A Journey to the “Roof of Africa”: Climbing Kilimanjaro
We’re excited to announce that two groups of Putney adventurers will climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2023!
Putney has a long history in Tanzania, first traveling to the East Africa nation in 1968. A few years later, in 1972, the first Putney group reached the 19,340-foot summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Since those early years, numerous Putney groups have followed in the footsteps of those intrepid Putney climbers of nearly a half-century ago—including two groups last year!
The relationships formed over many years with our Tanzanian friends and local partners are what allow Putney to offer students transformative experiences and unique insights into the country’s people, culture, history, and environment. It is through these deep connections that each summer we carefully craft our Kilimanjaro programs.
Our Exploration Kilimanjaro program begins with an introduction to important issues facing the communities that live around Mt. Kilimanjaro. From climate change and environmental challenges to local livelihoods and mountain economies, students are able to build their understanding of the mountain in both a local and global context.
We ascend via the magnificent, unspoiled Lemosho and Southern Circuit Route, led by a team of experienced mountain guides and accompanied by two Putney leaders. The route is completed over eight days and allows ample time for healthy acclimatization, as well as one of the highest summit success rates.
On the night before our summit bid, we camp at Kosovo Camp, which at several hundred feet above Barafu Camp shortens our final trek to the summit. Then, on our descent day, rather than make the long hike all the way down to Mweka Camp, we spend our final night above Mweka at Millenium Camp on the forest’s edge. Here we rest and enjoy a big feast, then the next morning walk a few hours through rainforest to reach the park gate.
The climb takes us through distinct climate zones, from coffee plantations and lush forests on the lower slopes to expanses of moorland and heath on the Shira Plateau. Higher on the mountain we navigate the stark but stunning landscape of the alpine desert, and walk past glaciers in the Arctic zone.
Along the way we learn from our guides about the history of mountain climbing in East Africa and what training it takes to lead trekkers to the highest point in Africa. We also learn about alpine ecology and mountain-adapted species such as the alien-like, giant groundsel tree.
After a week on the mountain, we set out on a safari through the sweeping plains, and acacia woodlands of Tarangire National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Outside of Ngorongoro, visit a traditional Maasai home, or boma, and learn how livestock herding is central to this pastoralist community’s way of life. From the heights of Mt. Kilimanjaro to wide swaths of savannah, this program highlights northern Tanzania’s diversity of landscapes and cultures.
Give us a call at 802-387-5000 to learn more about this once-in-a-lifetime Putney adventure to the “Roof of Africa,” or learn more about the program here.