KILIMANJARO PORTERS ASSISTANCE PROJECT
Above all, at Urth Expedition, we strive to have our porters treated well. Because of this, we are members of the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP). KPAP recognizes the value of the demanding labor these porters perform. They are committed to improving the working conditions of the porters on Kilimanjaro. We are also members of the International Mountain Explorers Connection (IMEC). IMEC has instituted a Partnership for Responsible Travel Program based on the Proper Porter Treatment Guidelines established by the Kilimanjaro stakeholders.
Machame Route is one of the most popular routes on Mount Kilimanjaro. According to statistics from Kilimanjaro National Park approximately 50% of trekkers use the Machame Route to ascend Kilimanjaro. The route is very scenic, providing hikers with incredible views and varying landscapes. The Machame route is relatively difficult as climbers need to be able to ascend the Barranco Wall on day four and contend with a steep incline up Kibo on summit night. That being said, there are no parts on the route that require any technical climbing skills. The total Machame route distance is approximately 62 kilometers from gate to gate. One can complete the Machame route on a 6 or 7 day itinerary. Both options include a climb high, sleep low acclimatisation day.
This route is highly recommended for scenic value and has a medium to high success rate, especially if you choose the 7 day itinerary.
The six-day options is not recommended for first-time trekkers.
• It is a good Kilimanjaro route for acclimatization as it has a climb high, sleep low opportunity for trekkers on day three. Here trekkers climb from Shira Camp 2 to Lava Tower at 4,600 meters, where they have lunch and then back down to Barranco Campn(3,900 meters) to sleep.
• Like all Kilimanjaro routes, the Machame is a challenging trek with stunning scenery through four diverse climatic zones.
• There is a good opportunity to split pre-summit day climb by adding an extra rest day at Karanga Camp (only available to seven day trekkers) to leave hikers well rested before summiting.
• The route has however got very popular over the past few years which means it can get busy, especially at Barranco where climbers join up with trekkers from the Lemosho, Shira and Umbwe routes.
• The Machame route only offers fully catered camping.
Sample 6-Day Trip Itinerary
Starting at $2345/person*
Machame Gate to Machame Camp
Elevation: 1,640 meters > 2,835 meters ( 5,381ft >9,301ft)
Distance: ~11km / 7 miles
Trekking time: 5-7 hours
The first day trekking begins at Machame Gate (1,640 meters). Typically you will drive from the town of Moshi or Arusha to the gate, which takes approximately an hour for the former and two hours for the latter. On the way you will get to see subsistence farming and the town of Machame. At the Gate you will meet your trekking crew – your guide, porters and cook. There will be a flurry of activity as porters assemble gear for the trek; weighing packs to ensure they don’t exceed 20 kilograms. You, your guide and climbing team will in the meantime begin the ascent through the stunning rainforest that covers the South-West of the mountain. The first day trek on the Machame Route is a long one (~11km / 7miles) and takes approximately 5-7 hours to complete. Most tour operators will provide a packed lunch on route and 2-3 litres of bottled water. This is the only bottled water you will receive. From here on porters will collect water from mountain streams. The day’s trekking ends at Machame Camp (2,835 meters) which sits near the border of the rainforest zone and the low alpine zone. By the time you arrive your porters will have already setup your camp and tents, and dinner will be served.
Machame Camp to Shira Camp 2
Elevation: 2,835 meters > 3,850 meters ( 9,301ft >12,631ft)
Distance: ~5km / 3 miles
Trekking time: 4-6 hours
Zone: Rainforest / Low Alpine Zone
On day two you will rise early, pack your gear and prepare for the trek from Machame Camp to Shira Camp 2 (3,850 meters). The trek is relatively steep as you enter the low alpine zone which is characterised by moorlands and grasslands. Shira Camp 2 sits on a plateau which provides you with the first views of Kibo in the North-West and Mount Meru in the East. Day two takes approximately 4-6 hours and covers a distance of 5km / 3miles.
Shira Camp 2 to Lava Tower and then Barranco Camp
Elevation: 3,850 meters > 4,600 meters > 3,900 meters (12,631ft >15,092ft >12,795ft)
Distance: ~11km / 7 miles
Trekking time: 5-7 hours
Zone: Low alpine zone / High alpine zone
Day three is a long and tough trek East off the Shira Plateau through the ‘Garden of the Senecios’, up to Lava Tower and the Shark’s Tooth rock formation at 4,600 meters and then back down via the Southern Circuit (see map above) to Barranco Camp (3,900 meters). The route is approximately 11km / 7 miles in length and takes 5-7 hours to complete. Although you end the day at a very similar elevation to when you started from Shira Camp, it is arguably one of the most important days on your trek as it gives you a chance to climb high and sleep low which is important for proper acclimatisation.
Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp and then Barafu Camp
Elevation: 3,900 meters > 3,960 meters > 4,680 meters (12,795ft >15,354ft)
Distance: ~9.5km / 6 miles
Trekking time: 8-10 hours
Zone: High alpine zone
Day four on the Machame Route begins with a steep traverse up the Barranco Wall: a 257 meter rock face that requires basic scrambling skills to the top of the Karanga Valley. The path then follows a series of inclines and declines to Karanga Camp (3,960 meters). If you are on a six day trek you will stop for lunch at Karanga Camp and then continue on along the Southern Circuit until it joins the Mweka Trail up to Barafu Camp (4,680 meters). For six day trekkers, day 4 takes approximately 8-10 hours to complete and covers 9.5km / 6 miles. When you arrive at Barafu around mid-afternoon you will be served an early dinner and encouraged to get some shut-eye as the summit trek commences around 24:00 that night. Note: Trekkers on the seven day route spend the night at Karanga Camp before continuing on to Barafu. This additional day is beneficial in terms of acclimatisation.
Day 5: summit day
Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak and then Mweka Camp
Elevation: 4,680 meters > 5,895 meters > 3,100 meters ( 15,354ft >19,341ft > 10,171ft)
Distance: ~4.5km / 3 miles ascent and then 11km / 7 mile descent
Trekking time: 6-8 hours to the summit and then 5-8 hours to Mweka
Zone: Glacial zone and the all preceding zones
Day five is summit night (and day)! You will be awoken around 23:30 with hot tea and biscuits. Hopefully you have managed to get a few hours’ sleep; don’t worry if you haven’t as most people struggle to sleep before summit night. Do however make sure that all your kit, including warm clothes, headlamp, insulated water reserves and snacks are ready for a sharp departure at 24:00. The trek up Kibo is steep and slow. The trick is to keep your momentum moving forward, one step at a time. It takes about 6-8 hours to reach the top of the crater rim where you will see the sign for Stella Point (5,739 meters). This is not the summit of Kilimanjaro. You still have another 156 meters of altitude to walk around the crater rim to Uhuru Peak (5,895 meters). We recommend resting briefly at Stella Point and potentially having some hot tea or hot chocolate. Dawn should be approaching. Take a moment to savour where you have got to and then dig deep for the energy to push for the summit. Over 60% of climbers stop at Stella Point but most can make it to the summit if they muster the metal strength to push through. Obviously if you are experiencing severe AMS symptoms you should descend immediately. After reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro, a 4.5km / 3 mile ascent, you still have an 11km / 7 mile descent to Mweka Camp (3,100 meters)! The descent can be very gruelling on your joints. It is recommend you use trekking poles and potentially wear gaiters to avoid fine glacial scree getting into your boots. Mweka is situated in the upper part of the rainforest zone. The richness of oxygen and moisture in the air will be a very welcome surprise.
Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate
Elevation: 3,100 meters > 1,640 meters ( 10,171ft >5,381ft)
Distance: ~9km / 5.5 miles
Trekking time: 3-5 hours
Day six is the final day of trekking on the Machame Route. By now you will be exhausted and probably only thinking about a hot shower. The trek is a pleasant one through the lower rainforested slopes and down to Mweka Gate (1,640 meters). Although you cover 9km / 5.5 miles, the trek only takes 3-4 hours. Assuming you successfully reach Stella Point or Uhuru Peak you will be presented with official certificates – a green certificate for the former and a gold certificate for the latter. It is customary to tip your trekking crew before being transported back to your hotel in Moshi or Arusha.
Transfers to and from the Airport
2 nights B&B accommodation of the trek per booking
Kilimanjaro Park fees and permits
Certified , English-speaking Wilderness First Responder Guides
Transfers to and from the Kilimanjaro National Park
All camping equipment
Kilimanjaro Rescue fee
Porters, cooks and assistant guides
3 meals per day and purified water ( 1.5 liter per person per day)
Prices are per adult when sharing accommodations with another adult.
* The final price for your package will vary depending on how many people are in your travel group and also the specific dates of your trip.
We make a big effort to offer the best possible prices, which depend upon many factors like the constantly changing prices of gas and park fees, etc.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT APPLIES TO ANY CLIENT IN A SINGLE ROOM OR TENT:
For more details about our itineraries or questions about building a custom private tour to climb mount Kilimanjaro, please contact us.