Day 3 : Hike to Summit then down to trail head, return to Moshi/Arusha
Summit day has an early start at around 12:00AM. There is a 1 hour steep climb to Rhino Point (3,800m / 12,467ft), then the path continues along a ridge of ash and rock to reach Cobra Point (4,350m / 14,272ft). The summit of Socialist Peak (4,566 m) is an hour further on a steep path with magnificent views of Kilimanjaro. Depending on your speed, you can enjoy sunrise at Cobra Point or the summit. The views are stunning: the cliffs of the Crater rim, the Ash Cone rising from the crater floor, Kilimanjaro floating on the morning clouds, and the Rift Valley. The route back to Rhino Point in the sharp morning light along a narrow ridge between the sloping outer wall of the crater and the sheer cliffs of the inner wall is one of the most dramatic and exhilarating walks in Africa. Brunch and a brief rest is taken at Saddle Hut before continuing the descent to Miriakamba Hut.
NOTE: For an easier climb, you can start the trek at 05:00 A.M., hike for about 1 hour, and enjoy sunrise at Rhino Point before going back to Saddle Hut for breakfast and then descending.
NOTE: In icy conditions or in strong winds, it may be impossible for anyone to progress beyond Rhino Point.
There are two ways down from here. You can descend the route you came up or walk down the jeep road, which descends to the lower crater floor. You pass through the well-known Fig Tree Arch and can visit an impressive waterfall hidden in a ravine not far from the road.
A fast descent through open grassland and mixed forest, with good chances of seeing wildlife. This trail has excellent views back towards the crater and over the plains of the National Park. We’ll have lunch on the way down. Momela Gate is reached by mid-day or afternoon.