From the roof of Africa to the floor of Ngorongoro

Experience some of Kenya and Tanzania's most famous natural wonders on this Lonely Planet Experience powered by Intrepid. This 16-day adventure will see you tackling the most challenging and scenic way to the roof of Africa on a trek along the Machame route to summit of Mt Kilimanjaro. Once you descend, embark on an overland journey across the Serengeti plains and enjoy multiple game drives to seek out Africa's iconic animals. Descend to the floor of the gigantic Ngorongoro Crater in pursuit of elephants, lions, and elusive rhino. This tour is non-stop active action that's perfect for independent travellers who love a challenge.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Nairobi, Kenya
Finish
Moshi, Tanzania
Destinations
Kenya, Tanzania
Style
Basix
Theme
Lonely Planet Experience, Overland, Walking & Trekking, Wildlife
Code
YKXCC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 22

A powerful partnership

Lonely Planet and Intrepid Travel share the same philosophy: we help curious people explore the world.

Why you'll love this trip

  • Do Mt Kilimanjaro via the incredible scenic Machame route, passing through cloud forest and moorland zones to the glaciated precipices of Kibo’s south face. 

  • You'll be in great hands during your trek – with one guide for every two passengers – so all you’ll have to worry about is soaking up the scenery and keeping your footing!

  • Explore the Serengeti National Park in depth with four game drives – two early-morning and two late-afternoon – through this spectacular wildlife arena.

  • Take a mind-blowing safari across the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater in an open-roof 4WD for a chance to see the endangered black rhinoceros.

  • We’re an official partner with the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project. Hike easier knowing that while our porters are taking care of you, someone is looking out for them.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Camping in the Serengeti National Park with no barriers between you and the animals is amazing, but it's important to heed the safety advice of your leader. You'll be briefed on arrival.

  • This is an overland trip. That means you’ll be travelling with a group in a purpose-built vehicle, visiting remote communities, setting up your tent (unless you’re on an Original or Comfort style trip), occasionally roughing it in the bush with no facilities, and getting the best possible views of the Big Five. For more info on this style of travel, see our Africa overland page at intrepidtravel.com/africa/overland.

  • You'll need a good level of fitness for the Kili section of this trip. The distances may not be long, but the altitude makes it much harder than your average uphill hike.

  • Tried and tested all-purpose hiking equipment is required for the Mt Kilimanjaro trek. Temperatures at night can get very low when you're above 3500 metres, so warm clothing and a sleeping bag are essential. You can hire this equipment if need be.

  • Your safety comes first. Our experienced guides will monitor each passenger for any signs of acute mountain sickness. If you show any signs, you'll descend immediately with a guide.

  • Hiking for several days without a shower can be tough – be prepared for some dust and dirt. A mask, wet wipes and face washer may become your best friends!

  • As the early bird catches the worm, the early camper sights the animals. There will be many early starts either to make use of the better safari time or to beat the morning traffic on long travel days.

Itinerary

Jambo! Welcome to Kenya. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm, and you can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important briefing. If you arrive early, perhaps head out and explore the National Museum of Kenya, the Karen Blixen Museum or the highly recommended Bomas of Kenya, where traditional homesteads of several Kenyan tribes are displayed in an outdoor village.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Nairobi - City Experience Urban Adventure - USD55
  • Nairobi - From Farm to Feast In Focus Urban Adventure - USD86
  • Nairobi - Giraffes & Elephants Urban Adventure - USD70
  • Nairobi - A Day with the Maasai Urban Adventure - USD140
  • Nairobi - Hell's Gate National Park Urban Adventure - USD160
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

Petty theft is common in Nairobi. As a general rule, the safest place for your valuables is on your person in a neck wallet or money belt, though your hotel room or reception may have a safe in which to store things. If you do decide to go exploring, make sure you get local advice on where it is and isn't safe to walk – particularly for later in the day. Be careful not to leave bags unattended on chairs or floors when in bars or restaurants. Without being paranoid, appearing vigilant is a great deterrence to would-be thieves. Also, make scans of important travel documents and email them to yourself – this will save you hours of paperwork if anything does happen.
Board your safari vehicle and travel west (approximately 8–9 hours). Today’s destination is near the hilltop town of Kisii, which will be the last chance to stock up on supplies before heading into Tanzania. Crossing the incredibly scenic Great Rift Valley on your way to the tea-growing highlands is a fantastic introduction to the landscapes of Kenya. You will pass through the ancient homeland of the Maasai. Keep a look out for these tall tribesmen dressed in distinctive scarlet robes as they tend to their prized herds of cattle. The roads on the way are pretty rough, but there will be chances to stop and stretch your legs, including a local homestead lunch in the town of Kaprong. The food for the lunch is grown and sourced locally, plus the lunch is a great way to learn from and interact with the women from the local village.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
You will be accommodated in either very simple shared rooms (with bedding provided) or in a camp which will be set up for the night. There is no wi-fi available at the camp.
Travel towards the Kenya–Tanzania border and to the shores of Lake Victoria (approximately 7–8 hours). This is not only Africa's largest lake – it's the largest tropical lake in the world. Its shores are shared by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The guided bike excursion is a great activity to stretch the legs, learn about the town, visit an African marketplace and meet some locals. Or you can simply chill out on the lakeside sand with a cold drink. Make the most of the ATM and local market to stock up for your next three days of adventuring in the wilderness. You will camp on the shores of the lake tonight, at one of its least visited campgrounds, on the outskirts of a small town called Musoma.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kisii - Soapstone carving cooperative
Optional Activities
  • Musoma - Guided Bike Excursion - USD20
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
For today’s bike ride, if you wish to wear a helmet, you’ll need to bring your own as our local provider does not supply them for this leisurely cycle.

Depending on availability, you might be able to upgrade to a room for tonight. No wi-fi is available at your accommodation this evening.
Travel from Lake Victoria to the gate of Serengeti National Park on a smooth road (approximately 3 hours). Enter the Serengeti and enjoy a game drive and picnic lunch en route to your campsite. The wide-open plains of the Serengeti see myriad colours during the year – green after the rains, brown and burnt in the dry season – but one thing is a constant: this never-ending landscape is home to thousands upon thousands of animals travelling as herds across the plains. This region gets its name from the local Maasai word ‘siringet’, meaning the place where the land moves on forever, and you’ll begin to understand why on your game drive today. Enjoy a picnic lunch, then head to your campsite which is right in the action – located within the park itself! At night, listen out for the sounds of nocturnal animals as you drift off to sleep.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Serengeti National Park - Overland Vehicle Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Our camp within the Serengeti National Park does not have a fence to separate the camp from the animals. This is quite the experience as animals such as buffalo and hyenas often come close to camp after sundown. On arrival at the camp, your leader will give a detailed safety briefing on what is required to ensure the safety of the group.

Tonight’s camp is basic with limited running water and no upgrades or wi-fi available.
Start the day nice and early with a game drive at dawn. You will head out while the animals are at their most active, then head back to camp for brunch at around 11 am. This morning, there’s also the option of a balloon ride over the park today. If you have pre-booked this activity, you will be picked up before dawn and driven to the launch site. After a safety briefing, glide through the dawn, sometimes at tree height, where you’ll get some amazing photo opportunities. Sometimes you will ascend, getting an overview of the vastness of the plains and the early morning movements of the herds. After landing, dig into a delicious bush breakfast, then return to your camp. After spending the warmer part of the day relaxing with your herd – just as the animals do – depart again at dusk for another adventure through the wild, returning in time for dinner.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Serengeti National Park - Overland Vehicle Game Drive
Optional Activities
  • Serengeti National Park - Balloon Ride (from price) - USD599
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
The balloon ride is offered as a pre-booked service which will guarantee you a place. If you would rather wait and try to get a better price by booking this locally on the ground, you are welcome to, but keep in mind that this is a popular activity and places are limited. Please note if you choose this activity you will miss most of the included game drive with your group.
Enjoy a leisurely game drive and picnic lunch on your way out of the park today. Soak up final views of the animals and landscapes that make the national park such an incredible spot, before entering the Ngorongoro Conservation area. Your destination today is the rim of the crater about 3 hours away. Your campsite overlooks jagged volcanic peaks and rolling grasslands thousands of feet below – you can be sure that there are few campsites in the world with a better view than this!
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Serengeti National Park - Overland Vehicle Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
You will notice some Maasai villages in the region of the Ngorongoro Crater offering a cultural experience. Intrepid recommends avoiding these villages, as they can impact negatively on the Maasai culture and travellers' perceptions of it by selling an artificial experience.

The campsite has flush toilets and hot showers available, but there is no wi-fi or optional upgrades. It can get very cold on the crater rim, particularly during the winter months (June to August) when temperatures drop below zero. Even in the summer months it can be surprisingly chilly at night, so be sure to bring some warm clothes.
A gigantic, perfectly intact volcanic crater, Ngorongoro is home to some 30,000 animals. Among these are endangered black rhinos, lions, leopards, elephants, impalas, zebras and hippos. The crater floor offers excellent wildlife viewing all year round, and the photo opportunities here are unrivalled. Later, join the local community for a guided afternoon stroll around the farming areas, milling machine and local homes before enjoying a traditional meal. Your campsite this evening is located in Mto wa Mbu.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ngorongoro Crater - 4x4 Game Drive
  • Mto Wa Mbu - Village walk & local dinner
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Tonight, there may be the option to upgrade your accommodation (subject to availability).
Bidding farewell to your truck and crew, this morning we make our way back to Arusha where will catch a morning shuttle bus from Arusha to Moshi in the foothills (1300 metres / 4500 ft) of Mt Kilimanjaro (approximately 4 hours). This section of the trip is unaccompanied by a leader. The shuttle departs from the Impala hotel at around 9 am once your group drops you off. In the early evening there is a full briefing and kit inspection by an experienced Kilimanjaro climber.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mount Kilimanjaro - Trek Briefing
  • Mount Kilimanjaro - Complimentary equipment hire (sleeping bag and walking poles) - must be requested at time of booking
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
This is a combination trip, which means the make up of your group and group leader will change today.

It's very important you attend the welcome meeting/trek briefing this evening. Please check in the lobby of your accommodation for information on exactly where and when this meeting will take place. Your insurance details and next of kin information will also be collected by your new leader.

Meet your guides and porters after breakfast and take the opportunity to organise your gear before setting off on a 1-hour transfer by road to the Machame Gate – the south western entrance to the Mt Kilimanjaro National Park. On the way, stop into one of the clothes lending offices of Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Projects and learn how their program, supported by the Intrepid Foundation, is assisting porters. Begin your hike around lunch time, starting with a pleasant stroll through the rainforest, where many species of brightly coloured birds can be seen. Set up camp at Machame in the mid-afternoon ready for your first night on Kilimanjaro. The huts fell into disrepair some years ago, so with the help of the porters you will set up tents for the night. Enjoy an evening meal prepared by the porters and savour the first night of sleeping outdoors.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Fully catered trek including National Park entrance fees, climbing fee, tented camps with toilet tent & rescue services (7 days)
  • Mount Kilimanjaro - Porterage of 1 bag (9kg/20lb max)
  • Mount Kilimanjaro - Return transfers from hotel to park gate
  • Mount Kilimanjaro - Emergency oxygen and comprehensive first aid kits
  • Moshi - Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
From Kibo Hotel to Machame Huts, ascend to 3000 metres (9800 feet) and walk for 15 kilometres (approximately 6–8 hours).

Intrepid is an official partner of IMEC’s Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP). This means that all of our climbs have been assessed and scored based on a number of criteria, all of which are designed to ensure the proper treatment of porters on the Mountain.
Your second day on the mountain takes you out of the rainforest and up a steep ridge into moor land. Watch as the vegetation grows sparser as you ascend along the path to the Shira Plateau – soon, several distinct species, including the giant groundsel and lobelia, will be the only plants dominating the harsh landscape. Spend the night camping on the edge of the plateau and be treated to a golden sunset over the snow-dusted peaks of Kibo.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
From Machame Camp to Shira Camp, ascend to 3840 metres (12,600 ft), covering 12 kilometres (approximately 5–7 hours).
Enjoy a fantastic walk as you continue through the rolling landscape and deep river valleys. The undulating landscape offers a great chance to acclimatise and as you ascend to the more rugged areas of the mountain, there are great views of the Kibo Massif and its magnificent surrounds. Tonight is spent at Barranco Camp.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
From Shira Camp to Barranco Camp, ascend to 3900 metres (12800 feet) and cover 12 kilometres (approximately 5–7 hours).
Today is an important acclimatisation day as you’re only going to be walking during the morning. First, climb the Barranco Wall (not a technical climb) and then follow the Kibo South Circuit. If the weather is clear, you can expect to have some magnificent views of Kibo's southern glaciers. Arrive at your camp around lunchtime and rest your legs as you enjoy great views by the river in the Karanga Valley.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
From Barranco Camp to Karanga Valley Camp, descend to 4200 metres (13,780 feet) and cover 7 kilometres (approximately 4 hours).
From Karanga, head up to the intersection of the South Circuit and the Mweka route where you’ll start climbing up a ridge to Barafu Hut. Barafu is Swahili for ‘ice’ – it can be very cold here at night! You should arrive at Barafu around late lunchtime, allowing plenty of time to rest before the final summit attempt very early tomorrow morning.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
From Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp, ascend to 4600 metres (15,100 feet) and cover 3.5 kilometres (approximately 4 hours).
At around midnight you’ll be woken by the guides with some hot tea and biscuits to give you energy before the long, difficult ascent up scree, and sometimes snow, to Stella Point (5780 metres). Pass the giant Rebmann Glacier en route and hopefully arrive at Stella Point in time for sunrise and superb views of the crater, the glacier glistening in the morning sun. From Stella it’s a further 1-hour hike along the rim of the crater to Uhuru Peak (5896 metres), the highest point in Africa. From the summit, take in unforgettable views of the crater, the ice fields and the vast and distant East African plains below. After photos and back-patting, begin your descent. Back at Barafu Camp, enjoy a well-earned lunch and much thicker air! After lunch, continue on to Mweka Camp for the night and have a well-deserved rest.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
From Barafu Camp to the Uhuru Peak summit, ascend 1296 metres and cover about 4 kilometres (approximately 8 hours). The descent takes approximately 3 hours.
Today you’ll continue to descend the mountain, traversing alpine meadows and rainforest to the Mweka park gate. From Mweka Camp to the Mweka gate, trek for 10 kilometres (approximately 3–4 hours) descending a total of 1300 metres (4300 feet). Enjoy some lunch after checking out of the park and then transport back to the hotel for a relaxing shower – a real treat after the physical exertions of the last few days! Tonight, gather with your trekking companions for a meal, sharing your experiences of the past six days on the mountain.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
With no activities or trekking planned for today, you are free to depart at any time. Transfers to Kilimanjaro Airport or a shuttle to Nairobi can be arranged locally – please speak to your leader at your welcome meeting if you wish to organise this.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This trip is a Lonely Planet Experience
Our Lonely Planet Experiences include plenty of free time so you can do the things that suit your budget and interests. Between your Intrepid Travel leader’s local knowledge and Lonely Planet’s trusted travel tips and recommendations, your trip will be more epic than ever.

Meals

15 breakfasts, 13 lunches, 14 dinners

Transport

Overland vehicle, Minibus, 4x4 Safari Vehicle

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (3 nights), Camping (with basic facilities) (8 nights), Cottage (1 night), Hotel (3 nights)

Included activities

  • Kisii - Soapstone carving cooperative
  • Serengeti National Park - Overland Vehicle Game Drive
  • Ngorongoro Crater - 4x4 Game Drive
  • Mto Wa Mbu - Village walk & local dinner
  • Mount Kilimanjaro - Trek Briefing
  • Mount Kilimanjaro - Complimentary equipment hire (sleeping bag and walking poles) - must be requested at time of booking
  • Fully catered trek including National Park entrance fees, climbing fee, tented camps with toilet tent & rescue services (7 days)
  • Mount Kilimanjaro - Porterage of 1 bag (9kg/20lb max)
  • Mount Kilimanjaro - Return transfers from hotel to park gate
  • Mount Kilimanjaro - Emergency oxygen and comprehensive first aid kits
  • Moshi - Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project

Lonely Planet extras

  • Free access to the Lonely Planet mobile app for one year
  • 25% discount on all items in the Lonely Planet Shop

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Safari to Kilimanjaro - Machame Route trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

1. This is a combination trip, which means the make up of your group and group leader might change on Day 8.
2. A single supplement is available on all nights of this trip, subject to availability.
3. A passenger self assessment form is required for this trip. An Intrepid booking age will provide you with one around the time of booking. 
4. Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude.
5. Sleeping bags can be hired at no cost on the Kilimanjaro section of this trip. You will be required to provide your own sleeping bag for the Serengeti section of this trip or can hire one at an additional cost.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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