No feeling can ever match standing on the roof of Africa. The Machame Route is one of Mt Kilimanjaro’s most scenic paths to the summit and an unforgettable experience for sure.
Day 1: Machame Gate to Machame Camp
Duration: 6–8h | Ascent: +1200m | Endurance:| Difficulty:
After an early breakfast we will be picked up and driven to the Machame Gate. After a few formalities with the park authorities, we start our trekking tour. At first we slowly climb through the rainforest, enjoying this lush vegetation. Then the trail gets steeper until the forest gradually gives way to the moorland and we reach the Machame Camp.
Overnight we are camping at the Machame Camp.
Day 2: Machame Camp to Shira Camp (3850m)
Duration: 6–8h | Ascent: +750m | Endurance: ★★★☆☆ | Difficulty: ★★☆☆☆
The trail continues to climb as you advance through the moorland and come across some scattered heather. Along the way you have some great views of Mount Meru. You scramble up a small ridge, before you reach Shira Plateau on the edge of a moorland plateau.Overnight you are camping at the Shira Camp.
Day 3: Shira Camp to Barranco Camp (3950m)
Duration: 5–6h | Ascent: +100m | Endurance: ★★★☆☆ | Difficulty: ★★☆☆☆
Today, we pass by the spectacular Lava Towers and along the South side of Kibo and Uhuru Peak and advance for the first time into the fascinating lunar alpine desert where the vegetation is limited to lichens and mosses. Although we do not gain much altitude over the day, we are constantly going up and down making this day important for our acclimatization.
Overnight we are camping at the Barranco Camp.
Day 4: Barranco Camp to Barafu Camp (4600m)
Duration: 7–8h | Ascent: +650m | Endurance: ★★★★☆ | Difficulty: ★★★☆☆
We start today’s journey by scaling the intimidating Barranco Wall that turns out to be an easier climb than expected. At the top of the wall we are rewarrded with a beautiful view. We continue our way gently downhill into the Karanga Valley. At the end of the valley, the trail becomes steeper again and we start to feel that the air is thin. After an early dinner, we go to sleep ready for summit day.
Overnight we are camping at the Barafu Camp.
Day 5: Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak (5896m) and on to Mweka Camp (3100m)
Duration: 13–17h (7–9h to Uhuru Peak ; 6–8h Descent) | Ascent: + 1200m | Descent: -2800m | Endurance: ★★★★★ | Difficulty: ★★★★☆
At about midnight, we are woken up and commence the final ascent in the light of our torches. In the freezing cold we will advance slowly to the crater rim of Kibo where we arrive for the most magnificent sunrise. After sunrise, we continue to climb to Uhuru Peak. Arrived at the highest point of Africa we will enjoy a few moments of overwhelming joy before we start our descent.
At Barafu Camp, we will rest for a while and then continue down along the steep Mweka Route that is only used to descend.
Overnight we are camping at the Mweka Camp.
Day 6: Mweka Camp to Marangu Gate (1800m)
Duration: 4h | Descent: -1300m | Endurance: ★☆☆☆☆ | Difficulty: ★☆☆☆☆
Thrilled by the adventures of the last days, we walk down through the rain forest and enjoy the lush vegetation.
At the Mweka Gate, our driver awaits us and takes us back to the hotel.
Best time to travel
It is possible to climb Kilimanjaro year round. January, February, and September are considered to be the best months in terms of weather, and correspondingly are the busiest months. From January through mid-March are the warmest months, with clear skies in the mornings and evenings. During the day, clouds may appear along with brief showers.
From the end of March to early June is the long rainy season. Visibility may be low due to heavy clouds, but the crowds are gone.
June, July, and August are good months, but it is colder. Following September and October, the short rainy season lasts from November through the beginning of December, where afternoon rains are common, but skies are clear in mornings and evenings.
While climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro does not require particular mountaineering skills it does require good physical fitness. Consult with your doctor before you sign-up for this adventure.