Climb Kilimanjaro From South Africa
The Kilimanjaro Machame Route is known to be on of the most scenic and most successful routes on Kilimanjaro. This route covering about 62km is also our most successful. Of the 500+ people we have taken on this route we have had 420 on the summit of Uhuru. Yip..That’s at 84% success rate.
What happened to the other 80 people you may be wondering. Well don’t wonder too much because you will stray. Well at least 50 of them just didn’t have the ‘why’ to make the summit.
Without the ‘why’ our job is difficult to do. A lot of climbers are there because they were ‘obliged’ to climb by nagging spouses or corporate team buildings. So when the going get’s tough, the obliged get going. The other 30 people who didn’t make it succumbed to some form of altitude sickness-a reality when climbing a big ass mountain like Kilimanjaro. Statistically however…..that means there is a 6% chance of getting turned around because of altitude sickness. Not bad odds if you asked me.
If you are considering climbing the Kilimanjaro Machame Route which is sometimes referred to as the ‘whiskey route’, we have included some interesting facts and advice on increasing your chances of success upon the Machame route on Kilimanjaro. Now just because the route is referred to as the whiskey route, this does not mean that it is compulsory to down a bottle of whiskey upon reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro.
In fact, here is our first bit of advice when climbing Kilimanjaro-DO NOT DOWN A BOTTLE OF WHISKEY ON THE SUMMIT!! The Machame route on Kilimanjaro is considered easier than the Umbwe route and therefore has a greater success rate.
The route approaches what is known as Kibo from the south-western side and is probably known as one of the most scenic hikes on Mount Kilimanjaro. To make your experience on Kilimanjaro a tad more comfortable, we arrange for all your supplies and camping equipment to be carried up this majestic mountain by our reliable and friendly porter team.
Although the porter team are truly amazing, they do not possess Spiderman superpowers, so we ask that your personal baggage limit is 12 kg for the climb. Tents and sleeping mats are supplied on our trips. Each trip is led by a senior guide, with other guides in a ratio of approximately one guide per 2 or 3 climbers – if you are a bit slower than the rest or get ill and have to descend, a guide will always be with you on Mount Kilimanjaro.
WHAT THE KILIMANJARO MACHAME ROUTE IS ALL ABOUT
Excluding your flight time and your stay in the hotel before and after the climb, climbers of the Machame route on Kilimanjaro have a choice between climbing in 6 or 7 days trekking time on the mountain. The Machame route on Kilimanjaro can be done in 6 days, but an extra day is recommended for proper acclimatisation.
As for the actual time spent hiking per day? Well you are looking at between 4 and 6 hours per day. But be beware!! The final summit attempt is where the real challenge lies. We send the Yeti around to your tents at about 11 in the evening to wake you up.
Yes, that is correct we did say 11 in the evening. Once we have been had a cup of coffee, and gotten ourselves ready, we head on up. Our aim is to reach the summit by sunrise. Nothing better than watching a sunrise on Kilimanjaro-better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.
After spending about 20 minutes on the summit of Kilimanjaro, we shed a tear or two, and begin our descent. Our first part of the climb will be the camp of Barafu which should take about 3 hours to reach. After a cup of coffee and a massage from one of our blond Swedish ladies (sorry ladies, men masseurs are currently out of stock), we head on down to our camp for the night- Mweka. A walk of about 4 hours. Yip, like we said, a long day.
Accommodation on the mountain is unfortunately not the Hilton, and seeing as we are in Tanzania spending a night in Paris might be quite difficult to arrange. However, we have tried to compromise by included some high quality alpine tents. Besides your luxury accommodation in tents while climbing Kilimanjaro, you also get to spend a night prior and after the Kilimanjaro climb in a 3 star hotel which is situated in the bustling town of Moshi.
As for the food served on the mountain, we do not serve lobster thermadoire! The fridge gets a bit heavy! The food is generally plain and wholesome, including a lot of carbohydrates, stews and soups, vegetables and fresh fruit. If you are a vegetarian, please let us know!
Our speciality along the Kilimanjaro Machame Route is cabbage and Brussel sprout stew with added pilchards. But, most who climb Kilimanjaro don’t seem to like this really tasty and nutritious dish so we had to improvise.
- Superior Safety standards
- Qualified guides trained in First Aid
- 90% success rate on Climbing & summiting Kilimanjaro
- Free Mountaineering training sessions
- Medical Assessments
- Direct access to our Kilimanjaro guides and experts
- Superior safety protocols ( 3 recorded medical checks a day on the mountain)
- Low climber to guide ratio. A guide for every 3 climbers
- Member of the Kilimanjaro Porters Association
- Over 15 years’ experience on the Climbing Kilimanjaro
- Pre-climb,support in terms of preparation and advice
- Return transfers Kilimanjaro airport to Moshi and Moshi to Kilimanjaro airport
- 2 Nights, twin-shared, hikers class accommodation in a hotel in Moshi, with bed and breakfast (dinner can be arranged on request and at additional cost)
- Transfer from your hotel to starting point for your climb, and return to your hotel after your climb
- All Kilimanjaro National Park gate fees, camping fees and climbing permits
- 6 nights accomdation along the Kilimanjaro Machame Route
- Kilimanjaro National Park rescue fees (Kilimanjaro Rescue Team)
- Emergency oxygen (for use in emergencies only – not as summiting aid)
- Pulse-Oximeter carried by all head guides and daily check up on all hikers
- First aid kit (for use in emergencies only)
- Qualified mountain guide, assistant guides, porters and cook
- Salaries for mountain crew as per guidelines set by KINAPA
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as hot drinks on the mountain
- Camping equipment (tents, camp chairs & sleeping mat)
- Water for washing up daily
- Porter to carry your duffel bag (max weight 15kg / 32 lbs) from one camp to the next camp.
- Access to our Dedicated Kilimanjaro Climbing expert 24/7 leading up to the climb
- Kilimanjaro National Park certificate for your successful summit attempt
- Private climb only guaranteed with 5 hikers or more, if your group size are 4 hikers or less will additional cost apply to have a private climb
- 18% tourism VAT
- Items of a personal nature
- Tips for guides, porters and cook (average tip is anything from US $ 150 to US $ 300 per hiker – depending on number of days / how many hikers in the group and route chosen)
- Visa for Tanzania (South Africans exempt)
- Health requirements (Yellow Fever)
- Optional but highly recommended travel and medical insurance.
- Personal hiking/trekking gear – you can rent some of the gear once in Tanzania
- Snacks, personal medicine and water purifying tablets
- Meals & drinks not specified
Day 1: Moshi (900m)
Today sees your arrival at the Kilimanjaro International airport. From there, you will be transported to the 3-star hotel which is situated in the ton of Moshi. We overnight here. Nice spot to enjoy the spectacular views of Kilimanjaro. Please try not to trash the hotel just yet as we need to spend a night here after the Kilimanjaro climb.
Day 2: Moshi/Machame camp (2980m)
Distance: 11km (5-6 hours)
We will be met by our driver at 09H00. We will load our equipment onto the vehicle and then be driven to the Machame gate which is about 20 minutes away. Once we arrive, we will sign the climbing register, organise the porters, put rocks in the loudest clients bag without them seeing, shout at the trees and put a green sweet wrapper in our left pocket. Before beginning our ascent, the whole group will complete the climbing permit with the guides assistance at the Machame gate (1800m). now we are ready to begin the Kilimanjaro Machame Route 7 day trek. Today sees us venturing through the rainforest that encircles Kilimanjaro. This area is the richest forested area on the mountain and is also where 96% of the water on Kilimanjaro originates. Useless fact: did you know that 56.76% of all statistics are made up on the spot? On sunny days and especially in the ‘dry’ season, this section is very lush and beautiful. Lunch is in a place called the ‘Halfway Clearing’. After lunch we continue upwards. The gradient becomes gentler as the forest slowly merges into giant heather which is close to our first camp (Machame)
Day 3: Machame camp/Shira camp (3840m)
Distance: 5km (4-5 hours)
Today sees a relatively shorter day. We begin by climbing up a steep ridge to reach a small semi-circular cliff known as ‘picnic rock’. From here, we will be able to see some amazing views of Kibo and the jagged rim of the Shira Plateau. After a brief rest we continue up to the Shira Plateau where we will set up camp for the night. If you are lucky, you will get to see a tiger that doesn’t exist.
Day 4: Shira camp/Barranco camp (3860m)
Distance: 10km (6-7 hours)
Terrain: Alpine desert
From the Shira campsite, we head off in an easterly direction towards Kibo and then South East towards the Lava Tower. It is at this point that we reach a fork in the road and you need to take it. You either decide to take the lower road to the Barranco camp or the higher road to Barranco via the Lava tower. The higher road takes you to an altitude of 4600m and is an excellent way to help with the acclimatisation process. We return back for a game of rock, paper and scissors. The loser has to make a nice cup of Kilimanjaro coffee.
Day 5: Barranco/Karanga camp(3892m)
Distance: 5km (4-5 hours)
Terrain: Alpine Desert
Today we start as early as possible in order to cross over the Barranco wall which should take about 2 hours. The terrain changes to scree. From the top of the wall, we cross several valleys until we reach the Karanga valley. After lunch, we will continue up the Mweka route up into the Karanga campsite at 4600m.
Day 6: Karanga/Barafu(5895m)
Distance: 4km (3 hours)
Terrain: Alpine desert/glaciers/snow
Today is a short but steep climb out of Karanga, towards an easy path on compacted scree with some wide views. We then climb steadily towards the Barafu campsite at 4600m. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the summit attempt.
Day 7: Barafu/Summit/Mweka(5895m)
Distance: 17km (11-15 hours)
Terrain: Alpine desert/glaciers/snow
We start our summit attempt at 1 a.m. by torchlight. Our first objective is to reach the crater rim by sunrise. The steep climb over loose volcanic scree has some well graded ‘zig-zag’ paths and a slow and steady pace will eventually lead us to Stella Point at 5735m. Sorry but not quite the summit yet. This part of the trek should take between 5 and 6 hours. After a brief rest we make the 2 hours round trip to the summit (Uhuru) at 5895m where we will pass close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. Congratulations, you are half way. After the celebrations are over we begin our descent into the Barafu camp. (the descent is surprisingly quick, although the knees take a bit of a hammering). After some refreshments, we continue down into our final campsite near the Mweka forest at 3100m.
Day 8: Mweka/Moshi
Distance: 10km (6-7 hours)
Today is the last day of our Kilimanjaro Machame Route 7 Day Trek. After breakfast we begin our final leg of the journey. We descent through the awesome rainforest once again through coffee and banana plantations to the Mweka village. we will be met by our driver and transported back to our hotel where a celebratory drink (or two) is definitely in order. (and maybe a nice hot shower)
Day 9: Moshi/Wherever
Today is travel day. No crying allowed.