Kilimanjaro Machame Route with Karanga Valley acclimatisation - 7 days
Often called the "Whiskey Route" this is a scenically beautiful trail, longer and much gentler than Umbwe or the Marangu route (the "Coca Cola Route"). Our itinerary provides valuable acclimatisation by having extra, but shorter walking days during the trek.
General: Accommodation is camping throughout in 3 person mountain tents shared by two people. All your equipment will be carried by vehicle or local porters, you only carry a day-pack with personal gear. When camping you will not have to participate in camp chores. We buy fresh produce locally and to ensure good standards of hygiene all food is prepared by our own staff. We can cater for special dietary requirements and there are no extra food-kitty payments.
Our itinerary provides valuable acclimatisation by having extra, but shorter walking days during the trek.
Day 1: From Arusha drive to the Machame Park gate, then a gentle climb up through the original montane forest, carpeted with unique "busy lizzie" flowers, begonias and ferns. First camp amongst the giant heather at 3,000m. Ascent of 1,200m and 5-6 hours walking.
Day 2: Emerge from the giant heather zone and hike through fine open moorland to camp by the Shira Cave at 3,840m. Herds of eland up here (& occasional lion!) and there are fascinating geological features in the old volcanic caldera which can be viewed during a half hour optional walk in the afternoon. Ascent 840m and 4-5 hours walking.
Day 3: From Shira, climb towards the main peak Kibo, with the western glaciers clearly visible across the rugged high-altitude desert of volcanic rocks and boulders. Skirting around its base and under the imposing Western Breach, descend into the sheltered Barranco Valley for mid-way camp at 3,950m. 5-7 hours walking and only 110m total ascent - but having climbed higher and dropping back down assists acclimatisation.
Day 4: Up the steep Barranco Wall with some sections of very easy scrambling and drop down again to the Karanga Valley. This is a short walking day, around 3 hours, and again you climb about 300m but drop back down again to around 4,000m. There’s an optional further acclimatisation hike in afternoon up onto the scree below the glaciers.
Day 5: Up to a new camp about 100m above Barafu Hut perched high on a rocky bluff at 4,000m. Fantastic views across to Mawenzi peak, and a bit less to climb tomorrow morning! This is another short walking day, about 4 hours with a 700m height gain, and time for a good rest in the afternoon immediately before the hard summit day.
Day 6: A bracing 1am start to climb the steep frozen scree. This is unavoidable on any route but we aim to reach Stella Point on the crater rim for sunrise - another 40 mins and you’re at the highest point on the continent, usually in warm sunshine. We return on the Mweka descent route. Walking time 7 hours and 1,300m ascent to the summit, 5-6 hours and 2,800m descent to our camp in a clearing amongst the giant heather at Mweka. This is a long and hard day - you’ll feel tired but absolutely ecstatic after you’ve done it.
Day 7: A 4-5 hours descent through the forest to Mweka Gate to collect our certificates and meet our vehicle. Return to Arusha, arriving early to mid afternoon.