Known as the "Whiskey" route, the Machame route is now the most popular route on the mountain. Compared with Marangu, the days on Machame are longer and the walks are steeper. The Machame route is considered a difficult route, and is better suited for more adventurous folks and those with some hiking or backpacking experience.
The route begins from the south, then heads east, traversing underneath Kilimanjaro's southern ice field before summiting. The minimum number of days required for this route is six days, although seven days is recommended.
The Machame route is scenically beautiful and varied. However, due to the heavy crowds, it loses some of its spendor.
Perform registration formalities at Machame Gate. The climb starts from Machame gate (1800m) after a short walk through the attractive banana and coffee farms of Machame village. The path follows a ridge through dense Montana forest. This is the richest forested area on the mountain, and also the water on Kilimanjaro originates. On sunny days, and especially in the dry season is very lush and beautiful. It can also be a very muddy experience, particularly if it has rained recently. We have lunch at halfway clearing, a small opening in the trees, and continue climbing steadily.
Our shorter day begins by climbing up a steep ridge to reach a small semicircular cliff known as picnic rock. There are excellent views of kibo and the jagged rim of Shira Plateaufrom here and it is a good rest point. The trail continues less steeply to reach the Shira Plateau. We camp near Shira Hut (3840m) which has some of the most stunning views on Kilimanjaro.
A morning of gentle ascent and panoramic views, leaving the moorland plateau behind to walk on lava ridges beneath the glaciers of the Western Breach. After lunch near lava camp (4540m) we descend to the bottom of the Great Barranco Valley (3900m), sheltered by towering cliffs and with extensive views of the plains far below.
A steep climb up the Barranco wall leads us to an undulating trail on the south-eastern flank of Kibo, with superb vistas of the southern ice fields. Lunch is normally taken at camp, the last water point, in a steep valley. After lunch, the terrain changes to scree and we climb steeply to reach the Barafu Hut (4600m.) by mid afternoon. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent before a very early night.
We normally start our ascent by torchlight around midnight so that we can be up on the Crater rim by sunrise. The steeply climb over loose volcanic scree has some graded zigzags and a slow but steady pace will take us to Stella point (5735m.), in about 5-6 hours. We will rest there for a short time to enjoy the sunrise over Mawenzi. Those who are still feeling strong can make the 2hours round trip from here along the Crater rim to Uhuru Peak (5895m.). The descends to Barafu campsite is surprisingly fast. After lunch and other refreshments, we continue to descend to reach our final campsite (3100m.). Most of us will be too tired to notice the beauty of the forest surrounding the crowed campsite.
A sustained descend on a well maintained trail through lovely tropical forest alive with birdcalls and boasting lush undergrowth with considerable botanical interest. We will start our route to the National Park Gate at Mweka (1650m.) and on through coffee and banana farms to Mweka village. We will be transferred to Arusha for dinner and overnight stay.
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