kilimanjaro local guides

Kilimanjaro Crater Camp 12-day tour

Kilimanjaro Climbing Tours via Kilimanjaro Crater Camp 

Kilimanjaro Crater Camp is by far the highest campsite on Kilimanjaro. Very few people stay there, but for some it’s an exciting addition to their Kilimanjaro climb itinerary. We introduce you to Crater Camp and discuss the pros and cons of overnighting there.

Where is Kilimanjaro Crater Camp?

The simplest answer is that Crater Camp sits within the depression that exists at the top of Kilimanjaro’s highest volcanic cone. The campsite is a little lower than Uhuru Peak, the highest point on Kilimanjaro.

Three concentric craters

Kibo is not a neat cone, as a volcanic eruption long ago blasted off its top. What now exists at the top of Kibo are three concentric craters:

The innermost crater is called Reusch Crater and contains the Ash Pit.

Encircling Reusch Crater is the Inner Cone.

The outermost crater – Kibo Crater – is about 2.5 km wide and its on this crater’s rim that you find Uhuru Peak, the tallest point on the entire mountain.

Tour Starts & Ends

Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO)

No. Persons Limit

Minimum 2 passengers to operate. Maximum 7 passengers in each group.

Departure Dates

On request (the tour starts at any time if the participants are ready)

Cost of Addtional Services

Extra cost such as tips, oxygen tanks, foods in hotels  $ $ $



How high is Kilimanjaro Crater Camp?

Crater Camp is 5,750 m (18,865 ft) above sea level. For comparison, Uhuru Peak – the mountain’s summit – is 5,895 m (19,340 ft). So you really don’t descend much before setting up camp.

Another height comparison is Everest Base Camp, which sits noticeably lower at 5,364 m (17,598 ft).

How far from Uhuru Peak is Crater Camp?

Kilimanjaro Crater Camp is only 1 km (0.6 mi) northeast of Uhuru Peak. It takes up to an hour to hike there.

Which route must I climb for Crater Camp?

We offer to take clients climbing the Lemosho or Northern Circuit to Crater Camp. These routes offer good acclimatisation, which is needed for a stay at Crater Camp.

What’s special about Kilimanjaro Crater Camp?

The main appeal of Crater Camp is the chance to explore the crater during the day. Temperatures can be quite pleasant in the daytime, and you get to explore the crater at your leisure, with almost nobody else around.

Those visiting Kibo Crater get to enjoy being close up and personal with features that many will never see, like Furtwangler Glacier reaching towards the sky, and the steep sides of the menacing Ash Pit. In addition, the next morning when you awake you have an easy walk to the crater rim for a sublime and unparalleled sunrise!

Kibo Crater is completely desolate; to set up camp in such a space is to make a home – for just a little while – of a truly inhospitable place.

Lunar landscape

The lunar-like landscape of Kibo Crater is mesmerising. When not covered in snow, you walk across grey-brown ash, scree and rocks. In winter, a thin blanket of snow can soften the scene and belie its otherworldly nature.

When not covered in snow, the crater floor is a dusty, dry and desolate place

Ice fields

The snow on the top of Kilimanjaro comes and goes with the seasons, but the ice fields and isolated glaciers are constant. That said, they’re sadly shrinking: between 1912 and now they’ve lost about 80% of their mass.

Furtwangler Glacier

Furtwangler Glacier is one of the most famous Kilimanjaro glaciers. One reason for this is its proximity to Uhuru Peak. Most trekkers, however, don’t get close to it. Those who descend to Crater Camp, on the other hand, have the treat of walking right up to it.

Furtwangler Glacier is shrinking, so for those who want to see it – now is the time

Standing at the base of Furtwangler gives you a sense of its immense scale, which is denied to those who just see it from far away and above. You also get to truly appreciate its icy blue-and-white beauty, and see up close the repeating patterns wrought upon it by endless exposure to fierce cold and winds.

The Ash Pit

The Ash Pit refers to the mountain’s vent in Reusch Crater and is something to behold. The steep drop is a heady sight, and the pit is a potent reminder of Kilimanjaro’s volcanic history.

Reusch Crater is the innermost of three concentric craters on Kibo and contains the Ash Pit

Those staying at Kilimanjaro Crater Camp who are feeling strong can take on the two- to three-hour roundtrip hike from Crater Camp that lets them visit Reusch Crater and the Ash Pit. It has to be one of the most epic photo ops on offer!

Expect a rough night

Those staying at  Kilimanjaro Crater Camp should expect a difficult night. The two main challenges are the cold and the extreme altitude.

A very cold night

At night the temperature in Kibo Crater can easily drop below -10°C (14°F), sometimes even reaching around -20°C (-4°F). Snow is also a possibility. December and January are the coldest months, with the greatest likelihood of snowfall. Snowfall can obscure your view of the landscape, so this is something to bear in mind. When choosing a month to climb, we definitely recommend reading Best time to climb Kilimanjaro.

Effects of altitude

And then there’s the effects of the altitude. Everyone staying at Crater Camp experiences some symptoms of altitude sickness, like dizziness, nausea, headaches, shortness of breath and poor sleep. Headaches are particularly common at Crater Camp, and can be pretty bad.

You can expect to only get around 10% of your usual amount of sleep at Crater Camp. You can also expect headaches and nausea.

Who should stay at Kilimanjaro Crater Camp?

The better candidates for a Crater Camp stay are those who have trekked and slept at high altitude before. These folks have better insight into what their bodies can and cannot handle. People who already live at high altitude also have an advantage.

We don’t feel it’s for us to either encourage or discourage you from including a Crater Camp sleepover. Everyone is different, and for some the views and experience of staying a night in Crater Camp will outweigh the discomforts associated with it. For others, the almost guaranteed headaches, nausea and sleeplessness will be too much and they’d do better to leave this option alone. Only you know you best.

PHYSICAL CONDITIONING

Kilimanjaro, at 19,340 ft., is an extreme, high-altitude climb and is perhaps the most underestimated of the seven summits. You should be comfortable walking four to eight hours per day. Summit day is the most demanding portion of the climb, typically involving eight hours for the ascent and six to seven hours for the descent. Our expeditions require strength and endurance. Being in sound physical condition is the single most important aspect for climbers to maximize their climbing potential. The better your physical condition, the more likely you are to perform well and have an enjoyable experience. The most frequent comment we have received over the years is that climbers have underestimated the fitness level needed to fully enjoy their trip. Additionally, inadequate fitness will affect the atmosphere, pace, and overall enjoyment of the climb for all participants. We highly recommend checking with your physician before undertaking any strenuous activity.

So if you’re planning to summit attempt  Africa’s highest mountain for your next adventure then here’s a brief top to toe outline of kit essentials:

  • HEAD :Woolly hat and a sunhat with brim or a cap
  • EYES : Sunglasses with UV protection
  • NECK : Buff (a piece of material that can be worn 100 different ways!) or a cotton scarf to cover the back of your neck
  • BODY :  Base layers – ideal to wear alone or under garments when the temperature drops. Great at keeping moisture away from the skin. Fleece – once the temperature drops an extra layer always helps. Waterproof – for those potential downpours. Down jacket – this becomes your best friend to and from the summit….brrrr  
  • HANDS : Gloves – don’t forget about those extremities
  • LEGS    :Lightweight trekking trousers; often useful to have trousers with zip-off legs that  can convert into a pair of shorts
  • FEET    :  Socks – these can make or break the comfort of your boot. Wool fabric which is padded in the right places will see you right. Cotton tends to absorb sweat making your feet blister-prone. Trekking boots – leather or waterproof fabric; make sure these are fitted correctly and  broken in well before your trip. There’s nothing worse than painful blisters all over your feet whilst trying to summit Mount Kilimanjaro
  • SLEEP: Sleeping bag – we suggest a season 4/4+ bag with a comfort level of -10°C. A silk liner will also aid warmth
  • SEE     :Head torches are very necessary if you don’t want to trip over your neighbours tent at night
  • DRINK  : Keeping hydrated is essential for your physical welfare.  Sigg bottles or  Camelbaks are great water accessories

Very high summit success rate

With over 6+ expeditions on Kilimanjaro we have an impressive 98% summit success rate. We believe this is because of our combination of smaller teams, higher guide ratios and using the most experienced High Altitude Expedition Leaders. This combination has shown time and time again that this is the safest approach whilst on the mountain.

We specialize in group climbs and private climbs at a reasonable cost. but a great value for everything you need to have a safe, successful experience.

You do not need to be extremely fit to undertake the trip as you will be walking at a very slow pace on the mountain to acclimatise to the altitude. This is a porter assisted trek therefore you will only be asked to carry a small lightweight day pack 

Each group is lead by a fully qualified Kilimanjaro National Park Mountain Guide assisted by porters and cooks. During the hotel stay a representative of the trekking company is always on hand for advice, and they are incredibly accommodating, courteous and friendly.

Included

Excluded

Kilimanjaro Trip Update

This program can be organized throughout the year, for the dates you choose, except for the months of April and May as it is the rainy season, starting with two people. Duration 8 Days - Private departure every day - from: USD 4.500. Type of stay: trek. Location: Kilimanjaro via the CRATER CAMP. Duration of stay: 8 days / 7 nights (+ 2 nights pre and post ascent).

If you Gilmans Point (green certificate) or Uhuru Peak (gold certificate) have passed, then you get to the entrance / exit a certificate with the message that you have reached the highest point in Africa.

Itinerary

Trek Schedule