Deeper Africa - vacations and travel

Machame Route


from $4,889* per person 11 Days May-March
Comfort accommodations Exertion level: 7
Operator: Deeper Africa 12 people max
  • Kilimanjaro international airport, kilimanjaro, tanzania
  • Culture & Nature trips
At 19,340 feet (5,890 meters), the great massif of Kilimanjaro looms above the cloud forest, crowned with snow.  It is an imposing sight and a challenging trek, but a trek that anyone in good condition can complete when the pace is adjusted responsibly to accommodate increasing altitude.  We limit our treks to the western side of the mountain, far away from the tourist crowds.  The Machame Route is breathtaking and scenic.   Those of you who have seen the "IMAX" film on Kilimanjaro will recognize parts of this route, particularly the stunning Barranco Valley.

Our Machame Route is seven days on the mountain with two days before the trek for acclimatization.  Your climb is carefully paced and our guide's wisdom and experience assist you each day in reaching your goal.  (Our guide, Kambona Ole Tirra, has achieved over 112 summits but who's counting?)  It's a combination of Kambona's expertise plus careful acclimatization that give our guests a 95% summit success rate.  Talk to us about adding on a safari extension, exploring the hidden world of Ngorongoro Crater or the vast Serengeti. 

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Day 1   
Travel Day    International Travel.
For many people acclimatization begins on the airplane - the cabin pressure of a commercial plane is equivalent to 6,000 feet above sea level.

Day 2   
Arumeru Hotel
Approximately 4,500 feet
Approximately 1,370 meters   
After a days journey by air, you arrive in Tanzania at Kilimanjaro Airport. Your mountain guide will greet you upon arrival with a sign that has your name on it.  You drive out from the airport to the Arumeru Hotel.  Dinner will be served shortly after you arrive. 

Dinner and overnight at Arumeru Hotel.  

Day 3
Arumeru Hotel
Breakfast at the Arumeru Hotel.  Spend the day acclimatizing in Arusha National Park, at the base of Mt. Meru, while doing some wildlife viewing.  Arusha National Park contains savannah, lake, and forest ecosystems.   Arusha National Park is rich in herd animals, interesting birds, and you may have sightings of the rare colubus monkey in the forest ecosystem.  Seven shallow lakes were formed from the volcanic activity caused by Mount Meru’s eruption.  Alkalinity in the lake from different algae is perfect food for filter feeders, including flamingos.  It is also a great habitat for hippos.  Between the floor of Ngurodoto Crater and the area called Little Serengeti you’ll have ample opportunities for sightings of zebra, buffaloes, elephants, giraffes, warthogs, and several species of antelope.   Picnic lunch while wildlife viewing.  

Return to the lodge before dinner to meet with your climbing guide to begin your mountain briefings and gear check.  He will check your climbing gear just to make sure you have left nothing behind: warm clothes, water bottles, sunscreen, eye protection, and your hat. We’ll make sure you have all the essentials for your comfort and protection before you go. Did you forget something? Your guide will find one before you start. Enjoy dinner with your climbing group at the Arumeru Hotel.     

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Overnight at Arumeru Hotel. 

Day 4
 Overnight at Machame Camp
Approximately 10,000 feet
Approximately 3,048 meters
Hiking Time: 5 to 6 hours
Distance: Approximately 7 miles
 Breakfast at the Arumeru Hotel. Drive from Arusha to Machame Park gate.  Before you arrived we checked and rechecked our mountain gear. The cell phones are operative. The hyperbaric bag is tested and functioning and the oximeter has been checked and packed. The food, shelter, cookware, water filter, and dishes are all packed and ready to go. Our porters will carry all but your water bottle, jacket and camera.

Once you arrive at the trail head your guide will introduce you to your climbing crew and his assistant guide.  Begin with a gentle climb up through the original montane forest carpeted with unique “busy lizzie” flowers, begonias, and ferns.  The forest is a lively place, home to monkeys, colorful birds, and an occasional elephant or buffalo. 
Lunch on the way with dinner and overnight at Machame Camp.

Day 5
Overnight at Shira 2 Camp
Approximately 12,500 feet
Approximately 3,810 meters
Hiking Time: 4 to 6 hours
Distance: 5.5 miles
 You’ll enjoy a four to six hour walking safari that takes you through the shrubby heather zone. Your hike today marks a dramatic change in environment.  You’ll leave the shady canopy of the forest and trek across the haunting moorlands to the expansive Shira Plateau.  Also, there are fascinating geological features in the old volcanic caldera which can be viewed during a half-hour optional walk in the afternoon.  Shira Camp is at a confluence of trails. Other parties may be camping here.  Your camp is just above Shira Hut at about 12,500 feet. 

Optional afternoon hike up to Shira Cathedral (about two hours) or Shira caves (about 30 minutes).
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Day 6
 Overnight at Barranco Camp
Approximately 13,000 feet
Approximately 3,962 meters
Hiking Time: 5 to 7 hours
Distance: 5 miles
 Arise early enough to enjoy a mountain sunrise. After breakfast you will trek towards the main peak, with the western glaciers clearly visible across the rugged high-altitude desert to volcanic rocks and boulders.  Skirting around its base and under the imposing Western Breach, descend into the sheltered Barranco Valley for mid-way camp.  At this latitude, it is the southern side of the mountain that is cooler and more glaciated.  You are entering the arctic zone, a place of boulders, lichens, and ice. The rarefied elevation is where experience pays off. It is assuring to know that your guide has scaled this peak over 100 times. Now you’ll begin learning from an expert the mountaineering secrets that lead to safety and summit success. 
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Day 7
Overnight at Karanga Camp
Approximately 13,000 feet
Approximately 3,962 meters
Hiking Time: 3 to 4 hours
Distance: 2.5 to 3 miles
Today you will climb the steep Barranco Wall which includes some sections of very easy scrambling.  You will drop later in the day into the Karanga Valley.  This is a short walking day, 3 to 4 hours. 

Remember the safety gear was packed before you arrived? Here you will get a demonstration of all the high altitude safety equipment.  The hyperbaric bag and oximeter are all ready to go.  A short lesson will familiarize you with it all.   We demonstrate every aspect of mountain safety here. Your guide, a certified mountain medic, will brief you on every detail of how to keep your journey safe.  After the safety equipment demonstration you can take an optional acclimatization hike halfway up the Barafu Camp trail for an additional 1,000 feet altitude gain.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Day 8
Overnight at Barafu Camp
Approximately 15,200 feet
Approximately 4,633 meters
Hiking Time: 3 to 4 hours
Distance: 4 miles    Climb up to Barafu camp, perched high on a rocky bluff.  You will gain fantastic views across to Mawenzi Peak.  Today is another short walking day, with less exertion and a good rest in the afternoon before summit day!  Don’t expect to have a lot of energy at this altitude. Most people simply rest for tomorrow’s ascent. Camp staff will take turns monitoring the camp all night long so that everyone is safe, comfortable, and well rested. 
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Day 9
Summit at 19,340 feet
Summit at 5,895 meters
Overnight at the oxygen rich
Mweka Camp at 10,000 feet
Mweka Camp at 3,000 meters
Hiking Time: 7 to 10 hours
Distance: 7 miles
Arise around midnight.  After a meal we’ll start to climb upward on the frozen scree.  We’ll be climbing for 6 to 7 hours, aiming to reach Stella Point on the crater rim for sunrise – another 45 minutes to an hour and you’re at the highest point on the continent.  

The  view from the roof of Africa takes in all of East Africa; north across the plains of Kenya, west to the Rift Valley, south into traditional Tanzania, and east to the coast.  Photos and snacks at the summit before you begin the descent to Mweka Hut at 10,500 feet. 

After the summit, a welcome, but long, downhill hike awaits.  Begin descent over 2 -3 hours back to Barafu camp for lunch.  After lunch, continue trek descent over 3 – 5 hours to Mweka Camp on the southern slopes of the mountain.  This is a long hard day. Enjoy dinner and a good night’s rest. 
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Day 10
 Arumeru Hotel
Mweka Park Gate at 6,500 feet
Mweka Park Gate at 1,980 meters
Hiking Time: 4 to 5 hours
Distance: 6 miles    A final morning descent of 4,500 feet brings you back into the southern slopes of the montane forest zone and the park gate of Mweka.  The park warden provides climbing certificates for the successful summit. 

Arrive back at the Arumeru Hotel for lunch.  After lunch, you will have time for a hot shower and packing for your evening flight.  Celebration dinner and award ceremony for your climbing certificate.  Transport to Kilimanjaro Airport for departure home. 

Day 11     Travel Day    International Travel

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