Machame Kilimanjaro Climb, Tanzania

9 day
Arriving at Ol Donyo Lodge. Kilimanjaro

Highlights of this Kilimanjaro Climb:

  • Afro montane forest
  • Views of the Shira plateau (Shira Cathedral, Spire, Platzkegel)
  • Barranco Valley
  • Karanga Valley
  • Mawenzi from Barafu
  • Summit region and Kibo caldera

Over 7 days the Machame route is much easier than 6 day versions. Machame is considered by many to be the most beautiful and scenic route up Mt. Kilimanjaro, passing through tropical montane rain forest to the snows of Kilimanjaro. Climbs include a large staff including the chief guide, an assistant guide, cook, and porters. Camp is superbly outfitted, including thick foam mattresses for all the igloo tents, a toilet tent, mess tent complete with tables and chairs, and high frequency two-way radios for communication with base.

This Kilimanjaro hike is a scenic route and has the safest ascent rate. Guides provides Oxygen for safety purposes and all guides go through 2 x 1 month long compulsory training sessions per year. You can also take a pre climb safari or climb Mt Meru before this trip for extra acclimatisation.

Day 1: Arusha, Tanzania

Whenever you arrive, you'll be personally met and transferred to a lovely resort in the foothills of Mt. Meru, Africa's 5th highest mountain. Those arriving especially early can book optional activities. Then, spend the afternoon with your mountain guide preparing for the climb.

Day 2: Forest, Tanzania

Morning transfer to the Machame climb where the track begins. The day is spent walking to Machame Hut through the mountain's lush lower rain forest. Depending upon weather conditions, this can be a moderate to demanding day's work. Camp is pitched near the old huts at around 3000m.

Day 3: Shira

Rising early you cross a valley and a stream and then climb up a steep ridge for 3-4 hours. The path then drops into a river gorge before ascending more gently onto the moorland of the Shira Plateau, one of the most fascinating areas of the Mountain. Camp is placed near the Shira Hut at 3840m.

Day 4: Kilimanjaro - Barranco

Today you walk for 5-6 hours enjoying sightings of the typical Kilimanjaro mountain vegetation (Senecios, Lobelia, Helichrysum) and reaching a high point of around 4600m before descending for the rest of the day. On clear days the Lava Tower can be seen as well as some distinct glaciers. These glaciers are shrinking as world temperatures increase.

It is speculated that in a mere 15 years many of these glaciers will disappear, forever. The path down to the Barranco Valley can be particularly rewarding and the view of Kibo peak is truly spectacular. In the evening the blanket of cloud often hangs just below the valley, pulsating in the dying light. Camp is pitched in the Barranco Valley at around 3950m.

Day 5: Karanga

Today you ascend the Barranco wall, then walk across scree and ridges into the Karanga valley (4100m) with breathtaking views of the Western Breach and the southern glacier. You arrive in time for lunch in camp and then have plenty of time to relax and even go for a short acclimatisation walk.

Day 6: Barafu

From Karanga the tour heads up a morraine ridge taking your time and going slowly. The views here can be spectacular on the southern glaciers and of the glacial valleys that snake their way down the mountain. The final stage to Barafu is quite steep, and as always it's taken it very slowly. As with the day before you reach camp by around lunch time leaving lots of time to prepare and relax. In the evening your guide briefs you for the final ascent.

Day 7: Summit Mweka

The attempt on the summit occurs at night in the very early morning. Each climber is assigned a summit guide to ensure that everyone makes it to the top, or returns as required in complete safety. The going is slow, and often quite frustrating on the scree, but persistence and patience ensures steady progress. Near the summit you pass through the gap between the Ratzel and Rebmann glaciers. At Stella point you can then choose to return - you are after all already higher than any point in Africa!

Otherwise, continue to Uhuru peak (5896 metres). Despite the distance being relatively short, progress is slow - there is less than half the oxygen than at sea level! Uhuru Peak provides a unique satisfaction and usually releases a plethora of emotions. If progress is good you can watch the sunrise from the rooftop of Africa. Most people then start returning quite soon after sunrise as the return journey today is quite long. Camp is pitched at Mweka at around 3100 metres.

Day 8: Arusha

The final descent takes you through the lower heath section that quickly turns into rainforest. Your time on Kilimanjaro ends at Mweka Gate where your Landrover will be waiting to transfer you back to your evening's accommodation. You may now relax, take a hot shower or even relax by the pool! Enjoy a wonderful celebration dinner!

Day 9: Depart

You will be privately transferred to Kilimanjaro or Arusha airports for your departure. But don't go yet ! Consider our Taste of Tanzania which begins today.

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