An overnight stop at Crater Camp is an optional extra on any customized Kilimanjaro climb with operators usually lasting eight actual mountain days or more on the Shira, Lemosho, Umbwe and Machame routes. Possibly the most bizarre place you will ever see, it is visited by less than 5% of the 40,000 to 50,000 people who annually ascent Kilimanjaro on a distinct highlands voyage in northern Tanzania. Although, it is an unforgettable experience for anyone who is highly fit, determined and very well-acclimatized, if you do not match this description, forget it. It is the main boarding platform for the “Kilimanjaro Express”, the one-wheeled all-terrain stretcher used for speedy evacuation of sufferers from HAPE, HACE, hypothermia and other varieties of the dreaded Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) which affects most people to some degree at this altitude and actually kills 0.1% trekkers and porters each year on Africa’s shining mountain, many of whom took inadequate precautions for their challenging Mount Kilimanjaro trek, or overestimated their capabilities and spent too long at high altitude, often at Crater Camp. But if you are well-prepared and backed up by very experienced guides: if you are warmly clothed and housed in strong, warm tents during a restless, uncomfortable night; the headache you will inevitably suffer will be repaid a hundredfold by the experience of a mind-changing, utterly alien landscape, totally unexpected on an African mountain tour.