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6 Days Climb Mt Kilimanjaro Machame Route

Route Duration: 6 Days

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Total hiking distance: Approximately 100 kms

This is probably the most beautiful route up Kilimanjaro. All your equipment and supplies are portered and a cook prepares all your meals. Where accommodation on the Marangu route is in huts, the Machame route offers strictly tents only. This makes Machame (also referred to as the “Whiskey route”) better suited to the slightly more adventurous hiker, however rewarding him with a scenic splendor such as not seen on the Marangu route. From late afternoon sunsets at Shira, to the misty revelations of Kibo at the great Barranco Wall, the Machame route offers the adventurous hiker a stunning scenic “slide show” over 6 days. The Machame route is normally completed in a minimum of 6 days.There is an added benefit to this, as you are afforded the most valuable commodity on the mountain – acclimatisation.

Day 1

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Machame Gate (1490m) – Machame camp (2980m)

Hiking time: 7h

Distance: Approximately 18kms

Habitat: Montane forest

Your day starts early with a briefing, followed by breakfast and a 45-minute drive from Moshi (910m) to the Machame village (1490m). The guides and porters prepare and pack the supplies and your equipment in the village. You will receive a lunch pack and you can also buy mineral water in the village.Depending on the condition of the road, it is possible to drive from the village to the Machame gate, but if not, the muddy 3 km walk will take about 1 hour to complete.

After registering at the gate office, you start your ascent and enter the rain forest almost immediately. There is a strong possibility of rain in the forest, which will transform the trail into a very soggy, muddy and slippery experience. You will have a welcome lunch stop about half way and will reach the Machame camping area in the late afternoon.

Day 2

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Machame camp (2980m) – Shira camp (3840m)

Hiking time: 6h

Distance: Approximately 9 kms

Habitat: Moorland

You rise early at Machame camp and after breakfast you climb an hour or so to the top of the forest and then for 2 hours at a gentler gradient through the moorland zone. After a short lunch and rest, you continue up a rocky ridge onto the Shira plateau. By now you will be able to see in an easterly direction, the Western Breach with its stunning glaciers.You are now due west of Kibo and after a short hike you will reach the Shira campsite at 3 840m. The porters will boil drinking and washing water, before serving dinner. The night at this exposed camp will even be colder than the previous night, with temperatures dropping to well below freezing.

Day 3

Shira (at 3840m) to Lava Tower (at 4630m) to Barranco camp (at 3950m)

Hiking time: 7h

Distance: Approximately 15 kms

Habitat: Semi-desert

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The route now turns east into a semi desert and rocky landscape surrounding Lava Tower, where you reach an altitude of 4630m after about a 5 hours walk. Lunch is served in a designated area before ascending the rocky scree path to Lava Tower (4630m).

Definitely the toughest day so far. It is normally around this point, where for the first time, some climbers will start to feel symptoms of breathlessness, irritability and headaches.After lunch you descent again by almost 680m to the Barranco camping area and after reaching the high altitude of 4600m at Lava Tower, the true acclimatisation benefit of this day becomes clear.

Day 4

Barranco camp (3950m)- Barafu camp (4550m)

Hiking time: 7h

Distance: Approximately 13 kms

Habitat: Alpine desert

After spending a night at the Great Barranco Wall (a very imposing sight at first), you make your way up this awesome looking obstacle, which in the end normally turns out easier than what you anticipated. Topping out just below the Heim Glacier, you now appreciate just how beautiful Kilimanjaro really is. The route then heads down through the Karanga Valley over intervening ridges and valleys, and then joins up with the Mweka route.

Day 5

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(Summit attempt) Barafu camp (4550m) – Uhuru Peak (5895m) – Mweka (3100m)

Hiking time: 8h to reach Uhuru Peak, 7 – 8h to descend to Mweka

Distance: Approximately 7 kms ascent – 23 kms descent

Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit

You will rise around 23h30, and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the night. You will head in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. This 6-hour walk to Stella point is for many climbers, mentally and physically the most challenging on the route. At Stella Point (5685m) you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see (weather permitting).

Day 6

Mweka camp (3100m) – Mweka Gate (1980m)

Hiking time: 3h

Distance: Approximately 15 kms

Habitat: Forest

After an early and well-deserved breakfast, it is a short 3-hour and scenic hike back to the Park gate. It is strongly recommended not to pay your porters any tips until you and all your gear have reached the gate safely. View more tips on climbing Mt Kilimanjaro.At Mweka gate you sign your name and details in a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates.

Those climbers who reached Stella Point (5685m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m) receive gold certificates. From the Mweka Gate you will continue down into the Mweka village, normally a muddy 3 km (1 hour) hike.