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National Parks

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***

Ruaha National Park Tanzania

Ruaha National Park Tanzania 

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Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park is the largest national park in Tanzania. The addition of the Usangu Game Reserve and other important wetlands to the park in 2008 increased its size too. Located in the heart of the country, Ruaha is the ‘other park’ on the Southern circuit. Ruaha’s relative inaccessibility has resulted in a park that takes far fewer tourists than the Selous and far fewer than any park in the Northern circuit.

The rewards of travelling this far are a wild landscape with baobab studded hills and rocky escarpments, playing host to excellent levels of game including superb predator concentrations, huge elephant and buffalo herds and a cross over of game from southern and Eastern Africa. Birdwatcher’s can enjoy over 400 species of bird.

Mahale Mountains National Park

Mahale Mountains National Park

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Mahale National Park

Mahale national park was the research base for a team of Japanese anthropologists for several decades. Despite the gorgeous clear waters of Lake Tanganyika and the obvious draw of the chimps themselves, Mahale was not an established tourist destination until about decade ago. It’s still remote, but absolutely worth the trip. Mahale is located in the Western Tanzania to the South of Kigoma town, it is bordering Lake Tanganyika-the World’s longest, second deepest and least polluted freshwater lake-harboring

Rwanda Uganda Gorilla Tracking Tours Gorilla Watching Congo Mahale Mountains National Park

 

10 Best Safari Destinations in Africa

10 Best Safari Destinations in Africa
Serengeti National Park 10 Best Safari Destinations in Africa

Serengeti National Park

Long gone are the days of a big adventure trip to colonial Africa for game-hunting safaris. In the past, the debonair safari suits and sun helmets of Hemingway’s Hollywood era dominated; nowadays, it’s normal to escape on a long weekend safari with little more than casual clothes thrown in a rucksack. Meanwhile, though Kenya and Tanzania remain popular options, Africa’s previously political no-go zones are rapidly emerging as new safari destinations, now that more national parks are being designated and protected while tourism is increasingly welcomed. And there are exciting new safari options, from private helicopters to sailboats in pristine marine reserves to nighttime game drives through voluptuous volcanic lands. Here are our picks for the 10 best sarafi destinations in Africa.
BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST RESERVE

Where: Uganda

Guides ask you not to stare at the mountain gorillas, but it’s tough. The gentle giants have deep mysterious eyes that lull you into a sense of serenity. Home to roughly half the world’s mountain gorillas, tracking is a highlight of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Reserve.

Gifted with theatrical landscape, volcanoes intersperse jagged valleys and waterfalls shrouded in altitude mist. The principal birding destination bears no fewer than 23 of Uganda’s 24 Albertine Rift endemics, including the spectacularly endangered African Green Broadbill.

Insider Tip: Gorillas often enter Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp. Nestled deep inside Bwindi UNESCO World Heritage Site, this camp is remote and atmospheric.

ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK

Where: Namibia

Namibia is rousing serious safari attention with its stark beauty, rugged coastlines, and evolving landscapes. Etosha National Park is home to Africa’s tallest elephants, the endangered black rhino, cheetah, and perennial springs luring the big cats. Unique scenes across a shimmering saltpan of mirages are seen via self-drive safaris. Upmarket lodges and camps fringe park boundaries, where guided safaris are inclusive.

Don’t Miss: A stay with a difference, Onguma Treetop Camp is built on stilts amongst treetops, with panoramic views over Onguma Game reserve. The sense of remoteness is unparalleled. Four very intimate thatched rooms feature canvas walls and outdoor showers.

CHOBE NATIONAL PARK

Where: Botswana

Africa’s densest game concentrations lie along a brilliant peacock-blue river, making Chobe National Park a prime game destination. Situated within the Okavango Delta, we recommend Savute marsh: teeming with wildlife year-round, easily accessible and with a wide range of lodgings for all budgets. Chobe is a stronghold of endangered species such as wild dog, cheetah, and brown hyena.

Insider Tip: Take a water safari to watch wildlife huddled around papyrus-clad curves in the river. Meet the original inhabitants, the San Bushmen, to learn their extraordinary culture. Indulgence is paramount at the Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero lodge, with spa, gourmet food, and undisturbed views.

MASAI MARA NATIONAL RESERVE

Where: Kenya

Africa’s most popular safari destination boasts effortless vistas and dramatic game viewing. Masai Mara remains most visited, with rolling grasslands and scattered acacia woodland home to the Big Five. July through October is a Mara highlight—annual migration, where a stampede of millions of wildebeest makes the ground vibrate. Naibor Camp is a luxury-tented camp of contemporary comforts, tucked away within riverine woodland on Talek River.

Insider Tip: Spectacular safaris are specialty of Enasoit. Dhow sailing on the serene Lamu archipelago, soaring over deserted beaches and visiting nomadic tribes by helicopter, or traditional Jeep through foothills of Mount Kenya; Enasoit redefines luxury safari.

HWANGE NATIONAL PARK

Where: Zimbabwe

Unrivaled guides and unique backdrops are Zimbabwe’s assets, amidst low-lying semi-desert to lush highlands strewn with lakes and forests. Hwange National Park in the Northwest is the largest. The elephants are world-famed and, here, you’ll find one of the world’s largest populations. The mighty Zambezi River, from Victoria Falls, creates waterholes for thirsty wildlife. Emerging from recent troubles, tourists are flocking in.

Insider Tip: View game from an underground hide at The Hide, which also offers night game drives.Somalisa is an elegant bush camp with six solar powered highly luxurious tents. The pool overlooks the entire pan of wildlife below.

KRUGER NATIONAL PARK

Where: South Africa

Kruger is a classic. One of Africa’s oldest and best-maintained parks typifies the highest variety of wildlife. It’s renowned as the easiest spot to see the Big Five, aided by its unfenced borders with Africa’s finest game reserves. Sophisticated lodges offer the ultimate in lavish luxury and intimate bush hideaways.

Insider Tip: Set in private Sabi Sands Game Reserve, sustained by the Sabi and Sand rivers,Dulini’s six suites ooze elegance. Romance is heightened by a symphony of birdlife and passage of wildlife. The original eco private game reserve, Londolozi, is unashamedly family-run and winning awards for its quality of food, service, accommodation, and ecotourism.

VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK

Where: Rwanda

The landlocked beauty of Rwanda stuns visitors. Misty moody rainforest, forested volcanoes, undulating grasslands, and tranquil lakes are ideal for trekking and dugout canoeing. The upper slopes of Virunga volcanoes conservation area comprise three national parks, encapsulating Rwanda, Uganda, and DR Congo—the most famous residents being 350-strong mountain gorillas.

Insider Tip: On the fringes of Parc National des Volcans, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is minutes from walking treks. In the dramatic foothills of the Virungas, this residence is beautifully appointed and atmospheric. After a hard day’s trek, luxuriate in a massage to ease aches, or adventure-seekers can head out on mountain bikes.

ZAMBEZI VALLEY

Where: Zambia

Gloriously wild amidst raw nature and with decadent wildlife viewing—southern Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park is a haven of hippo, elephant, and birdlife. Less frequented than its neighbor, Tanzania, Zambia’s national parks are the essence of wilderness. South Luangwa spawns symmetry of exotica and expanse.

Don’t Miss: Camps are drizzled along the immense valley’s tranquil riverbank.

The Royal Zambezi Lodge Bush Spa is enveloped within nature’s embrace. Try post-safari canoeing or fishing. A quick dip in the pool before a sunset massage at Royal Bush Spa completes a perfect day. Lilayi in Lusaka is a haven for horseback and bush walk safaris.

9 tanzania lamai serengeti camp safari 1 10 Best Safari Destinations in Africa

SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

Where: Tanzania

Arguably the most magnificent park in Africa, the Serengeti basks in prolific amounts of game and is invigorating in its sheer vastness and dramatic staging. Annually, 1.5 million wildebeest and some 250,000 zebra migrate through. Prides of lion thrive here, upwards of 3,000, spotted lazing on ‘kopje’ outcrops. Grumeti River houses some of the largest Nile crocodiles in the world.

Insider Tip: Even non-campers can tent overnight without omitting creature comforts. The Lamai Serengeti nestles among rocks of a kopje with expansive views. The elemental theme ensures a back-to-nature feel. Kirawira Serena Camp makes it a glamorous affair with Persian rugs and carved rocking chairs.

10 mozambique girassol gorongosa lodge safari 10 Best Safari Destinations in Africa

GORONGOSA NATIONAL PARK

Where: Mozambique

With more than fifty coral islands and abundant marine life, the Quirimbas Archipelago has recently been designated a national park. The islands remain an unexplored underwater safari sanctuary.

Gorongosa is the country’s flagship reserve. It once attracted more visitors than South Africa and Zimbabwe combined, but the harshness of war left resources depleted. Hippos, lions, and elephants have recovered following restocking, helping Mozambique regain its reputation as a game-viewing destination.

Insider Tip: Explore Gorongosa leads expeditions on foot or by car. Girassol Gorongosa Lodge & Safari ensures uninterrupted experiences between you and wilderness. The Azura at Quilalea, a private island luxury resort, boasts world-class diving and snorkeling straight off the beach.

Lion climbs tree to escape herd of buffalo

Lion climbs tree to escape herd of buffalo in Kenya

anticipate the fierce reaction it would receive Lion climbs tree to escape herd of buffalo

Lion climbs tree to escape herd of buffalo in Kenya as the king of the jungle is left with his tail between his legs. Remarkable pictures have shown a lion making a desperate bid to avoid being trampled by scrambling up a tree. Below him the group of angry buffalo waits as he slowly begins to lose his grip and slide down the tree trunk

Lion climbs tree to escape herd of buffalo in Kenya Lion climbs tree to escape herd of buffalo

But with a terrified snarl the cowardly lion managed to escape by leaping onto the grass and running to safety. Despite retreating to the unusual safety zone the danger wasn’t quite over as the buffalo – prone to trampling – gathered under the tree to wait for the lion to fall.

Charles Comyn, a 63-year-old ex-army official, was exploring the stunning Maasai Mara reserve in Kenya with his wife when he stumbled across the incredible scene. When the lion sprung from its hiding place and quickly scaled the tree to avoid being trampled by the angry buffalo

But as they remained below the tree waiting for the lion to come down, it started slipping towards the ground. The lion had been hiding in the grass in what witnesses suspected was an attempt to hunt a baby buffalo. However, it didn’t anticipate the fierce reaction it would receive from the adults guarding the newborn.

The lion had been hiding in the grass Lion climbs tree to escape herd of buffalo

The pair were on the last safari of their holiday but said they had no inkling that their lasting memory was yet to come. Together with their experienced guide the couple parked next to a herd of buffalo who were carefully guarding a new-born calf.

But the animals – known for unpredictable behaviour – suddenly became nervous. Mr Comyn said: ‘All of a sudden, literally out of nowhere, a male lion sprang out from his hiding place hightailing for a nearby tree with the buffalo now starting to give chase. ‘It didn’t take long before the lion had scrambled up the tree, fearing for its life.

‘The marauding buffalo circled below, smelling the lion. They were not going to let it get away.’

The herd had realised the lion was stalking the young buffalo and weren’t about to give it a lucky escape, he said. But after a few seconds of clinging onto the tree the cowering lion became to tremble and tire and started to slide down the bark. After it fell from the tree trunk, the lion wasted no time speeding away across the savannah.

the lion wasted no time speed Lion climbs tree to escape herd of buffalo

Photographer Charles Comyn said the lion appeared to be ‘doomed’ prior to making his quick getaway

Out of desperation the big cat let out a snarl and suddenly leapt from the tree, ran towards Mr Comyn’s jeep and disappeared into the bush.

Mr Comyn said: ‘It was a hair-tingling moment. The lion could not hang for long – one could really sense that he was almost doomed – so he had to make another attempt to flee.

‘Very quickly the buffalo resumed their early morning grazing. It was only then that we spotted the newly born calf in the middle of the herd, which they obviously had been protecting from the lion who possibly had spotted a potential light breakfast.

‘What a magical, unforgettable, and as we later learnt, unheard of occurrence.’

By COREY CHARLTON

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