7 days Kilimanjaro Hike Via Machame Route (With An Extra Acclimatization Day)
Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa
The 7-day Kilimanjaro hike via the Machame route, also known as the “Whiskey” route, is the most popular route on Kilimanjaro. Machame’s drawing is in its scenic beauty. However, the trail is considered challenging but unlike the usual 6days hike, this 7days hike provides one extra day for acclimatization. Therefore increasing your summit chances
cross the Barranco wall
journey to the top of Africa
Day 1: Machame Gate (1490m) – Machame Camp (2980m)
After an early breakfast at your hotel, you will be picked up from Panama Garden Resort (900m) and driven to the Marangu Gate (1980m). At the gate, the porters will organize and pack the belongings for the hike while you and your guide register with the Tanzania National Park (TANAPA).
You will then be transferred by vehicle to the Rongai trailhead, which is 2.5 hours away from the Marangu Gate. The trail begins in the tall cornfields and then leads into the pine forest. This trail has a gradual ascent and allows hikers to enjoy their surroundings.
About halfway up the trail, you will have a lunch break and you will reach the 1st Caves Camp (2600m) in the late afternoon or early evening. The porters and chef, who move very fast up the mountain, will reach camp before you and set up your tents, boil drinking water, and prepare snacks for your arrival. After washing up, a hot dinner will be served. For overnight, mountain temperatures may drop to freezing so be prepared!
Day 2: Barranco Camp (3950m) – Karanga Camp (3950m).
You start the day early at Machame camp, and following breakfast, you ascend for approximately an hour to reach the summit of the forest. From there, you continue for about two hours at a more gradual incline through the moorland zone.
After a brief lunch and rest, the journey progresses up a rocky ridge onto the expansive Shira plateau. At this point, you’ll have a panoramic view in the easterly direction, capturing the Western Breach with its magnificent glaciers. Positioned directly west of Kibo, a short hike leads you to the Shira campsite at an elevation of 3,840m.
The porters will prepare boiling water for drinking and washing before serving dinner. The night at this exposed camp will be even colder than the previous one, with temperatures plummeting well below freezing.
Day 3: Shira (at 3840m) to Lava Tower (at 4630m) to Barranco camp (at 3950m)
The path now veers eastward, leading through a semi-desert and rocky landscape surrounding Lava Tower. After approximately a 5-hour walk, you attain an altitude of 4630m. Lunch is served in a designated area before ascending the rocky scree path to Lava Tower at 4630m.
Undoubtedly, this marks the most challenging day thus far. It’s typically at this juncture that some climbers may begin to experience symptoms such as breathlessness, irritability, and headaches for the first time. Post-lunch, you descend by nearly 680m to the Barranco camping area.
The true acclimatization benefit of the day becomes evident after reaching the high altitude of 4600m at Lava Tower. This descent to Barranco camp, lasting about 2 hours, provides excellent opportunities to capture stunning photographs of the Western Breach and Breach Wall. Situated in a valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall, the camp promises a memorable sunset while you await the preparation of your dinner.
Day 4: Barranco Camp (3950m) – Karanga Camp (3950m)
Following an early morning breakfast, the next challenge awaits – conquering the formidable Great Barranco Wall! Despite its initial intimidating appearance, hikers often find this Class 2 hike to be more manageable than expected. Upon reaching the summit of the Wall, you’ll be treated to a breathtaking view of Heim Glacier, finding yourself above the clouds.
Subsequently, the trail meanders through the ups and downs of the Karanga Valley, making it an optimal day for acclimatization during the hike.
Day 5: Karanga Camp (3959m) – Barafu Hut (4600m)
Following breakfast, you will leave Karanga Camp (3959m). The trail intersects with the Mweka Route, which is the trail used to descend on the final two days. As you continue hiking for an hour, you will reach Barafu Hut.
This is the last water stop for the porters because there is no accessible water at Barafu Camp (4550m). The word “barafu” in Swahili means “ice” and this camp is located on a rocky, exposed ridge. Tents will be exposed to wind and rocks so it is important for hikers to familiarize themselves with the campsite before dark.
An early dinner will be served so hikers can rest before attempting the summit the same night. Your guide will brief you in detail on how to prepare for summit night. Get to sleep by 19:00!
Day 6: Summit attempt, Barafu camp (4550m) – Uhuru Peak (5895m) – Mweka (3100m)
You will awaken around 23h30, and after partaking in some tea and biscuits, you embark into the night. Heading in a northwesterly direction, you ascend through dense scree toward Stella Point on the crater rim. For many climbers, this 6-hour trek to Stella Point proves to be the most mentally and physically demanding on the route. At Stella Point (5685m), a brief rest is taken, and if weather conditions permit, you’ll be treated to a spectacular sunrise.
From Stella Point, a 2-hour ascent to Uhuru Peak awaits, typically involving encountering snow throughout. The duration spent at the summit is contingent on weather conditions; however, it’s advisable not to linger for too long due to the challenges of restarting amid cold and fatigue. Revel in your achievement and savor a day destined to be etched in your memory.
The return journey to Barafu from the summit requires about 3 hours. A brief and well-earned rest is taken at Barafu, where you gather the remainder of your gear. The descent follows a non-complex route, guiding you down the rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually into the forest. The camp is positioned in the upper forest, with mist or rain anticipated in the late afternoon. Dinner and washing water will be prepared.
Day 7: Mweka camp (3100m) – Mweka Gate (1980m)
Following a well-deserved breakfast, your team will host a lively celebration filled with dancing and singing. This is the moment on the mountain when you express your appreciation through tips for the guide, assistant guides, chef(s), and porters. After the festivities, you embark on a three-hour descent back to Mweka Gate.
The National Park mandates that all hikers sign their names to receive certificates of completion. Those who reach Stella Point (5685m) will receive green certificates, while those who reach Uhuru Peak (5895m) will be awarded gold certificates. Following the certificate presentation, hikers descend to Mweka village over the course of an hour (covering a distance of 3 kilometers). A hot lunch is served, after which you’ll be driven back to Arusha for some long-overdue showers and additional celebrations. Subsequently, you will be dropped off at your hotel in Arusha/Moshi.
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