The African Roof Top

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Of the Kilimanjaro routes, the Machame route is the most popular. It is the

route of choice amongst most climbers because it provides impressive views

and a variety of habitats. The route is also known as the Whiskey route; given

its reputation for being a tough climb. Hiking trails on Machame Route are

steeper, and sleeps are in tents in tents. Most seasoned climbers choose the

Machame route.




DAY 1: Machame Gate to Machame Camp

Elevation (ft):5,400ft to 9,400ft

Habitat: Rain Forest

Distance:11 km Hiking Time: 5-7 hours                      

We leave the gate and walking through rainforest on a winding trail

up a ridge and continue to reach Machame Camp. The trail can be

muddy and slippery therefore gaiters and trekking poles are a good

idea here.


DAY 2: Machame Camp to Shira Camp

Elevation (ft): 9,400ft to 12,500ft

Habitat: Moorland

Distance: 5 km Hiking Time: 4-6 hours                         

We leave Machame to Shira Camp ascending on the glades of the

rain forest crossing the little valley, walking along a steep rocky

ridge and turning west onto a river gorge.


DAY 3: Shira Camp to Lava Tower to Barranco Camp
Elevation (ft):
12,500ft to 13,000ft     

Habitat: Semi Desert

Distance: 10 km Hiking Time: 6-8 hours                           

From Shira Plateau we continue eastward up a ridge, passing the

junction to Kibo peak. Our direction changes to the South-East

towards the Lava Tower, then to the second junction which brings us

up to the Arrow Glacier at 16,000ft and head down to Barranco Hut

13,000ft. This day is important for acclimatization.


DAY 4: Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp

Elevation (ft): 13,000ft to 13,100ft

Habitat: Alpine Desert

Distance: 5 km Hiking Time: 4-5 hours

We leave Barranco and continue on a steep ridge passing the

Barranco Wall, to the Karanga Valley campsite. This is a short day

meant for acclimatization.


DAY 5: Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp 

Elevation (ft): 13,100ft to 15,300ft

Habitat: Alpine Desert

Distance: 4 km Hiking Time: 4-5 hours

We leave Karanga and continue up to the Barafu Hut which offers

views of the summit from many different angles. Here we make

camp and rest early preparing for the summit day. The two peaks of

Mawenzi and Kibo are clearly seen from this position.


DAY 6: Barafu Camp to Summit and back to Mweka Hut

Elevation (ft): 15,300ft to 19,345ft

Habitat: Arctic

Distance: 5 km Hiking Time: 7-8 hours ascent / 4-6 hours descent

Very early morning (just past midnight) we continue to the summit

walking north-west ascending through heavy scree towards Stella

Point (18,600 ft) on the crater rim. We stop for a short rest,

photographing the most magnificent sunrise (weather permitting)

then continue through snow for one-hour ascent to the summit –

Uhuru Peak. We have reached the highest point on Mount

Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.  From the summit we

descend to Barafu Camp for lunch and continue to Mweka Hut

(10,000ft / 12 km descent) to arrive in the evening. We need gaiters

and trekking poles ascending on the loose gravel trek.


DAY 7: Mweka Camp to Moshi

Elevation (ft): 10,000ft to 5,400ft

Habitat: Rain Forest

Distance: 10 km Hiking Time: 3-4 hours

After breakfast, we continue the descent down to the Mweka Park

Gate to receive your summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can

be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and

t-shirts will probably be plenty to wear (keep rain gear and warmer

clothing handy).

From the gate, you continue another hour to Mweka Village. A

vehicle will meet you at Mweka village to drive you back to hotel in



Day 8:  

Transfer to Kilimanjaro International Airport for your outbound flight or continue on Wilderness Safari in the National Parks or the Islands of Tanzania.

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