The Machame (Whiskey) Route is Kilimanjaro’s most popular camping route. It is a rugged combination of routes that starts through the rainforest at Machame village on the southwest side of the mountain and in six days rises to the edge of the Shira Plateau, descends into the beautiful Great Barranco Valley and then circles the Kibo Massif counter-clockwise through the alpine desert to Barafu Camp. From here the trek to the summit is by night to the crater rim on the steep scree slopes of the east-southeast-oriented Mweka Road. The trek winds through beautiful scenery, which changes dramatically each day. The six-day trek is physically challenging for most people. The last two days (the trek from Barranco to Barafu and then the night trek to the summit) require great mental and physical stamina, due to the high altitude and the limited rest time before the night summit attempt. There are no huts on this route; accommodation is in mountain tents and meals are in our tented restaurants.
DAY 1: MACHAME GATE (5 950 ft. / 1 815 mt.) ~ MACHAME CAMP (9 850 ft. / 3 000 m)
Depart Arusha/Moshi at approximately 09:00 for Machame Gate, about 1.5 hours drive. After completing entry formalities, you will start walking through the mist on a 4 x 4 track for about an hour through the forest. The trail ends, and the path continues up through the green, dripping forest. Hikers are likely to hear the many exotic birds in the canopy above, and many will even see black and white colobus monkeys and sykes monkeys as they walk on the forest floor. The trek is quite long (12 miles / 20 km), but not very steep, and it takes between 5 and 7 hours to reach the first camp. Machame camp is just above the forest area, in the heath area. When the weather is clear, Shira’s jagged ridge and the summit can be seen.
DAY 2: MACHAME CAMP ~ SHIRA CAMP (12,600 ft./ 3,840 m)
Wake up early with a steaming cup of tea or coffee served in your tent, then after breakfast start climbing the steep track through a savannah of tall grasses and giant heather and erica trees. The clouds should clear to give you a magnificent view of the western rift and the glaciers on top of which Uhuru Peak sits. You make your way through the large rocks as you enter the moorland area, marked by the bizarre lobelias and Senecio, and the volcanic rocks draped with lichen beards that protect the alpine wildflowers growing at their base. You will reach the camp after descending a small valley, crossing a stream, and then climbing the Shira Ridge, after about 4-5 hours of trekking.
DAY 3: SHIRA CAMP ~ BARRANCO CAMP (12 950 ft./3 950 m)
Continue climbing steadily over long ridgelines in the high desert for about 4 hours, and break for lunch at about 14,500 ft (4,420 mt.). After lunch, continue to Lava Tower, a 300-foot-high volcanic plug that marks an exposed pass at 15,000 feet (4,600 m). In the afternoon we descend the steep trail into the Great Barranco Valley. Barranco camp is set on a pass (flat area) surrounded on three sides by the steep valley walls and the Kibo massif itself. Hanging glaciers glisten in the sunlight, amidst a strange landscape of plants such as giant ragwort (Senecio Kilimanjaro) and giant lobelia, a unique endemic plant. The trekking time is 6-7 hours.
DAY 4: BARRANCO CAMP ~ BARAFU CAMP (15 200 ft./ 4 630 m)
The day starts with a climb up the steep ‘Barranco Wall’, followed by a 3-4 hour walk and a stop in the Karanga Valley for a hot lunch. In the afternoon the trail climbs steadily. The temperature becomes colder and the landscape sparser as we approach Barafu camp. Barafu Camp is located on a small flat exposed area on a ridge, acting as a base camp from which you will attempt to reach the summit tonight at midnight. Eat and drink as much as possible before retiring to your tent to rest and sleep.
DAY 5: BARAFU CAMP ~ UHURU PEAK (19,340 ft./5,895 mt.) ~ MWEKA CAMP (10,200 ft./3,110 m)
The hot, steaming drink will arrive early on this memorable day. A midnight wake-up call is the start of a real juggling act (12-17 hours of trekking). You start the trek between 12:30 and 1:00 am. Temperatures range from just below zero at midnight to -12 deg. F (-12 deg. C) to -10 F. (-23 deg. C) just before dawn at the summit. The winding trail with its endless twists and turns will take shape in the shadow of the Ratzel and Rebmann glaciers at dawn, and behind you, the spires of Mawenzi will appear in the red glow of the sun under the clouds. After about 6 hours of walking, you will reach the crater rim at Stella Point, at 19,000 feet (5,790 m), which is the end of the steep trail. From here it is a gentle slope upwards for about 1 hour to Uhuru Peak. After a short time at the top, descend the steep scree path to Barafu Camp for a rest, then regain your strength for another descent to Mweka Camp for the night.
DAY 6: MWEKA CAMP ~ MWEKA GATE (1,830 m / 6,000 ft.)
Descend directly to the gate (2-3 hours), where you will have lunch and receive climbing certificates. On arrival at the gate, you will have lunch and then be transferred to Arusha. De-briefing of the climb. End of our services.
– Mobile phones – carried by the head guide and all assistant guides, for daily communication with our base in Arusha. For any emergency
– Stretcher (and convertible bedding)
– Full medical/first aid kit
– Professional mountain guides, all senior guides (at least one per trip) are currently certified by NOLS USA as WFR (Wilderness First Responder).
– Ratio of at least one guide for every three guests, to ensure personal attention.
– Cooks and porters
MOUNTAIN ENTRANCE FEES:
– Park fees
– Camping fees
– Emergency rescue costs
CAMPING GEAR AND OTHER EQUIPMENT:
– 4 season mountain tents (a triple tent used as a double or single tent (extra charge), each tent fitted with a bespoke floor mat covering both vestibules, to allow clean and dry storage of equipment and prevent water, mud, or dust from entering the tent.
– Foam camping mat
– Large weatherproof dining tent, at night the tent is lit by candlelight, this tent is used for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if the weather does not permit it.
– Aluminium tables and chairs for all meals.
– Three meals a day, we produce and prepare delicious and energizing meals needed for high mountain trekking.
– Tea and coffee
– Mineral water
– Transfer from hotel to the starting point
– Transfer from the last point to the hotel
- Accommodation on arrival and last day
- Tips for the mountain guide, recommended 15-20 per group per day
- Porters 5 – 10$ per porter per group per day
- Personal expenses
- Personal items
- Personal insurance/travel insurance
- Personal medication/first aid kit
- Personal trekking equipment
- Sleeping bag