The Machame Route - Mount Kilimanjaro
Kilimanjaro National Park, Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania
The Machame Route - Mount Kilimanjaro Kilimanjaro National Park Reviews
Ascending Mount Kilimanjaro Oct 27, 2013
Mount Kilimanjaro is well know as one of the seven summits, and one of the easiest and affordable one, because of that is a good start for those that would like to complete all of some of these summits.
Of the six main routes used to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the Machame route is the most popular path. It is the route of choice for many people because it provides impressive views and a variety of habitats. About 50% of all climbers, and most seasoned climbers, choose the Machame route.
I choose to climb in 6 days, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, so better add an extra days to enjoy the summit night at its fullest.
The company I booked with pick me up around 9:00 AM, they said 8:00 AM, but in Africa is a Little bit normal people arriving late. We arrive to the Machame gate around 10:30 -11:00 AM and waited until the park fee were paid and the porters get ready. Few minutes after 12:00 PM we start the walk. I was carrying my small back pack with only necessary things:
Winter pant and coat
Head lamp with replacement batteries
Personal belongings (as passport, wallet, cell phone)
The rest of my mountaineering gears were carried by the porters. It surprises me a lot how they manage to carry all the weight on their heads and backs.
The walk during this day was lovely; we were walking in the rainforest, the richest vegetation during the whole walk. After 4000 meters you don’t get to see too much green. Pine trees, small flowers as the Passion of Kilimanjaro adorned the entire path.
Four hours and 45 minutes later, we were at the Machame Camp, at 2,850 mts.
The second day started at 7:00 AM for us, "water for washing" said one of the porters at the gate of my tent, and later the breakfast, to start the walk at 8:00 AM. The plan for today was 5km, expected time 4-6 hours. Because the altitude is still manageable I did it in less than 4 hours, but for sure the next days I have to take it slowly not to get hit with altitude sickness.
We ascend over the 3,800 mts, Mount Meru, Mount Kilimanjaro rival, didn’t get unnoticed during this walk, always standing by our side. The view of the mountain ranges and the clouds is amazing.
We stop before arriving to the camp, for our lunch, provided to us in the early morning. Finally we arrive to Shira Cave, where the tents and the tee were ready, waiting for us.
Next morning, our third day, the porters wake up early to start their walk. They were never tired…. Or they were just used to that. We had to get to our next camp, Barranco Camp. The track of this day includes a summit to 4,630 mt at Lava Tower, followed by a descending until 3,970 mts to Barranco Camp. Because you go very high and then lower, it helps you to acclimate to the altitude. Lava Tower was my first attempt to the altitude.
And Mt Kilimanjaro looks closer that what it really was!
At the Barranco Hut, the view of the Uhuru Peak, the highest peak of the mountain, was Spectacular!
As the previous days, the Schedule once we were back at the camp was quite the same. I had a little headache, that I got rid of it with Ibuprofen and rest.
Ready for the fourth day, with low sleep, we started around 8:00 AM. Physically, until then the work was succeed, but the mental work was to start; I guessed! In less than 24 hours I was going to start the final summit.
From Barranco to the Base Camp, some areas you need to use your hand to climb the rocks, but nothing complicated non-technical. We border close to Uhuru peak, before noon, and then followed to the Karanga Camp, where a hot meal was waiting. At this camp, when you have 7 days for summit is where you stay, what I consider very convenient, so you don’t get too tired for the summit night.
At around 4:00 PM we arrived to the base camp. Get tee, dinner and then rest. You don’t get at full night to sleep.
The next day at 12:30 AM, we start the climb. This is supposed and is the most difficult part of the expedition; the lack of oxygen at that altitude can hit you very bad. I was lucky I only had a slightly headache, but I feel myself very weak, hardly could walk and were very sleepy during the last part of the walk. You start seeing people that won’t do it, and it can make you desperate a little bit. This is the time to stay focused, the only reason I spent all these days in the mountain was because of this, I wanted to reach the top of the mountain. So I just walk, I kept repeating myself this words: “You are Physically Fit and Mentally Strong, and you are not yet sick” that was my mantra and that helps me made it to the end. The happiness come when you get to Stella point, I already made it!
Wait, is Stella Point not Uhuru Peak, tried to not cry of anger and desperation when the guide saids, we have 45 to 1 hour walk to go… I was feeling weak and wanted to faint, but it was so close that I just have to push few more minutes to the end. The sun was coming out and I had the best sunrise picture ever, and with my flag at the Uhuru Peak….
TANZANIA’S HIGHEST POINT
AFRICA'S HIGHEST POINT
WORLD'S HIGHEST FREE STANDING MOUNTAIN
WORLD HERITAGE SITE
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Kilimanjaro May 14, 2011
The Machame route is meant to be the most scenic route up Kilimanjaro and can be done in six or seven days. I did it in six but would recommend you do it in seven as I suffered bigtime from the altitude on the summitt night!! Up until the summitt night was relatively easy climbing though.Make sure and have rain gear for the first day as you will be hiking through a rainforest.
Challenging but achievable Mar 15, 2011
To be completed......................................................................................................................................;....................................................................................................................
Climbing the Roof of Africa Apr 26, 2003
Climbing the tallest mountain in Africa is no piece of cake, but it has been done by thousands if not millions of people. In my review on the Marangu Route, I did mention that it is not a climb that should be attempted without a guide. This review is about the toughest and most difficult route to Uhuru peak (the summit of Kilimanjaro). Mountain Kilimanjaro towers over 19,300 feet above sea level (19,340 to be exact), making it the tallest free standing mountain in the world. By the time I attempted climbing to Uhuru peak using the Machame Route, I had climbed the Marangu 4 times. The Machame route has incredible scenery, with amazing backdrops the higher in altitude one gets. The different vegetation is what makes it the most scenic of the two popular routes: Marangu and Machame.
Recommended months are January, February, August, September.
Here is what your itinerary will look like at a glance:8 days climb
Day 1: Machame gate to Machame camp (7 hours hiking)
Day 2: Machame Camp to Shira Camp (6 hours hiking)
Day 3: Shira camp to Barranco Camp (6 hours hiking) Steep walls here
Day 4: Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp (5 hours hiking). The karanga river is awesome here.
Day 5: Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp (3-4 hours hiking) No vegetation here, acclimatization here.
Day 6: Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak (10-14 hours).
Day 7: Uhuru peak down to Mweka Gate (4-5 hours)
The hike from Barafu to Uhuru peak is grueling: this is why this becomes the toughest route. Everything in you feels the distance, height, cold, and everything that goes with being at 19000 feet. This day begins at midnight so you will need headlights. Switchbacks and loose gravel is most of what you will feel for the fast few hours, you need your balance here like never before. The glaciers are a sight to see when the sun hits them early morning. I recall my face burning and my heart feeling frozen. The burning breath making me feel like this is the end. My water bottle froze up there and I could feel my throat dry. Our senior hiker Hector decided to urge me on by leading on, long day ahead, but we finally make it (Summit day, yeeeees!) Exhilarating feeling. Having a good guide to pace you will always save time and help with the acclimatization process.
Climbing skill level: This is an advanced skill climbing.
I mentioned in the Marangu review that there was no climbing skill require however it is imperative to be in good health. For Machame it is a must that you be in good shape, some rock climbing experiences will be of advantage and night hiking experiences will definitely make the last day's climb to the peak bearable. I know this after braving it in a manner that could have killed me in spite of my previous experience. Please do take time to train in higher altitude before you attempt this route. The Shira area is mostly rock.
1.Valid Passport and Visa (Visas can be got on arrival at the airport
2.Travel Insurance/ Medical Insurance
3.Return Airline Ticket to country of origination
4.International Health Card for Yellow Fever
Now, normally when you are leaving the United States to go to Africa, it is recommended you get a bunch of shots/ Vaccinations including Polio, Tetanus, Hepatitis A & B, Yellow Fever and Meningitis. Now I will tell you right now, these shots or vaccination are not cheap, minimum $250 - $300. You do not need all of them but Yellow Fever is a must otherwise you will not be let on the mountain. If you will be touring else where after climbing the mountain and staying more than 2 weeks then I recommend you get the shots.
Required Climbing gear (can also be rented):
1.Thermal Water Flask
2.Waterproof and windproof jacked (outer wear like Ventes, Jeantex etc)
3.Gloves liners (I advise you carry one anyway)
4.Polar fleece (it gets extremely cold up there
5.Mittens, very warm gloves (I can't stress it enough)
7.Great hiking boots/ shoes
9.Poncho/ Rain coat
NOTE: This is an expensive trip anyway you look at it (unless money is not your problem). I used Naturediscovery.com, they are highly recommended.
Volcanoessafaris.com comes second in recommendation, also a great company to use, they are a little on the expensive side and specialize in Mountain Gorilla and primate tracking, but I personally know the owner and general manager, I could not entrust you in better hands for any safari or adventure in East Africa.
Do NOT forget to carry your camera, video recorder, binoculars etc, the view going up and coming down are to die for. This is an adventure of a life time, you want to remember it.
NOTE: Please do not forget to tip the porters (great people the Chagga), they do not get paid enough for what they do carry up and down this great mountain your luggage that you verily need to stay alive.
Enjoy reading and leave me a comment below with your thoughts.
Part of the Tanzania travel blog