Join trekking experts to attempt an ascent of majestic Mt. Kilimanjaro, 19,340 feet high. During the final days, enjoy a specially designed safari that combines world-class wildlife viewing in Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire National Park with a stay at a Maasai village on this summer outdoor adventure program in Tanzania for high school students.
- July 2, 2013 - July 19, 2013
- Students completing grades 9-12
- Cultural Exploration
- Typical Group:
- 16 Students, 2 Leaders
- 2.5 week(s)
This Kilimanjaro outdoor adventure program in Tanzania combines Putney’s most challenging outdoor adventure—climbing Africa’s highest peak - with a short safari to some of the world’s premier big game parks.
Putney students first summited Kilimanjaro in 1972. Forty years later we again follow the magnificent, unspoiled Shira Plateau/Western Breach route. During our eight days on the mountain, traverse the Montane forest, home to Colobus monkeys, negotiate heath and arctic climate zones, before climbing Lava Tower — a 300 foot high volcanic plug jutting out from the side of the mountain. On the final night before the summit, camp on the crater floor next to the Furtwrangler Glacier – one of the last towering glaciers of Kilimanjaro. This route offers the highest summit success rate because it allows for good acclimatization by limiting climbing to 2500 feet in a day. More commonly used routes attempt the summit in just five or six days, requiring extreme elevation gains of up to 4000 feet, and a midnight departure on the summit day. Our final climb to the summit is only 800 feet above the crater floor camp, so the final trek to reach the spectacular snow-covered summit by sunrise starts at 5 AM and lasts just two to three hours.
“I came back a different person than I was before. Summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro was difficult, but gave me a huge sense of accomplishment. I gained a better sense of perseverance from this experience, and more patience, too.”
– Sarah Weck, The Hun School of Princeton, Lawrenceville, NJ
After a night resting and celebrating back in Arusha, spend the final days of the program on a safari organized by close friends of Putney, who introduce you to Tanzania’s fascinating tribal culture, wildlife, and history. The safari lasts five days and includes a stay as guests of the Maasai tribe, complete with a reception by a village elder and a traditional feast held in our group’s honor. Guides introduce you to Tanzania’s abundant wildlife in Tarangire National Park, where you can view animals up close. The safari continues to Ngorongoro Crater, with an expedition into the ten-mile-wide crater. Driving through grassland, swamps, and along lakes and rivers, you safely encounter lions, zebras, cheetahs, rhinos, elephants, monkeys, flamingos, wildebeest, jackals, and hyenas.
- Ascend Mt. Kilimanjaro—at 19,340 feet it is Africa’s highest peak.
- Watch the sunrise over the glaciers on Kilimanjaro’s summit.
- On a safari, spot lions, giraffes, and elephants.
- Join a Maasai community in a traditional feast and celebration.
What to Expect
Accommodations on this program are very simple. During our trek and on safari we camp in tents provided by our guides, and use outhouse-style bathrooms and showers.
This is Putney’s most physically challenging program. The ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro involves eight days of rigorous hiking and camping, with considerable time spent above an elevation of 10,000 feet. While no technical climbing skills are required, the route to the summit is a long and challenging path. Participants must be in excellent physical condition. You should come to the program with an open mind, eager to participate in new experiences and interested in exploring another culture and way of life.
At Putney we take pride in our reputation for careful, thorough planning and attention to detail. The descriptions of our high school summer programs abroad are based on our experiences in previous summers and our plans for this summer. It is inevitable that some things described here will not happen exactly as presented. To get the most out of the Putney experience, participants need to be flexible in responding to unforeseen situations, and creative in taking advantage of unexpected opportunities. We expect Putney participants to share responsibility for the success of their experience.
Putney organizes escorted international flights. Please consult us for fares.
Learn about last year’s program by reading the 2012 Kilimanjaro Summit Blog.
Departure • Join the group as you begin a two and a half week adventure in rural Northern Tanzania. The group flight departs from JFK Airport, where you meet one of your leaders and fly to Kilimanjaro Airport outside Arusha, Tanzania.
Arusha • A full day in Arusha – the Safari Capital of Tanzania – provides an introduction to Tanzanian life and culture, and is the perfect location to get to know one another and rest from our travels before beginning our Kilimanjaro trek.
Mt. Kilimanjaro • Next, take eight days to attempt the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro via the exceptional Shira Plateau/Western Breach route. Professional guides and porters lead you on this challenging trek to the Roof of Africa.
“Our son came back both humbled and richer for the experience — humbled in that he gained a deeper appreciation for other cultures and how they live; richer for having set his goals on accomplishing several things and achieving all of them!”
– Steve and Cecelia Martucci, Pennington, NJ
Safari • The program culminates with a five-day cultural and wildlife safari, first as guests of the Maasai Tribe, and then in national parks that are world-renowned for their wildlife: Tarangire, Lake Manyara, and Ngorongoro Crater.
Return • Fly with your group and a leader from Tanzania to New York, and continue on to your final destination.
This itinerary represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.
Background • Tanzania’s welcoming people, cultural vitality, and extraordinary natural beauty make it a favorite destination for travelers. A well-established democratic government and a widely respected system of public education are the keys to Tanzania’s reputation as a stable, safe country. Comprised of over 120 different ethnic groups, Tanzania’s people rely heavily on agriculture for both subsistence and livelihood. The country boasts abundant wildlife, and Tanzanians pride themselves on their rich natural resources and peaceful history. Our program begins in Arusha, the safari center of Northern Tanzania. It then continues 80 kilometers west to the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro where the climb begins at the Kilimanjaro National Park gate. The safari component of the program circles through the game parks of northwestern Tanzania.
Population • The population of Tanzania is approximately 45 million. Arusha, the largest city near our program, has about 1.5 million people.
Language • While each of the 120 ethnic groups in the nation has its own dialect, Kiswahili is the language spoken by the majority of Tanzanians. Higher education is conducted in English, thus many older people speak English.
Climate • Tanzania is situated on the equator, and weather conditions do not vary greatly through the year. During our visit, it is dry (Tanzania has been in a cycle of drought for many years) and comfortable. The sun is powerful. On safari, we spend one or two nights at higher altitude, where temperatures can drop to the 40s. As we near the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, temperatures change dramatically, and can drop as low as zero degrees.
Cuisine • Food in Tanzania is varied, with curries, grilled meat, and plenty of tropical fruit and vegetables. There is an Indian influence, with particular appreciation of breads, like chapati and naan. Western influence is also seen in the availability of pastas and cereals. Since all food on the climb must be carried, options are more limited.
“I expected this program to be fun, challenging, interesting, and exciting, and I think it is safe to say that this was the best summer of my life! Kilimanjaro was beautiful, and making it to the summit gave me such a great sense of accomplishment, both mental and physical. This experience will always be a part of me.”
– Joel Zimbrick, Edgewood High School of the Sacred Heart, Fitchburg, WI
Currency • Tanzania uses the Shilling (TZS). We change money in banks on visits to Arusha. ATMs are also available in Arusha.
Voltage • Electric current is 220V, and plugs are types D&G: large round three-pin and large flat three-pin heads, respectively. On safari, we rely on the DC outlets in our Land Rover to charge cameras and phones. Solar chargers and extra batteries are helpful.
Visa • Tanzania requires a tourist visa for entry, which costs approximately $100. Putney provides detailed guidelines on obtaining this visa.
The Cultural Exploration Kilimanjaro program is directed by Karen Phillips. If you have questions, are interested in receiving more detailed information, or would like to talk further about the program or any of our high school summer programs abroad, please get in touch!
Karen Phillips: St. Lawrence University, B.A., French. Karen caught the travel bug in high school while on a music tour through Europe, and later studied abroad in Switzerland, France, and Senegal. She has led Putney’s Language Learning and Community Service programs in France and Senegal, and coordinates programs in Europe and Africa. Her interests include rock climbing, painting, yoga, and running.
How To Apply
STEP 1: LOG ON.
STEP 2: HOLD A SPACE IN THE PROGRAM.
You can hold a space in a program by completing the Online Application Form, submitting a signed Agreement Form, and providing the $700 Application Deposit by Mastercard, Visa, or Discover Card through our secure online system or by sending a check to our office. Our admissions staff is also available to take credit card information over the phone. We will hold a space in a program for a reasonable time, pending completion of the full application process. See Step 3.
After March 15, we will hold a space temporarily as above, but we must receive full payment by check or wire transfer within three days to continue to hold a space in the program.
STEP 3: COMPLETE THE APPLICATION PROCESS.
Before we can make a final admissions decision, an application must be complete. In addition to the Application Form and Application Deposit described above, a complete application includes:
- Applicant Statement - Attach a statement explaining why you would like to join a Putney program and what you feel you can contribute to it. Your application cannot be processed without this statement. Approximately 150–300 words is sufficient. Global Action applicants’ statements must be 300-500 words addressing these questions, and detailing their interest and/or experience in the country and issues on which they wish to focus.
- Two Teacher Reference Forms
These documents are available as part of our Online Application. We review a completed application within a few days, and notify families of our admissions decision by e-mail.