Kilimanjaro Trek – Machame Route
Mount Kilimanjaro is famous as the highest peak in Africa, and perhaps what makes its snow-capped summit all the more impressive is that it stands alone towering almost 5,000m above the surrounding plains. A trek up Kili is an exhilarating, beautiful and challenging experience and your reward, of watching the sunrise from the top of Africa’s highest mountain, is breathtaking.
BAOBAB offers you the chance to climb to the peak of Kili following the lesser-used Machame route. This route takes 6-7 days and offers a gradual ascent, a wide range of scenic areas and gives plenty of time to acclimatise.
This Kilimanjaro trek is available on a tailor-made basis for private treks, couples or small groups. Other routes such as the Rongai are also available.
DAY 1: Arrival
Transfer from either Arusha or Kilimanjaro airport to Karama Lodge on the edge of Arusha National Park. Karama has beautiful views of Kilimanjaro and Meru, when they are not in clouds. Here, you will have time to recover from your flight (recommended recovery time 24 hrs) and sort yourselves out for your Kili expedition, i.e. separating what gear to carry and what to leave in the hotel. You will spend the afternoon with your mountain guide preparing for your climb with a briefing.
Overnight at Karama Lodge on Dinner only basis.
DAY 2: Machame Camp
Today you will be transferred to Machame Gate to begin your climb. The start of the Machame route is through rainforest on a winding trail to the Machame Hut. Depending on the weather conditions this can be a moderate to very demanding climb of 5 to 7 hours.
Overnight camping by Machame Hut (3,100m) on Full Board basis.
DAY 3: Shira Camp
Rising early, you will leave the glades of the rainforest and continue trekking up to approx 3,800m. You will cross a valley and stream and climb up a steep ridge for 3-4 hours. The path then drops into the river gorge before you climb more gently onto the moorland of the Shira Plateau, one of the most fascinating areas of the mountain. This part of the trek takes again around 5 to 7 hours.
Overnight camping by Shira Hut (3,840m) on Full Board basis.
DAY 4: Barranco Valley
From the Shira plateau, this next part takes you to the lava tower, called the Shark’s Tooth. From this distinct point along the route, you will slowly make your way to the Arrow glacier (5 to 7 hours). You will enjoy sightings of the typical Kilimanjaro mountain vegetation, Senecios, Lobelia, Helichrysum.
Overnight camping by Barranco Hut (3,950m) on Full Board basis.
DAY 5: Barafu Camp
From the Barranco Hut, walk across scree and ridges to Karanga (4,100m) with breathtaking views of the West Breach and the southern glacier. About 2 hours from Karanga you will come out on the Barafu path (part of the Mweka Trail). It is a further 1-1½ hours to Barafu Hut, offering fantastic views of the Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. Total walking time 8-9 hours.
Overnight camping by Barafu Hut (4,600m) on Full Board basis.
DAY 6: Uhuru Peak
Just after midnight you’ll walk to Stella Point (5,745m) on the way to the summit (Uhuru Peak) at 5,896m. This last stretch of the Kili trek will take around 8 hours and should get you to the summit for the most breathtaking sunrise from the rooftop of Africa! After this major achievement of reaching the snow-capped peak of the Kilimanjaro, you will prepare to descend to the Mweka hut at 3,100m, taking about 5 hours.
Overnight camping by Mweka hut (3,100m) on Full Board basis.
DAY 7: Descend
An easy day (!), just a 3 to 4 hours straightforward trekking to the Mweka gate. At the gate you will be presented with your certificate and a bottle of champagne celebrating reaching the `top of Africa`. You may now relax, take a hot shower and relax before your final dinner, where you will hopefully celebrate the achievement of conquering Mount Kilimanjaro.
Overnight at Karama Lodge on Half Board only basis.
DAY 8: Departure
If you are feeling up to it, you should have time to explore some of the delights of Arusha and pick up some excellent pieces of local art from the arts & crafts market before you will be transferred back to either Arusha or Kilimanjaro Airport for your onward travel arrangements. (Breakfast only)
End of Services
The above itinerary is a suggested sample tour and can be tailored to suit your requirements, interests and budget.
Price is subject to availability and subject to change due to currency fluctuation and peak season supplements.
Terms and Conditions apply.
Kili Porters Policy
Although mountain treks generate necessary jobs and income for local people, Tourism Concern receives regular reports of Kilimanjaro porters being exploited, working for unfair low wages, carrying too heavy loads without proper equipment or being withheld from their basic rights. BAOBAB operates an Rights and Proper Working Conditions for Porters Policy. We work together with Tourism Concern to maintain these working conditions and as a responsible operator have submitted our written porter policy to them for continuing review.
Environmental and Health Concerns
In order to successfully climb Mt. Kilimanjaro you need to be in good health and fitness. Yet, you may still suffer from altitude sickness – the inability of the body to adjust to a rapid increase in altitude – showing symptoms such as loss of appetite, headache, nausea, vomiting, exhaustion, weakness, and rapid-pulse at rest. Furthermore, at high altitudes only a small amount of UV sunlight is filtered out, which can result in severe sunburn, hence always wear high factor sunblocks and sunglasses. For further advice check The Travel Doctor.
One of many features that make Mount Kilimanjaro famous, are the glaciers at its summit, which began to form about 11,700 years ago. In 1912, Science reported that these glaciers measured 4.8 square miles, however by the year 2000 they had already shrunk to a meagre 1 square mile. Now the glaciers are melting so quickly that they may be gone altogether by 2020, according to recent research. However, further research is needed to determine to what extent global warming and/or natural climate variability are responsible for the demise of Kilimanjaro’s glaciers.
We provide a full pre-departure pack to all customers booking a trek with us. This pack contains detailed health advice, a full equipment checklist and some general information about the mountain and environmental conditions. The BBC made an interesting short video on the Impact of Tourism on Mount Kilimanjaro.
WHY DO YOU RECOMMEND THE MACHAME ROUTE?
This route is generally considered to provide the most gradual ascent therefore minimising the chances of experiencing altitude sickness. The success rate is around 80-85% compared to almost 50% for some of the faster ascending routes.
HOW MUCH TIME SHOULD I ALLOW?
6-7 days is usually adequate – see the sample itinerary below. By taking an additional day, spent camping at altitude (3,500 metres) you give your body additional time to adjust to the lower levels of oxygen in the air.
HOW MANY HOURS PER DAY WILL WE BE WALKING FOR?
Most days you will walk for around 5-6 hours with lunch breaks. Your guides will be continually encouraging you to walk as slowly as possible. The slower you walk the easier you will acclimatise.
WHAT DO I HAVE TO CARRY?
You will carry just a day pack with your daily water supply and personal effects (e.g. warm clothing to put on at breaks and camera).
DO I NEED TO PROVIDE ANY EQUIPMENT?
We provide mountain style tents with fitted waterproof floor materials. All food, water and utensils are provided by us. You will just need to bring your clothing and a suitable four seasons sleeping bag – an equipment checklist is provided by ourselves prior to travel. Communal washing and toilet facilities are provided at each campsite.
WHAT HAPPENS IF SOMEONE IN THE PARTY IS INJURED?
All guides are fully medically trained and carry a full first aid kit. In the event of a serious injury the national park provide stretchers and you will be carried from the mountain by our porter staff. If you are unwell and do not wish to continue you can be lead off the mountain at any time. The rest of your party may proceed if they wish.
WHAT HAPPENS IF SOMEONE HAS ALTITUDE SICKNESS?
The lead guide will carefully monitor all of the people in your group for onset of altitude sickness. As Kilimanjaro is a free standing mountain it is always possible to simply turn around a descend until symptoms clear. A guide will wait with you and once you recover you can try and ascend again. If symptoms re-appear then you must stop trekking. You can either wait at the nearest base camp for your party to return after summiting or you can be lead from the mountain.
DO YOU SUPPLY BOTTLED OXYGEN?
Because you can always simply turn around a descend once altitude sickness symptoms appear bottled oxygen is not routinely available on the mountain. Oxygen is available in the event of an emergency and if you are particularly concerned we can arrange for oxygen to be carried but there is an extra cost for this.
WHAT ABOUT WATER?
Water is always freely available. All water is boiled to prevent contamination. You will be given a daily ration to carry yourself but you can always request more from your guide if required.