This is probably the most beautiful route up Kilimanjaro. All your equipment and supplies are pottered and a cook prepares all your meals. Where accommodation on the Marangu route is in huts, the Machame route offers strictly tents only. This makes Machame (also referred to as the “Whiskey route”) better suited to the slightly more adventurous hiker, however rewarding him with a scenic splendor such as not seen on the Marangu route. From late afternoon sunsets at Shira, to the misty revelations of Kibo at the great Barranco Wall, the Machame route offers the adventurous hiker a stunning scenic “slide show” over 6 days. The Machame route is normally completed in a minimum of 6 days. There is an added benefit to this, as you are afforded the most valuable commodity on the mountain – acclimatization. The Machame route takes you high to Lava Tower (4630 m) on the day 3 and brings you down by nearly 700 m for an overnight at Barranco camp (3950 m). This is the secret to successful acclimatization.
Pick up from Kilimanjaro International Airport/ Moshi town/ Taveta Border or Tarakea Border
Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport if you are flying in; Moshi town if you are arriving with the shuttle bus from Nairobi or the bus from Dar-es-salaam; Taveta/Tarakea border if you decide to cross over from Kenya by either the Loitoktok route or Voi route. You will be met and transferred to the Babylon Lodge in Marangu for accommodation and dinner. If you arrive early, you will spend day for relaxation in the beautiful lodge as you enjoy the Kilimanjaro region and the high altitude if you are coming from low altitude places. You can even take a walk to the local town which is just 10 minutes walking just to stretch your legs.
If you have an extra day to spare this will be spent with your guides who will brief you on the Kilimanjaro climb and also check on your equipment. This will also help you relax and acclimatize to the Kilimanjaro. During the briefing the guides will tell you what to expect in terms of vegetation, the path, the expected weather, safety and how to increase your chances of reaching the top. You will also have the opportunity to ask the guides any questions that you might be having regarding your climb. In the afternoon the guides will take you to visit the magnificent waterfalls where you will spend the cool afternoon relaxing by the falls as you meditate on the Kilimanjaro climb the next day. This walk will also be beneficial as it will relax your muscles after a long flight making your climb easier the next day. As you do this walk, you will also get to know your guides better so that by the time you start the climb they are not only your guides but your friends too!
If you like walking and you want more adventure then you can opt to do the Cultural tourism program and you will only pay USD $ 40 per person to explore the region at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro and the culture of the Chagga people. If you choose to do the cultural tourism program you will meet
(NB: If you don’t have the extra day to spare there is no need to worry the briefing will be done on the morning before departure and you will only miss the trip to the waterfalls! Or the cultural tour program)
Hiking time: 7 hours | Distance: About 10 km’s | Habitat: Montane forest
Your day starts early with breakfast then the guide will do the briefing if it wasn’t done the previous day before depart for Machame gate through Moshi town. You will receive a lunch pack and 3 liters of Mineral before departure. On reaching Machame gate, the guides and porters will prepare and pack the supplies and your equipment as you rest at the Machame gate shade. When all the packing is After registering at the gate office, you start your ascent and enter the rain forest almost immediately. There is a strong possibility of rain in the forest, which will transform the trail into a very soggy, muddy and slippery experience. You will have a welcome lunch stop about half way and will reach the Machame camping area in the late afternoon.)
Hiking time: 6 hours | Distance: About 8 km’s | Habitat: Moorland
You rise early at Machame camp and after breakfast you climb an hour or so to the top of the forest and then for 2 hours at a gentler gradient through the moorland zone. After a short lunch and rest, you continue up a rocky ridge onto the Shira plateau. By now you will be able to see in an easterly direction, the Western Breach with its stunning glaciers. You are now due west of Kibo and after a short hike you will reach the Shira campsite at 3 840m. The porters will boil drinking and washing water, before serving dinner. The night at this exposed camp will even be colder than the previous night, with temperatures dropping to freezing.
Hiking time: 7 hours | Distance: About 9 km’s | Habitat: Semi desert
The route now turns east into a semi desert and rocky landscape surrounding Lava Tower, where you reach an altitude of 4630m after about a 5 hours walk. Lunch is served in a designated area before ascending the rocky scree path to Lava Tower (4630m). Definitely, the toughest day so far. It is normally around this point, where for the first time, some climbers will start to feel symptoms of breathlessness, irritability and headaches. After lunch you descent again by almost 680m to the Barranco camping area and after reaching the high altitude of 4600m at Lava Tower, the true acclimatisation benefit of this day becomes clear. This descent to Barranco camp takes about 2 hours and offers great opportunities to take some beautiful photographs of the Western Breach and Breach Wall. The camp is situated in a valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall, which should provide you with a memorable sunset while you wait for the preparation of your dinner.
Hiking time: 7 hours | Distance: About 9 km’s | Habitat: Alpine desert
After spending a night at the Great Barranco Wall (a very imposing sight at first), you make your way up this awesome looking obstacle, which in the end normally turns out easier than what you anticipated. Topping out just below the Heim Glacier, you now appreciate just how beautiful Kilimanjaro really is. The route then heads down through the Karanga Valley over intervening ridges and valleys, and then joins up with the Mweka route. This is the preferred route down from the summit, so remember it. Turn left up the ridge and after another hour or so, you reach Barafu Hut.
The last water stop on the route is the Karranga Valley, as there is no water at Barafu camp. Barafu is the Swahili word for “ice” and it is a bleak and inhospitable camping area to spend the night. Totally exposed to the ever-present gales the tents are pitched on a narrow, stony ridge. Make sure that you familiarise yourself with the terrain before dark to avoid any accidents. The summit is now a further 1345m up and you will make the final ascent the same night. Prepare your equipment, ski stick and thermal clothing for your summit attempt. This should include the replacement of your headlamp and camera batteries and make sure you have a spare set available as well. To prevent freezing it will be wise to carry your water in a thermal flask. Go to bed at round about 19h00 and try to get some precious rest and sleep.
Hiking time: 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak | 7/8 hours to descend to Mweka | Distance: About 7 km’s ascent – 23 km’s descent | Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
You will rise around 23h30, and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the night. You will head in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. This 6-hour walk to Stella point is for many climbers, mentally and physically the most challenging on the route. At Stella Point (5685m) 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 will normally encounter snow all the way on your 2-hour ascent to Uhuru Peak. The time you will spend on the summit will depend on the weather conditions. Do not stop here for too long, as it will be extremely difficult to start again due to cold and fatigue. Enjoy your accomplishment and a day to remember for the rest of your life. The walk back to Barafu from the summit, takes about 3 hours. Here you will have a well earned but short rest and collect the rest of your gear, before heading down to Mweka hut (3100m). The route is not difficult and will take you down the rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually into the forest. The camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Dinner and washing water will be prepared, B,L,D.
After an early and well-deserved breakfast, it is a short 3-hour and scenic hike back to the Park gate. At Mweka gate you sign your name and details in a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Those climbers who reached Stella Point (5685 m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895 m) receive gold certificates. -A vehicle will meet you at Mweka gate to drive you back to the Babylon Lodge in Marangu. At Babylon Lodge you will have hot water showers and thereafter it will be time to celebrate with your guides and porters. Kilimanjaro beer for those who drink and barbecue will be a good way to celebrate your success of being to the highest point in Africa! The guides will also sing for you Kilimanjaro songs and the jovial mood of the evening will make your trip worth remembering!
After breakfast you will depart for the airport or other destinations in Tanzania. We will be glad to arrange for you a tour to see the wild life of Tanzania or to the beautiful spice island of Zanzibar with our partner company.