Altitude: from 1,800m at Machame Gate, to 5,895m at Uhuru Peak, descend to Mweka Gate at 1,980m
Trek Length: 100 km over 6 days
Standing high above Africa’s game-filled plains at 5,895m, Kilimanjaro is one of earth’s most impressive natural wonders. For any serious walker, reaching the summit of this extinct volcano will be one of life’s most memorable achievements. On this Specialist Tanzania Kilimanjaro trekking holiday you’ll follow the Machame Route, a beautiful but longer mountain route. On the Machame Route you can experience the southwest and south sides of the mountain by ascending one way from Machame, and descending another way, via the Mweka Route to Mweka village.
The Machame Route climbs slowly through forest to the Shira Plateau and joining the Shira Plateau route, traversing the mountain with overnight stops at Barranco and Barafu campsites, before making a slow climb up Kibo to Uhuru Peak. Because of the slow ascent it has one of the highest rates of success of any route on the mountain.
Hiking for 6 days you’ll be accompanied by your own private local mountain guide, porters and a cook. Nights are spent under canvas, camping on the mountain in dramatic wilderness locations. Your porters will pitch your tent and carry your luggage/equipment. Meals are served in either a dinner tent or outside if the weather is fine.
If you’re feeling up to it, you can make the final push to Uhuru Peak, reaching 5,895m and the highest point in Africa. Reaching the top of Kilimanjaro for sunrise is not the only reward – there are outstanding views to be seen on the way, unique plant life, flora, animals and birds. After your trek you’ll have the chance to relax at your hotel pool and enjoy an optional game drive in the exceptionally scenic Arusha National Park.
Climb Kilimanjaro – Machame Route departs every day throughout the year (except during the rainy season months of April and May when we feel the success and enjoyment of a climb may be affected by adverse weather conditions/rain). Private group departures can be arranged with reasonable notice to secure necessary Kili permits.
Day 1: Your Kilimanjaro climb holiday starts at check-in to your Moshi hotel. Nestled at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania, Moshi is the coffee producing center of the country and gateway to one of the most iconic mountains on our planet. Tonight you will receive a pre-trek briefing and can make any final preparations for your climb. Accommodation: Bristol Cottages (or similar).
Day 2: After a short transfer to Machame village (1,490m) you will complete entry formalities for Kilimanjaro National Park at the gate, then meet your guides and porters. Today’s walk is 18 km long and usually takes 5-7 hours, depending on your ability. Maintaining a slow, steady pace will help your body gradually acclimatise and allow you to enjoy the captivating and ever-changing scenery during the climb.
Arrival at camp (2,980m) is usually between 5 and 6pm. Accommodation: Camping at Machame. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: On this and subsequent mornings, you’ll be woken around 6 am with a steaming cup of tea or coffee. Today’s trek takes through tall grass, volcanic rock, bearded heather and giant groundsels as you hike through a ghostly landscape of volcanic lava, caves and streams. Continuing after lunch up a rocky ridge to the Shira Plateau itself where you will be able to see Kilimanjaro’s great Western Breach with its stunning glaciers. After a short hike west, you’ll reach Shira campsite (3,840m). 9 km are covered today, taking between 4 to 6 hours. Accommodation: Camping at Shira Camp. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: A steady walk takes you up to the pass at Lava Tower (4,630m), where you stop to have lunch. Crossing the Bastains stream, you will begin to descend towards Barranco Camp (3,950m). This 2 hour descent takes you along an immense canyon called Grand Barranco below the lower cliffs of the Western Breach and Breach Wall. Today's walk covers 15 km. Accommodation: Camping at Barranco. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: After spending a night under the imposing Great Barranco Wall, you’ll climb this awesome obstacle, which turns out to be easier than it looks. Topping out just below the Heim Glacier, you can now appreciate just how beautiful Kilimanjaro really is. The route continues with a scenic climb up a ridge to Barafu (4,550m) Distance covered today is around 13 km, taking about 8 hours.
Accommodation: Camping at Barafu. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: You will be woken around 11.30 pm to walk through the night. This is primarily because you need the time to reach the summit and still be able to descend in daylight. Also, walking at night is easier with cold or frozen ground underfoot. With an altitude gain of 1,195 meters of vertical height and a loss of 2,795 meters, this is a challenging day for everyone.
Your big day begins with a 6-hour climb northwest up through heavy scree between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers to Stella Point on the crater rim. This is the most challenging part of the route for most climbers. At Stella Point (5,685m) you’ll stop for a short rest and a chance to see sunrise. The true summit is Uhuru Peak (5,895 m), a further 1 hour away with gentler gradients and easier terrain. On the summit, you can enjoy your achievement - a day that you will remember for the rest of your life.
A 3 hour descent from the summit takes yuo back to Barafu Camp, where you will have a well-earned but short rest, collect your gear, and hike down a rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually into the forest to Mweka Camp (3,100m). The camp office sells drinking water, soft drinks, chocolates, and beer! Accommodation: Camping at Mweka. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: This morning is an easy 15 km hike (3 hours) down the Mweka Route to Mweka Gate (1,980m). After saying farewell to your guide and porters at the gate, you will continue down to Mweka village, possibly a muddy, 3 km, 1 hour hike if the road is too muddy for vehicles. Finally you will be transferred to your Moshi hotel for your last night. Accommodation Bristol Cottages (or similar). Includes: (B), (L).
Day 8: Optional safari in Arusha National Park; trip ends. Depending on your onward travel arrangements there may be time to take an optional safari game drive in Arusha National Park. One of Tanzania’s smallest wildlife reserves, Arusha National Park is well worth a visit. Despite its lack of big cats, it does offer first sightings of elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, warthog, water-buck, baboons, monkeys, flamingos and numerous other bird species.
Your Specialist Tanzania trip ends upon check out from the hotel. Includes: (B).
Also see tour packages in:
Africa Tanzania Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking Mountain/Rock Climbing
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