ITS A BRILLIANT SAFARI TO VISIT
Tanzania’s numerous parks and reserves offer many climbing options for the avid explorer. The most frequent expeditions are obviously to Mt. Kilimanjaro.READ MORE VIEW ALL POST
The Machame route, also referred to as the Whiskey route, is one of the most popular routes on Kilimanjaro and a favorite for Kichaos Tanzania Safaris. Despite being a tough climb compared to the Marangu route, the Machame route has one of the highest summit success rates given the topography of the route which allows climbers to “trek high & sleep low” hence making it a more favorable route for acclimatization.
Machame Gate (1.828 m) – Machame camp (3.020 m)
Hiking time: 6-8 hours
Distance: Approximately 10.8 km
Habitat: Montane forest
The climb starts from Machame Gate (1.800 m) after a short walk through the attractive banana and coffee farms of Machame village. The path follows a ridge through dense mountain forest. This is the richest forested area on the mountain, and also the zone from where 96% of the water on Kilimanjaro originates. On sunny days, and especially in the dry season, this section is very lush and beautiful; it can also be a very muddy experience, particularly if it has rained recently! We have lunch at ‘Halfway Clearing’, a small opening in the trees, and continue climbing steadily. The gradient becomes gentler as the forest slowly merges into giant heather close to the next camp near the ruins of Machame Hut (3.000 m). We may get our first closer look at the glacial dome of Kibo if the evening clouds permit.
Machame camp (3.020 m) – Shira camp (3.847 m)
Hiking time: 4-6 hours
Distance: Approximately 5.2 km
A shorter day that begins by climbing up a steep ridge to reach a small semicircular cliff known as Picnic Rock, there are excellent views of Kibo and the jagged rim of Shira Plateau from here, and it is a good rest point too! The trail continues less steeply to reach the Shira Plateau. We camp near Shira Cave Camp (3.720 m) which has some of the most stunning views on Kilimanjaro; close to the huge volcanic cone of Kibo, the spectacular rock formations of Shira Plateau, and looking across to Mt. Meru floating on the clouds.
Shira Camp (3.847 m) to Lava Tower (4.642 m) to Barranco camp (3.984 m)
Hiking time: 5-7 hours
Distance: Approximately 10.7 km
A morning of gentle ascent and panoramic views, leaving the moorland plateau behind to walk on lava ridges beneath the glaciers of the Western Breach. After lunch near the Lava Tower junction (4.500 m) we descend to the bottom of the Great Barranco valley (3.900 m), sheltered by towering cliffs and with extensive views of the plains far below.
Barranco camp (3.984 m) – Barafu camp (4.681 m)
Hiking time: 6-8 hours
Distance: Approximately 13 km
Habitat: Alpine desert
A steep climb up the Barranco Wall leads us to an undulating trail on the south eastern flank of Kibo, with superb vistas of the Southern Ice fields. Lunch is usually taken at Karanga, the last water point, in a steep valley. After lunch, the terrain changes to scree and we climb steeply to reach the Barafu Camp (4.600 m) by midafternoon. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent before a very early night.
Barafu camp (4.681 m) – Uhuru Peak (5.895 m) – Mweka Camp (3.090 m)
Hiking time: 7-8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak, 6-8 hours to descend to Mweka Camp
Distance: Approximately 4.5 km ascent and 10.8 km descent
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
We will start our ascent by torchlight at about 1 a.m. so that we can be up on the Crater rim by sunrise. The steep climb over loose volcanic scree has some well-graded zigzag and a slow but steady pace will take us to Stella Point (5.735 m) in about five or six hours. We will rest there for a short time to enjoy the sunrise over Mawenzi. Those who are still feeling strong can make the two hour round trip from here along the crater rim to Uhuru Peak (5.896 m), passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Barafu is surprisingly fast, and after some refreshment, we continue to descend to reach our final campsite (3.800 m) at the edge of Mweka Forest.
Mweka camp (3.090 m) – Mweka Gate (1.641 m)
Hiking time: 4-6 hours
Distance: Approximately 8.5 km
The day spent descending through open moor-lands and the glades of forest and straight down through the rain forest down to the Park Gate.
A sustained descent through lovely forest with lush undergrowth takes us to the National Park gate at Mweka (1.650 m). At Mweka gate you sign your name and details in a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Those climbers who reached Stella Point (5.739 m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5.895 m) receive gold certificates. From the Mweka Gate you will continue down into the Mweka village, normally a muddy 3 km (1 hour) hike. In the Mweka village you will be served a lunch and after lunch you drive back to Moshi for a long overdue hot shower and celebrate your victory!