IN A NUTSHELL
As the popularity of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro continues to increase, potential climbers are often uncertain as to which route to take. Each route has its own advantages and disadvantages. When selecting the route, make sure it is the appropriate route for your desires, physical ability, aptitude and comfort level.
There is no “best” Kilimanjaro route! It all depends on you.
Direct arrival at Moshi / optional airport transfer. Dinner, pre-climb briefing and overnight Mountain Inn.
A straightforward first day, unless wet underfoot, on a path enclosed by rainforest.
Steady climb leads to splendid campsite on Shira plateau.
Lava Tower and Breach Wall.
Through rocky semi-desert with dramatic views of the Lava Tower and Breach Wall.
A taxing day, to be followed by an even tougher night, but with good views.
The most strenuous stage of a strenuous route, normally attempted between midnight and dawn. Many people find the descent hard on the knees and feet: don't underestimate this stage.
Short descent to Mweka gate.
Arrival at Mountain Inn
Time (average): N/A
Altitude gained: N/A
Transportation: Opt-ional airport transfers
Accommodation: Mountain Inn
Summary: your arrival day before your climb
Direct arrival at our base hotel Mountain Inn in Moshi or request an optional transfer or extra day at leisure to recover from jet lag. Take room keys and settle in until dinner and your pre-climb briefing.
Machame Gate to Machame Camp.
Time (average): 5-7 hours
Altitude gained: 1.200 m
Terrain:Rough path with many tree roots; very slippery and muddy when wet.
Summary: A straightforward first day, unless wet underfoot, on a path enclosed by rainforest.
As with Marangu route, the day begins with a drive to the park gate (Machame) from Mountain Inn, and the formalities (registering passport numbers and paying park fees) take an hour or so. From Moshi the drive takes about 35 minutes, and it takes you to 1.800 m. Ensure that you have enough drinking water for the day and your packed lunch from the hotel.
You will meet your guides and porters; try to remember their faces and learn their names as they are about to become very important people in your life. Due to the fact that the terrain is rough and sometimes steep, on this route porters occasionally fall. Even with your lighter load and walking poles for support, you may on occasion struggle for balance, especially if it is wet and muddy underfoot.
The hike through the rainforest is filled with interest scenery, although it feels curiously enclosed for a mountain side. Mist and cloud are common during the late morning to mid-afternoon, and on arrival at Machame Camp you may see disappointingly little. Early mornings are better for views at this height.
Machame Camp to Shira Camp.
Time (average): 5-7 hours
Altitude gained: 850 m
Terrain: Path mostly good with only one real scramble - the rocky ridge leading to Shira plateau.
Summary: steady climb leads to splendid campsite on Shira plateau.
After an early breakfast, you set off towards Shira plateau. Leaving the forest behind, the path heads up into the moorland along a ridge of volcanic rock. approximately two hours after Machame, there is a short scramble up a rock 'wall', although this is neither difficult nor high (about 8 m). The path climbs steadily along the ridge towards a picnic lunch stop at around 3.600 m.
Once you have completed the rocky ridge, you head northwards, apparently away from Kibo. After crossing some streams, you emerge onto the Shira plateau, where the gradients ease and you pass Shira Cave. Shira is the oldest of the three volcanoes that make up the Kilimanjaro massif, and its plateau is filled with many interesting features and minerals. You may notice shiny jet black pebbles lying on the ground, made of obsidian.
Continuing north, you soon reach the first of the three campsites, from where you may see splendid views of the Shira Ridge to the west, with its three pinnacles of Shira Needle, Shira Cathedral and East Shira Hill. Looking east, you may see Kibo's Western Breach and its glaciers. Far away to the south west, you might be able to see Mount Meru.
Shira Camp to Barranco Camp.
Time (average): 5-6 hours
Altitude gained: Rising 680 m above Shira before steep descent to camp (100 m)
Terrain: Fairly rough path, some scree, some steep sections
Summary: Through rocky semi-desert with dramatic views of the Lava Tower and Breach Wall.
From Shira, your route turns sharply east, and head directly towards Kibo and its Western Breach. The line of nearby hills to the left of Kibo is the Oehler Ridge. You will climb steadily to a high point of 4.530 m, close to the distinctive Lava Tower. There are impressive cliffs and rock formations all the way, with some interesting colours if there is good enough light.
The final few hours of the day are spent descending steeply into the great Barranco (valley), ending at an altitude of 3.950 m, only 100 m higher than your starting point. Nonetheless, you will have climbed and descended 680 m and may be ready for a hard-earned night's sleep. Firstly take some time to enjoy the spectacular situation of Barranco Camp, which lies below the Western Breach.
Barranco Camp to Barafu Camp.
Time (average): 7-8 hours
Altitude gained: Rises 380 m over the Barranco Wall, then falls and rises to Barafu
Terrain: After a steep, exposed climb up the Barranco Wall (some scrambling), gradients ease.
Summary: A taxing day, to be followed by an even tougher night, but with good views.
From the campsite, you head northwards for a short distance, and cross a river before meeting the day's main challenge. The Wall is very close to being vertical in places. The route takes a diagonal line and is not as hard as it appears at first. The scrambling itself is no more difficult than it is on day one, however it is more exposed and lasts much longer - a stiff climb of over 300 m. You may feel a great sense of achievement looking down from the top.
If you are not used to scrambling, follow behind someone who is, putting your hands where he or she does, and your feet will follow. If you are worried about the exposure, don't look down. Think of the wall as a long uneven staircase with handholds. It is amazing to watch the porters calmly walk up carrying heavy weights on their heads, without using their hands.
After the Wall, the path crosses a plateau area divided by several valleys with superb views up towards the southern ice fields, in the order that you will see them, they are Heim, Kersten and Decken glaciers. You descend fairly steeply into the Karanga Valley (4.000 m), which is the last water point, so before leaving stock up with water for Barafu and beyond. Most groups or climbers stop for lunch here, important fuel for the night-time attempt on the summit, however some choose to add an additional day for acclimatisation to the standard itinerary and camp here overnight.
approximately 3 km after the Karanga Valley, the circuit path meets the Mweka trail, which is the normal Machame descent route. You will turn left at this junction, heading up towards Barafu Camp. On the other hand, your group may take a more diagonal route from Karanga Valley, in effect cutting the corner to reach Barafu. Once you are settled in, watch out for the lovely evening sun rays shine on Mawenzi.
As the campsite is exposed and rocky, it is especially important to familiarise yourself with the terrain before dark falls.
Barafu Camp to the summit.
Time (average): 6-10 hours.
Altitude lost: 1.195/1.295 m to Stella Point/ Uhuru peak.
Terrain: A steep, rough ascent on lose scree and rocks to the crater rim; more gradual thereafter.
Summary: The most strenuous stage of a strenuous route, normally attempted between midnight and dawn.
Similarly to the Marangu route, you will be woken around midnight to trek through the night, and you need the early start to try to reach the summit, as well as still have time to descend in daylight. To reach your next night's accommodation via Uhuru, you need not only to gain 1.295 m of vertical height, but also to lose 2.795 m.
The climb to Stella Point is the most daunting section of the Machame route, mainly because of the altitude and darkness, however there are no technical difficulties. It is a long slog, very steep in places, but if you are determined and escape altitude sickness, you make it in the end. If your feet slip back on the scree, try pushing harder on those walking poles and edge with your boots; watch the guides for a demonstration. As you near or reach Stella Point, the sunrise will raise your body temperature.
From Stella Point it takes about another 45 minutes or so to Uhuru Peak, although the gradients are much gentler and the terrain easier. There is no point in making a superhuman effort to reach the summit unless you are also still capable of getting yourself back down. However you may find that the achievement of reaching the summit gives you a rush of energy that sees you through this, making it perhaps the longest day of your life.
You will now start your descent of the mountain and reach Mweka for the night.
Summit to Mweka Camp.
Time (average): 7-8 hours
Altitude lost: 2.795 m
Terrain: Gradual descent around crater rim, then steep, lose scree followed by rough path.
Summary: Many people find the descent hard on the knees and feet: don't underestimate this stage.
The descent from Uhuru Peak begins immediately after the all-night climb. From the summit, you will lose 2.795 m to reach Mweka. These are very large descents, most probably much further than you would attempt anywhere else. You have to perform this immediately after a night of humongous effort at a high altitude, without any proper rest, let alone any sleep.
Following there is terrain: descending the steep scree is tricky, although using two walking poles will help tremendously. The guides have a very nifty technique of half-running, half-sliding down the scree on their heels without any walking poles. Some people find it easy to follow this technique, whereas others fall a lot. If you do fall over, try to relax on the way down and watch out for rocks!
Don't be pressurised into descending faster than your ability and you should feel safe. The dust may create a serious problem for your eyes, nose and throat, so protect your face. Hold back a little further back: it's much worse when you follow another hiker closely.
Your knees and toes and maybe calves may take the brunt of the descent. Start by lacing your boots tightly over the instep, to prevent your toes from hitting the end of the boots. This can cause lasting numbness, especially in your big toes, and may lead to loss of toenails. If your boots were too short in the first place, you will find this out to your cost.
Once you reach your overnight campsite. Get a well-earned nights rest.
Mweka Camp to Moshi.
Time (average): 3-4 hours
Altitude lost: 2550 m
Terrain: Mainly through the forest
Summary: Short descent to Mweka gate.
Before leaving the campsite, take a few minutes to look north at the snow-covered cone of Kilimanjaro. It is a beautiful sight and one you will never forget.
A steady descent of about 1 hour 30 minutes brings you 3.5 km downhill to Mweka Camp. There are some great places to grab a few last pictures of the summit on this trail. approximately 5 minutes from Mweka Camp you reach a very clear divide with the forest. From the boundary of the forest to the park gate it is 10 km downhill. For the majority of this day’s hike, you are walking on a ridge between 2 huge gorges, giving some spectacular views through gaps in the trees.
After about 2 hours of hiking you come to the start of the 4-wheel drive track and from here to the gate it is only a 40 minute walk. The final section of the forest has an abundance of elusive monkeys however if you’re lucky you may come across a few foraging in the trees. In addition you will pass young children allowed in by the park rangers in order to collect dead wood for the fire. They are fascinated by digital photography and showing a photograph you may take of them always gets a good reception. Any sweets or chocolate you still have is a welcome treat for these kids.
At the park office you will be presented with your certificate if you made it to Stella Point (green) or better yet, reached the summit (gold). Then a drive back to the hotel for a hot shower and a big meal. All that’s left now is a good night's rest before your journey for the next day.
MAP OF ROUTE
PRICE & SERVICES
Price upon request.
Our passion for Africa and efforts to furnish you with the very best Creative Destination Management are defined by the objective to provide exceptional quality, intensive and unforgettable experiences as well as pleasurable moments, that in every detail and attention to superior services are a dream come true and a feast for the senses.
Our passion, commitment and dedication to provide you with memorable adventures is as limitless as the magical vistas of the African continent ...
Your Across Africa Creative Destination Management Team
T's & C's
- This is a proposal only and subject to availability. If components of this itinerary are not available at the time of booking, we shall endeavour to offer suitable alternatives.
- Gorilla and Chimpanzee tracking permits are not included. Please note that
- Gorilla permits of US $ 600,00 per permit in Uganda and/ or US $ 750,00 per permit in Rwanda and US $ 150,00 for Chimpanzee permits in Kibale, Uganda need to be paid together with the deposit. The price for these permits is nonrefundable, however in case of cancellation, we shall endeavor to resell excess tickets through the available ofﬁcial channels.
- The appointed driver/ tour guide will accompany clients throughout the safari, assist them with check-in at accommodation and share his knowledge of ﬂora and fauna.
- A language speciﬁc tour guide is available against a surcharge.
- A 4 x 4 wheel drive vehicle such as a Land Cruiser is available against a surcharge.
Where applicable for charter or scheduled local ﬂights, the following baggage restrictions apply:
- 15 kgs on all ﬂights in small, soft-sided bags.
Abbreviations for the meal plan are as follows:
- BB = Bed & Breakfast.
- DBB = Dinner, Bed & Breakfast.
- FB = Full Board.
Terms and Conditions of our Services Payments Deposit:
- 25% of the total safari price within 7 days of conﬁrmation.
- Balance: full balance due 45 days (6 weeks) prior to arrival.
- Reservations: made within 45 days or less prior to arrival: Immediate full prepayment due.
- Cancellations: received within 30 days before safari date 20%
- 29 to 23 days before safari date 25%
- 22 to 15 days before safari date 40%
- 14 to 08 days before safari date 55%
- 07 to 03 days before safari date 65%
- 02 days before safari date 95%
- No Show 100 % Changes Without Prior Notice Tariffs quoted are valid for 2015 wherever possible.
Not all service providers release or guarantee their rates well in advance and therefore the itinerary price may be subject to changes without prior notice.
Factors that can not be anticipated and may inﬂuence this cost calculation include, but are not limited to, supplier increases (including gorilla permits and park/conservation fees), government tax increases, fuel price increases, unforeseeable itinerary amendments due to circumstances beyond our control, availability restrictions, etc.