Explore: Mara Elephant Project
Kenya & Tanzania
Mara Elephant Project / Kilimanjaro Trip
The Mara Elephant Projects (MEP) works to protect elephants and their habitats to conserve the greater Maasai Mara ecosystem. To do so, they utilize 3 key methods:
- Anti-poaching patrols and rapid response units
- Elephant collaring, monitoring and research
- Human-elephant conflict mitigation
Terra Explore has partnered with MEP to help further these conservation efforts through this once in a life time educational experience. Venture out into the Mara with the experts protecting this invaluable ecosystem and explore its extraordinary inhabitants through safaris and hands on expeditions.
After 4 nights in the Mara, journey to Tanzania to climb the infamous Mount Kilimanjaro—the tallest free standing mountain in the world. Trek up on the Lemosho route, known for its incredible scenery and high success rate.
Note: The mission of Terra Expeditions is to deploy sustainable solutions to support our partners’ conservation goals while fostering eco-conscious tourism and promoting education. A percentage of your payment is a tax-deductible donation that will help us deploy sustainable technologies to MEP.
If climbing Kilimanjaro is not feasible due to the physicality of the trek, we will work with you to develop a trip in which you can partake in MEP activities without the climb.
Feb 17 to March 3rd
March 9th to 24th
June 8th to 23rd
- Airfare is not included
- Our trips are intimate groups of six to ten people with one or two highly qualified Expedition Leaders.
Day 2 – Land at 11 am and catch an afternoon flight to Mara North. After an orientation, settle into accommodations at the Royal Mara Safari Lodge. After settling in, go on an afternoon game drive, looking out for wildlife and learning about the plants that the native Maasai people use for medicinal and ritual purposes.
Day 3 – Visit MEP to meet the ranger team and learn about what they do in action. Discover what it’s like to be boots on the ground by going out into the field and being at the forefront of MEP’s counter poaching activities. Return to camp to eat lunch. Leaving in the late afternoon, venture out on an evening safari to see the nocturnal animals of the Mara.
Day 4 –After breakfast, return back to MEP headquarters and work with the long-term monitoring team, following them out into the field to learn more about what they are doing to identify all 2,600 elephants that call the Mara home. In the afternoon, visit the Maa Trust, which works on community development projects, to learn about the local Maasai people and women’s beadwork. Early evening game drive in the Mara North Conservancy, returning to camp after dark.
Day 5 – In the morning, go for a game drive through the Mara, searching for elephants and other wildlife. Visit Leopard Gorge, famous for its high density of leopards, cheetahs and lions. In the afternoon, visit MEP for collared elephant monitoring. Go out with the head of tracking to see 2 or 3 nearby collared elephants and learn more about them and how MEP collects and utilizes data. Return back to camp for a farewell dinner.
Day 6 – In the morning fly to Wilson and then Kilimanjaro. Airport transfer to accommodations in Moshi at Stella Maris. After settling into accommodations, gather in the evening for a pre-climb briefing and an equipment check.
Day 7 – Drive through varied farmland with open views over the plains to reach the Lemosho trailhead. Eat lunch in the glades before starting to walk. It is an easy day of walking up a small path through beautiful and lush forest. This area has a variety of game, including buffalo. Camp at Lemosho Forest Camp (8,600 ft).
Day 8 – We soon leave the forest behind and enter the moorland zone of giant heather. The trail climbs steadily with wide views to reach the rim of the Shira Plateau. There is a tangible sense of wilderness, especially if afternoon mists come in! Camp in the center of the plateau at Shira One Camp (11,600 ft)
Day 9 – An easy day to help acclimatization and to explore the volcanic rock formations of Shira Plateau. Walk to the summit of Shira Cathedral (12,800 ft) before reaching the next camp at Shira Hut (12,600 ft). This campsite has stunning views, close to the glaciated dome of Kibo and the jagged rim of Shira Plateau. The view from here of Mt. Meru floating on the clouds is simply unforgettable.
Day 10 – A morning of gentle ascent and panoramic views, leaving the moorland plateau behind to walk on lava ridges beneath the glaciers of the Western Breach. After lunch at the Lava Tower (15,150 ft), we descend to the bottom of the Barranco Valley to camp at Barranco Camp (12,800 ft). It is sheltered by towering cliffs with extensive views of the plains far below.
Day 11 – A steep climb up the Barranco Wall leads us to an undulating trail on the south-eastern flank of Kibo, with superb vistas of the Southern Icefields. The terrain changes to scree, with pockets of lush vegetation in sheltered hollows. There is only a short distance to our camp at Karanga Camp (13,100 ft).
Day 12 – We follow an easy path on compacted scree with wide views that gains altitude unrelentingly to reach the Barafu Hut (14,800 ft) for lunch. There is a short acclimatization walk to the plateau in the southeast valley. The remainder of the day is spent resting to prepare for the early morning final ascent.
Day 13 – We start our ascent by headlamp about 1 a.m. so that we can be on the crater rim by sunrise. The steep climb over loose volcanic scree has some well-graded switchbacks and a slow, steady pace will take us to Stella Point (18,800 ft), in about five or six hours. We will rest there for a short time to enjoy the sunrise over Mawenzi. Those feeling strong can make the two-hour round trip to Uhuru Peak (19,345 ft), passing close to the spectacular glaciers that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Barafu is surprisingly fast. After some refreshments, we continue to descend to reach our final campsite, Millenium Camp (12,500 ft).
Day 14 – A sustained descent on a well-constructed path takes us through a lovely tropical forest alive with birdsong and boasting lush undergrowth with considerable botanical interest. Our route winds down to the Kilimanjaro National Park gate at Mweka (5,400 ft); and on through coffee and banana farms to Mweka village, where we are transferred to accommodations at Stella Maris in Moshi.
Day 15 – After breakfast, private transfer to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO).