Machame Route 7 days, 6 nights
Tembea Africa Tours Co. Ltd leads treks up the Machame, a beautiful route up Kilimanjaro that allows you to experience the southwest and south sides of the mountain, since you go up one way and down another. All your equipment and supplies are carried by porters and a cook prepares all your meals. Unlike the Marangu Route where you sleep in huts, on the Machame, you sleep in tents (tents are included), and the porters will pitch your tent for you. Meals are served in a dinner tent or on a blanket outside. This makes the Machame, which is referred to as the “Whiskey Route,” better suited to more adventurous hikers, and it also rewards you with better views than the Marangu Route.
From late afternoon sunsets at Shira, to the misty revelations of Kibo’s great Barranco Wall, the Machame Route offers the spunky hiker a continuous scenic slide show. The Machame Route is normally completed in 6 days, and this greatly helps your acclimatization. The Machame Route takes you high to Lava Tower (4,630 m/15,190 ft) on day 3 then brings you down for an overnight at Barranco Camp (3,950 m/12,960 ft). This intermediate ascent and descent is the secret to a successful acclimatization, and is the reason that this route has a high success rate.
Accommodation on the mountain is in tents which the will be pitched for you by our team. You will need warm clothes and walking poles. This is a steep, tough trek within the limits of a fit individual used to walking in mountain areas.
Machame gate (1490 m) – Machame camp (2980 m). 5-7 hours
After breakfast, you leave your hotel and drive to Machame gate where the climbing starts. The trekking begins through the rainforest on a winding trail. Lunch is served on the way. Dinner and overnight at MachameCamp.
Machame Camp (2980 m) – Shira Camp (3840 m). 4-6 hours
On breakfast completion, you leave the glades of the rain forest and continue trekking through the moorland crossing a little valley. After resting, you continue up along a steep rocky ridge at 3658 m before reaching the Shira plateau. Dinner and overnight at Shira Camp. It can be temperatures below freezing at night.
Machame camp (2980m) - Shira camp (3840m), Hiking time: 6 hours. Distance: About 9 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 well below freezing.
Shira (3840m)-Lava Tower (4630m)-Barranco camp (3950m), Hiking time: 7 Hrs, Distance: About 15 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 at 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 acclimatization 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 and overnight at Barranco Campsite.
Barranco to Karanga Valley - Barafu camp (4550m), Hiking time: 7 hours: Distance: About 13 km's - Habitat: Alpine desert
Totally exposed to the ever-present gales the tents are pitched on a narrow, stony, and dangerous ridge. Make sure that you familiarize 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 for not more than 5 Hours.
Descent Attempt Barafu camp (4550m)-Uhuru Peak (5895m)-Mweka (3100m), 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 Camp (3100m) for Dinner and Overnight.
Mweka camp (3100m)-Mweka Gate (1980m) Hiking/Descend time: 3 hours, Distance: About 15 km's Habitat: Forest
After Breakfast, From the Mweka Gate, you will continue down into the Mweka village, normally a muddy and long hour walk. Your driver will now drive you back to your hotel for hot shower and lunch.