TREK 4 – MACHAME ROUTE (7 Days)
Day 1 : Drive to Kilimanjaro National Park Machame Gate and hike to Machame Camp
We pick you up from your hotel at Moshi and drive to the Mount Kilimanjaro National Park Machame Gate. This takes about 45 minutes. Our journey takes us through the little village of Machame which is perched on the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro. We begin our hike from the park gate. The trail takes us through the rainforest as it wends its way up a ridge. This trail has a tendency towards being muddy and slippery at lower elevations. Trekking poles and gaiters could come in useful here. On this, our first day, we gain more than a thousand meters in elevation and put in a good 11 kilometres on the trail – a rather potent warm-up for what lies ahead. We make camp at Machame Camp and rest our aching feet.
Elevation: 1830m/6000ft to 3050m/9950ft
Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
Habitat: Montane Forest
Budget Lodging: Machame Camp
Day 2 : Hike Machame Camp to Shira Camp
Day 2 sees us leave the dense confines of the rainforest as we continue out onto the moorland. Our trail takes us along a steep and rocky ridgeline as we gain elevation. It then takes a westerly course into the gorge of a river before finally bringing us out into the campsite out on Shira Plateau.
Elevation: 3050m/9950ft to 3850m/12,600ft
Walking Time: 4-5 hours
Budget Lodging: Shira Camp
Day 3 : Shira Camp to Lava Tower to Barranco Camp
On Day 3, our trail continues for about ten kilometres. While the altitude gain is negligible compared to the previous two days, its still a long day. The advantage of the this day in the sun is that it will help you acclimatise. The trail heads east, up a ridge, as it passes the junction towards Kibo’s peak. We then change direction towards the South East and the lava tower which is known as ‘Shark’s Tooth’ (4650m / 15250ft). On passing the tower we will arrive at a second junction which leads to Arrow Glacier. We will then descend to Barranco Camp. Rest well for the difficult times are yet to come.
Day 4 : Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp
After a good nap, and hopefully better acclimatisation, we tuck into breakfast. We then break camp and leave Barranco. We will trek up a fairly steep ridge of the Barranco Wall and enter the Katanga Valley. Here we come to the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail and make camp.
Elevation: 4000m/13,000ft to 4050m/13,250ft
Hiking Time: 34 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert
Budget Lodging: Karanga Camp
Day 5 : Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp
On Day 5 we continue up to Barafu Camp. The trek is very short at just 4 kilometres but there is significant altitude gain of nearly 700m. With this you would have completed the ‘South Circuit’ which gives trekkers many spectacular views of the summit from multiple angles. At Barafu Camp it is time to rest, relax and mentally prepare for your attack on the summit.
Elevation: 4050m/13,250ft to 4700m/15,350ft
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert
Budget Lodging: Barafu Camp
Day 6 : Barafu Camp to Summit, down to Mweka Camp
We break camp in the black of night (between midnight and 2 a.m) to make our push on the summit. Our trail takes us between the Reman and Ratzel glaciers. We will head towards Stella Point on the rim of the crater. Our ascent will see us battle through heavy scree and this is without a doubt the single most challenging section of the trek, both mentally and physically. Once we come out on Stella Point, we will rest and take a load off out feet as we are rewarded with a spectacular sunrise. If you’re one of the faster trekkers, you can skip the rest and even push on to take in the sunrise at the summit. From Stella Point to the summit is an hour’s ascent during which you may encounter snow. The trail finally brings you out at Uhuru Peak – the highest point in Africa and our final goal.
Here you can spend some time reflecting on your achievement while basking in the spellbinding views it provides.
Then it is time to turn our sights back down. Our descent takes us straight down to Mweka Camp. We will break for lunch along the way at Barafu Camp. From there the route contains a fair amount of loose gravel so you may want to pick up trekking poles.
We finally arrive at Mweka Camp and enjoy our last meal (and evening) on Kilimanjaro. One that was well earned indeed.
Elevation: 4700m/15,350ft to 5895m/19,340ft
Down to 3090m/10,150ft
Distance: 5km/3mi up / 13km/8mi down
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours up / 5-6 hours down
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
Budget Lodging: Mweka Camp
Day 7 : Hike Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate and drive to Moshi
We wake up and tuck into breakfast after which our descent continues. Our destination is the Mweka Park Gate where you will receive certifications that you have summitted Kilimanjaro. After the cold of the highlands it could be warm, wet and muddy so trekking poles could come in useful, as well as gaiters. Keep your warm weather clothes handy as well as your rain gear.
From the gate its another hour of walking to Mweka village. There you will be picked up and safely deposited at your hotel in Moshi.
Elevation: 3090m/10,150ft to 1680m/5500ft
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours