The Machame route is our most popular and successful route leading to the summit of Kilimanjaro. Hikers sleep in tents which are carried up the mountain by porters. The Machame route is a very scenic and beautiful route, which can be completed in 6 days; however, we strongly recommend hiking the route in 7 days, allowing for more time to acclimatize. The key to the success of the Machame route is its topography, allowing hikers to climb high and sleep low, helping towards better acclimatization. There are however two drawbacks to this route:
Best time to travel: all year round.
You will be picked up at the Kilimanjaro International Airport and transferred to your hotel in Moshi town, you will meet your guide who will brief you on your upcoming trek and do an equipment check-up to make sure you have all the necessary mountain gear. Gear which is missing can be rented on this day. Overnight at Ameg lodge (Bed and Breakfast).
MACHAME GATE (1790M) – MACHAME CAMP (2980M)
After breakfast, you will be collected from your hotel and taken to the Kilimanjaro National Park. While your guide is registering, you can watch the mountain team preparing – it is always impressive ‘what’ and particularly ‘how’ everything is carried up the mountain. Once this is all packed up, your adventure will begin; after a few minutes, you will be deep within the forest with ancient trees, ferns, mosses, and black and white colobus monkeys frolicking in the treetops. After 5 – 6 hours you will reach – Machame Camp –situated just above the forest line at 3000m. Arriving here, the porters have already set up your tents and warm water for washing is ready.
MACHAME CAMP(2980m) – SHIRA CAMP (3840m)
Hiking time: 6 hours
Distance: Approximately 9 kilometers
After early morning breakfast, you will start your ascent leaving the rain forest and entering the heathland moorland vegetation. You will cross many streams and walk over a rocky ridge onto the Shira plateau that leads to Shira Camp (3840m). At this campsite, you will be next to a stream and have a spectacular view of the Western Breach and its glaciers in the East. Similar to the first night, your tents will be set up prior to arriving at camp and the porters will prepare drinking and washing water for you. You will enjoy evening snacks then dinner prepared by our chef. Be prepared for a cold night as temperatures drop below freezing at this exposed camp.
SHIRA (at 3840m) – LAVA TOWER (at 4630m) – BARRANCO CAMP (at 3950m)
Hiking time: 7 hours
Distance: Approximately 15 kilometers
Following an early morning breakfast, you will leave the moorland environment and enter the semi-desert and rocky landscape. After 5 hours of walking east, you will come face to face with the Lava Tower (4630m). Packed lunches are served at the Tower and hikers have the option of climbing the massive Lava Tower weather permitting. At this point of the hike, it is normal for hikers to start feeling the effects of the altitude including headaches and shortness of breath. After lunch, you will descend from Lava Tower (4630m) to the Barranco Campsite (3950m). The 6800m descent gives hikers a huge advantage to allow their bodies to adjust to the conditions of high altitude. The descent to camp takes around 2 hours to reach. It is located in a valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall (“Breakfast Wall”). Drinking and washing water and dinner will be served as hikers view the sun setting.
BARRANCO CAMP (3950m) – KARANGA CAMP (3950m)
Hiking time: 4-5 hours
Distance: Approximately 5 kilometers
Habitat: Alpine desert
After early morning breakfast, it is now time to conquer the Great Barranco Wall! Although it may look intimidating at first glance, hikers state that this Class 2 hike is usually much easier than they anticipated. At the top of the Wall, you will have a view of Heim Glacier and will be above the clouds. The trail then winds up and down in the Karanga Valley. This is an ideal hiking day for acclimatization.
Mweka Route - Barafu Camp
Hiking time: 2-3 hours
Distance: Approximately 4 kilometers
Habitat: Alpine desert
Following breakfast, you will leave Karanga Camp (3959m). The trail intersects with the Mweka Route, which is the trail used to descend on the final two days. As you continue hiking for an hour, you will reach Barafu Hut. This is the last water stop for the porters because there is no accessible water at Barafu Camp (4550m). The word “barafu” in Swahili means “ice” and this camp is located on a rocky, exposed ridge. Tents will be exposed to wind and rocks so it is important for hikers to familiarize themselves with the campsite before dark. An early dinner will be served so hikers can rest before attempting the summit, the same night. Your guide will brief you in detail on how to prepare for summit night. Get to sleep by 19:00!
Barafu camp (4600m) – Uhuru Peak (5895m) – Mweka (3100m)
Hiking time: 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak, 7-8 hours to descend to Mweka
Distance: Approximately 7-kilometer ascent and 23-kilometer descent
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
Your guide will wake you around 23:30 for tea and biscuits. You will then begin your summit attempt. The route heads northwest and you will ascend over a stone screen. During the ascent, many hikers feel that this is the most mentally and physically challenging part of the climb. In about 6 hours, you will reach Stella Point (5685m), located on the crater rim. After enjoying the magnificent sunrise, you will continue ascending for about 2 hours on a snow-covered trail to Uhuru Peak (5895m). Reaching the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro is a lifetime accomplishment! You will be able to spend a short time on the summit taking photographs and drinking tea before the descent to Barafu begins. The hike down to Barafu Camp takes about 3 hours. At camp, you will rest and enjoy a hot lunch in the sun. After eating, you will continue descending down to Mweka Hut (3100m). The Mweka Trail will lead you through the scree and rocks to the moorland and eventually into the rainforest. Mweka Camp (3100m) is located in the upper rainforest, so fog and rain should be expected. You will have dinner, wash, and rest soundly at camp.
MWEKA CAMP (3100m) – MWEKA GATE (1980m)
Hiking time: 3 hours
Distance: Approximately 15 kilometers
After breakfast, you will have a traditional farewell ceremony from all your mountain crew. After a short 2 – 3 hours walk through the rainforest our driver will be waiting for you at the Mweka gate. You will then be transferred back to your hotel for a well-deserved shower, a cold drink, a debrief, and the awarding of your certificate of achievement. The rest of the day is yours to relax and to reflect back on this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Overnight at Arusha.
End of our services and hope you enjoyed our companion.