

day

14

All the way down

After an early breakfast, you'll start the five to seven-hour scenic hike back to the park gate. Some hikers experience knee problems which could make the descent longer than planned. At Mweka gate you sign your name and details in a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Those who reached Stella Point (5,739 metres) get green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5,895 metres) get gold certificates. At Mweka gate you'll have a small three-peaks celebration before being driven back to Arusha to enjoy a shower and a few beers. Overnight at Blues and Chutney, with your meals included.

You'll have a small three-peaks celebration before being driven back to Arusha to enjoy a shower and a few beers. Overnight at Blues and Chutney, with your meals included.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Transport: Transfer from Mweka gate to Arusha included

day

15

Fly home

After breakfast, you'll be taken to Kilimanjaro International for your flight home.

Talk to us about a possible Zanzibar Serengeti safari extension to your three-peaks challenge.

Safari Map

This is where you'll travel on an 15 -day safari like this

Three-peaks challenge: Lengai, Meru and Kilimanjaro (EA 15 days) safari map

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