Climbing the Kilimanjaro - Machame Route (6 days/5 nights)

Code
Destination Moshi
Category Kilimanjaro Climbing
Duration 6 days 5 nights

Package

The Machame Route through the Kilimanjaro is called the "Whiskey" route. It is the second most popular and one of the most scenic routes on the mountain. All climbers sleep in tents (tents are included) and meals are served in a dinner tent or on a blanket outside. The trek is done over 6 days, so that acclimatisation is easier. It is for physically fit people with some hiking experience. Descent is down the Mweka trail, with a stay at the Mweka or Millennium camp on the final night on the mountain.

 

Itinerary:

Day 1:

Machame Gate to Machame Camp (1830m to 3100m/ 6000ft to 10,200ft; Distance covered: 18km; Hiking Time: 5-7 hours; Habitat:Montane Forest) - The drive from Moshi to the Mount Kilimanjaro National Park Gate takes about 50 minutes. Through the journey, you pass through the village of Machame, which is located on the lower slopes of the mountain. We enter the park gate and walk through the rain forest on a winding trail up a ridge. Lower down, the trail can be muddy and slippery. Gaiters and trekking poles are a good idea here. We continue a short distance until we reach the Machame Camp.

 

Day 2:

Machame Camp to Shira Camp (3100m to 3840m/ 10,200ft to 12,600ft; Distance covered: 9km; Walking Time: 4-6 hours; Habitat: Moorland) - After breakfast, we leave the glades of the rain forest and continue on an ascending path, crossing the little valley and walking along a steep rocky ridge, covered with heather, until the ridge ends. The route now turns west onto a river gorge. Time for rest, dinner, and overnight at the Shira campsite.

 

Day 3:

Shira Camp to Lava Tower to Barranco Camp (3840m to 4630m to 3860m/ 12,600ft to 12,700ft; Distance covered: 15 km; Walking Time: 5-7 hours; Habitat: Semi-desert) - From the Shira Plateau, we continue to the east up a ridge, passing the junction towards the peak of Kibo. As we continue, our direction changes to the South East towards the Lava Tower, called the "Shark's Tooth." Shortly after the tower, we come to the second junction which brings us up to the Arrow Glacier at an altitude of 4876m / 15,997 ft. We now continue down to the Barranco Hut at an altitude of 3860m / 12,664 ft. Here we rest, enjoy dinner, and stay overnight. Although you end the day at the same elevation as when you started, this day is very important for acclimatisation and will help your body prepare for summit day.

 

Day 4:

Barranco Camp to Barafu Camp (3860m to 4600m/ 12,700ft to 15,100ft; Distance covered: 13km; Hiking Time: 8 hours; Habitat: Alpine Desert) - After breakfast, we leave Barranco and continue on a steep ridge up the Barranco Wall, through the Karanga Valley (lunch at 4200m / 13,779 ft), and the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. We continue up to the Barafu Hut. You have now completed the South Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Here we make camp, rest, enjoy dinner, and prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo can be seen from this location.

 

Day 5:

Barafu Camp to Summit to Mweka Hut (4600m to 5895m (and down to 3100m)/ 15,100ft to 19,300ft (and down to 10,200ft); Distance covered: 7km ascent / 23km descent; Hiking Time: 6-8 hours ascent / 7-8 hours descent; Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit) - Very early in the morning (between midnight and 2 a.m.), we continue our way to the summit between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers. You head in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. This is the most mentally and physically challenging part of the trek. At Stella Point (5685m / 18,652 ft), you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see (weather permitting). From Stella Point, you may encounter snow all the way on your 1-hour ascent to the summit. At Uhuru Peak, you have reached the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. Fast hikers will see the sunrise from the summit. It can be very cold at night at these elevations and quite warm by the end of the hiking day. You will want clothing for both extremes. From the summit, we now make our descent, continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. You will want gaiters and trekking poles for the loose gravel while going down. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.

 

Day 6:

Mweka Camp to Moshi (3100m to 1830m/ 10,200ft to 6000ft; Distance covered: 15 km; Hiking Time: 3-4 hours; Habitat: Forest) - After breakfast, we continue the descent down to the Mweka Park Gate to receive your summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts will probably be plenty to wear (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy). From the gate, continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet you at Mweka village to drive you back to your hotel in Moshi. Don't forget to tip your guides and porters. It is time for celebration!

 

The price includes:

  • All park fees
  • Professional experienced mountain guides, cook and porters
  • Rescue fees
  • All meals while on the mountain
  • Guides, porters, cook park fees
  • Clean and purified drinking water
  • Good tents, tables and chairs

 

You will require the following clothes for hiking during the day, lounging in the evening and for sleeping: Shorts for the 1st and last day Pants for hiking and for lounging in the evenings Short sleeves Long sleeved shirts for hiking and for the evenings Long underwear Fleece jacket Fleece pants Down Jacket Rain Jacket Rain trousers Underwear Trekking shoes Balaclava Wool socks Note: If you do not have these things, you can hire them in the shops renting out hiking equipment.

Machame Route

Day 0: Moshi (815m / 2670ft) - At your hotel in Moshi/Arusha, where you stay overnight and receive a briefing from your mountain guide before your trek.

Day 1: Machame Gate to Machame Camp (1830m to 3100m/ 6000ft to 10,200ft; Distance covered: 18km; Hiking Time: 5-7 hours; Habitat:Montane Forest) - The drive from Moshi to the Mount Kilimanjaro National Park Gate takes about 50 minutes. Through the journey, you pass through the village of Machame, which is located on the lower slopes of the mountain.

We enter the park gate and walk through the rain forest on a winding trail up a ridge. Lower down, the trail can be muddy and slippery. Gaiters and trekking poles are a good idea here. We continue a short distance until we reach the Machame Camp.

Day 2: Machame Camp to Shira Camp (3100m to 3840m/ 10,200ft to 12,600ft; Distance covered: 9km; Walking Time: 4-6 hours; Habitat: Moorland) - After breakfast, we leave the glades of the rain forest and continue on an ascending path, crossing the little valley and walking along a steep rocky ridge, covered with heather, until the ridge ends. The route now turns west onto a river gorge. Time for rest, dinner, and overnight at the Shira campsite.

 Day 3: Shira Camp to Lava Tower to Barranco Camp (3840m to 4630m to 3860m/ 12,600ft to 12,700ft; Distance covered: 15 km; Walking Time: 5-7 hours; Habitat: Semi-desert) - From the Shira Plateau, we continue to the east up a ridge, passing the junction towards the peak of Kibo. As we continue, our direction changes to the South East towards the Lava Tower, called the "Shark's Tooth." Shortly after the tower, we come to the second junction which brings us up to the Arrow Glacier at an altitude of 4876m / 15,997 ft. We now continue down to the Barranco Hut at an altitude of 3860m / 12,664 ft. Here we rest, enjoy dinner, and stay overnight. Although you end the day at the same elevation as when you started, this day is very important for acclimatisation and will help your body prepare for summit day.

Day 4: Barranco Camp to Barafu Camp (3860m to 4600m/ 12,700ft to 15,100ft; Distance covered: 13km; Hiking Time: 8 hours; Habitat: Alpine Desert) - After breakfast, we leave Barranco and continue on a steep ridge up the Barranco Wall, through the Karanga Valley (lunch at 4200m / 13,779 ft), and the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. We continue up to the Barafu Hut. You have now completed the South Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Here we make camp, rest, enjoy dinner, and prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo can be seen from this location.

Day 5: Barafu Camp to Summit to Mweka Hut (4600m to 5895m (and down to 3100m)/ 15,100ft to 19,300ft (and down to 10,200ft); Distance covered: 7km ascent / 23km descent; Hiking Time: 6-8 hours ascent / 7-8 hours descent; Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit) - Very early in the morning (between midnight and 2 a.m.), we continue our way to the summit between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers. You head in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. This is the most mentally and physically challenging part of the trek. At Stella Point (5685m / 18,652 ft), you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see (weather permitting).

From Stella Point, you may encounter snow all the way on your 1-hour ascent to the summit. At Uhuru Peak, you have reached the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. Fast hikers will see the sunrise from the summit. It can be very cold at night at these elevations and  quite warm by the end of the hiking day. You will want clothing for both extremes.

From the summit, we now make our descent, continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. You will want gaiters and trekking poles for the loose gravel while going down. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon.

Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.

Day 6: Mweka Camp to Moshi (3100m to 1830m/ 10,200ft to 6000ft; Distance covered: 15 km; Hiking Time: 3-4 hours; Habitat: Forest) - After breakfast, we continue the descent down to the Mweka Park Gate to receive your summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts will probably be plenty to wear (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy).

From the gate, continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet you at Mweka village to drive you back to your hotel in Moshi or Arusha. Don't forget to tip your guides and porters. It is time for celebration!