Popularly known as the "Whiskey" route, the Machame route is now the most popular route on the mountain. Compared with Marangu, the days on Machame are longer and the walks are steeper. The Machame route is considered a difficult route, and is better suited for more adventurous folks and those with some hiking or backpacking experience.
The route begins from the south, then heads east, traversing underneath Kilimanjaro's southern ice field before summiting. The minimum number of days required for this route is six days, although seven days is recommended.
Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport (depending on the time of arrival), you will be met by a member of Gazelle Safaris Africa and transferred to your hotel.
Meal Plan: Bed & Breakfast.
Hiking time: 7 hours
Distance: ~ 18 km
Habitat: Rain forest
You will depart St Jude at around 8:30am for the Machame Gate, which is about 1-hour drive. Upon completion of entry formalities, you will begin walking through the mist on a 4x4 track for about an hour into the rain forest. The track ends, but the trail continues up through the forest. You will likely hear birds in the canopy above, and may even see black & white colobus monkeys and other monkeys as they hike through the forest. The trek is quite long (18km), though not very steep, and will take approx 7 hours to reach your first camp. Machame Camp is just above the forest zone and when it is clear, there are views of Shira ridge and the summit itself ahead.
Hiking time: 6 hours
Distance: 9 km
The distance is shorter today but the path is harder and rocky. Rise early and after breakfast climb for approximately one hour to the top of the forest. Then continue for a few more hours at a gentler gradient through the scrub zone. After a short lunch and rest, continue up a rocky ridge onto the Shira plateau. The clouds should clear for a beautiful view of the top of Uhuru Peak, the summit. You are now due west of Kibo and after a short hike you will reach Shira Camp (3840m). The night at this exposed camp will even be colder than the previous night, with temperatures dropping to below freezing
Hiking time: 7 hours
Habitat: Semi desert
Stay at Barranco camp(3950m)
After about 5 hours walking though a rocky landscape and semi desert, and having lunch on the way, you reach Lava Tower, at an altitude of 4630m. This will be definitely the toughest day so far. It is normally around this point you may start to feel symptoms of breathlessness, irritability and headaches for the first time. Afterwards descend for about 680m to Barranco Camp. The day’s organized hike become clear once you descend from Lava Tower’s 4630m altitude. 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.
Barranco 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 and sleep.
Hiking time: 4 hours
Distance: 7 km
Habitat: stony desert
Karanga Valley Camp (3950m)
Today you trek to Karanga Valley Camp, at 3950m, between Barranco and Barafu Camps. The day begins with a scramble up the steep ‘Barranco Wall’, but all the hard work is rewarded with the views you get both during and after climbing it. Travel on through lots of “ups and downs” with the summit’s glaciers looming above to your left and the jagged peaks of Mawenzi straight ahead.
You will reach Karanga Valley Camp after 3-4 hours for a hot lunch. Use the afternoon to relax or to take excursions from camp. This day is very important for acclimatization.
Hiking time: 5 hours
Distance: 6 km
Barafu Camp (4550m)
From here the trail turns steadily uphill. The temperature will grow colder and the landscape more sparse as you approach Barafu Camp. Barafu Camp is set on a small, exposed flat area on a ridge, acting as a base camp from which you will make your summit attempt at midnight tonight. Total trekking time is 4-5 hours, with a hot lunch upon reaching camp. The afternoon is yours to rest and prepare for the long night ahead. Eat and drink as much as possible before retiring early to your tent for rest and sleep. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the terrain before dark to avoid any accidents. The summit is now only 1345m above and so you will start making the final ascent just after midnight. This last push will probably be the hardest thing you will ever put your body through in your life, so try and take some quiet time to mentally prepare yourself. Prepare your equipment, ski stick, thermal clothing for your last big push and also make sure you have new batteries in your headlamp and camera as well as a spare set close by. To prevent freezing it will be wise to carry your water in a thermal flask. Go to bed at round about 7pm and try to get some precious sleep for a few hours.
Barafu camp(4550m)-Uhuru Peak(5895m)-Mweka camp(3100m)
Hiking time: 7 hours to reach Uhuru Peak and 8 hours to descend to Mweka.
Distance: 7 km ascent and 11km descent
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped
The steaming hot drink will arrive very early on this momentous day. A midnight wake-up call is the start of a 15 hour trekking day. At around 12:30am you start to shuffle off into the night. Temperatures will range from just below freezing at midnight to between -12 to -10 degrees Organize just before dawn at the summit. You will start by heading in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim (which marks the end of the steep track). On the way you will pass some glaciers and depending on the moon, you may actually be able to turn off your headlamp and travel by moonlight for a while. This 6-hour walk to Stella point is, for many climbers, the most challenging both mentally and physically. As you get closer to Stella point you will start walking through very loose scree and it will get very tough sliding back again, after each step forward. Keep going and use all that mental energy inside you to keep moving forward-one step at a time … At Stella Point (5685m) you will stop for a short rest and be rewarded with a great sunrise (weather permitting).
From Stella Point you will normally encounter snow all the way on your last 1 hour ascent to Uhuru Peak, the summit (5895m). You may be able to see the summit sign on the top of the mountain to encourage you (like the picture on the left). The time you spend on the summit will depend on the weather conditions, but do not stop on the peak for too long, as it will be extremely difficult to start again due to cold and fatigue.
Enjoy your accomplishment and take a moment to breathe it all in. The trek back down to Barafu Camp from the summit takes 2-3 hours and climbers often overlook this part. It hurts and since it is over the slippery scree, taking care is essential. At Barafu Camp you will have a well earned, but short rest. Collect the rest of your gear, and then start heading down to Mweka Camp (3100m) for dinner and overnight. The walk from Barafu to Mweka Camp is a relatively easy one, but because you will be so tired, you will still need to summon all your strength to reach it
Hiking/Descend time: 3 hours,
Distance: About 15 km’s Habitat: Forest
Before starting the 3-hour trek down to the main gate, you may like to take those last set of pictures of your climbing team as well as give out all the tips.
Once you reach the main gate, say goodbye to your new Kili Brothers and afterward drive back to Arusha with your driver. Spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Today you will be picked up and transferred to the Kilimanjaro Airport for your flight back home
Arusha | Ngorongoro Conservation Area | Serengeti | Lake Manyara National Park
Arusha | Ngorongoro | Serengeti | Ndutu | Lake Manyara
Arusha | Lake Manyara National Park | Serengeti National Park | Olduvai Gorge | Ngorongoro Crater
Arusha | Tarangire | Ngorongoro | Lake Manyara
Kilimanjaro Airport | Machame Gate| Machame camp| Shira camp| Lava Tower| Karanga Valley
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