Machame Route to the peak of Kilimanjaro. Trip Code: (K-MACH-9). Group Size Min 1. Start and finish in Arusha or KIAirport, Tanzania. Arduous level 5/5.
DAY 1 - KILIMANJARO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT / ARUSHA
Plan your travel to arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport where you will be warmly met by one of our friendly and experienced driver guides holding a name board who will escort you to your Arusha hotel for your first night. You will be happy to find that despite being only 3 degrees south of the equator Arusha is comparatively cool and with lower humidity due to its elevation of 4,600ft (1400m) above sea level. Arusha is on the eastern leg of the Great Rift Valley and is the safari capital of East Africa and also an agricultural and administrative centre. The city surrounded by lush, green vegetation has rising above it Mount Meru at 14,967ft or 4,562m. It is Mount Kilimanjaro’s (19,308ft / 5,885m) beautiful sister mountain. All the most popular northern Tanzania safaris begin in Arusha.
Your first night is to be spent at Karama Lodge in Arusha. If you have chosen to be picked-up by us from Kilimanjaro International Airport, your Tontu Safaris driver will be waiting to meet and welcome you and take you to your lodge in Arusha to relax after your flight.
DAY 2 - ARUSHA - MACHAME GATE - MACHAME CAMP
After an early breakfast at 7am, we will leave the hotel one hour later to arrive at the Machame Gate for around 10am, passing en-route the house of the village chief. We arrive ready for registration and the start of our trek. Excitement builds as the porters load up equipment and you meet the vital trekking team of porters who will accompany you up the mountain. The Machame-Mweka Route usually referred to as the Machame Route approaches from the mountain's south-western side. Your first day of walking, starting at an altitude of 1800 metres, will end after an ascent of 1200 further metres at a height of over 3000 metres covering a distance of 11 km and will take around 4.5 to 5 hours of actual walking time. The beginning of today's walk is characterised by a wide track that winds its way up through dense forest, beautiful tall trees laden with green moss. As the route becomes steeper and narrower, so the vegetation changes and the appearance of flowers such as Impatiens Kilimanjari and Impatiens Pseudoviola introduce some bright colours to the scenery.
The cloud forest trees can reach over 25 metres in height. A picnic lunch is enjoyed at around 1pm, water bottles can be refilled and then our walk continues. The giant heathers appear as you reach heathland and the forest begins to thin out. You get your first glimpse of Kibo peak. Machame Camp is reached at around 5pm. You will be surprised by the richness of the birdlife here. Dinner is served at 7:30pm.
DAY 3 - MACHAME CAMP - SHIRA CAVE
You will soon become used to the early 7am breakfast and today we aim to leave the camp at 8:30am. We have a further 800 metres to ascend, finishing the day at 3800 metres, and although the overall distance of 5km is short, we will spend around 4.5 to 5 hours actually walking it. Our path today is dusty, narrow and steep. The vegetation is initially made up of forests of heather but we will soon encounter the first of the giant groundsels.
The climb before our midday picnic lunch is steep, but there are then great views to the south and to Kibo, all to savour as you eat.
With today's early start and the short distance, we should be at the camp by 2pm, by which time we will have met the moorland lobelias and the distinctive dark obsidian rock of Shira Plateau for the first time. Once at the camp, you will have plenty of time to admire the sights such as the so-called Shira Cathedral, Klute Peak and Mount Meru, before your dinner at 6pm.
DAY 4 - SHIRA CAVE - BARRANCO CAMP
Today's trek is longer than yesterday's, though our overall gain in height is modest. Starting at 3800 metres, by the time we reach camp this afternoon we will only be 140 metres higher, though in between our start and finish we climb up to the base of the famous Lava Tower at 4627 metres, before descending again to our camp.The benefits for the purposes of acclimatization today are enormous, as you climb high and then descend again for the overnight stop. The overall distance of around 10km means that we will actually be walking for around 6.5 to 7 hours, excluding breaks. Once again, our day will begin with breakfast at 7am and departure at 08.30,when we begin our trek across the stony landscape of Shira Plateau. The vegetation is sparse at first, with just a few hardy lichens to admire. You climb towards the Lava Tower and your picnic lunch is taken at 1pm. After passing the highpoint of the day by the Lava Tower, we descend down to the Barranco Camp. Once at camp, which we expect to reach by 4pm, you should take time to admire the views of the southern face of Kibo as well as the Heim Glacier. Dinner tonight is served at 7pm.
DAY 5 - BARRANCO CAMP - KARANGA CAMP
Today we breakfast slightly later 7:30am and our walk is short, being only 4km but still taking between 3.5 and 4 hours of walking time. Our departure time today will be 08.30 and we will enjoy a hot lunch at 1pm at Karanga and have the afternoon to enjoy the views before dinner at 6pm. Our altitude gain today is only 160 metres. At the beginning, we encounter the hardest part of today's stage as we have to scramble up the near vertical face of the Barranco Wall (also commonly referred to as the 'Breakfast Wall' as you tackle it right after your breakfast!). At the top of this climb, you will be rewarded with views of the Heim Glacier. After this, the rest of today's walk becomes a bit easier as we first descend to the gully below, and into the cold but beautiful Karanga Valley. We then continue and finally climb up a steep series of zig-zags until reaching the Karanga Camp.
DAY 6 - BARRANCO CAMP - BARAFU CAMP
Another short day -in terms of distance - begins with our breakfast at the camp at 7:30am and another 8:30am departure. Today we will ascend about 500 metres in a distance of around 5km and walking time once again is between 3.5 and 4 hours. We will be aiming to arrive the Barafu Camp by 1pm, when we will be rewarded with a hot lunch. (With tomorrow being the summit day, it will be important to relax and prepare for the hard work ahead.) Dinner tonight is served at 5:30pm, giving you time to get to bed early. After leaving Karanga, today's stage climbs steadily, passing through barren, rocky landscape, with the Decken and Kersten glaciers visible away to your left. At the top of the climb, the landscape remains bleak as you descend into a valley and you get your first sight of another glacier, Rebmann. At the end of this valley is today's goal, the Barafu Camp, at which you arrive after a short, steep scramble and a walk.
DAY 7 - BARAFU CAMP - UHURU (SUMMIT) - MWEKA CAMP
Today is the most challenging day, but hopefully with the great sense of achievement of reaching your goal - the summit of Kilimanjaro! Our schedule for our 'Summit Day' is of course very different. Rising at 11pm, we take our tea and biscuits (11:30pm) before a midnight departure. The day starts with the long, tough climb from Barafu at 4600 metres to Stella Point at 5745 metres; for some of this you will be walking on scree, making your trek more difficult. From there it is another 150 metres of ascent and 45 minutes' walk to the summit.Our goal is to reach the summit by around 7am then celebrate reaching the top, take our precious photos and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience. After the summit, we return to Barafu, where we rest for a couple of hours and take a hot lunch. At 1:30pm we set off and continue to descend to Mweka Camp (3100 metres) where we expect to arrive at 5pm, have our dinner at 7pm and spend the night. (In total, we cover around 17km with about 13 hours of walking.)
DAY 8 - MWEKA CAMP - MWEKA GATE - ARUSHA
Still thrilled by your achievement, breakfast is taken at 7am and at 8am you can take the chance to reward your trekking team at the 'Tipping Celebration.' Departure is at 9am and you descend down to Mweka Gate at an altitude of 1640 metres, where you will be served a hot lunch at midday and be presented with your hard earned certificate. Your transport will be waiting to return you back to Karama Lodge in Arusha, where you can choose to relax - or celebrate!
DAY 9 - DEPARTURE - KILIMANJARO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
After a good night's rest at your lodge, you will take breakfast ready for the scheduled check-out by 10am. (If you wish to remain in the hotel during the day, please advise us of this when you book your trip and we will inform you of the cost for day room which ends at 6pm, and then make the booking on your behalf.) If you have booked a transfer to the airport, you will be collected from your hotel and dropped off at the airport. For those travellers who have booked to go on safari, our Easy Travel guide will be meeting you in the evening to provide you with a briefing.
Two nights in Arusha, six nights on the Mountain
First night: Planet Lodge
Second night: Machame Camp
Third night: Shira 2 CampFour night: Barranco Camp
Five night: Karanga Camp
Six night: Barafu Camp
Seven night: Mweka Camp
Eight night: Planet Lodge
End of Tontu service.
Further detailed notes will be given to you upon booking which will ensure your well-organised safari runs as smoothly as possible.
For any additional services in Arusha following your tour please contact us.