Machame, known as the "Whiskey" route, is a popular route to the mountain. Compared with Marangu, the days on Machame are longer and the walks are steeper. It is considered a difficult route, better suited for more adventurous folks, and those with some hiking or backpacking experience. Machame approaches from the southwest and descends using Mweka, rewarding climbers with views of the expansive Shira Plateau.
You will be picked up by the staff of Gosheni Safaris from Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) and driven to your accommodation in Arusha. Participants will be given a short briefing for the climb the next day. Kits and the necessary equipment will be checked as well.
Accommodation: Sg Resort
After breakfast, we will pick you up from your Hotel in Arusha and drive for 1 hour to Machame gate (10,000 ft) for registration. Here you will meet the rest of the crew (Cooks and Porters) and we shall all prepare for the climb. We will start the climb through rain forest and the giant heathers for 6 hrs. until we reach our first overnight camp.
Accommodation: Budget camping
This will be a short day but rather a steep rocky and dusty trails. It's a slow hike with plenty of breaks and enough time to acclimatize. Most of the route is rather bare of vegetation providing little shade from heat. You will cross many ridges and see the first of many Senecias.
We will start climbing over boulders and very few rocks, then make our way to a steady uphill climb to Lava tower and there we stop for lunch around noon. For those interested, we may climb up the Lava tower, which is 14850ft (you may start to get a mild headache due to altitude change). From Lava tower we will go down for about 2 hrs through dusty and rocky trails to the Barranco Camp at 13000ft.
We start scrambling up the Barranco wall for an hour and half. As this is steep, you will be using your hands to reach and steady yourself like rock climbing, although not as challenging. At the top of the wall you can see the Barranco valley and the campsite you spent at the night before. You will walk up and down the greener valley, which is the last water point to the mountain.
This will be a short but steep uphill climb across barren landscape with lots of boulders and shattered rocks. You will see the decken glaciers on your left. We will keep going through a very steep ridge until we reach a rocky section for more scrambling, which will last for about an 1.5 hrs. Our next camp will be on large rocks with very steep cliff faces. We will cap off the night early as we need to wake up at 11:00 pm for the summit.
We will start the climb at around midnight. We will start with very steep rocks for 1 hour, and enter a snow-covered area where you can see glaciers above. If it's a moonlit night, you may turn off your headlamp and continue a moon lit guided walk; indeed a wonderful experience. The next 2 hours is headed towards Stella Point and we will take a break every 15 minutes as the climb gets more mentally and physically challenging.
Afterwards, we will make our way to Stella Point where the Lava fields are like loose sand. It's a rather enjoyable and frustrating experience because you will take a step up and slide back gaining 0 distance and if you're not careful, you will slide back 2 steps and gain negative 2 steps.
After breakfast, we will climb to Uhuru peak for 1 hr just as the sun appears over the Mawenzi peaks. We will be at Uhuru peak (19370ft) around 6-7 am. We will start our descent, which is steep and rigorous via Stella Point to Barafu Hut Camp.
Today's hike will take us about 4 to 5 hours to make the 4,500 feet descent to the park gate. We will check out and receive Kilimanjaro climbing certificate at the park gate office, then eat our lunch and say goodbye to our mountain staff. After lunch, we will drive through very beautiful coffee plantations and small villages of the Chaga people back to Arusha. There you will be dropped off and is the perfect time for you to take a nice swim, a hot shower, and a well-deserved celebration!
Accommodation: Can be arranged at an extra cost