Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro via The Machame Route
Embarking on the Machame route, also known as the Whisky Route, promises an unforgettable journey up Kilimanjaro. This renowned route guides you through enchanting forests and leads to a ridge, taking you across moorland zones and onto the Shira Plateau. The path then winds beneath the towering icy cliffs of the Southern Ice fields, merging with the Barafu Route toward the summit. With a longer duration and a more gradual incline, the Machame Route boasts a significantly higher success rate in reaching the summit.
Duration: 6 or 7 days
Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport, you’ll be warmly welcomed and transported to the comfortable Kilimanjaro Wonders Hotel, a 4-star bed and breakfast. Here, your head guide will meet you to provide a comprehensive briefing, inspect your gear, and help you arrange any necessary equipment.
DAY 1: MACHAME GATE – MACHAME CAMP
10.75km /7mi | 5-6 hrs | Rainforest
Elevation: 1811m/5942ft to 3021m/9911ft
Altitude gained: 1210m
Starting from Moshi, a scenic 45-minute drive takes you through the charming Village of Machame to the Kilimanjaro National Park Gate. While waiting for our permits, you’ll witness the bustling activity as numerous crews prepare for their own mountain journeys. This leg of the trek treats you to the beauty of rainforest landscapes and winding trails. Your guide will share insights about local flora, fauna, and wildlife. In these lower elevations, the trail can be muddy and slippery, making gaiters and trekking poles essential.
DAY 2: MACHAME CAMP – SHIRA CAMP
5.3km/3mi | 4-5hrs | Moorland
Elevation: 3021m/9911ft to 3839m/12,595ft
Altitude gained: 818m
After a restful night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast, the journey continues as you ascend an ascending path, crossing a valley along a steep rocky ridge. The route then turns west, leading to a river gorge before arriving at the Shira campsite. As you ascend, temperatures begin to drop, offering a taste of the varied environments on Kilimanjaro.
DAY 3: SHIRA CAMP – LAVA TOWER – BARRANCO CAMP
10.75km/6mi | 5-6hrs | Semi-Desert
Elevation: 3839m/12,595ft to 3986m/13,077ft
Altitude gained: 147m
Although the elevation remains relatively constant throughout the day, this stage is crucial for acclimatization. Leaving the Shira Plateau, the route takes you east, climbing a ridge and passing the junction to Kibo peak. The journey then leads southeast to the Lava Tower, known as the “Shark’s Tooth,” at an elevation of 4650m. From here, you descend to Barranco Camp, which contributes to altitude adjustment.
DAY 4: BARRANCO CAMP – KARANGA CAMP – BARAFU CAMP
8.5km/5mi | 6-8hrs | Alpine Desert
Elevation: 3986m/13,077ft to 4034m/13,235ft to 4662m/15,295ft
Altitude gained: 676m
After breakfast, the ascent continues up the steep Barranco Wall, providing a thrilling experience and a showcase of your crew’s agility and strength. From there, you journey toward Barafu Camp, completing the South Circuit. The camp offers panoramic views of the summit from various angles. An early dinner and rest prepare you for the forthcoming summit night. Overnight at Barafu Camp.
DAY 5: BARAFU CAMP – SUMMIT
4.86km /3mi up | 5-7hrs | – MWEKA CAMP: 13km /8mi down | 5-6hrs | Glaciers, Snow Capped Summit
Elevation: 4662m/15,295ft to 5895m/19,341ft
Altitude gained: 1233m
Descent to 3106m/10,190ft
Altitude lost: 2789m
Anticipation builds as the day begins with an early start between midnight and 2 a.m. This challenging phase of the trek requires mental and physical endurance.
Continuing toward the summit between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers, you navigate heavy scree and focus on the remarkable achievement that awaits. Switching back in a northwesterly direction, you ascend toward Stella Point on the crater rim, where a spectacular sunrise greets you. For faster hikers, the sunrise is even visible from the summit. The remaining hour’s ascent to Uhuru Peak involves encountering snow along the way.
Congratulations on reaching Uhuru Peak, the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the entire African continent! After capturing photos, celebrating, and soaking in the accomplishment, the descent to Mweka Camp begins. Gaiters and trekking poles are recommended for the challenging terrain. A well-earned rest and your last evening on the mountain await at Mweka Camp.
DAY 6: MWEKA CAMP – MWEKA GATE – MOSHI
9.1km/6mi |3-4hrs | Rainforest
Elevation: 3106m/10,190ft to 1633m/5358ft
Altitude lost: 1473m
Following breakfast and a heartfelt ceremony with your crew, it’s time to bid farewell. The descent leads to the Mweka Park Gate, where you’ll receive your summit certificates. Given the warmer weather, muddy terrain, and steep descent, gaiters and trekking poles are essential.
From the gate, a vehicle will transport you to Mweka village and onward to your hotel in Moshi (approximately 30 minutes). Enjoy a well-deserved hot shower, a delicious dinner, and celebrations that mark the end of this remarkable journey.
Overnight at the Kilimanjaro Wonders Hotel, a 4-star bed and breakfast, before proceeding to your next adventure, be it your journey home, a safari, or a relaxing trip to Zanzibar.
CERTIFIED ETHICAL CLIMBING:
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