Overview: Day Hike on Mount Kilimanjaro
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is on many a bucket list, however we haven't yet had a chance at Expert Africa to explore all the routes to the summit so we don't offer multi-day guided ascents of the mountain. However, for a flavour of Kilimanjaro, how about adding a day hike to your safari itinerary? Kili, which is the highest mountain in Africa at 5,985m, can take around a week to climb to the summit, but if you head to the less visited western side of the mountain you can do a one-day excursion, which incorporates some hiking on the high moorland.
What to expect on a hike on Mount KilimanjaroFrom your accommodation in Arusha, depart with your guide after an early breakfast for the drive to Kilimanjaro National Park. Depending on the location of your hotel, the journey will take 1½–2½ hours.
You will be driven to the western side of the mountain and up through the forests to the Londorossi Gate, at an altitude of 2,100m, where the hike begins. The ascent you will be tackling is more than 1,000m, as you hike steadily up through tropical montane forests, home to a variety of animals and birdlife. With the help of your guide, you may spot colobus monkeys, crested turacos and more. As well as being the less visited side of the mountain, these western regions are known to be frequented by big game from Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, which neighbours Kilimanjaro National Park. It is not uncommon to hear elephants rumbling through the forest and you may even catch sight of them through the trees.
Your hike takes you up to the Shira Plateau, at 3,400m, a 500,000-year-old volcanic caldera that is now a World Heritage Site. You can stop for lunch here, or continue on to Shira 1 Camp, Lion Gorge and the foothills of the Shira Pinnacles. Kilimanjaro’s iconic snow-covered table top, Kibo Peak, should be visible from here, as well as neighbouring glaciers.
Then, at the end of the day, walkers are driven back to their accommodation, allowing you to make the most of your time on the mountain.
For those with limited fitness or mobility: It is possible to drive all the way up to the Shira Plateau and then gently explore the surrounding areas on foot. Reasonable levels of fitness would be ideal for the longer hike.
What to wear: The walk can be over uneven ground in places, so closed shoes are recommended. Due to the altitude, warm clothing and/or waterproofs are also advisable.
- Start location
- Any of Expert Africa's lodges or hotels in Arusha
- End location
- Back at your lodge or hotel
- Meals included
- Packed lunch, incl water
- Full day
- Maximum group size
- Usually six people
Kilimanjaro Day Hike: gallery
What to look forward to.
Ideas for holidays which can include Day Hike on Mount Kilimanjaro
Add this experience to these trip ideas or contact us to start planning your own tailor-made safari to Tanzania.
Chimpanzee Fly-in Safari
8 days • 3 locations
KILIMANJARO AIRPORT TO KILIMANJARO AIRPORT
Combining two of the remotest parks in Tanzania, this safari can deliver extraordinary wildlife viewing in Katavi, and East Africa's best chimp treks, on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.
US$10,130 - US$14,810 per person
Honeyguide Fly-in Safari
7 days • 4 locations
KILIMANJARO AIRPORT TO KILIMANJARO AIRPORT
With a range of luxurious accommodation, this fly-in safari combines relaxation and indulgence with traditional safari pursuits in some of northern Tanzania’s most notable safari destinations.
US$9,190 - US$10,770 per person
Secretary Bird Fly-in Safari
8 days • 4 locations
KILIMANJARO AIRPORT TO KILIMANJARO AIRPORT
Chosen for comfort and relaxation as much as for its range of activities, this safari makes for a leisurely trip featuring stunning accommodation and swift access to many of northern Tanzania’s best wildlife regions.
US$12,110 - US$16,740 per person
Other excursions in Tanzania
Inspiration and great ideas for other experiences in Tanzania to include in your safari.
Safari in Ngorongoro Crater
Typically a full day
To drive into the Ngorongoro Crater is to immerse yourself in a renowned wildlife park. Prides of lion and clans of hyena patrol amongst herds of zebra, wildebeest and Thomson’s gazelle, whilst flocks of crowned cranes keep out the way of jackals. Come for elephants with big tusks, too. And then there are the rhino…More about Ngorongoro Crater safari
Lake Manyara Safari
Half-day or full-day
Set against the spectacular backdrop of the Rift Valley escarpment, Lake Manyara National Park makes a great safari destination. Here, along with elephant herds and plains game, you’ll find jungle-like forests that are home to blue monkeys, a soda lake tinged pink by flamingos and some of Tanzania’s best birding.More about Lake Manyara Safari
Balloon Safari over the Serengeti
Three hours - approx. one hour flight
As the sun rises over the Serengeti National Park in Northern Tanzania, climb aboard for an extraordinary adventure. For an hour you’ll float in a hot air balloon over beautiful savannah and woodland and a diversity of plains wildlife.More about Balloon Safari
Olduvai Gorge visit
One - two hours
See for yourself the renowned archaeological site of Olduvai (or Oldupai) Gorge, which lies en route between the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti National Park. Famed for the discoveries of early hominin remains as well as the Laetoli Footprints, the site offers beautiful views, an engaging museum and potentially the opportunity to visit an active dig.More about Olduvai Gorge visit
Safari in Arusha National Park
Half day or full day
Arusha National Park offers some lovely walking in the foothills of Mount Meru and canoeing on the Momela Lakes, plus gentle game drives.More about Safari in Arusha NP
Mto Wa Mbu Village Walk
Two to three hours
Discover the intricacies of day-to-day life in the large Tanzanian village of Mto Wa Mbu with a knowledgeable local guide. This is not a village set up for tourists; Mto Wa Mbu is a real community and offers a chance to see a side of the country that many visitors pass by.More about Village Walk
Lake Manyara Treetop Walkway
Usually one hour
Experience the forest of Lake Manyara National Park from a whole new perspective – high up in the trees. The first suspended walkway in Tanzania, it stretches underneath the canopy for 370m between the mahogany and fig trees, giving intrepid visitors a unique view of the surrounding flora and fauna.More about Manyara Treetop Walk
Empakaai Crater Hike
Half day, two - three hour walk
Spend a half day hiking through the Empakaai Crater, in the Highlands area of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), led by an experienced guide and accompanied by a ranger.More about Empakaai Crater Hike
Maasai Village Visit
Two to three hours - afternoon activity
Gain an authentic insight into Maasai life, visiting one of the villages in the highland areas of the Ngorongoro Crater. Far from being a commercialised, contrived experience, this is a genuine opportunity to visit a real village, and to be welcomed by the villagers.More about Maasai Village Visit
Crater Rim Walk
Half day - two hour walk
For some fantastic views, and the chance to see flora and fauna up close, take a walk along the rim of the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater. Led by an experienced safari guide and accompanied by an armed ranger, you will be able to take in the scale and beauty of the landscape from a different perspective.More about Crater Rim Walk
Olmoti Crater walk
Half day - two to three hour walk
Follow an ancient Maasai cattle trail on this private hike up the Olmoti Crater, led by an experienced guide and accompanied by an armed ranger. The crater may not compete in size with the neighbouring Ngorongoro Crater, but the birding is good, the mountain views wonderful, and the array of ferns is a botanist’s dream.More about Olmoti Crater walk
Chimpanzee habituation experience
One or two days
A chance to catch a glimpse of a unique group of chimpanzees that are in the process of being habituated on Rubondo Island. Trek, in search of these remarkably human-like creatures, follow their calls, and with luck spend some time watching them in their natural environment.More about Chimpanzee experience
Balloon Safari over Ruaha
Three hours - one hour flight
Varied and scenically stunning, Ruaha National Park features rolling hills, woodlands, open plains and two wide meandering rivers: the Ruaha and the Mwagusi. What better way to view it than from the air, at sunrise? A balloon safari offers just this, the landscape unfolding below your basket as you float almost silently above.More about Ballooning in Ruaha
Tanzania fact file
Useful information to help you prepare for your trip in Tanzania