MT KILIMANJARO CLIMB – MACHAME ROUTE
Once at Uhuru Peak, we will have reached the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.
At 5896m Mt. Kilimanjaro is the highest point on the continent, but what makes it all the more impressive is the incredible rise of 4600 m with its snowy peak and glaciers often protruding above the clouds. Few mountains can claim the grandeur of Mt Kili; the breath-taking views of Amboseli National Park in Kenya, the Rift Valley, and the Maasai Steppe. And unlike many of the world’s other high peaks, no technical climbing is required and even first-time enthusiasts can hike to the top of Africa.
Tips and Gratuities
Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport or Arusha where our representative will meet you. We’ll transfer to Honey Badger Lodge, Moshi where we will spend the afternoon and evening. Before dinner, you will receive your climb briefing.
After an early breakfast, we will leave Moshi at 9 am and drive for approximately 45 minutes to Kilimanjaro’s Machame Gate, on the southwestern side of the mountain. Your guide will handle your registration before we begin the hike around 10:30 am.
Once we start our ascent we immediately enter the rainforest. The trail ahead is often very muddy and slippery, due to heavy rains on this side of the mountain, so good grip footwear, trekking poles and gaiters are recommended even at this early stage! Our cooks will have a welcome lunch ready for us at the halfway point, then we continue through the rainforest and we should reach camp at around 4-5pm. The camp is set up for us ahead of our arrival, giving us time to unpack, relax and socialize around the campfire.
Machame Gate to Machame Camp
Elevation: 1640m to 2850m
Distance: 11 km
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
Habitat: Montane Forest
After an early breakfast, we climb to the top of the rainforest and follow a gentle gradient through the moorlands. After lunch, we follow a rocky ridge, and as Shira plateau comes into sight, we are welcomed with some spectacular views of the Western Breach with its stunning glaciers. The path leads us to Shira camp, which is located on moorland meadows next to a cold mountain stream. We should arrive at camp around 2-3pm, and have the rest of the afternoon and early evening to explore the plateau. Please note that this camp is exposed to the elements and at night temperatures can drop to below freezing.
Machame Camp – Shira Camp
Elevation: 2850m to 3810m
Distance: 5 km
Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
Today’s hike will take us past the Lava Tower at 4600m before descending down to Barranco Hut at an altitude of 3900m. Today is extremely important for acclimatization and will be the toughest so far. The terrain will change from moorland into semi-desert and rocky landscape, which surrounds the Lava Tower. Barranco Camp is in a valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall, and we should arrive at camp around 4 pm, giving us time to rest and find a prime position for what is sure to be a memorable sunset. Today be careful to notice any signs of altitude sickness and be sure to make our guides aware of how your feeling, so that they can plan accordingly and make recommendations for the following day's hike.
Shira Camp – Lava Tower - Barranco
Elevation: 3810m to 4630m
Distance: 7 km
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
Over breakfast, we take in the enormity which is the great Barranco Breach Wall and consider our next task of climbing it! The climb itself is not as hard as you may anticipate and brings us just below the Heim Glacier. We now head down into the Karanga Valley, where our path entwines with the Umbwe route. We plan to arrive at Karanga camp by mid-day, giving us time to unpack, relax and socialize before dinner.
Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp
Elevation: 3976m to 4200m
Distance: 5 km
Hiking Time: 4-Semi-desertitat: Semi-desert
Leaving Karanga camp we have another shortish day but with some steep valleys to negotiate. We have some hard hiking today, especially as your body may well be struggling with the altitude. Our destination is Barafu Camp (Barafu meaning ‘ice’ in Kiswahili) from where we make our final ascent at midnight. Once at the camp we will have time to walk around the rocky ridge for some spectacular views of Mawenzi peak and Kibo, weather permitting!
We will have the afternoon to prepare our equipment for our final ascent and then an early dinner and early to bed to get some much needed pre-climb rest and sleep.
Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp
Elevation: 4200m to 4673m
Distance: 4 km
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
Desert: Alpine desert
Today is our ascent day! We’ll wake at 23:30, have a light breakfast and prepare for our journey under a starlit sky. It will be a very cold and steep hike, but everyone’s spirits will be high! We have around a 6-8 hour hike to the top of Africa. Once at Uhuru Peak, we will have reached the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. You would have to travel more than 3,000 miles toward the Himalayas to find a higher peak!
Faster hikers will see an incredible sunrise from the summit, others from Stella Point, just below on the crater's edge, but both are sure to be a memorable and breath-taking experience. Once we have all reached the summit, had time for some ‘champion’ photos, we need to head straight down. We head for Mweka Huts, which will take around 5 hours, after dinner, we get some well-deserved sleep!
Please note that we will be doing the beginning of this climb in the dark with headlamps or flashlights. It will be very cold until you start descending, so you will need all of your warm layers. This is, by far, the most difficult part of the trek. Slowly, slowly and in Kiswahili “pole, pole,” an optimistic attitude will get you there!
Summit Day - Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak to Mweka Huts
Elevation: 4673m to 5895m to 3068m
Distance: 4 km up, 11 km down
Hiking Time: 13-16 hours
Habitat: Stone scree/ice-capped summit
After a hearty and well-deserved breakfast, we make our way down to Mweka Gate. We will reach the gate around 2-3pm, and at this point, we will receive our Summit Certificates, and say goodbye to our guides, cooks, and porters. We’ll transfer to your hotel in Moshi, where it is definitely time for celebrations!!!
Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate
Elevation: 3068m to 1640m
Distance: 10 km
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours