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Mount Kilimanjaro Climbs

Lake Chala a crater in the shadow of Kilimanjaro

Lake Chala a crater in the shadow of Kilimanjaro

Lake Chala Lake Chala a crater in the shadow of Kilimanjaro

Lake Chala a crater in the shadow of Kilimanjaro is a unique caldera lake, and is thought to be the deepest inland body of water in Africa. This lake is fed by underground springs from Mount Kilimanjaro.

The lake has a great diversity of life. From lush lake shore forest to stunning volcanic savannah; from river beds marvelously carved through ancient rock, to thick bush or open ‘mbuga’. Walking at Lake Chala is a magical experience that will put you back in touch with nature.

The lake is fed by groundwater flows, which come from Mount Kilimanjaro, fed and drained underground with a rate of about 10 million m³ / year. Depending on the time of year, it ranges in colour from deep blue to turquoise and green, it is surrounded by a 100 metres high crater rim.

Chala has a huge variety of amazing trees, grasses and plants; some are unique to the area. According to the time of year there are hundreds of species of butterflies and birds, including spectacular birds of prey. The African Fish Eagle, with its haunting techniques, Verreaux’s Eagle, Augur Buzzards and many other species of birds can be seen around the crater walls. Wild mammals do vary including Blue Monkeys, Colobus Monkeys, baboons, dik-dik, kudu and elephant. Chala is an untouched part of a truly ancient land and a must visit place.

Activities at this lake: walking safaris, canoeing, swimming and fishing.

In the early 1900’s crocodiles were introduced to the lake. However, over the years local fishermen have killed them and it is highly likely that none exist there today.

Local fishermen can be seen in their dugouts drifting silently along, they come to fish there almost daily.

Lake Chala Boat Lake Chala a crater in the shadow of Kilimanjaro

Myths and legends surround the lake and the local people believe a whole Maasai village disappeared into the lake. It is said that the spirits of those people still haunt the lake today…

Lake Chala and the surrounding area is spectacularly interesting, not just because of Kilimanjaro that can be seen on clear days towering in the background but also because it thrives with life. Walking around you can spot plenty of birds (about 200 species) and small mammals such as blue monkeys, colobus monkeys, baboons, dik-dik and kudu. Being so close to Tsavo National Park you might be able to see large herds of elephants that migrate back and forth between Kenya and Tanzania.

Probably a must-do when at Lake Chala is to go on a walk down the steep crater walls to the water. The walk is very scenic with great views of the lake and vegetation. Swimming is possible but it is advised to stay close to the shore. 
Another interesting walk is the river bed tour. There is a seasonal river nearby where the water has eroded the walls into beautiful shapes.

1 1 1 Lake Chala a crater in the shadow of Kilimanjaro

This is also a good place to spot baboons and other wildlife.

Accommodation is possible at Lake Chala Safari Camp. There are luxury tents and well-equipped campsites with hot water ablutions. Visit Lake Chala on a day trip or stay overnight to experience the tranquility of the lake and wake up by birdsong. A visit to Lake Chala makes an excellent day trip.

Arusha Day Trips

Arusha Day Trips

Arriving into Tanzania from anywhere that requires many lines of latitude to be crossed, or several plane changes, an intelligent strategy is to allow a day or two’s leisure in Arusha prior to your climb. The reasons for this are:

  • Around 1 in 7 people have their luggage delayed. Most delayed luggage arrives 24 hours after it’s supposed to
  • Prolonged airline travel tends to dehydrate and tire people. Having a day at leisure allows rehydration / revitalisation
  • A day getting used to Arusha’s elevation (around 1,450m) and the dry air, helps with adaptation to Kilimanjaro
  • Those who do not have time to go on safari after their climb often appreciate the opportunity to see a little of the local (non-alpine) environment and culture

Other than safaris, there are several day-trip options available to be enjoyed from Arusha. We briefly summarise the seven most popular options for Arusha day trips below.

Arusha Town Tour

This is a popular day trip, requiring only some three hours and little or no transport. Those interested to see the main features of Arusha will begin somewhere around the Clock Tower, on foot, with one of our guides and will usually begin walking northwards in an anti-clockwise direction, taking in such sites at the Natural History Museum, various monuments celebrating independence, the local market, and some craft shops. A town tour typically takes some 2-3 hours and covers around 4km.

Tours are completed on foot with one of our guides. The cost is USD 20 per group, regardless of how many people are in the group. However, it is customary for each person to tip the guide, with the amount being purely at the climber’s discretion, but generally being around USD 10 per climber for small groups, and some USD 5 per climber for large groups.

Hot Springs

This is probably the best place to swim. Emanating from within the earth, the geo-thermally warmed water is constantly renewed and is therefore very fresh, clear and clean. It’s a very pleasant place to spend a couple of hours with family, or to relax before or after a climb.

The distance from Arusha to the hot springs is 69km and the journey normally takes around 1 hour 20, so one should allow at least 5 hours for this excursion.

Costs for visiting the hot springs include lunch and transport:

  • USD 189 per person when solo
  • USD 114 per person when 2 subscribe
  • USD 89 per person when 3 subscribe
  • USD 88 per person when 4 subscribe
  • USD 87 per person when 5 subscribe
  • USD 86 per person when 6 subscribe
  • USD 79 per person when 7 subscribe
  • USD 75 per person when 8 subscribe

Meru Waterfall

This is a beautiful little waterfall, with its principal advantage being its proximity to Arusha. The journey from Arusha is just 7km and takes only 15 minutes. Having parked, there is a short walk that involves some steep ground and some clambering, but is quite manageable, even for young children.

Once we reach the waterfall, it is usual to enjoy the environment with a picnic, included in the price. Costs include transport:

  • USD 114 per person when solo
  • USD 74 per person when 2 subscribe
  • USD 60 per person when 3 subscribe
  • USD 59 per person when 4 subscribe
  • USD 58 per person when 5 subscribe
  • USD 57 per person when 6 subscribe
  • USD 54 per person when 7 subscribe
  • USD 52 per person when 8 subscribe

Cave Falls

This option is suitable for those who want to spend more time walking as, following a 30 minute / 13km vehicle transfer to the area, access to the waterfall requires a 2km walk along a river bed. The walk to the falls takes a little under an hour and some 40 minutes to get back to the vehicle, if completing a circuit. Bear in mind that to get back to the car requires a height gain of 60 metres, so while not strenuous, one should be prepared for this.

  • USD 104 per person when solo
  • USD 69 per person when 2 subscribe
  • USD 58 per person when 3 subscribe
  • USD 57 per person when 4 subscribe
  • USD 56 per person when 5 subscribe
  • USD 55 per person when 6 subscribe
  • USD 52 per person when 7 subscribe
  • USD 50 per person when 8 subscribe

Lake Duluti

Two options are possible on this excursion: either one may walk around the lake or canoe across it. Depending on which hotel we start from, the drive is around 15-20 minutes to reach the lake. The walk around the lake covers some 3.5km, however, we normally have a picnic along the way and may stop regularly if we encounter birds, monkeys or monitor lizards.

Costs for the lakeside walk include the government conservation fee walk and are as follows.

  • USD 121 per person when solo
  • USD 91 per person when 2 subscribe
  • USD 81 per person when 3 subscribe
  • USD 80 per person when 4 subscribe
  • USD 79 per person when 5 subscribe
  • USD 78 per person when 6 subscribe
  • USD 76 per person when 7 subscribe
  • USD 74 per person when 8 subscribe

Please note that use of canoes is extra with hire fees being payable direct to the local government office.

Maasai Crater

This is a dramatic topographical feature with steep falls that fall away into a lush green crater. The attraction of this walk is threefold: the exercise, the awesome views, and the opportunity to meet authentic Maasai villagers. If walking around the crater rim, we cover around 4.2km, however, climbers will often want to descend to the crater floor, which may add another 3km or thereabouts. Bear in mind that if descending to the crater floor, the return to the rim requires an ascent of 257 metres, which will normally take somewhere between 30-50 minutes and is quite strenuous, dusty and exposed to direct sunlight with virtually no shade.

The following costs include transport, lunch, local entrance fees and a small gift to Moita village.

  • USD 134 per person when solo
  • USD 89 per person when 2 subscribe
  • USD 74 per person when 3 subscribe
  • USD 73 per person when 4 subscribe
  • USD 72 per person when 5 subscribe
  • USD 71 per person when 6 subscribe
  • USD 67 per person when 7 subscribe
  • USD 65 per person when 8 subscribe

ANNULAR ECLIPSE OF THE SUN IN TANZANIA NATIONAL PARKS

ANNULAR ECLIPSE OF THE SUN IN TANZANIA NATIONAL PARKS

eclipse ANNULAR ECLIPSE OF THE SUN IN TANZANIA NATIONAL PARKS

1st of September of 2016 tourists will be lucky to witness one of the rarest astronomical phenomenon,Annular solar Eclipse in Tanzania.

The most rewarding thing is the fact that, this year the eclipse viewers will have an opportunity to experience this in the middle of African Savanna of Tanzania National Parks!

Seeing a solar eclipse is sometimes described as a-once-in-a lifetime experience and this become even more entertaining when observers get a unique opportunity to experience the eclipse alongside stunning nature and wildlife in the Parks.

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun thereby totally or partially blocking the image of the sun for viewers on the earth.

An annular solar eclipse happens when the moon covers the Sun’s center, leaving the Sun’s visible outer edges to form a ‘’ring of fire’’ or annulus around the moon.

At an annular solar eclipse the moon is too small to completely cover the Sun’s disk and this is due to its average distance from the earth. With over 97% of the Sun’s diameter covered by the moon only a very thin ring of the Sun will be visible to an observer in the middle of the eclipse’s path.

An annular solar eclipse is quite stunning to view, and requires one to be within the path of annularity to see the main effect of a ‘’ring of fire’’. Solar filters must be used for viewing throughout- even during (eclipse) annularity.

The path of eclipse (annularity) for this year as can be seen from the NASA map starts in the South Atlantic Ocean, crossing central Africa countries of Gabon, Congo then Tanzania and Mozambique before passing to Madagascar and Islands of Reunion, ending in Indian Ocean.

map1 ANNULAR ECLIPSE OF THE SUN IN TANZANIA NATIONAL PARKS

According to NASA interactive map extracted from their website (eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov), the best viewing site is the point of Greatest Eclipse located southern Tanzania, giving annularity duration (eclipse) of 3 minutes and 6 seconds.

Famous Katavi and Mahale National Parks in Tanzania are positioned nicely for viewing the eclipse on 1st,September 2016 !

map2 ANNULAR ECLIPSE OF THE SUN IN TANZANIA NATIONAL PARKS

Some companies and agencies have organized the eclipse- viewing tour to Katavi and Mahale National Parks and other areas of Tanzania where eclipse will be best observed this September!

You are not late, plan early ,plan now for the solar eclipse viewing tour to Katavi and Mahale in September 2016. Don’t miss this opportunity-a once in a life time chance in the middle of Africa’s best wildlife parks.

In Katavi National Park it is predicted that annular eclipse will start at 6.50 a.m. and reaches its maximum at 8.38 a.m.

This experience will be the best, as the viewers will experience it amidst nature and wildlife in this pristine park. Having watched and probably photographed the annular eclipse, tourists will have chance to continue with the game drives which can add to their experience.

Katavi National Park that is located in the western Part of the country is one of the most untouched areas of Tanzania. It is the third largest National Park, which offers among the best wildlife viewing opportunities.

Mahale National Park, located also on the western part of Tanzania along the shore of the lake Tanganyika is a best refuge for the largest populations of Chimpanzee in the world. This September’s annular eclipsepath will be over the lake Tanganyika so viewers will get a chance to witness it while in the park.

Clear skies and amazing wildlife-rich parks during an excellent month of September will offer best annular solar eclipse viewing in Tanzania.

giraffe ANNULAR ECLIPSE OF THE SUN IN TANZANIA NATIONAL PARKS

Arusha National Park

monkey ANNULAR ECLIPSE OF THE SUN IN TANZANIA NATIONAL PARKS

Mahale National Park

Revealing the Leopard Facts

Revealing the Leopard Facts

Leopard facts Revealing the Leopard Facts

Leopards are the ultimate cats. They are the most feline, the most intelligent, the most dangerous and, until recently, one of the least understood. They hunt from South Africa to Siberia, from Arabia to Sri Lanka, and are the most widespread predator of their size on land. A leopard is a cat that walks by itself, unseen and secretive. Leopards are the beautiful killers that live in the shadows.

Additional Facts:
  • The animal’s name derives from the Greek word leopardus, a combination of leon (lion) and pardus (panther). Of the big cats, the leopard is the only known species that lives in both desert and rainforest habitats. Leopards are generally nocturnal and do most of their hunting at night. Their large eyes and dilated pupils allow them to see well in dark conditions.
  • Leopards are incredibly athletic and known for their climbing ability. They often carry food into trees to avoid losing it to scavengers like lions and hyenas.
  • They tend to be solitary animals and rarely interact with each other except to mate or raise cubs. Leopards breed perennially with a gestation period of approximately 3 months, giving birth to a litter of 2-3 cubs on average. Despite their names, the clouded leopard ( neofelis nebulosa ) and snow leopard ( panthera uncial ) are often considered a separate species.
  • One of the rarest subspecies of leopard is eastern Russia’s Amur Leopard. There are only an estimated 30 currently living in the wild. Leopards can go for long periods of time without water, living off the moisture of their prey.
  • Leopards mark their territory with urine and claw marks on the bark of trees.

Rudyard Kipling wrote the short story, How the Leopard Got Its Spots, to offer his own fictional explanation for the big cat’s attractive coat.

Mount Kilimanjaro Trekking FAQ

Mount Kilimanjaro Trekking FAQ

What are the main differences between the Rongai, Machame, Shira, Lemosho, and Marangu routes?

tanzania mt kilimanjaro summit sign 93 Mount Kilimanjaro Trekking FAQ

The Rongai, Shira, Lemosho, and Machame routes are camping routes that take longer and are considered more scenic than the Marangu. On the Marangu route you will be staying in huts as opposed to camping, and you hike up and down the same path.

The Rongai route takes you up the north side of the mountain and you descend down the Marangu route. The Lemosho and the Machame routes traverse the mountain and descends down the Mweka route.

The Shira route takes you on the far west side, and is essentially the same as the Machame route, though you start at a higher altitude, which gives a good amount of time for acclimatisation.

How many days are the Rongai, Machame, Shira, Lemosho, and Marangu routes?

The Rongai and Shira routes both entail 6 days on the mountain while the Machame route has two options, a 6-day hike and a 7-day hike.

For those that need extra time to adjust to the altitude, the Lemosho route is best, with 8 days total on the mountain.

The Marangu route is the shortest route at a total of 5 days on the mountain. If you are concerned about altitude sickness, it is best to go with a minimum 6-day hike, give yourself enough time to acclimatize.

Do I have to be extremely fit to take part in this trek?

Yes. If you attempt to climb Kilimanjaro without the proper training you may not enjoy the trek as much as you would have with adequate training.  The best way to train for Kilimanjaro is to strap a pack on your back and go hiking as much as possible. By doing so your feet and joints will become accustomed to the constant walking you will face on the trek. Also be sure to hit the gym!

What is the success rate for the Rongai, Machame, Shira, Lemosho, and Marangu routes?

The success rate for the Rongai, Machame, and Lemosho routes are approximately 95%.

For the Shira route, it is approximately 86%, while the Marangu route is around 80%.

What are the accommodations along the trail?

On the Marangu route, trekkers stay in huts. Each hut has a dining room for eating as well as separate bathroom facilities (can be flush toilets or pit latrines). There is no electricity in the huts.

On the Rongai, Machame, Shira, and Lemosho routes, trekkers camp all the way up! For these routes travellers receive a private mess tent and they are shared pit latrines.

Trekkers on all routes are given a hot water bowl to wash their hands and faces.

Is drinking water provided during the trek?

On the first day we provide bottled water, but beyond that, water is provided on all routes. Water is taken from the mountain streams, boiled and treated to make safe to drink.

Do we carry our own luggage on the trip? If not, what is the weight the porters carry?

You will not be responsible to carry your luggage up Kilimanjaro. The porters can carry approximately 30lbs (15kg) of your luggage; the rest can be stored safely at the hotel.  You will only be responsible to carry your day pack with the essential and personal items you need to have with you at all times.

What qualifications do the guides have?

The mountain guides have to attend certified courses that are offered by Tanzania National Parks before they get their Mountain Guide Licenses.  A Porters Association also selects the porters; they will carry an identification card allowing them to carry your belongings, and assist you up the mountain.

Can we hire a sleeping bag with the thermal quality required for the trip? What about hiking gear?

We have rentals including clothes, hiking poles, shoes, as well as sleeping bags. There are shops and locals offering these services to you as well. It is best to come outfitted but if necessary here are the prices (USD):

  • Sleeping Bag (Normal) = $10.00
  • Hiking Poles (2) = $5.00
  • Hiking Boots = $10.00

**These rates are subject to change and are only a guideline.**

If the trek becomes too difficult for me can I turn around?

Yes you can. If you are in any physical danger or suffer from altitude sickness the porters will be able to assist you down the mountain.

How long is the trek and how many hours do we hike each day?

These times are based on physical ability of the group as well as the altitude (the higher you go, the slower you move).

Rongai route – 8 day tour:

Day 1:  Arrive Moshi

Day 2:  To Simba Camp 4 – 6 hours

Day 3:  To Kikelewa Camp 7 – 9 hours

Day 4:  To Mawenzi Tarn 4 – 6 hours

Day 5:  To Kibo Camp 5 – 7 hours

Day 6:  To Summit and Horombo Hut 11 – 13 hours

Day 7:  To Moshi 2 – 4 hours

Day 8:  Depart Moshi

 

Machame route – 8 day tour:

Day 1:  Arrive Moshi

Day 2:  To Machame Camp 4 – 6 hours

Day 3:  To Shira Camp 4 – 5 hours

Day 4:  To Barranco Camp via Lava Tower 4 – 6 hours

Day 5:  To Barafu Camp via Karanga Valley 7 – 8 hours

Day 6:  To Summit and Mweka Camp 11 – 14 hours

Day 7:  To Moshi 3 – 4 hours

Day 8:  Depart Moshi

Machame route – 9 day tour:

Day 1:  Arrive Moshi

Day 2:  To Machame Camp 4 – 6 hours

Day 3:  To Shira Camp 4 – 5 hours

Day 4:  To Barranco Camp via Lava Tower 4 – 6 hours

Day 5:  To Karanga Valley Camp 3 – 4 hours (extra acclimitization day)

Day 6:  To Barafu Camp 3-4 hours

Day 7:  To Summit and Mweka Camp 11 – 14 hours

Day 8:  To Moshi 3 – 4 hours

Day 9:  Depart Moshi

 

Lemosho route – 10 day tour:

Day 1:  Arrive Moshi

Day 2:  To Mkubwa Camp 2 – 4 hours

Day 2:  To Shira 1 Camp 4 – 6 hours

Day 2:  To Shira 2 Camp 1 – 3 hours

Day 3:  To Barranco Camp 5 – 7 hours

Day 4:  To Karanga Camp 3 – 4 hours

Day 5:  To Barafu Camp 7 – 9 hours

Day 6:  Summit Day and Mweka Camp 11 – 14 hours

Day 7:  Descend to Gate 3 – 5 hours

Day 8:  Depart Moshi

 

 

Shira route – 8 day tour:

Day 1:  Arrive Moshi

Day 2:  To Shira 2 Camp 2 – 4 hours

Day 3:  To Barranco Camp 5 – 7 hours

Day 4:  To Karanga Camp 3 – 4 hours

Day 5:  To Barafu Camp 7 – 9 hours

Day 6:  Summit Day and Mweka Camp 11 – 14 hours

Day 7:  Descend to Gate 3 – 5 hours

Day 8:  Depart Moshi

Marangu route – 7 day tour:

Day 1:  Arrive Moshi

Day 2:  To Mandara Hut 4 – 6 hours

Day 3:  To Horombo Hut 6 – 8 hours

Day 4:  To Kibo Hut 7 – 9 hours

Day 5:  Summit Day 7 – 9 hours

Day 6:  From Horombo Hut to the Marangu gate 1 – 3 hours

Day 7:  Depart Moshi

 

What is the coldest it is expected to be at the summit of Kilimanjaro?

Temperatures vary considerably with altitude and time of day.  On the plains surrounding Kilimanjaro the average temperature is about 30°C.  At 3000m frosts can be encountered at night while daytime temperatures range from 5 to 15°C.  Nighttime temperatures on the summit can be well below freezing especially with the strong winds at times.

What is hypothermia?

Hypothermia is a condition where the body becomes dangerously cold. It can be caused by brief exposure to extreme cold, or by prolonged exposure to mild cold.

Hypothermia occurs when a person’s deep-core body temperature drops below 35 degrees celsius (95 degrees farenheit). It is the lowered temperature of the organs inside the body that is important – an ordinary thermometer cannot measure this.

The person may not actually feel cold but if they stay in a cold environment and do little or nothing to keep warm, then they may run the risk of becoming hypothermic or becoming ill with bronchitis or pneumonia. Both are cold-related illnesses.

Danger signs to watch out for:

  • Drowsiness
  • Very cold skin on parts of the body normally covered, for example, stomach or armpits
  • Slurred or incoherent speech
  • Absence of complaint about feeling cold, even in a bitterly cold environment.

What is the highest altitude we will hit on this trek?

The highest altitude reaches 5895m.

What is altitude sickness and what are the symptoms?

During the trek it is likely that all climbers will experience at least some form of mild altitude sickness.  It is caused by the failure of the body to adapt quickly enough to the reduced level of oxygen in the air at an increased altitude.  There are many different symptoms but the most common are headaches, light-headedness, nausea, loss of appetite, tingling in the toes and fingers, and a mild swell of ankles and fingers.  These mild forms are not serious and will normally disappear within 48 hours.  Please visit your physician for any preventative medications.

How can I prevent altitude sickness?

1. Stay hydrated. Try to drink at least 4-6 liters per day.

2. Avoid tobacco, alcohol, and other depressant drugs including barbiturates, tranquilizers, and sleeping pills.

3. “Don’t go up until symptoms go down”. People acclimatize at different rates, so make sure that you properly acclimatized before going higher.

4. Before your trip, maintain a good work/rest cycle, avoid excessive work hours, and last minute packing.

5. Listen to your body. Do not over-do things the first day or two. Avoid heavy exercise.

6. Take your time. Pace is a critical factor on all routes. “Pole pole” (go slowly) is the phrase of the day.

7. Walk high sleep low: If you have enough energy, take an afternoon stroll further up the mountain before descending to sleep. (not if you have any symptoms of altitude sickness!)

Six factors that affect the incidence and severity of altitude illness:

1. Rate of ascent

2. Altitude attained

3. Length of exposure

4. Level of exertion

5. Hydration and diet

6. Inherent physiological susceptibility

Will the effects of the sun be stronger on the mountain?

Absolutely, so precautions are required. About 55% of the earth’s protective atmosphere is below an altitude of 5000m. Far less ultraviolet light is being filtered out, making the sun’s rays much more powerful, which could result in severe sun burning of the skin. It is strongly recommended to use a 20+ sun protection cream at lower altitudes, and a total block cream above an altitude of 3000m. It is also important to wear dark sun glasses preferably with side panels above 4000m in daytime and essential when walking through snow or ice. Snow blindness can be very painful, and will require your eyes to be bandaged for at least 24 hours.

How much do you recommend we tip the porters and/or local guides?

Tipping is an expected and highly appreciated component of your Mt. Kilimanjaro hike. It should be an expression of satisfaction with those who have assisted you throughout the expedition.  Tipping is one of the most direct ways that you can have a positive economic impact within the East African community. Although it may not be customary for you, it is of considerable significance to your guides, assistants, cooks, and porters, as an important source of, and supplement to, their income.

Giving a tip should be a seen as a formal ‘thank you’, and the action should in no way be awkward. The best method of tipping your crew is to plan in advance, and to pass over a tip for the entire crew to your guide upon completion of the hike on arrival to your hotel.

We recommend that you gather with your fellow hikers to discuss and compile this tip. What has been found to work well is for each group member to contribute anonymously by putting his or her tip into an envelope. An average amount of what previous Nature Bound Africa hikers have felt to be an appropriate amount of tip ranges between US$100-150 per hiker.

5 days on Mountain, common tip amount = $100-150

6 days on Mountain, common tip amount = $100-150

7 days on Mountain, common tip amount = $100-150

***Please note that these are only guidelines and tips can be based on personal opinion***

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