Climb Mount Kilimanjaro - 6 day Machame Route

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Adventure Hosted by Emmanuel

Kilimanjaro Guides
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Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
8 days (6 day route)
Usually max 12 per group (unless private)
Mixed
Moderate

Adventure overview

‍Summit Kilimanjaro - Machame Route Challenge: Experience the thrill of ascending Kilimanjaro, the crown jewel of Tanzania, on a 6-day expedition via the Machame Route.

This adventure is designed for those seeking both a challenge and an immersion into breathtaking natural beauty. Each day offers something new, from navigating Machame's steep ridges to camping under starlit African skies.

You'll tackle varied terrains, acclimatise as you ascend, and create memories with a group of like-minded adventurers. Your reward? The indescribable feeling of reaching the summit and watching the sunrise over the vast African landscape.

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Day 1 - Arrival and Transfer to Moshi
- Airport pickup and transfer to hotel in Moshi.
- Evening briefing with guides and fellow trekkers.
- Prepare and rent necessary gear if needed.

Day 2 - From Moshi to Machame Camp
- Drive from Moshi to Machame Gate, then start the trek.
- Hike through lush rainforest to reach Machame Camp.
- Elevation gain from 1830m to 3050m over 11km in 5-6 hours.

Day 3 - Machame Camp to Shira Camp
- Leave rainforest, cross valley along a steep ridge.
- Trek through river gorge to reach Shira Camp.
- Elevation increase to 3850m over 5km in 4-5 hours.

Day 4 - Shira Camp to Barranco Camp via Lava Tower
- Ascend to Lava Tower for acclimatization, then descend to Barranco.
- Spectacular views along the ridge and from Shark's Tooth.
- Maintain elevation around 4000m over 10km in 5-6 hours.

Day 5 - Barranco Camp to Barafu Camp
- Climb the Barranco Wall, trek through Karanga Valley.
- Reach Barafu Camp, prepare for summit push.
- Ascend to 4700m over 9km in 6-8 hours.

Day 6 - Barafu Camp to Summit, down to Mweka Camp
- Start midnight trek to summit via Stella Point.
- Reach Uhuru Peak at sunrise, then descend to Mweka Camp.
- Ascend to 5895m, then down to 3090m over 18km in 10-13 hours.

Day 7 - Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate, drive to Moshi
- Descend to Mweka Gate, collect summit certificates.
- Navigate through forest terrain; return to Moshi for rest.
- Descend from 3090m to 1680m over 10km in 3-4 hours.

Day 8 - Departure from Moshi
- Drive back to the airport for departure.
- Reflect on the achievement of summiting Kilimanjaro.
- Say goodbye to the team and newfound friends.

Day 1 - Arrival and transfer to Moshi

We'll be there to meet you at the airport and whisk you off to your hotel in Moshi, the gateway to the Kilimanjaro National Park. In the evening you'll meet your fellow adventurers for a briefing from your guide about Kilimanjaro and your trek. This is a great opportunity to check you've got the kit you need - you can rent any kit needed.

Day 2 - Drive to Kilimanjaro National Park and hike to Machame Camp

The drive from Moshi to Machame Gate takes around 45 minutes and passes through the village of Machame on Kilimanjaro's lower slopes, where you'll get your first taste of the scenery you'll be hiking through.

We kick off our trek by walking through a lush rainforest on a winding trail climbing a ridge up to Machame Camp. It can be a bit muddy and slippery so trekking poles and gaiters will be useful if you have them.

  • Elevation: 1830m/6000ft to 3050m/9950ft
  • Distance: 11km/7mi
  • Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
  • Habitat: Montane Forest
  • Meals: Lunch and dinner

Day 3 - Machame Camp to Shira Camp

After a hearty camp breakfast, we leave the leafy glades of the rainforest and keep climbing, crossing the valley along a steep rocky ridge with great views - cameras at the ready!

Following our route west, we'll trek through a river gorge to the Shira Campsite

  • Elevation: 3050m/9950ft to 3850m/12,600ft
  • Distance: 5km/3mi
  • Walking Time: 4-5 hours
  • Habitat: Moorland
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 4 - Shira Camp to Lava Tower and Barranco Camp

Leaving the Shira Plateau, we climb a ridge, passing the junction that leads towards the peak of Kibo. The path leads up South East towards the spectacular Lava Tower, also known as 'Shark's Tooth' (4,650m).

After a photo break, we'll descend to the Barranco Camp. We'll end today at roughly the same elevation as we began, but fret not - today was all about acclimatisation and preparing your body for that all-important summit day. Plus the views, of course!

  • Elevation: 3850m/12,600ft to 4000m/13,000ft
  • Distance: 10km/6mi
  • Walking Time: 5-6 hours
  • Habitat: Semi-desert
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 5 - Barranco Camp to Barafu Camp

Once we're done with breakfast, we leave Barranco and start climbing up the steep ridge of the Barranco Wall (at around 4250m/13,900ft). It's a bit challenging, but totally worth it! Next, we trek through the beautiful Karanga Valley (at about 4050m/13,250ft) until we reach the junction that connects with the Mweka Trail. From there, we keep pushing forward towards the Barafu Camp. This is where the South Circuit comes to an end, and let me tell you, the views of the summit from here are absolutely breathtaking! We set up camp at Barafu and enjoy gazing at the distant summit. It's an experience you don't want to miss!

‍Elevation: 4000m/13,000ft to 4700m/15,350ft

  • Distance: 9km/6mi
  • Hiking Time: 6-8 hours
  • Habitat: Alpine Desert
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 6 - Barafu Camp to Summit, down to Mweka Camp

In the wee hours of the morning (somewhere between midnight and 2 am), we press on towards the summit, sandwiched between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers. We head in a northwest direction, trudging through rough scree as we make our way towards Stella Point, which sits on the rim of the crater. This part is no joke – it's mentally and physically demanding! But fear not, because once we reach Stella Point, we take a breather and are treated to the most jaw-dropping sunrise you'll probably ever witness. If you're a speedier hiker, you might even catch the sunrise right from the summit.

From Stella Point, it's a snowy adventure all the way as we spend about an hour ascending to Uhuru Peak. And guess what? That's the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the entire continent of Africa! It's quite an accomplishment.

After revelling in our triumph at the summit, we start our descent by heading straight down towards Mweka Camp. Along the way, we stop at Barafu for a well-deserved lunch. The loose gravel can be a bit tricky, so gaiters and trekking poles might come in handy. Finally, we reach Mweka Camp, where we savour our last evening on the magnificent mountain.

  • Elevation: 4700m/15,350ft to 5895m/19,340ft
  • Down to 3090m/10,150ft
  • Distance: 5km/3mi up / 13km/8mi down
  • Hiking Time: 5-7 hours up / 5-6 hours down
  • Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 7 - Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate, drive to Moshi

Once we're fueled up with breakfast, we start making our way down towards the Mweka Park Gate to collect those well-deserved summit certificates. As we descend to lower elevations, things can get a bit damp and muddy, so it's a good idea to have gaiters and trekking poles to tackle the terrain. You can probably ditch the heavy gear and rock some shorts and t-shirts but don't forget to keep your rain gear and warmer clothing handy, just in case.

When we reach the Mweka Gate, a vehicle will be eagerly waiting to whisk you away on a quick 30-minute ride back to your coSy hotel in Moshi. Time to kick back, relax, and reflect on the incredible journey you've just conquered!

  • Elevation: 3090m/10,150ft to 1680m/5500ft
  • Distance: 10km/6mi
  • Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
  • Habitat: Forest
  • Meals: Breakfast

Day 8 - Drive you back to the Airport

  • Hotel in Moshi
  • Camping on route

WHAT'S INCLUDED

  • Free Payment Plan - spread the cost of the trip at no extra cost (select at checkout)
  • Transport - Private transport to and from Kilimanjaro International Airport to your accommodation in Moshi. And to and from Kilimanjaro Gat
  • Accommodation - Two nights accommodation in Moshi
  • Park entry fees
  • Camping fees
  • Team Kilimanjaro rescue fees
  • Oxygen cylinder (if needed)
  • All camping equipment
  • Guides - Friendly and professional mountain guides, cook and porters
  • Meals - Three hot meals daily whilst on the mountain
  • Water - treated & filtered drinking water throughout the trek
  • Hot water for washing
  • Fair wages for the mountain crew as approved by the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority (KINAPA) and Kilimanjaro Association of Tours Operators (KIATO)
  • Ox meter
  • Emergency first-aid kit

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • Travel Insurance - required, we recommend Campbell Irvine
  • Flights to and from Tanzania
  • Meals not listed Lunches, dinners and drinks at the hotel before and after theclimb
  • Laundry (available at hotel)
  • Personal items and toiletries
  • Tips for guides, porters and cook (optional but much appreciated)
  • Fly to the Kilimanjaro International Airport in Tanzania, where our guide will pick you up and drive you to your hotel in Moshi

IS THIS THE RIGHT TRIP FOR ME?

Is this a good trip if I'm travelling solo?

  • Absolutely! Many solo adventurers, couples, and groups join us. It's a fab way to meet awesome folks.
  • More than half of our guests book on solo, so you’ll be in good company.

What's the typical age range?

  • We see a mix, from 20s to 50s.
  • Don’t focus too much on this though…

Is there a minimum age for this trip?

  • 18 years old

How long do I need to climb Kilimanjaro?

  • We suggest a minimum of 8-10 days if coming from Europe or the United States, although some individuals may prefer a longer duration. 
  • We can personalize itineraries and routes to accommodate additional days within the park. Some climbers may also opt to scale Mount Meru, which is located nearby. 
  • If you have more than 10 days, you have the flexibility to select any of the primary routes on the mountain and still have ample time for a wildlife safari before or after your expedition.

When is the best time of year to climb Kilimanjaro?

  • Kilimanjaro can be climbed any time of the year. However, it's important to consider the weather conditions at different elevations. 
  • Lower elevations experience more rainfall during April, May, and November, while March and June mark transition months. 
  • August and September are the coldest and driest periods. January, February, July, August, and September are all popular months for climbing.

Which route should I choose for the climb?

  • Approximately 80% of climbers opt for the Marangu route (5 or 6 days), often referred to as the "Tourist" or "Coca Cola" route due to its relative ease compared to other options. 
  • The remaining climbers typically choose the Machame route (6 or 7 days). 
  • The less frequented routes include Umbwe, Rongai, Shira, and Lemosho. 
  • It's important to note that several routes converge at a mid-way point, and there are only three routes to reach the summit.

What level of fitness is required?

  • While many sources claim that Kilimanjaro is easily accessible, it's essential not to underestimate the mountain. 
  • While no technical mountaineering skills are necessary, general fitness is required. 
  • However, the primary challenge for climbers lies in coping with the effects of high altitude, which appear to be unrelated to fitness, age, or gender. 
  • Engaging in physical training before the trek, such as aerobic cross training and hiking, is recommended to familiarise your body with the demands of the expedition. The fitter you are, the easier the climb will be. Determination and willpower also play a role.

How much distance will we hike each day?

  • It's better to measure each day in terms of hours spent walking rather than miles covered due to varying altitude and conditions. 
  • On most days, except for the summit day, your day will commence with breakfast around 6:30 AM, and departure will take place at 7 AM. 
  • You will hike for approximately 4-5 hours, with a lunch break, followed by another hour or two of hiking in the afternoon. These days are not excessively long or challenging, and your guide will advise you to maintain a slow pace ("pole pole" in Swahili).

Why do we start the final ascent in pre-dawn darkness?

  • Typically, most groups start their ascent to the summit between 11 PM and 12:30 AM, depending on the group's perceived fitness level, weather conditions, and chosen route. The pre-dawn hours, despite being cold, offer the calmest and clearest conditions. 
  • The best views from the summit are observed at dawn. Often, clouds and strong winds develop shortly after sunrise, making the summit less appealing and the descent more difficult. 
  • Experienced guides report that it is uncommon to encounter cloudy conditions at the summit at dawn during any season. 
  • The ascent day involves an extensive amount of hiking, with some individuals requiring up to 15 hours to reach the summit and return to the campsite for that day.

What if I am slower than other trekkers?

  • There is no need to worry, as this is a common concern. It is highly recommended to proceed at a slow pace, and your guides will consistently remind you of this ("pole pole" - the Swahili term for slowly). 
  • Walking slowly allows your body to acclimatize better to the high altitude. Sufficient time is allocated each day for the trek, accommodating even those who prefer a very slow pace.

What if I am unable to reach the summit?

  • Some hikers may not reach the summit, but this does not diminish the overall experience. Even without reaching the top, the wonders of Kilimanjaro provide a rewarding adventure. 
  • If any members of a group decide they cannot continue or if a guide deems it unsafe for an individual or group to proceed, they will be accompanied to the nearest campsite or hut. 
  • The guides possess detailed knowledge of shortcuts to ensure the safety of climbers and are trained to act efficiently and calmly in any situation.

What type of staff will accompany me during the climb?

  • The usual ratio is three local staff members per climber, though small groups may have four staff members per climber. 
  • The team typically includes an English-speaking guide or guides, a professional cook, and porters responsible for carrying the gear. 
  • We encourage interaction with the staff, even though some may have limited proficiency in English. They are trustworthy locals who have grown up in the vicinity of the mountain, with many of them having ascended the peak 50 times or more so you're in good hands.

What size will the group be?

  • Usually up to 12 guests per group (unless private group).

Do I need travel insurance?

  • Yes, check that it covers the trip you’re interested in
  • We recommend Campbell Irvine
  • We also recommend you get some personal insurance to cover you for injury or any personal loss or damage.

Is the guide insured?

  • Yes, our guiding partners are insured for all the activities they offer, but you’ll still need to take out your own travel insurance.

KIT

How much weight will I need to carry, and where can I store items not required during the climb?

  • You will only need to carry a day pack weighing approximately 2.2kg - 2.7kg (5-6 lbs), although some individuals may choose to carry more or less. 
  • Your gear, totalling a maximum of 15kgs (33 lbs), will be placed inside a waterproof duffel bag at the trailhead, which will be carried by a porter. 
  • If you have items that are unnecessary for the climb, you can leave a bag at our office in Moshi.

What is provided, and what do I need to bring?

  • You'll be provided with tents, food, utensils, and leadership throughout the climb. 
  • However, you need to bring your own sleeping bag rated to -12 degrees C (10 degrees F), a water system, personal clothing, a sleeping pad, a lightweight duffel bag, and a day pack. Hiking poles are available for rent at a cost of $10. 
  • A full packing list is provided to all climbers along with our pre-departure packet.

ACCOMMODATION

What is the accommodation like during the trek?

  • On the Marangu Route, basic huts are available. The first two huts accommodate four people each, while the final hut features dorm-style bunk beds. 
  • On all other routes, you will sleep in 3-person dome-style mountain tents, with two individuals sharing each tent. The tents are modern, equipped with outer flysheets and spacious vestibules to protect your equipment from the elements. 
  • The porters handle the setup, breakdown, and transportation of the tents. A separate toilet tent is set up at each campsite, and if possible, hot water is provided every morning for personal use (no showers). 
  • Dining tents with chairs and tables are also available for all meals. Before meals, we provide soap and hot water for hand washing.

OTHER

Is there a discount for group bookings?

  • Unfortunately not, we offer a competitive and fair price so we can’t offer further discounts.

Is there a discount if I make my own way there or travel from a different starting point?

  • Unfortunately not for this trip.
  • Free cancellation or date change up to 65 days before departure
  • Deposits are non-refundable unless the trip is cancelled by us, then you'll get a full refund
  • Even if you do cancel within 65 days though, your deposit isn't lost. We'll keep it on file for you to use towards another trip (valid 12 months from the original booking date)
Kilimanjaro Guides

Meet your guide, Emmanuel

Emmanuel is passionate about Tanzania and prides himself on delivering high quality travel experiences in this beautiful country

Your head guide for this trip is Emmanuel. Emmanuel has decades of experience leading tours under his belt and prides himself on delivering the best possible travel experience. He's one of the only Travel life-certified guides in Tanzania and a founding member of the Tunacare nongovernmental organisation which helps Tanzanian families in poverty. Emmanuel is passionate about social, economic and environmental sustainability.

Emmanuel allocates work to guides, cooks and porters on the basis of merit, continued performance and positive feedback from clients. Many of them are locals who have been part of his company for years.

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