Machame Route – 7 days/6 nights

Known for being beautifully scenic, the Machame Route also has the best summit success rate. This route allows you to “climb high, sleep low”, giving your body time to adjust to the changes in altitude over several days. Climbs can take six or seven days; however, we would always advise choosing the longer route for the best chance of acclimatization and reaching the summit.

 

Itinerary

DAY 1: MACHAME GATE (1,800M/5,900FT) TO MACHAME CAMP (3,000M/9,800FT)

Elevation Gain: 1,200 metres / 3,900 feet
Hiking Time: Approximately 6 to 7 hours
Habitat: Rainforest
After breakfast, you’ll get picked up from your hostel/hotel in Moshi and driven to the starting point at Machame Gate (approximately 45 mins). After registration, you will begin your journey to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro using a well-maintained trail through Montane Forest. On the way, you’ll walk through dense rainforest and coffee plantations as your guide talks you through some of the local flora and fauna. Here you will also get a very good chance of witnessing Black and White Colobus monkeys, as well as many different species of brightly-colored birds. The climb is a steady and gradual incline to Machame Camp which is located on the edge of the rainforest and giant heather zones.

DAY 2: MACHAME CAMP (3,000M/9,800FT) TO SHIRA CAMP (3,840M/12,600FT)

Elevation Gain: 840 metres / 2,800 feet
Hiking Time: Approximately 5 to 6 hours
Habitat: Moorland


On the second day, you’ll rise early for breakfast and begin climbing a slightly steeper gradient through the moorland vegetation zone. Here you will start to get fantastic views of Kibo, the summit cone of Mt. Kilimanjaro while continuing along a rocky ridge to Shira Plateau. Shira is actually a collapsed volcanic crater and was the first of Kilimanjaro’s three volcanic cones to expire. Once on the plateau, the trail becomes a little easier as you make your way to Shira Camp. If it’s a clear day, you’ll also get to enjoy superb panoramic views. Shira Camp is very exposed and will feel much colder with temperatures dropping below freezing point.

DAY 3: SHIRA CAMP (3,840M/12,600FT) TO BARRANCO CAMP (3,850M/12,650FT) VIA LAVA TOWER (4,550M/14,900FT)

Elevation Gain: 710 metres / 2,300 feet
Elevation Loss: 700 metres / 2,250 feet
Hiking Time: Approximately 6 to 7 hours
Habitat: Alpine desert

The route now takes you into semi-desert and rocky landscapes surrounding Lava Tower, a 300ft high volcanic rock formation. You’ll then ascend the rocky scree path to Lava Tower for great panoramic views, before a steep descent into the Barranco Valley. You may find this trek a little tougher than the previous days as some hikers usually start to experience symptoms of altitude sickness. Although you will finish today’s climb at almost the same elevation as you started, this is a very good practice for acclimatization and will help prepare your body for summit day. Barranco Camp lies below the imposing Barranco Wall in a beautiful, sheltered valley.

DAY 4 : BARRANCO CAMP (3,850M/12,650FT) TO KARANGA CAMP (3,995M/13,106FT)

Elevation Gain: 145 meters / 456 feet
Hiking Time: Approximately 4 to 5 hours
Habitat: Alpine desert

This will be a shorter day of hiking to allow for acclimatization. After breakfast, you will begin to ascend the Barranco Wall and hike glacial valleys – but don’t worry, it is easier than it looks! From the top of the wall, you will then cross a series of hills and valleys before descending into Karanga Valley. After one steeper climb, you’ll reach Karanga Camp where you will relax for the afternoon before dinner and an overnight rest.

DAY 5 : KARANGA CAMP (3,995M /13,106FT) TO BARAFU CAMP (4,600M /15,100FT)

Elevation Gain: 605 metres / 1,994 feet
Hiking Time: Approximately 3 to 4 hours
Habitat: Alpine desert

After breakfast, you will leave Karanga and hit the junction which connects to the famous Mweka Trail. You will then continue along the rocky ridge for 1 to 2 hours before reaching Barafu Camp, which offers stunning views of Mt. Kilimanjaro’s summit from various angles. Your tents will be pitched along a narrow and rocky ridge with high winds. It’s therefore worth taking some time to familiarize yourself with your surroundings before it gets dark. Rest for the night at Barafu Camp and prepare for the upcoming hike to the summit.

DAY 6 : BARAFU CAMP (4,600M/15,100FT) TO UHURU PEAK (5,895M/19,300FT) THEN DESCENDING TO MWEKA CAMP (3,110M/10,200FT)

Elevation Gain: 1,295 metres / 4,200 feet
Elevation Loss: 2,785 metres / 9,100 feet
Hiking time: 6 to 7 hours to Uhuru Peak; 7 to 8 hours to Mweka Camp
Habitat: Arctic conditions

This is where the going gets really tough! Just before midnight, you will venture into the night and begin your final ascent to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro. Head northwest through the heavy stone scree following multiple switchbacks between Ratzel and Rebmann glaciers until you reach Stella Point (5,685m). This section is probably the most challenging part of the route and will require great physical and mental effort. Continue to move slowly, always listening to your guide.

After a short rest at Stella Point, you will hike along the crater rim for another hour before reaching your ultimate goal – Uhuru Peak! Congratulations! You have now made it to the “Roof of Africa”.

Weather conditions on the summit will determine how long you will be able to spend there, but it is important to start your descent within good time to ensure you get enough rest back at Barafu Camp. After your rest, you’ll gather the rest of your belongings and descend to Mweka Hut (3,100m) where you’ll enjoy dinner and a well-earned sleep!

DAY 7: MWEKA HUT (3,100M) TO MWEKA GATE (1,980M)

Elevation Loss: 1,280 metres / 4,220 feet Hiking time: Approximately 3 to 4 hours Habitat: Rainforest After eating breakfast, you will begin the easiest part of your adventure on Mount Kilimanjaro via scenic path through the forest to Mweka Gate. Successful hikers who made it to Stella Point and Uhuru Peak will be awarded their certificates at the gate. Then it’s time to drive back to your hotel to enjoy a shower, dinner and celebrations with a Kilimanjaro beer!

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