Details of Machame Route – Climb Kilimanjaro – 6 days
The Machame Route is located in the south-western part of the Kilimanjaro National Park. This route is also called “the Whiskey Route” and is considered as the most beautiful and scenic of all of the routes. This route is appropriate for more adventurous hikers as it is harder and physically more demanding than the Marangu route and you will need to be well prepared and fit to do this route. Although this route is not as easy as Marangu route, you will get amazing photo opportunities of Shira and the Barranco Wall. About 25% of climbers choose this route. The accommodation on this route is in tents only. This route can be done in 6 days (5 nights) or 7 days (6 nights). If you choose the 7 days Machame route tour, you will spend your overnight stay on the fourth day at the Karanga camp, whereas at the 6 days Machame route tour you will continue your hike on the fourth day from Karanga camp to Barafu camp.
DAY 1 Start of Machame Route at Machame Gate (1790m) – Machame Camp (3010m)
The first few meters of this trail will be spent walking on well laid out forest road to the forest camp. The habitat on this section of the trek constitutes dense rainforests so you will feel the humidity and the effects of precipitation. On either side of the road, you will see giant red ferns and impatiens.
Walking distance: approximately 9 km
Duration: 6-7 hours
Vegetation zone: Ascent in the rainforest zone
After your breakfast, you will be picked up from the hotel and driven to the Machame Gate. It’s a two-hour journey to the Gate and on way, you will see vignettes of local Tanzanian life. Once you reach the village Weru Weru you will make a break for a small mountain trail past banana plantations leaving the main road behind. At the Machame Gate, you will finish your the paperwork and registration formalities in the official book of TANAPA and have your luggage distributed to the porters before you start your climb.
The first few meters of this trail will be spent walking on the well-laid forest road to the forest camp. The habitat on this section of the trek is through dense rainforests so you will feel the humidity and the effects of precipitation. On either side of the road, you will see red giant ferns and impatiens. Along the way, you will have a brief halt for lunch. The trek after lunch will be on a steep narrow ridge. As you continue ascending you can see the rainforests giving way to heather moorland and after a short hike later you reach the Machame Camp at an altitude of 3010m.
The porters would have reached the place in advance to set up the tent. After some tea and biscuits, you can settle down and plan for the next day. If the conditions are right you can enjoy the evening views of Kibo before having your dinner and turning in.
DAY 2 Machame Camp (3010m) – Shira Camp (3845m)
You will wake up with the morning sun and enjoy a good breakfast before starting your ascent at the heather moorland zone at an altitude of 3200 meters on narrow trails laden with huge rocks formations. The trek towards the Shira camp will be a shorter one but challenging as you will be required to negotiate certain steep sections. At this height, the air is already rarified and after arriving at a rocky outcrop you will have a lunch break at 3400 meters. Post lunch awaits the difficult part of the trek which includes steep walls and deep gorges, many ascents and descents and changes of habitat with sparse vegetation giving way to black lava to reach the Shira camp which is located in the middle of the Shira Plateau at an altitude of 3845 meters. If you have some energy and adventure pending in you then have your guide accompany you to the Shira Cathedral, and the Needle and the Shira-Hill. The views of Mount Meru and Kibo from Shira camp are great.
The rest of the evening is as the previous day.
DAY 3- Shira Camp (3845m) – Barranco Camp (3960m)
The route is well passable. On Lavatower at an altitude of 4430 meters you have reached your altitude goal for today. It is very quiet up here, so you can hear your own heartbeat and the wind in your ears.
Walking distance: approximately 10 km
Duration: 6-7 hours
Vegetation zone: Ascend in Moorland / alpine desert
After breakfast, you will leave your camp and embark on a hike to Kibo. The hike on the alpine deserts rises gently and a steady trek later you will reach Lava Tower perched at an altitude of 4430 meters. It’s a desolate and barren place up there and you can feel the wind rustling in your ears. As you take a break for lunch pan out your eyes and explore the magnificent snowlines above the Lava Tower. Post lunch you will continue your hike to Barranco Valley only to descent south to Barranco Camp through the impressive Senecio forests. From here you can catch glimpses of the Barranco Wall and the Western Breach. It’s a day which will make you feel the effects of high altitude so you might feel some dizziness or headaches, but its normal. Rest and hydrate well in the wonderful views of the evening sunset.
DAY 4 – Barranco Camp (3960m) – Barafu camp (4550m)
Today we will tackle the intimidating Barranco Wall. After breakfast, we will begin our ascent of the steep Barranco Wall, which will be less climbing and more a scramble on all fours and then make a descent into Karanga Valley. From Karanga valley, we head to the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail and continuing a steady ascent we reach the Barafu Hut.
Walking distance: approximately 13 km
Duration: 8 hours
Vegetation zone: Alpine Desert
Today we will tackle the intimidating Barranco Wall. After breakfast, we will begin our ascent of the steep Barranco Wall, which will be less climbing and more a scramble on all fours and then make a descent into Karanga Valley. From Karanga valley, we head to the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail and continuing a steady ascent we reach the Barafu Hut. At this point, we have finished a round-up of the southern circuit and from Barafu, you can see soak in some great views of the summit and Mawenzi peak from a multitude of angles. You will have your dinner and turn in early as the summit challenge begins at midnight and sleep and rest will put you in better shape to make it to the top
DAY 5 Summit Day: Barafu Camp (4640m) – Uhuru Peak (5895m) – Mweka Camp (3080m)
Night ascend to the summit and then descend to Mweka Camp…
Walking distance: approximately 19 km
Duration: 14-16 hours
Vegetation zone: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
The ascent to the summit begins at midnight so you will wake up at midnight, have tea and some snacks. Then you will gather your gear and start your ascent into darkness in freezing temperatures with your guide showing you the way. The first challenge will be negotiating the moderately steep boulder laden trail to make your way through Rebmann Glacier to reach Hans Meyer Cave (5,150 m). Continuing on and after multiple switchbacks, you reach the crater rim and finally the Stella Point(5740m). But that’s not the summit and after another short hike of about 150 m, you reach the summit at Uhuru peak. The trail to the Uhuru is laden with snow and scree along the crater’s rim. At the summit at Uhuru(5895m) awaits the most magnificent sunrise over the east. Pull out your camera to capture the breathtaking vistas that open up to you and also capture photos with your team to mark a personal milestone
After basking for a few moments at the summit you will start your descent to Stella point, then Hans Meyer Point down to the Rebmann Glacier and further downhill to the Mweka Camp where you will rest and recuperate. The decent is a taxing one so use your trekking poles to support your joints.
DAY 6 – Descend: Mweka Camp (3080m) – Mweka-Gate (1680m)
After 10 kilometers you will reach the Mweka Gate. Your driver is already there waiting for you and transfers you back to your hotel. At the end of the tour your guide will present to you a more than earned certificate for your Kilimanjaro climb. Transfe
Walking distance: approximately 10 km
Duration: 3-4 hours
Vegetation zone: Descent through moorland and rain forest
This is your last day on Kilimanjaro and after breakfast you will have a nice group photo as a souvenir and memory of your triumph before you start your descent. The descent trail is a well laid out forest road with a major section characterised by rainforested slopes. After ten kilometers you will reach the Mweka Gate where you will receive your summit certificates(green certificate – Stella Point and gold certificate – Uhuru Peak) from the park office as a recognition of your efforts. After that, it’s a drive back to Arusha for a long overdue hot shower and celebrations at your choice of accommodation