Kilimanjaro Trek – Machame Route
A Kilimanjaro climb through the Machame route is arguably the most challenging option. The day walks are longer and steeper than the others, but your extra efforts are rewarded with breathtaking views of Kibo Peak, the eternal ice fields and Kili’s scree-covered dome. During your climb to Kilimanjaro you’ll also enjoy great access to the remaining glacier and the Western Breach. 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 view over 6 days.
Strenuous. You must be very fit and have experience of walking in mountainous terrain. NB: This trek allows time for acclimatisation to altitude so the body can adjust in order to maximise the chance of reaching the summit, but it is impossible to predict how anyone will react to the effects of high altitude. Minimum age: 16 years. Due to the strenuous nature of this trip combined with the high altitude we do not recommend this trip for anyone under 16 years.
Note that some of your new route companions might be joining you after bravely climbing Mt Meru as both trips are combined on certain departures.
In line with the Kili Porters Assistance project we ensure that each group will get a ratio of 3 porters per trekker, and that each porter is receiving a fair wage amount, above the general standard, and in line with the recommended amount from Kili Porters Assistance Project.
Tipping is a universal custom on Kilimanjaro and an undying gratitude of anyone who trek with porters. They are very hard workers and never fail to draw admiration and support from the trekkers.
For better or worse, tipping is an accepted part of everyday life and although it is always at your discretion, you will be expected to tip to reward service. You will be briefed on arrival as to when and how much is appropriate, however, you can use the amounts below as a guideline:
The recommended amount below is per group (not per individual trekker) except for the porters (tipped per trekker, individually (ratio 3 porters/trekker)) and should be handed directly and individually to each crew member. The amount suggested is per day, and this trek is 6 days.
Head guide – $25 per day divided by the whole groupAssistant Guide – $20 per day divided by the whole groupCook – $15 per day divided by the whole group
Porter – $5 per porter/per day/per trekker (ratio 3 porters/trekker)
Transfer driver $20 per tripHotel porter/staff - $1
We encourage you to provide the collected tips directly to the different persons involved, individually, as they are very appreciative of this. Depending on the size of your group you should budget on a personal contribution of around 120-160 USD for your trek guides, cooks and porters on the trek. Those taking the Zanzibar extension should also consider tipping small amounts to your transfer drivers and local guides for any optional excursions you may take.
We support the Arusha children’s trust, a charity which runs projects in rural communities in the more remote areas of The Rift Valley, seeking to improve the lives of the tribal groups that live there, without imposing Western values on them. The projects aim to help children in a number of areas including education, health services and environmental awareness. If you would like to offer your much needed help to the project, as well as monetary donations, the trust would be delighted to receive any picture books for young children, games, construction toys, puzzles or sports equipment that you are able to carry out with you.
We use local Group Leaders and our local agent is firmly committed to sustainable and ecological tourism. The Adventure Company and our local partners are cooperating with the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (www.kiliporters.org) to ensure fair treatment of the crew and that best practices are being adhered as a Partner for Responsible Travel with the International Mountain Explorers Connection, who has selected us as official partner for porters welfare practices. See on link below the list of partners: http://www.mountainexplorers.org/club/partners.htm As such, we carefully follow the recommended guidelines for porter treatments in wages, maximum load, tipping, meals and equipment, ratio porters/trekkers, care for porters sickness or injuries.
The Adventure Company offset the carbon emissions associated with in-country travel on all of our trips by supporting the ADES Morondava project centre, which is a solar stove and clean energy project in Madagascar. However, it is your flight that will have the largest environmental impact on your holiday. We offer you the opportunity to offset your carbon dioxide emissions with a donation to this project, run by the non-profit organisation Blue Ventures Carbon Offset, as delivering measurable carbon reduction and wider sustainable development benefits for local people. We strongly encourage you to donate to our project, so if you would like to offset the carbon emissions generated by your flight, please contact us. Offsets start from as little as £7.
Since the increase in popularity of bottled water, many countries are experiencing a problem of litter especially where adequate recycling is not available. Please could you try, where possible, to use purification tablets or filters for water or buy bigger bottles of water between group members and decant into your individual water bottles.
It’s essential to keep yourself (and your baggage) dry at all times. Also, to cope with variable temperatures, the best strategy is to layer clothing, so you can adjust your temperature. You should not underestimate the freezing cold conditions you will encounter on the mountain.Although some clothing and equipment is available for hire locally, it’s impossible to guarantee its quality or availability, so equip yourself fully before departure. If you require further advice please call us, or consult your nearest specialist outdoor clothing and equipment store. The following is a suggestion of what you may find useful to take on this trip. It is not exhaustive and a more detailed packing list will be available upon booking.
In line with the Kili Porters Assistance project, each porter won’t carry more than 25kg including 20 kg of group equipment and 5kg of their personal loads. We follow the ratio of 3 porters per trekker and we allow a maximum of 15kg load per trekker to be passed onto the porters.
At the end of the trek some travellers might be keen to donate some of their equipment to the crew as a way of thanking them for their hard work. This isn't a universal custom but more a personal decision. This is entirely up to you but we thought we would just like to inform you of this possibility while packing your bag.
For your comfort we recommend you travel as light as possible; many airlines impose a maximum weight limit of 20kg – we advise you to take 10kg as you will be on the move a good deal! For domestic flights using light aircraft the usual weight limit is 15 kg.One main piece (a soft bag or rucksack, not a hard suitcase). A daypack (25-30 litres), large enough to carry what you need for the day including camera, water, etc.
Is this trek suitable for you? Please look through the below questions and if you answer 'no' to any of the altitude questions, or 'yes' to the Walking question, then please consider whether you are fit enough to do this trek.
Altitude:Have you previously walked at altitudes above 3000m?
If yes:Did you encounter any problems with the altitude?What was the maximum altitude gain in one day? How many days did you spend above 3000m?What was the maximum altitude you reached?
If no:What walking have you done in the past six months?Have you done any specific training for this trek?Have you done sufficient training to be able to cover an equivalent trekking route at sea level (this should be in terms of distance)?
Walking:Have you previously encountered any physical (not altitude) problems trekking?
Rising from the plains of the Great Rift Valley, Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa's highest mountain. This dormant snow-capped volcano has attracted many climbers and trekkers from all over the world. It commands respect and many experienced trekkers will tell you that the only way to reach the top is to go slowly and at your own pace. Ptolemy, in the 1st century AD, described it as a 'great snow mountain' and it has changed little since then. Chinese traders in the 13th and 14th centuries documented it but it wasn't until the mid-19th century when a German missionary, Johannes Rebemann, reported a snow-capped mountain just three degrees south of the Equator to the Royal Geographical society that it was brought to the notice of the western world.The mountain has been used for hunting and gathering throughout its history. Artefacts such as pottery, stone tools, bowls and rings made from lava have been found on its slopes. These date back to the Chagga people who moved to this area in the 17th century and who still live here today. They cultivate their homesteads with water drawn off at high levels using a system of furrows, which divert the water over long distances. Their main source of wealth comes from coffee and banana plantations.As you climb the slopes of this amazing mountain, the constantly changing flora and fauna encourages a slow ascent. Many of the flowers are unique and some need to be seen to be believed. As you rise up through the different vegetation zones of rainforest, heath, moorland, highland desert and finally to the summit, you’ll discover an incredible diversity.From the summit, the view is breathtaking. The gently undulating plains of Kenya and Tanzania stretch out below, and Mount Meru rises to the west. Looking down into the crater and then seeing the different shades of white from the surrounding glaciers makes it almost impossible to believe that you are so close to the equator.
Occasionally trekkers can over-estimate their own ability and some may not realise the seriousness of trekking at altitude. Plenty of time is allowed to get between the huts on the mountain so you do not need to rush. You are far better off going slowly and enjoying the changing scenery and views. That way you acclimatise better and are in better shape for the final trek up to Gillman's Point and then on to Uhuru Peak. Acute mountain sickness (AMS) may strike at Kibo Hut (the third and highest hut) so your guide will advise you whether he feels you are fit enough to continue. Unfortunately, there is no way of predicting how altitude sickness may affect the individual. Many people do not even realise that Uhuru Peak (5895m) is 500m higher than Everest Base Camp! If you are in any doubt as to your fitness please consult your doctor.
Overnight flight to Kilimanjaro Airport
After your flight, you transfer (one hour) to Arusha (1380m) and check in to your lodge. Tanzania’s major northern commercial centre stands on a fertile plain beside Mount Meru, Kilimanjaro’s westerly neighbour, some 50km from Kilimanjaro International airport. This evening you’ll have a comprehensive briefing to prepare you for your trek. Lodge - 1 night (D)
This morning you drive across the plain towards Mount Kilimanjaro, which dominates the skyline. If the skies are clear, you may get views of the snow-capped peak. Turning off the highway, you drive up through Machame village (1200m) on the way to Machame Gate (1800m), the entrance to Mount Kilimanjaro National Park. At the end of the track you register for the climb and meet your team of Chagga guides and porters. The Chagga people live from cultivating the fertile volcanic soil on the lower slopes of the mountain. As you set off on the trail you pass through the shambas where they grow coffee and bananas. It’s warm at this altitude and patches of dense rainforest teem with tropical birds and varieties of monkey; the indigenous flora includes numerous mosses, lichens and flowers, as well as delicate orchids. Depending on the group, it’s roughly six hours walk (10km) to your first camp at Machame Hut (3000m), just where you emerge from the lush tropical forest onto heather moorland. Camping -1 night (BLD)
Your second day on the mountain starts as you cross the valley that lies in your path, and the stream that runs through it, to continue steeply upward through giant heather plants and along a ridge. Then the route turns west, dropping abruptly into a gorge created by a river, before climbing out on the other side on an easier gradient to reach the bleak moorland of Shira Plateau with odd clusters of giant groundsels and lobelia. As you cross the plateau you start to get impressive views of Kibo Summit and the Western Breach, before eventually joining the Shira Route at Shira Cave - your overnight campsite. Approx. 5 hours walking (8km). Camping -1 night (BLD)
Today you head due east towards Kibo Summit, passing the turn-off of the trail which leads around the northern side of the summit. Climbing all the while, you continue towards the Lava Tower (4600m). From here you descend to Barranco Hut, your overnight camp which lies in a sheltered area below the spectacular cliffs of the Breach Wall. The Breach Wall, the dome of Uhuru and the edge of the Heim Glacier dominate the head of the valley. Approx. 5-7 hours walking / 10 km. Camping – 1 night (BLD)
This morning you head eastward along the Southern Circuit. After a 200m scramble to the top of the Great Barranco Wall, you traverse scree fields and a series of ridges to the Karanga Valley (4100m), beneath the icy snouts of Heim, Kersten and Decken Glaciers. After climbing out of the valley, you join the Mweka Route on a trail which ascends a steep ridge to Barafu (which means "ice" in Swahili) Hut, standing amidst a desert of bleak tundra. Tonight you must ensure that you don’t pack anything you don’t need in your daypacks, as you’ll need all your reserves of energy tomorrow! You get an early night in order to leave soon after midnight so you can reach the summit before it clouds over. Approx. 6-8 hours walking / 10 km. Camping - 1 night (BLD)
The day of truth! The guides wake you and you start out in darkness by the light of your head torch, in the extreme cold. The Mweka Route leads steeply upward over a long scree slope between Rebmann and Ratzel Glaciers. This is the hardest part; it can be covered with snow, so trekking poles are useful for balance. Eventually - after some five or six hours walk - you reach the rim of Kibo Crater, close to Stella Point (5732m). From here it’s another hour’s walk west along the crater rim past Hans Meyer's Point - named after the German geologist who made the first successful ascent in 1889 - to reach Uhuru (meaning “Freedom”) Peak (5895m). If the summit is clear, there are fine views of the sun rising over Mawenzi’s icefields and jagged peaks to the east, and of Mount Meru to the west. Triumphant, you then head back to Barafu Hut, where you rest from your exertions for a while. After lunch you continue down to your final camp at Mweka Hut, in the giant heather, close to the forest’s edge. Tonight you enjoy a well-earned rest and your last dinner on the mountain. Approx. 13-14 hours walking (7-9 hours ascent, plus 6 hours descent). Camping - 1 night (BLD)
The pace quickens as the Mweka Route descends across alpine meadow and through rainforest and shamba to Mweka Gate (approx. 3-4 hours walking). After bidding farewell to your guides and porters you board the vehicle for the drive back to Arusha. On arrival you can take a hot shower, and relax with a celebratory drink! Lodge - 1 night (BLD)
After Kilimanjaro, Arusha feels like a lively metropolis. The morning is free to relax, shop, or explore. It’s worth a look at the covered market, or the stalls and shops around the clock tower. However the likelihood is that you will want to relax, maybe with a drink, at the lovely lodge in Arusha resting those tired legs and reminiscing about your journey to the highest point in Africa!! The trip ends in Arusha for Land Only clients. Clients on group flights transfer to the airport for your flight back home. NB Lunch is not included today. (B)
If you fancy completing your African adventure with a safari many departures are combined with Serengeti Explorer, or you can extend your stay and chill out on spicy Zanzibar island.
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