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The Machame route to Mt. Kilimanjaro provides a scenic view of a variety of habitats and animals. It’s a preferred route for the adventurous trekker looking for a scenic adventure. It’s also a cheaper route characterized by a shorter itinerary.
Also known as the whiskey route, the Machame route has steep trails that pass through the moorland. It provides unedited views of the glacier precipices that join Barafu heading to the Uhuru peak summit. Accommodation throughout the trek is in high altitude tents set up by the porters.
For the hike, you will need warm clothing, a thermal sleeping bag, and hiking poles. The sleeping mattresses and tents are provided.
This morning, you will be picked up from your hotel in Arusha and driven to Machame village. This is your opportunity to buy mineral water and any other snacks or gear you may need on your trek. We will also offer you a packed lunch.
From the village, you can decide to trek to the Machame gate or drive depending on road conditions. The porters organize and pack your things as you and the guide register with TANAPA, the Tanzania National Park.
Your trek begins immediately into the rainforest. This part of the hike is characterized by mud, fog and rain. It’s also an opportunity to see some Columbus monkeys and other animals.
We will stop for a lunch break and later head out to the Machame camp either early in the evening or late afternoon depending on speed. By the time we get to camp, the porters and chefs, who will have reached camp before us, will have the tents and meals ready.
We will have dinner after washing up and spend our night under the tents. Carry some warm clothing because the nights can have low temperatures.
Early morning breakfast will be followed by the ascent to Shira camp, which is approximately 9 kilometres away. The vegetation here is mostly Moorland characterized by numerous streams and rocky ridges.
By the time we get to Shira camp, the tents and meals will be ready, thanks to our experienced porters and chefs. The camp is situated next to a stream. From here, you get an incredible view of the Western Breach and the East Glaciers.
Evening snacks, drinking, washing water and dinner will be offered by the porters and chefs.
After breakfast, we will start the 15-kilometre hike to Barranco camp. The area is characterized by a semi-desert and rocky landscape. 5 hours into the trek brings us to Lava Tower, where we’ll have our packed lunch. There is the option to hike the massive Lava Tower if the weather allows. Most hikers start experiencing shortness of breath and headaches due to altitude effects.
Lunch will be followed by a descent to the Barranco campsite. It takes around two hours to get there. The descend allows your body to adjust to the high-altitude conditions.
In the valley found below the Breach and the great Barranco Wall, we find the Barranco campsite. Wash up and get some drinking water, then enjoy the beautiful setting of the sun after dinner.
Breakfast will be served early in preparation for the Great Barranco Wall. The wall looks a bit intimidating, but hikers who complete the hike swear it’s much easier than they thought it would be.
The Heim Glacier provides an enchanting view from the top of the wall. Some victory photos and we start winding down to the Karanga Valley. The descend offers and acclimatization opportunity. The distance from Barranco Camp to Karanga Valley is approximately 4 kilometres.
We leave the Karanga camp after breakfast and arrive at Barafu hut in an hour’s time. Barafu, meaning ice in Swahili, sits on an exposed rocky ridge. At this point, hikers must make sure they get familiar with the camp before nightfall.
Dinner will be served early in preparation for the summit the following morning. You will also get detailed reports and instructions on preparing and hiking the summit by our esteemed guides. By 1900 everyone should be asleep!
An early breakfast of tea and biscuits will be served at 23:30 before we attempt the summit. At this point, most of the hikers will be feeling the challenge. It can be a physically and mentally tiring climb, but after 6 hours, we will have reached the Stella point. We stop to enjoy the first rays of the day as the sun rises magnificently against a backdrop of clouds and snow.
We continue the trek for another two hours up to the snowcapped Uhuru peak. This is an awesome achievement. Not many have reached this point, and this is the time to pat yourself on the back and celebrate the huge moment with photos. We take some tea to warm our bodies a little and then we begin the descent to Barafu. This will take approximately 3 hours. We get to camp in time for some lunch and much needed rest.
We continue the descend to Mweka hut and finally to Mweka Camp after going through some fog and rain. Dinner will be served after washing up at camp and then we retire for the night.
Breakfast will be followed by celebrations of song and dance. This is also your chance to tip the guides, their assistants, the chefs and porters.
In three hours after celebrations are over, we get to Mweka gate. Sign your names over to the National Park to receive your certificates of completion. The certificates are either green for those who got to Stella point and Golden for those who got to Uhuru peak.
Certificates in hand, we head back to Mweka village where we will enjoy some hot lunch. The drive back to Arusha will be quiet and relaxing or exciting depending on how tired your body is.