Mount Kilimanjaro Climbing Safaris

Machame Route Itinerary

The itinerary below describes the six night/seven day Kilimanjaro climb on the Machame route.

To shorten it to six days you skip the night in the Karanga Valley and instead walk straight from the Barranco Huts to the Barafu Huts in one day.

Theoretically you could also extend the trek to increase your summit chances, but if you can afford a longer trek then the Shira or Lemosho route are better options. They share the same scenic path for the last four days to the summit, but offer real wilderness and solitude on the first couple of days.

For experienced mountaineers there is also a challenging and dangerous specialist version via the Western Breach.

(Note: altitudes and distances are approximations. Different sources will give you different numbers.)

Starting Point: Machame Gate (1830 m/6000 ft)

Duration: 6-7 days

Day 1: Moshi

On arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport, met and assisted. Transfer to Springland Hotel for an overnight rest on bed and breakfast in readiness for the next day's hit to Kilimanjaro. The Machame route can also be completed in 5 days. On day 3 on the itinerary below, you go directly to Kibo with an overnight at the Arrow Glacier camp, with your final summating attempt on day 4. An extremely physically and mentally demanding option, not recommended for the average climber.

Day 2: Kilimanjaro Machame Gate (1490m) - Machame camp (2980m
Your day starts early with a briefing, followed by breakfast and a drive 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 3: Kilimanjaro Machame camp (2980m) - Shira camp (3840m)

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 4: Kilimanjaro Shira (3840m) - Lava Tower (4630m)-Barranco camp (3950m)

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. This descent to Barranco camp takes about 2 hours and offers great opportunities to take some beautiful photographs of the Western Breach and Breach Wall. The camp is situated in a valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall, which should provide you with a memorable sunset while you wait for the preparation of your dinner.

Day 5: Kilimanjaro Barranco camp (3950m) - Barafu camp (4550m)

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. This is the preferred route down from the summit, so remember it. Turn left up the ridge and after another hour or so, you reach Barafu Hut.

Day 6: Kilimanjaro summit attempt, Barafu camp (4550m) - Uhuru Peak (5895m)-Mweka (3100m)

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). From Stella Point you will normally encounter snow all the way on your 2-hour ascent to Uhuru Peak. The time you will spend on the summit will depend on the weather conditions.

Day 7: Kilimanjaro Mweka camp (3100m) - Mweka Gate (1980m)

After an early and well-deserved breakfast, it is a short 3-hour and scenic hike back to the Park gate. 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. In the Mweka village you will be served a delicious hot lunch You now drive back to Arusha for a long overdue hot shower, dinner and celebrations.

Day 8: Kilimanjaro Airport

After breakfast, transfer to Kilimanjaro Airport for your flight back home or continue with your safari schedule.

Price Per person US$ 1,425

Included

  • Park fees (for non-residents)
  • All activities (unless labeled as optional)
  • All accommodation (unless listed as upgrade)
  • Camping equipment (sleeping bag excluded)
  • A professional driver/guide
  • All transportation (unless labeled as optional)
  • All Taxes/VAT
  • Roundtrip airport transfer
  • Meals (as specified in the day-by-day section)

Excluded

  • Porterage
  • Rescue fee
  • Climbing gear
  • International flights (from/to home)
  • Additional accommodation before and at the end of the tour
  • Sleeping bag
  • Bath towels
  • Tips (tipping guideline US$10.00 pp per day)
  • Personal items (souvenirs, travel insurance, visa fees, etc.)
  • Government imposed increase of taxes and/or park fees
  • Some meals (as specified in the day-by-day)
  • Drinks