Outdoor Pursuits

 Reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro

ISM is proud of our structured and extensive Outdoor Pursuits programme giving all our secondary students opportunities to face the challenge of a demanding range of outdoor activities in our superb environment centred on Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Meru. Our OP trips are organised into levels and students are expected to begin at Level One – each is only allowed to progress to a higher level after successful completion of a trip. All student groups are accompanied by a qualified guide and by teaching staff from the two campuses, who are also expected to progress through the same levels themselves. Students are expected to carry all their own equipment and a share of the group equipment and food.

Empakaai Crater in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, October 2012.


The Outdoor Pursuits department is well-equipped with a wide range of camping and mountaineering equipment and clothing that is updated and replaced as necessary. Good relations are enjoyed by the school with the Tanzanian National Parks Authority who in turn are enthusiastic in their support of our activities. A well-established programme of graded mountaineering expeditions to Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru and elsewhere exist to provide training for students in mountain craft, teamwork and in leadership skills. The programme of trips includes:


M1 Campcraft: A weekend low-level camping trip exclusively for M1 students to introduce them to camping and walking skills.


Mandara Hut: on Mt Kilimanjaro. This trip comprises a 4-5 hour walk up to Mandara (2800m), an overnight hut stay, and return the next day. Although easier than most other trips, it provides a good introduction to the programme and can be quite challenging for younger students.

Miriakamba Hut: on Mt Meru. Although similar to the Mandara trip, the climb to Miriakamba (2500m) is steeper and often includes a walk (accompanied by an armed guard) through a field of buffalo.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area: this is a flat ground trip and includes a short trek to down to Empakai Crater, a visit to a Masaii village, learning survival skills and observing at close hand the wildlife in the area.

Pare Mountains: Perhaps the most demanding of the level 1 trips, this has a longer walk though the Pares and includes a night’s camping.


Horombo Hut on Mt Kilimanjaro. A three day trip involving one night’s stay at Mandara and one night in Horombo at 3800m.

Little Meru on Mount Meru. After climbing to Miriakamba on the first day, the group will continue to climb Little Meru (3800m), the lower peak on Mt Meru before sleeping at Saddle Hut and returning on the third day.


Mawenzi Hut on Mt Kilimanjaro. After spending the first two days climbing to Horombo, the group then takes a day trip to Mawenzi Hut (4600m) which is at the base of the scree slope on Mawenzi Peak, the lower peak of Kilimanjaro, before returning to Horombo for the night. The group descends to the gate on the fourth day.


Rongai Route on Mt Kilimanjaro. This 4-day route starts from the northern side of the mountain near the Kenyan border and involves two nights of camping on the mountain, an ascent over the saddle, a sleep at Horombo, before returning to the Marangu Gate.

Socialist Peak on Mt Meru. After climbing to Miriakamba and Saddle Hut, the group walks at night on the steep climb to the peak (4562m), but the view at dawn is spectacular.


Uhuru Peak on Mt Kilimanjaro. This climb follows the same route as Mandara and Horombo, but the group stops for sleep again at Kibo Hut before climbing the demanding and high altitude night trek to Gilman’s Point and Uhuru Peak (5895m) The fourth night is spent back at Horombo before descending back to the gate on the fifth day.


There are also other routes to Uhuru Peak, some of which are more demanding and involve camping instead of the relative comfort of a mountain hut.