Africa - Blue Square Productions

Mt Kenya & Kilimanjaro

Explore Africa with the Smileys 

We have developed a unique way to enjoy an African expedition, offering three options to fit your interests and schedule. 

1. Kilimanjaro, 11 days, $5500 

2. Kilimanjaro & Safari, 14 days, $6000 

3. Killi, Safari, & Mt Kenya Climb, 19 days, $9000

4. Ice Climb to the Summits of Africa's Tallest Two Peaks, 14 days, $25,000 (max 2 people, 1:1 ratio)

2018 Dates 

Kili & Safari: Jan 6 - 16  

Kili, Safari, & Mt. Kenya: Jan 6 - 23

Mt. Kenya & Kili Ice Climb: Contact to schedule your private trip. 

The Smiley Difference 

Many companies offer trips to Kilimanjaro, so why go with Blue Square Productions? 

International expedition travel can be stressful. Having a guide that is both competent and excited about having a safe enjoyable experience is critical for a successful trip. A significant part of the trip's success is having a compatible relationship with your guide. You can get to know Mark a little before the trip by watching these classic climb videos. 

This is your vacation. It is our highest priority to keep you safe while having a thrilling adventure during your sacred time away from work. 

This expedition will provide the following in order to make your time in Africa the best it can be: 

° IFMGA Certified Guide, Mark Smiley will lead the trip. He has the skills to keep you safe in the mountains, and can provide assistance to make the experience as enjoyable as possible. 

° Quality photographs and video will be captured with a professional grade Canon 5D Mark III camera. This perk is much appreciated after the trip, especially if you only have iphone photos taken during rest breaks (a reality that happens to even the most devoted photographers). Photos are for your personal use only. 

° Every step of the way from the booking process to the last hour of the trip, you will work directly with Mark Smiley. 

° Those interested in climbing Mt Kenya will get a chance to stand on the highest and second highest peaks in Africa in the same trip! Calling this a "unique experience" is an serious understatement, "Monumental Accomplishment" is more accurate.

° When the 8th person signs up for this trip, the entire group will receive a complimentary Arc'Teryx Atom LT Jacket! You pick the size and color (in stock colors). This piece is one of our personal favorites. 

° Climb Kilimanjaro in 6 days. This allows for more action packed days, yet maintains a steady pace that allows everyone to be successful. Satellite phone, pulse oximeter, first aid, years of mountain experience and local infrastructure will be at our disposal, increasing our margin of safety.

° Mark will be making a highlight video of the trip, which you will have access to and will be a star of. The quality will be similar to his Classic climbs videos. This is a feature no other guide service offers.

Example Itinerary

° Jan 6 (Day 1): Fly from your home to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), located in Arusha, Tanzania. 

° Jan 7 (Day 2): Flights from the States are generally +24 hours. Arrive in Tanzania, take our private transport to hotel. 

° Jan 8 (Day 3): Shake off the jet lag, meet our team, prep and pack, enjoy tourist leisure in the area. 

° Jan 9 (Day 4): Begin our Kilimanjaro climb in Kilimanjaro National Park. 

° Jan 10-14 (Days 5-9): Climb Kilimanjaro via the scenic Machame Route route. You will never carry more than a day pack (15lbs. / 7kg.) the entire trip. Our park-required, economy stimulating, porters will make the climb as easy as possible. After reaching the summit we will return to Arusha. We will celebrate Valentines Day just a few thousand feet below the highest point in Africa! 

° Jan 15 (Day 9): Hike down and out, staying at a hotel in Arusha. 

° Jan 16 (Day 10) [Kili Only]: Enjoy tourist activities around Arusha during the day. Private transport will take you to the airport, arriving home the following day. 

° Jan 16 (Day 10) [option 2 & 3]: Safari time! We travel first to Tarangire National Park. On this magnificent safari we will get to see many unique animals from our open air Land Rovers. We will camp in the bush to fully enjoy the surroundings. 

° Jan 17 (Day 11): Wake up after to a wonderful breakfast after a fabulous night under the stars. Tour the Ngorongoro Crater. 

° Jan 18 (Day 12): Travel to our third and final destination, Lake Manyara, and hopefully complete our "must see" list of amazing wildlife. Hotel in Arusha. 

° Jan 19 (Day 13) [Kili & Safari group]: Travel to the airport to catch your flight home. You will arrive at your home the following day. 

° Jan 19 (Day 13) [Mt Kenya group]: After seeing off our fellow Kilimanjaro climbers, we will travel to Narobi, Kenya. Stay in a 4-star hotel in the safe part of the city. 

° Jan 20 (Day 14): Drive to Mt Kenya. Drive from the Naro Moru trailhead, to the Met Station. Hike from the Met Station (10,000') to MacKinder's Camp (11,150'), 6 miles. 

° Jan 21 (Day 15): Hike to the Austrian hut at 15,715' (4790m), gaining 4,565' over 4-5 hours of hiking. 

° Jan 22 (Day 16): Rest day, or possible summit day depending on forecast. Acclimatizing on Kili allows for this abbreviated, yet safe and reasonable, approach. Hike/scramble up to Point Lenana (16,355') if we are feeling strong. 

° Jan 23 (Day 17): Summit day, climbing Mt Kenya's Nelion Summit (17,022'). After reaching the top we descend back to the Austrian Hut. 

° Jan 24 (Day 18): Hike out to the Met Station. Drive back to Nairobi, where we will fly one way to JRO, to catch our flights home late that night. 

° Jan 25 (Day 19): Arrive back home, grinning sleepily from ear to ear. One week later: Get the professional photos from Mark and Janelle delivered to your inbox, ready for social media sharing and wall hanging.

Mt Kenya 

Taking full advantage of the acclimatization gained climbing Kilimanjaro, and the recovery time during the Safari, we will be ready to climb Mt. Kenya in good style. Mt. Kenya has several summits. We will climb the sunny and moderate, MacKinders Route, to the Nelion summit 17,017' (5188m). 

This is a 15-pitch 5.7 rock climb. Much of the climbing is below this grade, scrambling, but you will need to be a very solid 5.7 climber to tackle this route. The summit day takes roughly 9-12 hours roundtrip from the Austrian Hut. 

Due to the technical nature of this climb, we limit the summit day climb ratio to 2:1 (climber:guide). Everyone is welcome to trek to the Austrian Hut. The summit day, above the Austrian Hut, ascends technical rock climbing terrain to the top of Mt Kenya. 

Those that are not climbing to the summit will be able to hike to Kenya's third highest peak, Point Lenanna, which is a 45-90 min hike above the camp, offering amazing views of Mt. Kenya. Additionally, hikers can choose to continue from Point Lenanna for a Mt. Kenya circumnavigation hike. This takes a full 8-10 hours of hiking. You will be rewarded with great views of every aspect of Mt. Kenya. There is something for everyone on Mt. Kenya.


Going to Africa and missing out on a safari would be similar to an African traveling all the way to Arizona and not seeing the Grand Canyon. We will use a local tour provider and travel to three different Parks in a large, high clearance, off road vehicle. Our two main destinations are the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tarangire, and Lake Manyara. Each location is famous, and each will deliver plenty of animal and bird watching. Our hotels are 4(+) star. 

Ice Climb Kili & Kenya

There are technical ice routes up both mountains. Swinging tools into vertical ice above 15,000' is an extreme and rare way to reach the summit. On Kilimanjaro the route was established by climbing legend, Reinhold Messner, and on Mt. Kenya Yvon Chouinard did the first ascent. Experience these two mountains the same way these living legends did. 

Due to the technical nature of ascents like this the ratio will be (1:1), maximizing learning, safety, and chance of reaching the summit. Contact us today to schedule your private trip.

Images of the ice lines can be found at the end of the slide shows above.

Booking Details

Price includes: 

 - Park Fees 

- Safari Fees 

- Hotels indicated on the itinerary (double occupancy) 

- In country private group transportation 

- Guide, Porter, Cook fees 

- Meals on mountain 

- Group climbing gear, tents, and safety equipment 

- Arc'Teryx Atom LT Jacket (when 8 people register) 

- Mark Smiley's trip photos (for your personal use) 

- Video made of the trip (for your personal use)

Price does not include: 

- Airfare to Africa 

- Expenses incurred from deviating from this itinerary 

- Evacuation from the mountain (we strongly suggest purchasing trip insurance from your preferred provider) 

- Meals while not on the mountain 

- Alcohol & personal beverages 

 - Gratuites for local guides/porters (approx $250) 

- Visa fees ($100 Tanzania & $50 Kenya) 

- Laundry services 

- Excess baggage fees 

- Expenses not listed in the "Price includes" column

Gear Suggestions

The minimum number of people needed to make this trip run is six (6). The minimum number needed for Mt. Kenya portion of the trip is four (4). Registration must be completed by Nov 1, 2015. A non-refundable $1,500.00USD deposit is required to reserve your place. If you must cancel for any reason, within 90 days of the trip start date, you will receive no refund. Please purchase trip insurance to guard against this. If you sign up as a group of 3 or more, you receive a $350 credit to a future trip with Mark Smiley. If the trip does not run due to lack of participation, you will receive a full refund. If you prefer a private trip, please contact us, and we will provide pricing for your specific interests. The minimum amount for a one person trip is $20,000 USD. 

The max number of people for Kilimanjaro and Safari: 10 

 The max number of people for Kilimanjaro, Safari, and Mt Kenya: 10 (there are only 6 available positions for the technical climb to the Nelion summit of Mt. Kenya. 

Sign up today to lock in your spot. 

 "It is my personal mission to make this African expedition rewarding, fun, and stress-free as possible. I am excited to capture great memories, photos, and video of you throughout the trip. I also very much enjoy teaching people skills I have learned during my 18 year climbing career. I look forward to spending this time with you." -Mark Smiley

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