The seven day Machame variation is the ideal schedule for this route. On the 7 day Machame route, the trek from Barranco to Barafu is broken up into two days, allowing for a short day just prior to the summit attempt.
This is important because summit day begins very early, around midnight, so climbers are sleep deprived going into the toughest day on the machameain. By having a short day beforehand, climbers can be better rested.
Welcome to Tanzania! Upon your arrival into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), and after clearing customs and immigration, you will be met by our representative who will transfer you to your Hotel in Arusha. In the evening your guide who will brief you on your upcoming trek and do an equipment check to make sure you have all the necessary mountain gear. The missing gear can be rented on this day.
Elevation (ft): 5,400ft to 9,400ft
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
1st day Climbing will start with drive from Arusha to Machame Gate takes about 50 minutes. The journey passes through the village of Machame which is located on the lower slopes of the machameain. We now leave the park gate and walk through the rain forest on a winding trail up a ridge. Lower down, the trail can be muddy and slippery. We continue a short distance until we reach the Machame Camp.
Elevation (ft): 9,400ft to 12,500ft
Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
Although considered to be the easiest day on the Machame Route, today’s trek includes several uphill sections. Carry plenty of drinking water, as the exposed hike can be hot on a clear day. There are several viewpoints from which you can see the plains and forests below and Kibo and Mawenzi peaks above.
As you gain altitude, notice the change in vegetation. The trees diminish in size, giving way to Kilimanjaro’s famous high altitude plants, Scenecio kilimanjari and Lobelia deckenii. After eating lunch, climb the Shira Plateau, created when Kibo’s lava flows filled the Shira crater. Continue to Shira Camp, where you will relax for the rest of the day. Kibo lies to the west and machame Meru to the east.
Elevation (ft): 12,500ft to 13,000ft
Hiking Time: 6-8 hours
Habitat: Semi Desert
Following an early morning breakfast, you will leave the moorland environment and enter the semi desert and rocky landscape. After 5 hours of walking east, you will be come face to face with the Lava Tower (4630m). Packed lunches are served at the Tower and hikers have the option of climbing the massive Lava Tower weather permitting. At this point of the hike, it is normal for hikers to start feeling the effects from the altitude including headaches and shortness of breath.
After lunch, you will descend from Lava Tower (4630m) to the Barranco Campsite (3950m). The 6800m descent gives hikers a huge advantage to allow their bodies to adjust to the conditions of high altitude. The descent to camp takes around 2 hours to reach. It is located in a valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall (“Breakfast Wall”). Drinking and washing water and dinner will be served as hikers view the sun setting.
Elevation (ft): 13,000ft to 15,000ft
Hiking Time: 8-10 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert
Another exciting day for the climb will be a short day but fun! Start to challenge a rocky climb (not technical) at Barranco wall popularly known as Breakfast wall, which divides us from the southeastern slopes of Kibo. Passing underneath the Heim and Kersten glaciers, we head towards the Karanga Valley 4100m/13’120 feet for overnight. Will take us only 3-4 hours to make to Karanga camp but will spend some time on the top of the wall for some fun pictures of us!
Elevation (ft): 4035 m/4640 ft
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert
Following breakfast, you will leave Karanga Camp (3959m). The trail intersects with the Mweka Route, which is the trail used to descend on the final two days. As you continue hiking for an hour, you will reach Barafu Hut. This is the last water stop for the porters because there is no accessible water at Barafu Camp (4550m). The word “barafu” in Swahili means “ice” and this camp is located on a rocky, exposed ridge. Tents will be exposed to wind and rocks so it is important for hikers to familiarize themselves with the campsite before dark. An early dinner will be served so hikers can rest before attempting the summit the same night. Your guide will brief you in detail on how to prepare for summit night. Get to sleep by 19:00!
Elevation (ft): 4680 m/15360 ft
Distance: 3.5 km/ 2.2 miles
Hiking Time: 3.5 hours ascent / 4-6 hours descent
We start our day around 09:00am with a short hike of 2-3 hours toward Barafu camp 4680m/14784 feet; we will have a lunch at the camp then rest until early dinnertime before we start our challenge to the summit at mid night. This is our last night before we start our summit at mid-night thus why we need to have early dinner and sleep early.
Elevation (ft): 10,065 ft to 5,380 ft
Distance: 10 km/6 miles
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Rain Forest
On our last day, we continue the descent to Mweka Gate and collect the summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. From the gate, we continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet us at Mweka Village to drive us back to the hotel in Arusha.
After breakfast and rest, we will Transfer you to Kilimanjaro International Airport for those returning home.