6 Days Machame Route
The Machame route also known as the whiskey route, it is one of the most liked routes of Mount Kilimanjaro, it takes its name whiskey from its difficulty level compared to other routes of Mount Kilimanjaro.
The Machame route offers a great varied scenery of the mountain, as it ascends and descends on different sides of the mountain i.e Western and northern sides respectively. In addition to that you will be able to see stunning physical features on this route i.e the Shira plateau, the Lava tower and the Baranco wall.
This route takes a minimum of 6 days to complete however some prefer to take the 7 days option for better acclimatization.
The Machame route is steeper especially on the first and a half day resulting from the main force of the kibos volcanic activity occurring on the western side. This route is ideal for adventure enthusiasts looking for a more challenging yet rewarding experience.
Day by Day Itinerary
Arusha – Machame camp
In the morning, we depart from our base hotel at approximately 8:00 AM for the Machame village where you begin the trek. From the park entrance gate (Machame), you will walk for about two to three hours through a dense forest of fig and rubber trees, begonia flowers, and other tropical vegetation. A stop for picnic lunch will be made halfway to this evening’s campsite. As you continue your ascent, you will find that the tropical forest has given way to tall grasses and giant heather. You will be walking on a ridge, to the left of which is the Semira stream, and on the right, the Weru Weru. Depending on the pace of the climbers, arrival at Machame Camp is usually between 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM. Your camp is set up near some old metal huts, which were once used for shelter.
This initial stage of the climb is tranquil and relatively easy. There is no point in rushing to get to the camp, as there is little to do there. Guides tend to recommend a slow ascent, even at this point, for gradual acclimatization. Do not try to keep up with your porters, who will usually bound ahead. Instead, take time to admire the beauty of the rainforest. Overnight: Machame Camp (10, 000 ft)
Machame Camp – Shira Camp
On this and subsequent mornings, the wake-up call is at around 6:00 AM. You will be greeted with a steaming cup of tea or coffee, and weather permitting, by a fabulous view of Uhuru peak. Today’s trek takes you up a steep track through a savannah of tall grasses, volcanic rock, and bearded heather. You will encounter giant groundsels as you hike through a ghostly landscape of volcanic lava, caves, and foamy streams.
Lunch will be taken just below the Shira Plateau, about three to four hours from Shira Camp. The hike to the next campsite takes approximately six hours and you should arrive between 2:00 PM and 3:00 PM. Most climbers tend to pace themselves, walking slowly and resting about every half-hour.
Overnight: Shira Camp (12,500 ft)
Shira Camp to Barranco Camp
The entire Shira Plateau greets you this morning with sweeping vistas across to Meru and the Shira Needles. A steady walk takes you up to the pass at Lava Tower (15,000 ft), where you stop to have lunch. Crossing the Bastains stream, you will begin to descend towards Barranco Camp. The descent takes you along an immense canyon called Grand Barranco. Along the way, you will see numerous waterfalls, which are fed, by streams coming from the mountain, converging here to form the Umbwe River. Your camp is set at almost the same altitude as the night before. Today’s trek lasts for about six hours and arrival at camp is between 4:30PM and 5:30PM.
Overnight: Barranco Camp (13,000 ft)
Barranco Camp – Barafu Camp
This morning you begin your hike to Barafu Camp via Karanga Camp, which is on the same altitude as Barranco Camp.
You will encounter a bit of a climb at Barranco Cliff and spend the rest of the trek climbing up and down the slopes of the mountain most of the way to camp. The climbing is not considered difficult and you should arrive in time for lunch (approximately 1:00PM) having trekked for about four hours.
In the afternoon you have to hike in the Karanga Valley where giant senecios and lobelia grow; then continue with the scenic climb to Barafu which is mostly on a moraine with a view of Mawenzi peak towering majestically to the right, and overhead, Kibo peak seemingly just out of reach. The alpine desert terrain encountered at this point is mostly a mineral environment with few lichens and mosses. Climbers arrive at Barafu Camp at around 3:30PM. Climbers who choose to ascend the peak will go to bed very early this night, as the next day is the longest one. Overnight: Barafu Camp (15,200 ft)Ascent to Summit (19,430 ft) / Descent
Barafu Camp – Mweka Camp
You will be awakened at midnight and after a light breakfast, start climbing at around 1:00 AM. It is at this stage that the climb becomes much more difficult. Here, very few will not be suffering from altitude sickness in some form or another; and climbers should carry as little as possible on this portion of the climb. Temperatures will range from -4° to 5° Fahrenheit. Making your way up a path that is flanked by the Ratzel and Rebman glaciers, you will climb for about six hours before reaching the edge of the crater, between Stella and Hans Meyer points. Another hour of climbing brings you to the summit. Uhuru stands at 19,340 feet and is the highest point on the continent of Africa. The track around the edge of the crater is rocky and icy. Concentrate on your feet, and follow your guide very closely for this portion of the journey.
The descent is no easier than the ascent. You will reach Kibo Hut after about three hours (around 11:30 AM). Climbers will be given the opportunity to rest and have some refreshments before continuing on to Mweka Camp for the night. Arriving into camp at around 5:00PM, you will have trekked a total of thirteen hours today.
Overnight: Mweka Camp (10,200ft)
Mweka Camp – Gate OUT
On the final day of the journey, climbers descend from Mweka camp to the base. The descent to the gate will take approximately 4 hours and climbers usually arrive before noon. Upon arrival at the gate climbers will be rewarded with certificates attesting their success at climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and then get transferred back to your base hotel. Moshi/Arusha
- Accommodation as per the itinerary
- Professional Mountain guide
- Professional mountain cook
- Transfer to and from the mountain gate
- All Park entrance fees
- Rescue fees
- Porter’s allowance
- All Meals (as specified in the day-by-day section)
- Drinking water on all days
- International flights (from/to home)
- Additional accommodation before and at the end of the tour
- Personal items (souvenirs, travel insurance, visa fees, etc.)
- Government imposed increase of taxes and/or park fees
- Alcohol drinks
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