Kilimanjaro - Machame Route

9 Days

Price from: £1699.00

Mountaineering
Trekking

Ascend Kilimanjaro via this scenic and easily accessible route...

Of the numerous trails leading up to the roof of Africa and all finishing on Uruhu Peak atop Kilimanjaro, this is possibly the most scenically beautiful and thus the most rewarding route for a newcomer to the area.

  • Kilimanjaro - Machame Route image
  • Highlights
  • Picturesque western ascent
  • All camping route
  • Varied scenery
  • Easy access to trailhead
The Machame Route sees plenty of the real attraction of Tanzania, passing through dense forest, shrubland and open plains as it winds its way up Kilimanjaro. Accommodation during the climb is entirely in tents which makes it suited to the slightly more adventurous climber who is not so worried about missing their home comforts. The benefits of this are a true wilderness experience and first hand access to the night-time sights and sounds of the mountain. Tanzania is known for its multitude of wildlife species and this route (although not the best for viewing wild animals) gets you closer to nature itself.

This climb gives you the best opportunity for full acclimatisation, as on Day 3 of the trek you will walk 700m higher than your camping point for the night. This gives your body a chance to expect further ascending on the following day whilst allowing you to sleep at a more comfortable lower altitude for one extra night. This is the secret to successful acclimatisation.

Activity Information

Activus Outdoors use high-end mountaineering equipment to ensure that you are comfortable and warm during your Kilimanjaro climb. Tents are rated for use in harsh environments with sub-zero temperatures and strong winds and equipment is regularly inspected and replaced where necessary. Moreover, all our staff are highly trained in safety issues: we employ Wilderness First Responder Certified Guides and First Aid Certified Porters.

During the climb our porters will transport your gear as well as the food and equipment from camp to camp. We use large waterproof bags to store your personal gear and our equipment to protect it from the rainy weather on the mountain. It is not necessary for you to purchase an expedition pack for the climb; a soft sided duffel bag without wheels is sufficient.

We have many items for rent including 0 degree Fahrenheit sleeping bags, summit jackets, walking poles, balaclavas, fleece jackets and pants, rain gear, mountaineering gloves, and many other items. Our guides perform a gear check prior to your climb to ensure that your equipment is all ready to go.

You will be given full and detailed packing information listing all the kit you will need to bring upon making your booking with us.

Itinerary

Day 1

Depart UK and fly to Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania. Transfer to your hotel in Arusha. There will be a early evening trip briefing which will cover all aspects of your trip and distribution of any pre-booked hire equipment. Please bring with you your passport, insurance details and your air ticket details.

Day 2

Machame Gate (1800m/5905ft) to Machame Camp (3000m/9840ft)
Elevation Gain: 1200 metres, 3935 feet
Distance: 10 kilometres

At 9am, leave Arusha for Machame Gate, where you will meet the Activus Outdoors porters, guides, and cooks that will spend the next seven days trekking with you to Uhuru Peak, the roof of Africa. The drive through coffee farms and villages to Machame Gate takes about 1.5 hours. Once you arrive, wait at the gate while Activus registers your climb and the porters and guides make final preparations.

Your first day's destination is Machame Camp. Each day, porters and cooks will walk ahead to set up the camp in time for your arrival. On the first day, hike through the moss-covered trees of Kilimanjaro's cloud forest. The forest will thin at the end of the hike and vegetation will change to include heathers, tall grasses and wildflowers. If the weather is clear, view the surrounding area and your ultimate destination, Kibo Peak.

Day 3

Machame Camp (3000m/9840ft) to Shira Camp (3840m/12,600ft)
Elevation Gain: 840 metres, 2760 feet
Distance: 7 kilometres

Although considered to be the easiest day on the Machame Route, todays trek includes several uphill sections. Carry plenty of drinking water, as the exposed hike can be hot on a clear day. There are several viewpoints from which you can see the plains and forests below and Kibo and Mawenzi peaks above.

As you gain altitude, notice the change in vegetation. The trees diminish in size, giving way to Kilimanjaro's famous high altitude plants, Scenecio kilimanjari and Lobelia deckenii. After eating lunch, climb the Shira Plateau, created when Kibo's lava flows filled the Shira crater. Continue to Shira Camp, where you will relax for the rest of the day. Kibo lies to the west and Mount Meru to the east.

Day 4

Shira Camp (3840m/12,600ft) to Barranco Camp (3950m/12,960ft)
Elevation Gain: 690 metres, 2264 feet
Distance: 10 kilometres

Although this up and down day ends with an elevation gain of only 110 metres, by early afternoon you will have climbed 690 metres to a height of 4530 metres before beginning your descent to Barranco Camp. This day is crucial for acclimatisation.

After breakfast, hike east on the Shira Plateau before reaching the junction for the Shira and Lemosho Routes. Continue on through the barren landscape before stopping for lunch. Shortly after lunch, reach the highest point of the day before descending quickly to Barranco Camp. Faster hikers can take a detour via Lava Tower, a 300-foot lava formation jutting out of the mountainside.

Barranco Camp, set among stands of Senecio kilimanjari, is considered to be the most scenic campsite on the Machame Route.

Day 5

Barranco Camp (3950m/12,960ft) to Karanga Valley (4200m/13,780ft)
Elevation Gain: 250 metres, 820 feet
Distance: 7 Kilometres

Leave Barranco Camp after breakfast for Karanga Valley. The day begins with a 1.5 hour scramble up Barranco Wall. This is the hardest part of the day and in some places you will have to use your hands to pull your body up. After reaching the top make a short descent into the greener Karanga Valley. We generally camp on the ridge above the valley to allow for greater acclimatisation.

Day 6

Karanga Valley (4200m/13,780ft) to Barafu Camp (4600m/15,100ft)
Elevation Gain: 400 metres, 1320 feet
Distance: 6 kilometres

After breakfast, begin the hike to Barafu Camp. On the way to Barafu, view several of Kibo's glaciers as well as the junction that connects the descent route, Mweka, with the Machame trail. Hike by the Heim, Kersten and Decken Glaciers. Although the trail to Barafu passes through alpine desert with little vegetation, Barafu Camp offers stunning views of Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. Try to sleep as soon as you finish dinner as you will awake before midnight for your summit hike.

Day 7

Barafu Camp (4600m/15,100ft) to Uhuru Peak (5895m/19,340ft) to Mweka Camp (3100m/10,170ft)
Elevation Gain: 1295 metres, 4240 feet
Elevation Loss: 2795 metres, 9170 feet
Distance: 18 kilometres

Around midnight, begin the final ascent to Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa. For the next six hours, hike by the light of your headlamp. The ascent to the crater rim is the most challenging part of the entire trek. The trail is very steep until you reach the crater rim at Stella Point.

The hike from Stella Point to Uhuru Peak is a gradual climb and, as far as hikes go, not very difficult. The altitude, however, makes the hike long and tiring. The crater rim hike takes approximately one hour. Upon reaching Uhuru, take photos of your guide and group at the peak before beginning the descent to Mweka Camp. On the way down from Uhuru, enjoy views of the mountain, crater, clouds and glaciers.

At Barafu Camp, eat breakfast and take a short break. You still have another three to five hours to go before reaching Mweka Camp.

Day 8

Mweka Camp (3100m/10,170ft) to Mweka Gate (1500m/4,920ft)
Elevation Loss: 1600 metres, 5250 feet
Distance: 10 kilometres

After breakfast, finish the trek with a descent to Mweka Gate. Your last hike on Kilimanjaro is a beautiful one, passing through Kilimanjaro's cloud forest. Watch your step during the descent, as the trail can be slippery. Activus Outdoors vehicles will be waiting at the lower station of Mweka Gate to take you back to your hotel in Arusha. You will be able to buy t-shirts and sodas at the gate.

Day 9

Departure for airport and your flight home to UK.

What's Included?

  • Trip planning, organisation and local logistics
  • Experienced local mountain leader
  • All permits and entrance fees for National Parks
  • Local guides and porters
  • Hotel accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis in Arusha (2 nights)
  • Full board accommodation in campsites on Kilimanjaro (6 nights)
  • Group equipment including tents, dinning tent, toilet tent
  • Discount outdoor clothing voucher for Cotswold Outdoors and Montane

Not Included

  • International flights
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Tourist visa for Tanzania (£38.00)
  • Personal equipment
  • Travel Insurance
  • Lunches & evening meals in Arusha
  • Tips for porters and local staff (approximately US$150)
  • Costs incurred if the expedition finishes early or late
  • Costs incurred if you leave the expedition early

Information

Download our kit list by clicking this Kilimanjaro Preparatory Information

FAQs

Q. How far do we hike each day?

A. On most days, you will hike about 10km (6.2 miles). In order to adjust to the change in elevation, you will be hiking the days distance at a slow pace.

Q. How fit do I need to be?

A. During the trek most days are between 4-6 hours walking along obvious but rough tracks. As a general guide if you can enjoy two good consecutive days walking in the UK (e.g. Scafell from Langdale and Helvellyn via Grisedale Tarn) over a weekend and not feel too bad on the Monday morning then the trekking should not present too many problems. The summit of Kilmanjaro involves a long day of walking at altitude. The usual plan is to leave the high camp just after midnight getting to the summit for sunrise. We would then descend back to high camp for a break before continuing down. In total these days can be up to twelve hours. For most people long days in the hills and some form of aerobic training will give them a good base to enjoy the stunning summit days.

Q. How much experience do the Activus guides have at climbing Kilimanjaro?

A. Each Activus guide has several years of experience on Kilmanjaro. Our most experienced guide has climbed Kilimanjaro more than 200 times (18 years) while our most junior guide has climbed about 50 times (5 years). Be sure to listen to your guides advice while on the mountain and remember to go slowly! If you hike slowly, you increase your chances of reaching the top as your body has more chance to acclimatise.

Q. I am concerned about porter welfare?

A. Our hardworking guides and porters are fundamental to the success of our expeditions and are very much part of our team. We support the work of the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG). Our Tanzanian agent is a partner with the International Mountain Explorers Connection (IMEC) and Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) which ensures we adhere to the following guidelines: 1) A minimum porter wage of 8000Tsh/day 2) A maximum porter load of 25kg of which 5kg is for there own equipment 3) Transparent tipping policy where each porter receive the correct amount 4) All porters outfitted with proper clothing and equipment suitable to the conditions 5) All porters to have a sleeping bag and a dedicated sleeping space 6) All porters to receive adequate water and a minimum of two meals a day 7) The crew size must stay constant throughout the trip to prevent overloading 8) A sick or injured porter must receive the same care and treatment as a sick climber

Q. I have never been to altitude before. What should I expect?

A. For many people a trip to Kilimanjaro is their first experience of going to altitude. We have a very gentle acclimatisation profile which should allow you to enjoy the experience with nothing more than the occasional minor headache. We recommend you download the free booklet - Travel at High Altitude - from our Useful Links on the homepage. This was written by MedEx, a collective of doctors with an interest in mountaineering and high altitude medicine and provides clear and simple advice on going to altitude.

Q. I would like a single room and tent. Is this possible?

A. Accommodation in Arusha is on a twin room basis with a member of the same sex or a double room where requested. On Kilimanjaro we will be camping with two people in a three person tent. Where possible we can offer the option of a single room or tent (approximately 15 pounds supplement per night).

Q. Is it possible to buy energy snacks in Tanzania?

A. You cannot get energy snacks or drinks in Tanzania so you should bring a supply with you. Gel energy snacks are extremely useful for the summit day.

Q. Is Tanzania safe?

A. Tanzania is one of the friendliest and most stable African countries in which to travel. We support the British government campaign: Know Before You Go. This provides invaluable information on any potential risks as well as lots of other useful information.

Q. What equipment will I need?

A. 1) Double mountaineering boots (B3) 2) Crampons 3) Ice axe 4) Four season sleeping bag If you are looking to purchase new equipment team members receive a discount at Cotswold Outdoors and Montane

Q. What happens if I get ill?

A. When travelling in developing countries there is always a risk of illness or accident. Our staff will work hard to reduce this risk to an acceptable level. Our itineraries include extra acclimatisation and spare days in case of inclement weather or illness. This gives us plenty of flexibility to deal with any unexpected occurrences. All our leaders have a current mountain first aid qualification and they will carry an extensive first aid kit. The following websites all provide useful information on staying healthy while travelling: MedEx Book , BMC Medical Information, UIAA Fact Sheets, NHS Choices, Fit for Travel, Travel Health.

Q. What insurance do I require?

A. It is a requirement of your booking with Activus Outdoors that you have adequate travel insurance for the planned activities which covers you for emergency medical, repatriation and rescue expenses, including the use of helicopters, up to the maximum altitude of your trip. We also recommend you have cancellation cover as your deposit is non-refundable. Some good insurers for high altitude trips are Snowcard and BMC.

Q. What is happening to the ice cap on Kilimanjaro?

A. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, Kilimanjaro's icecap receded 55% between 1962 and 2000. The mountain has lost 82% of its icecap since it was first surveyed in 1912. The glaciers are vanishing due to regional warming, most likely caused by global warming.

Q. What is the best time of year to climb Kilimanjaro?

A. Although you can climb Kilimanjaro at any time, it is generally believed that the best months to climb are September and October. It tends to be drier during these months and there are fewer tourists in Tanzania. It is advised to try to avoid climbing during Tanzania's rainy season of March, April and May.

Q. What visas do I require?

A. The following is the latest information we have on file. However it is your responsibility to check with the relevant authorities and ensure you have the correct visa or the means to get one on arrival. UK Passport holders may get a Tourist Visa on arrival but we recommend you arrange this before travelling. Your initial booking pack will contain detailed notes on how to organise your visa in advance. More details can be found at the Tanzanian UK Embassy website.

Q. What will the porters carry and what will I carry on the climb?

A. Porters will carry most of your luggage. You will carry a small day pack that contains your drinking water, rain gear, camera and lunch.

Q. Who will be leading my expedition?

A. One of the most important factors affecting the enjoyment and success of your expedition is the quality of your leader. Activus leaders have successfully led expeditions to all seven continents, they have climbed 8000m peaks, they are active in mountain rescue, they train and assess mountaineering instructors and are out walking and climbing in all conditions across the UK everyday of the year. As soon as your trip is confirmed we will look to appoint a suitably experienced leader who will be in contact with you prior to the trip departing. They are selected on their communication & group management skills as well as their experience and qualifications. Many of our leaders are members of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors or British Mountain Guides. For trekking holidays they may also be a member of the British Association of International Mountain Leaders. All leaders will also hold a Mountain First Aid Certificate. Smaller groups may use one of our regular local leaders. This will be discussed with you prior to any decision being taken.

Q. Why do we make the final ascent to Uhuru at midnight?

A. The final ascent to Uhuru is made at night because of the weather patterns on Kilimanjaro. Clouds begin to roll in almost every day at 10am. If you summit during the day, you run the risk of being caught in snow, hail or rainstorms. The midnight trek to the summit is designed to ensure your safety. You will also have the best views from the top at dawn.

Ask Activus

If you have any questions about this activity please do not hesitate to ask.

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