13 Days Mount Kilimanjaro Hike and Uganda Gorilla Safari
13 Days Mount Kilimanjaro Hike and Uganda Gorilla Safari
Mountain Gorilla tracking experience is one of Africa’s greatest wildlife encounters which you must put on your bucket list while traveling to Uganda, Following the gorilla census, Uganda’s Bwindi impenetrable national park is currently home to the world’s half population of endangered Mountain Gorillas that live in the countries dense rain forest near the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.
With very critical habitat gorillas are classified as endangered species and there is a limit on how many people can visit the Mountain gorillas in a day, currently, Uganda permits 8 people per family to view the gorillas once for 1 hour.
The Machame route, also known as the “Whiskey” route, is the most popular route on the Kilimanjaro hike. Machame’s draw is in its scenic beauty. However, the trail is considered difficult, steep, and challenging, particularly due to its shorter itinerary. Therefore this route is better suited for more adventurous people or those with some high altitude, hiking, or backpacking experience.
The route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the south, beginning with a short drive from Moshi to Machame Gate. The path leads hikers through the rain forest to Shira Plateau. Here, many of Kilimanjaro’s routes converge. Then the route turns east and traverses underneath Kilimanjaro’s Southern Ice Field on a path known as the Southern Circuit before summiting from Barafu. Descent is made via the Mweka route.
- scenic views
- Reaching the Uhuru summit
- Mountain gorilla trekking experience
- Chimpanzee trekking experience
Detailed safari itinerary
Day 1: Drive from Entebbe to Lake Mburo national park
After morning breakfast you will depart Entebbe via Mabamba swamp, Mabamba is located east of Entebbe; upon arrival, you will take motorized canoes to the swamp in search of the endangered shoebill stork and other beautiful birds after you continue the Equator line where you will stop for pictures and coffee then after you will proceed to Lake Mburo national park arriving in time for dinner and relaxation.
Day 2: Drive to Bwindi impenetrable national park
After morning breakfast you will bid farewell to the lodge and drive through the park for an en-route game drive in search of more wildlife like zebras, impalas, eland, and birds, this drive will take you through some of the most dramatic landscapes in Uganda, upon arrival at the lodge you will check-in for relaxation dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Gorilla trekking experience in Bwindi forest
A day full of expectations will start with early morning breakfast, after you will dress up in your trekking gear and drive to the park headquarters for a briefing, after the briefing you will then start your trek on foot into the rain forest in search of the mountain gorillas, upon locating the mountain gorillas you will spend 1 hour with them and later return to the lodge for relaxation and overnight.
Day 4: Drive to Kibale forest national park
After morning breakfast you will depart Bwindi impenetrable national park for Kibale forest national park en route you will enjoy a boat cruise on the Kazinga channel where you may see big herds of elephants, Hippos, Crocodiles, Buffalos, and abundant birdlife in the park after the cruise you will then depart for Kibale arriving later in the evening for dinner and overnight.
Day 5: Chimpanzee trekking experience in Kibale forest
After morning breakfast you will be transferred to the park station in Kanyanchu for a briefing, after the briefing, you will then start your trek into the forest to trek the chimpanzees, this can take anything between 3-4 hours depending on fast you find the chimps and after locating the chimpanzees you will spend 1 hour with them and later return to the lodge for relaxation and overnight.
Day 6: Drive from Kibale to Entebbe for your connecting flight to Kilimanjaro
After morning breakfast you depart for Entebbe on arrival you will have short relaxation and refreshment and later depending on the time of your flight you will be transferred to the airport for your departure flight to Kilimanjaro, on arrival you will be received and transferred to your lodge for overnight.
Day 7: Machame gate – Machame camp: 10.75k /7mi | 5-6 hrs. | Rainforest
Elevation: 1811m/5942ft to 3021m/9911ft
Altitude gained: 1210m
Departing from Moshi a 45-minute drive will take you through the Village of Machame to the Kilimanjaro National Park Gate. We will patiently wait for our permits to be issued while watching the hustle and bustle of operations as many crews prepare for the journey ahead Enjoy the beautiful rainforest scenery and windy trails while your guide tells you about the local flora and fauna and natural wildlife. At these lower elevations, the trail can be muddy and quite slippery. We highly recommend gaiters and trekking poles here.
Day 8: Machame camp – Shira camp: 5.3km/3mi | 4-5hrs | moorland
Elevation: 3021m/9911ft to 3839m/12,595ft
Altitude gained: 818m
After a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast, we emerge from the rain forest and continue on an ascending path, crossing the valley along a steep rocky ridge. The route now turns west onto a river gorge until we arrive at the Shira campsite. Temperatures begin to drop.
Day 9: Shira camp – lava tower – Barranco camp: 10.75km/6mi | 5-6hrs | semi-desert
Elevation: 3839m/12,595ft to 3986m/13,077ft
Altitude gained: 147m
Although you end the day around the same elevation as when you began, this day is very important for acclimatization. From Shira Plateau we continue east up a ridge, passing the junction towards the Kibo peak before we then continue, South East towards the Lava Tower, called the “Shark’s Tooth” (elev. 4650m/15,250ft). Shortly after the tower, we come to a second junction, which leads to the Arrow Glacier. We then continue to descend Barranco Camp overnight.
Day 10: Barranco camp – Karanga camp: 5.2km/3mi | 3-4hrs | alpine desert
Elevation: 3986m/13,077ft to 4034m/13,235ft
Altitude gained: 48m
After breakfast, we continue on a steep ridge up to the adventurous Barranco Wall to the Karanga Valley and the
junction, which connects, with the Mweka Trail. This is one of the most impressive days to see the power, agility, and strength of your crew zip over this wall with what appears such ease. Overnight at Karanga Camp.
Day 11: Hike Karanga camp – Barafu camp: 3.3km /2 mi | 3-4hrs | alpine desert
Elevation: 4034m/13,235ft to 4662m/15,295ft
Altitude gained: 628m
We continue up toward Barafu Camp, and once reached you have now completed the South Circuit, which offers a variety of breathtaking views of the summit from many different angles. An early dinner and rest as we prepare for summit night. Overnight at Barafu Camp.
Day 12: Barafu camp – summit: 4.86km /3mi up | 5-7hrs | – Mweka camp: 11.5km /7.2mi down | 5-6hrs | glaciers, snowcapped summit
Elevation: 4662m/15,295ft to 5895m/19,341ft
Altitude gained: 1233m
Descent to 3106m/10,190ft
Altitude lost: 2789m
Excitement is building as morning comes with an early start between midnight and 2 a.m. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek.
We continue our way to the summit between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers trying to stay warm and focused on the amazing sense of accomplishment that lies ahead. With a switchback motion in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. You will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise during your short rest here. Faster hikers may view the sunrise from the summit. From here on your remaining 1 hour ascent to Uhuru Peak, you are likely to encounter snow all the way.
Congratulations, one step at a time you have now reached Uhuru Peak the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the entire continent of Africa!
After photos, celebrations, and maybe a few tears of joy we take a few moments to enjoy this incredible accomplishment. We begin our steep descent down to Mweka Camp, stopping at Barafu for lunch and a very brief rest. We strongly recommend gaiters and trekking poles for uncooperative loose gravel and volcano ash terrain. Well-deserved rest awaits you to enjoy your last evening on the mountain. Overnight Mweka Camp.
Day 13: Mweka camp – Mweka gate – Moshi: 9.1km/6mi |3-4hrs | rainforest
Elevation: 3106m/10,190ft to 1633m/5358ft
Altitude lost: 1473m
After breakfast and a heartfelt ceremony of appreciation and team bonding with your crew, it’s time to say goodbye. We continue the descent down to the Mweka Park Gate to receive your summit certificates. As the weather is drastically warmer, the terrain is wet, muddy, and steep and we highly recommend Gaiters and trekking poles.
From the gate, a vehicle will meet you at Mweka village to drive you back to your hotel in Moshi (about 30 minutes). Enjoy a long overdue hot shower, dinner, and celebrations!!