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Climb Kilimanjaro

February 17-27, 2020

Trip Overview

Climb Kilimanjaro

Trip Dates: February 17-27, 2020

Trip Length: 11 days / 10 nights

Trip Level: 5 - Extreme (click for details)

  • Climb the highest mountain in Africa and one of the world's Seven Summits

  • Fully-custom 9-Day Lemosho Route for the best acclimatization and summiting odds

  • Spend an uplifting Shabbos on the mountain resting and acclimatizing to the altitude

Kilimanjaro.jpg
  • Sing a joyous Hallel as we summit at sunrise on Rosh Chodesh Adar

  • Enjoy delicious kosher meals throughout, prepared fresh in our fully-kosher camp kitchen under our Mashgiach's constant supervision

  • Fully-supported climb includes all guides, porters, equipment, food resupplies, pre- and post-climb hotel nights, and much more

Come join us on one of the world's most epic treks: Africa's Kilimanjaro. Tick climbing to the summit of Africa's highest mountain off your bucket list, and do it in style and with a group of like-minded adventurers. You don't need to be an athlete or mountaineer to climb Kilimanjaro; so long as you're healthy and fit, you can make it.

We'll trek the mountain over 9 days, and explore all of its distinct climate zones. We'll start out in the tropical rainforest

among the monkeys and birds, climb into the ethereal moorland where alien-looking giant groundsels tower overhead, spend a few days in the alpine desert, before finally ascending into the Arctic zone as you approach the summit.

This trip is intended to make your chances of summiting as high as possible. The route we chose boasts the highest summit success rate of all routes on the mountain (plus it's also considered the most scenic!). On top of that, we have customized the route to fit around Shabbos, raising our odds even higher.

Another goal for us is to make your climb as comfortable as possible. We have some of the highest guide-to-climber ratios on the mountain, high-end tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads, separate toilet tents, additional porters to carry our unique "extras" - the separate kosher kitchen, your tallis and tefillin, and much more. 

All details are taken care of for you - from the hotel stays before and after the climb, to the delicious kosher food, to the little things such as bentchers for the Shabbos meals. Let Kosher Horizons take you to the top.

 

Detailed Itinerary

Day 0, Sunday, February 16

Depart for Africa

Depart for Kilimanjaro International Airport in Moshi, Tanzania (airport code JRO). Flights typically go via Europe, but there are also Middle East and some African connection options.

Day 1, Monday, Feb. 17

Moshi, Tanzania

You'll arrive in Tanzania sometime on Monday, and you'll be transferred to our hotel to relax and unwind. In the afternoon we'll meet our guides for a pre-climb briefing and do a complete gear check. 

We'll all gather for a welcome dinner and get to know each other, before turning in early - tomorrow's the big day!

Day 2, Tuesday, Feb. 18

Londorosi Gate to Big Tree Camp

Day 1 on the mountain

Elevation: 6,900' to 8,600'; 1,700' gain  |   Distance: 2.9 miles   |   Hiking Time: 2-3 hours   |    Climate Zone: Rainforest

After Shachris and breakfast in the hotel, it's off to the mountain! It's a couple of hours' drive to the Londorosi National Park Gate, where we'll perform the necessary registration formalities and meet the rest of our crew. A short drive takes us to the Lemosho trailhead itself, and now the real climb begins.

Today's hike is through the rainforest climate zone, surrounded by giant trees and mosses. Buffalo are sometimes seen here, while colobus and blue monkeys frolic overhead.

After a short climb we'll reach our first campsite, Big Tree Camp (also sometimes called Mti Mkubwa). Our porters have gone ahead, and we arrive to a fully set up camp - sleeping tents, dining tents, kitchen tents, toilet tents - everything. As we get settled in, our chefs will prepare a wonderful dinner in our separate fully-kosher kitchen tent under the strict and constant supervision of our mashgiach.

We'll sleep comfortably, two people per 3-person tent. Our tents are large and comfortable, with plenty of room for your personal effects, a separate external vestibule area.  

Day 3, Wednesday, Feb. 19

Big Tree Camp to Shira I Camp

Day 2 on the mountain

Elevation: 8,600' to 11,600'; 3,000' gain  |   Distance: 4.9 miles   |   Hiking Time: 6-7 hours   |    Climate Zone: Moorland

You'll be woken by your tent steward bearing a bowl of warm water for washing up and hot tea or coffee. We'll daven Shachris and have a hearty breakfast while the porters pack up camp, and then we hit the trail once more.

We soon leave the rainforest behind and enter the moorland zone. This is an alien world of mist-shrouded giant heather, with expansive views. We climb steadily to reach the rim of the Shira Plateau. We stop en route for a hot, site-down lunch, and then continue to center of the plateau where we make camp at Shira I.

Day 4, Thursday, Feb. 20

Shira I Camp to Shira II Camp

Day 3 on the mountain

Elevation: 11,600' to 12,600'; 1,000' gain  |   Distance: 9.9 miles   |   Hiking Time: 4-5 hours   |    Climate Zone: Moorland

Today's a slower day, to help acclimatization. We'll explore the volcanic rock formations of the Shira Plateau, and climb to the summit of the spectacular Shira Cathedral (12,800'). This side trek helps greatly with acclimatization.

 

We'll then descend to our next camp, Shira II (sometimes called Shira Hut). This campsite has stunning views of the dome of Kibo and the summit, and the jagged rim of Shira Plateau. The views from here of Mt. Meru floating on the clouds are simply unforgettable.

Day 5, Friday, Feb. 21

Shira II Camp to Lava Tower to Barranco Camp

Day 4 on the mountain

Elevation: 12,600' to 15,150'; 2,550' gain  |   Distance: 6.6 miles   |  Hiking Time: 4-5 hours  |   Climate Zone: Alpine Desert

Elevation: 15,150' to 12,800'; 2,350' loss  |   Distance: 3.3 miles   |  Hiking Time: 2-3 hours  |   Climate Zone: Alpine Desert

We start with an early morning of gentle ascent and panoramic views, leaving the moorland plateau behind and entering the alpine desert. We walk on lava ridges beneath the glaciers of the Western Breach, heading towards Lava Tower, a 300' tall lava plug left over from an early Kilimanjaro eruption.

 

After lunch, we descend to the bottom of the beautiful Barranco Valley towards Barranco Camp. Today's is a good example of the "climb high, sleep low" principle, which is the best way to acclimatize to the altitude.

We arrive at camp a bit earlier than usual today - it's time to prepare for one of the most unique Shabbosim we've ever experienced!

We start with an early morning of gentle ascent and panoramic views, leaving the moorland plateau behind and entering the alpine desert. We walk on lava ridges beneath the glaciers of the Western Breach, heading towards Lava Tower, a 300' tall lava plug left over from an early Kilimanjaro eruption.

 

After lunch, we descend to the bottom of the beautiful Barranco Valley towards Barranco Camp. Today's is a good example of the "climb high, sleep low" principle, which is the best way to acclimatize to the altitude.

We arrive at camp a bit earlier than usual today - it's time to prepare for one of the most unique Shabbosim we've ever experienced!

Day 6, Shabbos, Feb. 22

Barranco Camp

Day 5 on the mountain

Elevation: 12,600'   |   Distance: 0 miles   |  Relaxing Time: 25 hours  |   Climate Zone: Me'ein Olam Haba

Barranco Camp is without doubt the most spectacular camp on the route, and the perfect place to spend Shabbos. The valley is sheltered by towering cliffs, with extensive views of the plains far below. The summit is clearly visible from here, with the glaciers of the Western Breach hanging overhead. The valley itself is much greener than the surrounding alpine desert, and the high altitude means that the time spent here is priceless for our acclimatization and summit success odds.

It's late Friday afternoon: we've all rested a bit, washed up, and the eiruv is built. Our food resupply convoy has just arrived carrying our Shabbos food, and great smells are wafting from the kitchen tents. Shabbos is nearly here.

As the sun goes down over the distant plains, we welcome Shabbos with a joyous song. The air is perfectly clear here, and one by one the stars appear. Before long millions of them are twinkling overhead, and we enter the dining tent for a warm and wonderful Shabbos seuda. We may be high up on a mountain deep in Africa, but you wouldn't know it by looking at our Shabbos table. We'll have everything you'd expect from a regular Shabbos meal, and more. We'll sing zemiros into the night, and eventually retire for a good long night's rest.

Shabbos day passes much in the same relaxing and rejuvenating way - davening, a lovely meal, a shuir or two, perhaps a nap or a short walk. Towards evening we'll daven Mincha, have yet another delicious Shabbos meal, and finally Maariv and havdalah.

Day 7, Sunday, Feb. 23

Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp

Day 6 on the mountain

Elevation: 12,800' to 13,100'; 300' gain  |   Distance: 3.2 miles   |  Hiking Time: 4-6 hours  |   Climate Zone: Alpine Desert

Shabbos is over, and it's time to trek once more - and today's a doozy.

 

The day begins with scaling the Barranco Wall, which is the steepest point in the climb. Throughout Shabbos we've watched other hikers tackle the wall, and now it's our turn. After an hour and a half or so you find yourself on the top - and in a different world. The summit looks spectacular - and way closer - from here, the air is thinner, and the winds are harsher. The terrain changes from lava rock to volcanic scree as we descend towards Karanga Camp and the last water source before the summit.

Day 8, Monday, Feb. 24

Karanga Camp to Barafu Hut

Day 7 on the mountain

Elevation: 13,100' to 14,800'; 1,700' gain  |   Distance: 3.4 miles   |  Hiking Time: 3-5 hours  |   Climate Zone: Alpine Desert

We follow an easy path on compacted scree, which eventually gets steeper and steeper until we reach the Barafu Hut around lunchtime. There is an optional short acclimatization walk to the plateau at the bottom of the valley,  but most of he remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the early morning final ascent.

Barafu Camp has an otherworldly feel to it, perched on an exposed ridge in a bleak and barren landscape beneath the summit's Southern Ice Field. Early night tonight - tomorrow's the big day!

Day 9, Tuesday, Feb. 25

Barafu Hut to Summit to Millennium Camp

Day 8 on the mountain

Elevation: 14,800' to 19,341'; 4,551' gain  |   Distance: 3.1 miles   |  Hiking Time: 7-8 hours  |   Climate Zone: Arctic

Elevation: 19,341' to 12,500'; 7,341' loss  |   Distance: 6 miles   |  Hiking Time: 4-6 hours  |   Climate Zone: Arctic to Alpine Desert to Moorland to Rainforest

It's summit day!

We'll be woken about midnight to begin the final summit push. We are now in the Arctic zone, and we'll be wearing all the clothing we own. A quick snack, and we're off.

A steep scree path zigzags in front - and above - us. We are all likely feeling the affects of altitude, and we're taking it slow and steady. After five hours or so we get to the steepest point, just beneath Stella Point. One final push, and we are officially on the crater rim - Stella Point, 18,885'.

Just as we reach Stella Point the sun bursts out over the clouds, lighting up the entire summit area. Beneath us in the crater are Kilimanjaro's glaciers - the famous "equatorial snows" - all lit up in orange and pink. The sun's rays warm us and give us energy for the final hurdle: a one-hour gentle climb to Kilimanjaro's summit itself - Uhuru Peak.

Finally.... we've made it! The summit of the highest mountain in Africa, one of Earth's Seven Summits, the highest freestanding mountain in the world, and one of the tallest volcanoes.

It is the morning of Rosh Chodesh Adar, and if we have the energy, we'll do a world's first: a minyan Shachris on the summit, with a sefer torah and a joyous Hallel. 

After a short rest and the obligatory pictures underneath the summit sign, it's time to turn around and head back down. The views are out of this world, and we can hardly believe that we actually climbed up the path that we are now descending. Going down is easier than up, and even though we are exhausted by this point, the warming sun and the increasing oxygen levels gives us the energy we need. We leave the Arctic zone behind, pass through the alpine desert and the moorland, and eventually reenter the rainforest that we've left behind a week ago.

Finally, after four or five hours of constant descent, we arrive at Millennium Camp to a hot meal and a well-deserved rest.

Day 10, Wednesday, Feb. 26

Millennium Camp to Mweka Gate

Day 9 on the mountain

Elevation: 12,500' to 5,380'; 7,815'  loss |   Distance: 7.6 miles   |  Hiking Time: 3-4 hours  |   Climate Zone: Rainforest

After a good night's sleep it's time for the final descent. The rainforest here is alive with the sounds of countless birds, and before you know it you'll be at the Mweka National Park Gate.

Here we'll do a last bit of formalities, collect our official summit certificates, and bid goodbye to our crew.

We'll be transferred back to our hotel in Moshi, where the most luxurious of amenities is waiting: a long, hot shower.

In the evening we'll have a final celebratory and farewell dinner, before turning in for our final night in Africa.

Day 11, Thursday, Feb. 27

Departure

We'll have Shachris and breakfast in the hotel, before saying our final goodbyes and being transferred back to the airport for our return fights.

 

Pricing

Trip cost: $6995 per person

  • A deposit of 25% of the trip cost is required to confirm your participation. The balance is due in full 90 days before departure (November 19, 2019).

  • For a complete list of what is and what isn't included in the trip cost, see the Important Info section below.

  • All stays are double occupancy. See below for single supplement information.

  • It may be possible to use your credit card points or airline miles to pay for the trip. Contact us for more info.

  • This trip requires a minimum amount of participants.

  • Cancellation policy: Deposit is refundable in full (less any applicable processing fees) until the minimum amount of participants have booked. Past this point, the deposit is not refundable. Up to 70 days before departure: 75% refund, less any applicable processing fees. 69-35 days before departure: 50% refund, less any applicable processing fees. 34 days or less before departure: no refunds. Kosher Horizons is not responsible for any other expenses incurred, including but not limited to non-refundable airline tickets.

  • Trip insurance is mandatory and must include trip cancellation, emergency evacuation, high-altitude trekking, medical, and repatriation benefits.

Optional services: the following services may be useful to some. Please call us to discuss, especially regarding the last two.

  • Single supplement: $250. This includes your own hotel room both nights and a private tent on the mountain.

  • Personal Porter: $210. This dedicated porter will hike beside you the entire time and carry your daypack for you. This cost covers the entire climb.

  • ALTOX Personal Oxygen System: $350. Some climbers can benefit from this under certain conditions. This cost includes a dedicated porter for the system.

 
 

Antarctica Kosher Expedition

Important Info

Who Can Climb Kilimanjaro?

That's an easy answer: pretty much any healthy, fit person.

You do not need to be a mountaineer, athlete, or have any particular skills to successfully climb this mountain. You do however need to be reasonably healthy and pretty fit. If you aren't particularly fit right now, don't despair: there's still time for you get to the level of fitness needed. A couple months worth of cardio training and frequent hikes will allow any (former) couch potato to be in a condition to tackle the mountain.

The absolute most important thing to do on the mountain is move slowly - as the guides will constantly remind you in Swahili: "pole, pole!". This will ensure that everyone acclimatizes to the altitude properly, but it also allows everyone enough time to climb and not feel rushed. Most days consist of relatively low altitude gains; on the other hand, you can't run away from the fact that summit day will probably be the most physically taxing day of your life - but that won't change whether you're a novice or an experienced trekker.

As far as the altitude, that affects everyone differently, and has nothing to do with your level of fitness.

In short, kids as young as 7 and folks as old as 89 have successfully climbed Kilimanjaro. Every day, thin people and  - shall we say - less thin people summit. If you have the determination to summit and are willing to do some training and possibly lose a few pounds, chances are that you will, indeed, summit.

The Food:

All meals are included in the cost of your trip and will adhere to the highest  standards of Kashrus - Cholov Yisroel, Pas Yisroel, and Glatt. All meals will be prepared fresh by our chefs in our separate kosher kitchen under the strict and constant supervision of our two mashgichim.

Our menu will be specially crafted to give us the energy we need at high altitudes. We'll eat well and there'll always be plenty of great food available. Halfway through the trek, we'll be getting a food resupply convoy with fresh food for Shabbos and the second half of the climb. This will ensure that we can serve delicious fresh food throughout the trip, in contrast to typical treks where the food becomes dry and monotonous after the first few days. 

Breakfasts will be in camp every day before we head out, while lunches will typically be hot sit-down meals en route. Dinner will be back in camp once we've rested from the day's trekking a bit.

If you have any dietary restrictions or special requests, let us know and we'll try our best to accommodate you.

Safety:

Kilimanjaro is not a dangerous mountain, but staying safe is still our number one priority.

The biggest danger on the mountain is acute mountain sickness (AMS) (sometimes called altitude sickness ). We will all likely experience some low-level effects such as shortness of breath and diminished appetite. However, if left undetected and allowed to become acute, AMS can quickly become life threatening. The only cure for AMS is to descend to a lower altitude. 

Our route is specially crafted to minimize AMS by allowing our bodies to slowly and properly acclimatize to the altitude. Due to this fact, our route enjoys the highest summit success rate of any route on the mountain - over 97%. In addition, our extra Shabbos day spent resting at altitude will go a long way to minimizing AMS.

We will have twice-daily health checks to monitor our pulse, temperature, blood pressure and oxygen saturation. If someone is suffering from acute AMS, these checks will reveal this and that person will be immediately evacuated from the mountain.

Our guides are certified Wilderness First Responders and are specifically trained for high-altitude medicine, and carry a full complement of emergency equipment: first-aid kits, evacuation litters, emergency supplemental oxygen, portable Gamow bag, satellite communicators, and more. We will have a 2:1 climber to guide ratio, and on summit day every person will be accompanied by either a guide or a senior porter.

 

In case of a severe medical emergency, an AMREF Flying Doctors helicopter evacuation will be called in and the patient flown to a hospital in Nairobi or South Africa (based on the nature of the emergency).

What's Included:

In order for you to be able to focus on your climb and not be bogged down with details, pretty much everything you need is included in the cost of your trip.

Pre-Climb:

Pre-Climb:

  • Extensive informational welcome packet

  • Transfers from JRO airport to our hotel in Moshi

  • Monday night hotel stay (double occupancy)

  • Welcome dinner

  • Tuesday morning breakfast

  • Transfers from the hotel to the Londorossi Gate

On the Mountain:

  • A full mountain support team: highly qualified and experienced guides and assistant guides (1 guide for every 2 climbers), porters, chefs, waiters, and more. 

  • An average of 4 porters per person carrying both personal and group gear

  • Additional dedicated porters to carry our extra weight – tallis and tefillin, eiruv paraphernalia, separate kosher kitchen, and so on.

  • High-end Ferrino 3-person tents (double occupancy)

  • Sleeping pads

  • Sleeping bag rental

  • Trekking poles rental

  • All national park fees ($1050 altogether - $630 daily fee, $400 camping fee, $20 rescue fee)

  • 3 fantastic Kosher meals each day, prepared fresh under our Mashgiach’s strict supervision

  • Daily minyanim and a sefer torah

  • Dedicated toilet tents

  • Twice-daily health checkups

  • Emergency bottled oxygen

  • Emergency Gamow bag

  • Emergency descent if required, including a dedicated guide, transport back to Moshi, and pre-prepared kosher food for the duration of the trip.

  • AMREF Flying Doctors helicopter evacuation insurance

Post Climb:

  • Transfer from the Mweka Gate back to our hotel

  • Official National Park summit certificate

  • Celebration dinner

  • Wednesday night hotel stay (double occupancy)

  • Thursday morning breakfast

  • Transfers from the hotel to JRO airport

What's Not Included:

  • Airfare to or from Africa

  • Items of a personal nature (snacks, souvenirs, etc.)

  • Guide, porter, and chef tips (expect around $300 altogether)

  • Mandatory travel insurance

  • Visa fees or airport taxes

  • Vaccination or inoculation costs

  • Any of the optional services described in the Pricing section above.

Legal Stuff:

All travelers are required to obtain comprehensive travel insurance for this trip. This policy must cover trip cancellation, emergency evacuation, high-altitude trekking, medical, and repatriation benefits.

Kosher Horizons shall take no responsibility or liability for any other expenses incurred, including but not limited to non-refundable airline tickets, personal, or property damage before, during, or after the duration of this trip. A signed limit of liability form and medical release form may be required to attend this trip. 

The trip pricing is based on the current National Park fees and exchange rate. Should any of these change before the trip takes place, Kosher Horizons reserves the right to adjust the trip pricing accordingly.

The above itinerary is intended as a guide only and may change based on weather, group preferences, or other reasons.

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