Read here about the experiences of the mountainbike tours, for example the Kilimanjaro Classic, the longest tour.

An incredibly cool, challenging and beautiful trip! No lack of adventure!

Bart and Sanne (a couple from the Netherlands, both 29 years old) biked the Kilimanjaro Classic in January 2022. After travelling around the world for 4,5 months they arrived in Arusha to be one of the first to embark on this adventure. Bart used to bike a lot in the Netherlands on his racing bike, Sanne is also experienced on the bike but bikes less than Bart. Read below their story of the Kilimanjaro Classic!


Arriving day

Experience Kilimanjaro Classic – 7 day mountainbike tour

After a bus trip of 8 hours from Lushoto we were picked up by Harrie, his wife Sympho and her nephew Benny. Benny is 32 years old and he was our guide for the tour. That night we were having a nice dinner and a cold beer on the amazing balcony of their beautiful house next to the Themi river. The bed and breakfast is run by the nephews and niece of Sympho: Lazaro (little brother of Benny) is a qualified cook and waiter, and Nema (sister of Benny) is the cleaner and she helps cooking.  

Preparation day

Experience Kilimanjaro Classic – 7 day mountainbike tour

After a good sleep in Themi View we headed to the ABC (Arusha Bike Center) shop to pick our bikes. We expected that the standards for the bikes would be a bit lower than in the Netherlands, but Sanne (172 cm) could choose out of approximately 15 bikes and had a really good bike. Bart (184 cm) could choose out of 2, but also his bike ended up to be pretty decent! The rest of the day we prepared the Garmin bike computers, we packed our (very little) stuff that could be put in the bikebags of Benny and we went to bed at 10 pm. 

Day 1

Experience Kilimanjaro Classic – 7 day mountainbike tour

The next morning we woke up at 6 am, so we could start our journey in the cool morning weather. An absolute recommendation if it is up to us to start early. Our first day was a 85 kilometer ride. Note that every day you can choose the heaviness that suits you best, as you can choose between grade 1, 2 and 3. In general, grade 1 is mostly tarmac road and the least ascent meters. Grade 3 is mostly a more tough road and the most ascent meters. Of course, grade 2 is in between. We started with grade 1. Already after a few kilometers you are riding in really beautiful desolated areas where time has stood still. You will encounter real local life and people are really surprised to see people with a white skin (mzungu). The trip starts in a relatively dry area, then it gets more green and you encounter lots of small waters (also some rivers that you have to cross barefooted). We had lunch under a tree, Lazaro made some really nice pasta. After almost 70 kilometers we reached the hotsprings (took some more time than we thought as we had 3 flat tyres). A really nice place with crystal clear water. Refreshing! After the hotsprings we headed for our first night in Boma Ng’ombe. With another 4 flat tyres it took a bit longer than expected, but we made it! The apartment is very clean, very big and the perfect place to recover from the first day. 

Day 2

Experience Kilimanjaro Classic – 7 day mountainbike tour

Our second day started with four(!) flat tyres. We had to wait for new tyres from Moshi (brought by the local bus ‘dalla dalla’) so we only could start at 1 pm. Fortunately our guide Benny is very patient, innovative and positive. Since our second day was almost all on tarmac road and about approximately 500 meters of ascent, we could still make it to the next place. Lunch was along the road, a local place with a buffet. We had rice with vegetables. That day we saw zebra’s along the road, amazing! We arrived at Kibo’s Eco Place at 5 pm. Kibo’s eco place, runned by Kibo, another nephew of Sympho, is a very desolated, but beautiful place amongst the Masai.  Initially we planned to do a bike safari on this day, but due to our late start we stayed here one more night to do the bike safari the next day. Absolutely no problem to stay here one more night as it is such a peaceful area. 

Day 3

Experience Kilimanjaro Classic – 7 day mountainbike tour

Amazing day! We started the day early with a visit to the Masai boma, where we could see Masai people milking their cows and goats. After breakfast we headed for a 32 kilometers long bike safari. This is why you are here! We have seen so many zebra’s, giraffes, wildebeests, impala’s and gazelles, unbelievable. So cool to see all these animals and to be the only one around there.

Day 4

Experience Kilimanjaro Classic – 7 day mountainbike tour

The queen stage of the trip! 85 kilometers again and more than 1600meters ascending. This day we learnt you should have breakfast properly, otherwise we get a bit grumpy. But after some cookies we could enjoy the ride again and this is again an amazing day. The views are stunning, of course the view on the Kilimanjaro, but especially the view on Kenia (you are really close to the border this day). We crossed a lot of very little villages where all the kids are running with you and are really happy to see you. They are giving you additional support in case you are having a hard time. This day we had a combination of gravel and tarmac road. Lunch was a nice couscous salad that was made by Kibo. We arrived around 3 pm in Snow Cap Cottages, beware of the final climb! At this place it is a bit colder than the previous places, but fortunately they have a fireplace that keeps you warm. During this evening Benny told us a lot of stories about his youth and the way he grew up. Quite a difference compared to ours! We are glad we have never been invited to a circumcision party…

Day 5

Experience Kilimanjaro Classic – 7 day mountainbike tour

This day we headed to the place where Sympho grew up, the village is called Kilema. The trip started with a long descent on the tarmac road. Luckily it was sunday otherwise it would have been quite busy on the road, we think. Almost all day we stayed on the tarmac road, except for the last part. We had lunch in a local place with chapati and beans (one of our favourite meals in Tanzania). This last part is again a heavy final climb on an unpaved road, but then we could even more enjoy the cold soda that Harrie had put in front of us. To be there is a unique experience to see how Sympho grew up amongst the banana trees, mango trees, avocado trees, coffee plants and so on. Also we were served traditional food, ugali with vegetables, no cutlery needed. The toilet is just a hole in the ground and the shower is a cup with a bucket of boiled water. Unique experience! We also tasted the bananabeer there, let’s say that there is no arguing about taste…

Day 6

Experience Kilimanjaro Classic – 7 day mountainbike tour

This day should not be underestimated! The day starts with a heavy, long and steep climb. The first 15 kilometers took us three hours, but after the heavy effort you descend for quite a long time whilst you cross a very impressive rainforest. In Moshi we took a break with a really good coffee, delicious cake and a really good sandwich. The last part is more or less flat on a gravel road. Also we again passed some rivers (little waters) we had to pass on foot. After approximately 65 kilometers we arrived in Captains Place, in West Kilimanjaro. 

Day 7

Experience Kilimanjaro Classic – 7 day mountainbike tour

The last day was again 65 kilometers. We maybe underestimated this day a bit, but we were very happy to ride the last part on the tarmac road. Depending on which season you are there, you can encounter some beautiful lakes with a diversity of birds. When we were there it was unfortunately a bit dry. But what a feeling to arrive in Themi View again! Very proud and satisfied, we enjoyed a cold beer on the balcony. 


Experience Kilimanjaro Classic – 7 day mountainbike tour

In conclusion, it was a wonderful, but challenging (although more mentally than physically) trip for us. We think it is doable for everyone who is experienced on a bike and in good physical shape. As mentioned before, when you are more trained you can adjust the heaviness of the trip. 
Biking the Kilimanjaro Classic is one of the most impressing mountainbike experiences, specifically because in this tour you encounter beautiful animals (you have to be lucky of course), real local life and stunning views. And last but not least, it is really nice to help this hard working family setting up their business and become self-reliant.

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