This is the least picturesque, the outright most "boring" landscape wise of our treks. There are good moments - but Kili must be done because its there. The highest altitude of all our treks, the biggest headache at the top, the quickest descent - but trust us when we say its worth it. The mountain will provide the space to challenge yourself, to give yourself over to the process, to surrender to finally conquer - and the beers at the bottom are the best you'll ever have...
The Machame (Whiskey) Route is the most popular camping route on Kilimanjaro. It’s a rugged combination of routes which begins through the rainforest at Machame Village on the southwest side of the mountain, and over six days, rises onto the edge of the Shira Plateau, down into the beautiful Great Barranco Valley, then circumvents the Kibo massif counter-clockwise through alpine desert until reaching Barafu Camp. From here, the trek to the summit is done overnight to the crater rim on the steep scree slopes of the east-south-east facing Mweka Route. The trek winds through some beautiful scenery, which changes quite dramatically every day. The route done in six days is physically challenging for most people. The last two days (the trek from Barranco to Barafu and then the overnight trek to the summit) require mental and physical toughness, due to the high altitude and short amount of time to rest before the overnight summit attempt. There are no huts on this route; the accommodation is in mountain tents and dining is in our mess tent.
Total package length is 7 days & 6 nights including 5 nights camping on the mountain + 1 night BB (bed & breakfast) at a lodge in Arusha (one night before the trek)
KG ALLOWED FOR PERSONAL LUGGAGE: 8KG PER PERSON
DAY 1: ARRIVE AT OUTPOST LODGE (BB)
Arrive on own (or by private transfer, at a supplement) at the Outpost Lodge. Meet with the rest of your group at the comprehensive climb briefing. Overnight and breakfast included. Dinner available at a supplement.
DAY 2: MACHAME GATE ~ MACHAME CAMP
Departure from Arusha will be at around 8am for the Machame Gate, about 1.5 hours drive. Upon completion of entry formalities, begin walking through the mist on a 4 x 4 track for about an hour into the forest. The track ends, and the trail continues up through the dripping, verdant forest. Trekkers will likely hear the many exotic birds in the canopy above, and many even see black & white colobus monkeys and sykes monkeys as they hike along the forest floor. The trek is quite long (12 miles / 20 km), though not very steep, and it takes from 5 to 7 hours trekking to reach the first camp. Machame Camp is just above the forest zone, in the heather zone. When it is clear, there are views of jagged Shira ridge and the summit itself.
DAY 3: MACHAME CAMP ~ SHIRA CAMP
Wake early to a steaming cup of tea of coffee served in your tent, and then after breakfast, begin up the steep track through a savannah of tall grasses, and trees of giant Heather and Erica. The clouds should clear for a beautiful view of the Western Breach and the glaciers atop which mark the summit; Uhuru Peak. Scramble around large boulders as you enter the moorland zone, marked by the bizarre lobelia and senecio plants, and volcanic rocks draped with lichen beards which protect wild alpine flowers growing at their bases. You’ll reach camp after descending a small valley and crossing a brook, then ascending up onto the Shira Ridge, after a total of about 4 to 5 hours of trekking.
DAY 4: SHIRA CAMP ~ BARRANCO CAMP
Proceed steadily upward over long ridgelines of high desert about 4 hours, and break for lunch at about 14,500 feet (4,420 mt.). After lunch, continue to Lava Tower, a 300 foot-tall volcanic plug which marks an exposed pass at 15,000 feet (4,600 m). In the afternoon, descend the steep track into the Great Barranco Valley. Barranco Camp is set on a col (flat area) enclosed on three sides with steep valley walls and the Kibo massif itself. Hanging glaciers glint in the sunshine above, amidst the eerie landscape of plants such as the giant groundsels (Senecio Kilimanjari), and the uniquely endemic Giant Lobelia. Trekking time is from 6 to 7 hours.
DAY 5: BARRANCO CAMP ~ BARAFU CAMP
The day begins with a scramble up the steep ‘Barranco Wall’, then we trek 3-4 hours and stop in the Karanga Valley for a hot lunch. In the afternoon the trail turns steadily uphill. The temperature will grow colder and the landscape more sparse as we near Barafu Camp. Barafu Camp is set on a small, exposed flat area on a ridge, acting a base camp from which you will make your summit attempt at midnight tonight. Eat and drink as much as possible before retiring to your tent for rest and sleep.
DAY 6: BARAFU CAMP ~ UHURU PEAK ~ MWEKA CAMP
The steaming hot drink will arrive very early on this momentous day. A midnight wake-up call is the start of a juggernaut (12- 17 hours of trekking). You begin trekking at 12:30 to 1am. The temperatures range from just below freezing at midnight, to between 10 deg. F (-12 deg. C) to –10 F. (-23 deg. C) just before dawn at the summit. The winding path of endless switchbacks will take form and shape in the shadows of the Ratzel and Rebmann glaciers at early dawn, and behind you the spires of Mawenzi will be silhouetted against the red glow of the sun from beneath the clouds. After about 6 hours of walking, you will come to the edge of the crater, at Stella Point, at 19,000 feet (5,790 mt.), which is the end of the steep track. From here, there is a gentle slope upward about 1 hour to Uhuru Peak. After a short time at the summit, descend the steep scree trail back to Barafu Camp for some rest, then again summon your strength for further descent to Mweka Camp for the night.
DAY 7: MWEKA CAMP ~ MWEKA GATE
Descend straight to the gate (2-3 hours), where you’ll have lunch and will be awarded climbing certificates. Private transfer back to Arusha, and drop at the hotel of your choice (hotel priced separately), or drop at JRO airport.
Included services & equipment
Safety Equipment & Training:
● Oxygen for emergency use - For groups of 2-6, two kits (360L medical oxygen bottles, each with a regulator & 2 nasal canula masks) are provided. For 7 or more climbers, we supply 3 full O2 kits.
● Hyperbaric Chamber - a portable altitude chamber, for emergency use, carried on every trek.
● Stretcher / Litter – A fully rigid steel-framed litter on each trek.
● First-aid / trauma & medicine kit - fully stocked as per Wilderness First Responder guidelines, with medicine instructions. Two first-aid kits are carried for groups of 9 or more.
● Pulse-oximeter - The head guide checks, evaluates and documents these numbers daily at dinner time, for each climber.
● VHF handheld radios – Three VHF radios carried on each trek, for quick comms between head and assistant guides at the back and front of the group, and the camp manager. An extra battery accompanies each radio.
● Mobile phones - carried by all guides, for daily communications with our base in Arusha.
● Satellite phone – carried at all times by the head guide, for use in emergencies (in areas with limited or poor mobile network). An extra battery accompanies each satellite phone. This allows us to make comms immediately, no matter where we are, during an emergency.
● Safety equipment porter(s) stay with the group at all times, to ensure that the safety gear is always nearby and ready to employ. We send a second medical equipment porter with every group, allowing us to split oxygen and other redundant emergency supplies.
● A comprehensive safety briefing is performed by the head guide before the trek, covering expectations, risks, safety gear and proactive safety.
Mountain Guides and crew:
All mountain guides are WFR trained and certified
● Wilderness First Responder Certified mountain guides
● Ratio of 1 guide per 2 guests (on average)
● Professional cook
● Waiter(s) - on each trek are trained to expedite the meal service and ensure our climbers’ nourishment is their top priority.
● Campsite Manager – Ensures expert setup and breakdown of each camp, practicing Leave No Trace outdoor ethics.
● Camp setting crew – Our fastest porters ensure the very best camp location and tent sites each day!
● Porters - A Kilimanjaro climb would not be possible without porters. They are the backbone of all Kilimanjaro expeditions
● Shoshin Walks Facilitator - guiding and facilitating process work
● Mountain Hardwear Trango 3.1 sleeping tents (a triple tent used as a double tent or single tent (with supplement)
● All sleeping tents have custom-made ground sheets covering the both vestibules, to allow clean & dry storage of gear, and keeping water, mud or dust from entering the tent.
● Cold-weather sleeping mats (closed cell foam) which cover the entire floor of the sleeping tent, ensuring that you (and all your gear) stays dry throughout the climb.
● Large custom-designed and fabricated weatherproof dining tents with fly sheet, two doors, windows and ventilation, and full floors with storm skirt and ropes.
● High powered solar LED lights in the dining tent – each tent has a number of powerful LED lamps, for headlamp-free dinners each evening.
● Large private toilet tent(s) with portable flush toilets on a stable frame. For 7+ climbers, two toilet tents are provided. Each toilet has hand-sanitizer available in a handy push-top dispenser, and a built-in wastebasket.
● Aluminum roll-up dining tables, with customized adjustable legs to make a level surface on uneven ground - covered with colorful Maasai-style tablecloths
● Lightweight aluminum chairs with backs, for all meals.
● Wash stands provided for washing hands before each meal
● Wash basins provided for each trekker, provided for each guest upon reaching camp
● Hot water bottles prepared each night (using your own bottles) to keep you toasty in your sleeping bag.
● Purified drinking water, and provide it in your dining tent each morning and evening, in a 10-liter serving container with a handy stainless steel valve which makes it easy to refill your bottles
● Three healthy and energizing meals a day, with a custom designed menu with meals giving the right combination of protein, carbs and fat.
● We offer inspired and nutritious menu plans for those who are gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan.
● Tea-time snacks upon arrival in camp
Round trip private transfers from/to Arusha / Kilimanjaro
National Park fees
Optional items such as single tent supplement, single room supplement at Outpost Lodge, Dinner at Outpost Lodge, Personal porter (to carry daypacks or extra weight).
Emergency transport costs, helicopter evacuation coverage, tips, personal expenses, personal medical kit, travel insurance, sleeping bags, or other personal trekking gear.