Climbing Kilimanjaro Day 4. Mawenzi Tarn Camp to Kibo Camp

Climbing Kilimanjaro Day 4. Mawenzi Tarn Camp to Kibo Camp. Fourth day 9km walk to the summit base camp.

In September, Lady Lynne and I completed the 70km, 6 day Rongai route ascent of Kilimanjaro. This is our day by day recap of that walk.

Mawenzi Tarn Camp to Kibo Camp was our fourth day hiking to Kilimanjaro. Make sure you’ve caught up on the previous 3 days first :-

Today, Day 4 on route to the Kibo Camp we continued our gradual hike through the alpine desert zone. Kibo camp was our summit base camp.

As you’ll see in the photographs the route is dry, barren and inhospitable but still spectacular in its own right.

Our tent in Mawenzi Tarn Camp. Climbing Kilimanjaro Day 4.

Mawenzi Tarn Camp to Kibo Camp

We were getting used to the freezing cold nights and waking up with frost and ice on the the ground.

But, Lady Lynne and I had already begun to talk and look forward excitedly to our restful week to come.

Then we would be sitting by a swimming pool in Zanzibar. After the climb was over!

It wasn’t that we weren’t enjoying ourselves. We were. But our levels of comfort were certainly being challenged!

I always remember being taught “its better to be too hot than to be too cold”.

When you’re too hot you can strip off layers of clothing to cool down.

But when you’re cold, even when you put extra layers of clothing on, it still takes the body a lot of energy and time to heat up!

Looking down to the plains of Africa seen under a sea of clouds from Mawenzi Tarn Camp, Kilimanjaro.

And so it was that we awoke cold on that Thursday morning.

Looking up though, the jagged Mawenzi Peak at 5148m looked stunning as the mist began to clear around it.

And looking down from our 4315m height towards the plains of Africa the sea of clouds was even more amazing than the day before.

Lynne Lockier pointing to sign showing the words "Kibo" on it. On route from Mawenzi Tarn Camp to Kibo Camp, Kilimanjaro.

Our hot breakfast of African porridge was eagerly anticipated that morning.

Pancakes and omlettes too soon had us fixed and ready to walk to our next destination.

The Kibo camp which is the summit camp and the highest camp was 9km and 5 hours walk away.

The Kibo partially shrouded in clouds.

After climbing over a small ridge the view was breathtaking.

Although the Kibo was partially shrouded in clouds we could see far in the distance to the left, the Kibo camp that we were heading for.

The landscape was dramatic and windswept. But the path was easy going.

Desert walking towards the Kibo camp is known as "The Saddle".

The area that we were walking on towards the Kibo camp is known as “The Saddle”.

The saddle is a 5 km barren plain of alpine desert between the two main peaks of Kilimanjaro: Mawenzi and Kibo.

Not alot survives in this harsh environment. In fact there is no running water here. Nor is there any running water available in any streams at the Kibo Camp. This is still the dry season.

Our team were carrying enough water as well as our equipment for our one night stay at Kibo Camp.

Lynne Lockier and Neil Lockier standing beside The Kibo Hut sign. Kilimanjaro.

We arrived at Kibo Camp at lunchtime.

The air is thinner here and the day temperature cooler than the other camps we had been at.

We were encouraged to rest and take it easy here. Keeping our energy for our 7 hour trek to the summit that night.

Looking back towards Mawenzi Peak with the Kibo camp and tents nestled amonst rocks.

The clouds kept rolling across the area of the saddle all day. It’s often described as a lunar landscape.

Looking back towards Mawenzi Peak, the Kibo camp lies nestled amonst the rocks sheltered in part from the cool wind.

On arrival our team already had our tent set up for us. We were soon eating lunch of a hearty potato soup, pancakes and watermelon.

Tents in foreground. New huts being built in the background. Kibo Camp. Kilimanjaro.

There are wooden huts here at the Kibo camp. And more being built.

The huts are for those people doing the Marangu Route ascent of Kilimanjaro.

The Marangu Route is the easiest and cheapest route. But as it’s the shortest route it also means there is less time for acclimatization.

Therefore it is the route with least success of summiting Kilimanjaro.

We chose the Rongai Route because it meant we would have the best chance of success.

Lynne going inside our tent at The Kibo Camp. Kilimanjaro.

After relaxing and playing cards in our tent it was time to have an early dinner and early night, and hopefully to get some sleep. After all this was the big night.

For the ascent would begin at Midnight……..

So folks that ends Day 4 Mawenzi Tarn Camp to Kibo Camp. Be sure to check back in a couple of weeks for Climbing Kilimanjaro Day 5. Summit Day!

If you enjoyed reading this then you might also be interested in reading about our other walking adventures such as when Lady Lynne climbed her first Munro, Ben Lomond.


  1. Ron

    Neil, it’s looking a bit chilly up there. I enjoyed the images, especially the ones with the vast views. It must have been spectacular. I’m really enjoy this trek, but I’d be the “set around the pool in Zanzibar” type. I’m looking forward to the big midnight trek.

    • Neil

      Ha ha totally Ron. By this time as I mentioned we were eager to get the summit over and to get to that pool in Zanzibar!! 🙂

  2. Ben|Havocinthekitchen

    I occasionally climb the stairs (Nothing complicated, just 11-storey building), and I always by the 6th or so floor start doubting my life choices including my desire to slip the elevator. I cannot imagine myself having a similar trip. You’re truly the heroes, Neil. And needless to say, the views are spectacular!

    • Neil

      Climbing the stairs daily when I worked in the City Centre here in Glasgow was one of my training routines Ben! 🙂

  3. Ashika | Gardening Foodie

    Wow Neil,I really enjoyed reading this post .You and Lynne must be super fit to have done this great climb and in such adverse weather conditions too.
    But it looks like such a great reward with the beautiful view. Absolutely amazing!

    • Neil

      Thanks Ashika it was an amazing experience. We’re even thinking about doing Mount Kenya next. We must be mad! 🙂

  4. David @ Spiced

    Those views are absolutely stunning! I still question your sanity a bit for making the trek, but at the same time I admire both of you for tackling this awesome adventure. When you said barren, you meant it! That photo on the way to Kibo camp looks so remote and desolate. I can’t imagine having to haul the construction equipment up for that house they’re building, too. Love the photos, and I can’t wait to hear about the midnight hike!

    • Neil

      We actually passed porters who were carrying individual parts of those new huts on our way down. There’s no motorised transport here so everything has to be carried. Everything is done manually here. Glad you enjoyed the views David. More to come! 🙂

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