The six days Machame variation is the ideal schedule for this route. On the 6 day Machame route, the trek from Barranco to Barafu is broken up into two days, allowing for a short day just prior to the summit attempt. This is important because summit day begins very early, around midnight, so climbers are sleeping deprived going into the toughest day on the mountain. By having a short day beforehand, climbers can be better rested. The 6 day Machame route is highly recommended and used by most prominent Kilimanjaro operators.
Arrive at the Kilimanjaro International Airport where you will be met at the airport and be transferred at Buffalo Hotel in Moshi for overnight.
Drive from Moshi to Machame Gate takes about 45 minutes. The journey passes through the village of Machame which is located on the lower slopes of the mountain.
We depart the park gate and walk through the rain forest on a winding trail up a ridge. At lower elevations the trail can be muddy and slippery. Gaiters and trekking poles are a good idea here. We continue a short distance until we reach the Machame Camp.
After breakfast we leave the glades of the rain forest and continue on an ascending path, crossing the valley along a steep rocky ridge. The route now turns west onto a river gorge until we arrive at the Shira campsite.
From the Shira Plateau we continue to the east up a ridge, passing the junction towards the peak of Kibo. As we continue, our direction changes to the South East towards the Lava Tower, called the “Shark’s Tooth” (elevation 4650m/15,250ft). Shortly after the tower we come to the second junction which goes to the Arrow Glacier. We now continue down to the Barranco Camp. Although you end the day around the same elevation as when you began, this day is very important for acclimatization and will help your body prepare for summit day.
After breakfast, we leave Barranco and continue on a steep ridge up the Barranco Wall (elevation 4250m/13,900ft), through the Karanga Valley (elevation 4050m/13,250ft) to the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. We continue up to the Barafu Camp. You have completed the South Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Here we make camp with views of the summit in the distance.
Very early in the morning (midnight to 2 am), we continue our way to the summit between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers. You head in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. At Stella Point you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see. Faster hikers may view the sunrise from the summit.
From Stella Point, you may encounter snow all the way on your 1-hour ascent to the summit. Once at Uhuru Peak you have reached the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa!
From the summit we begin our descent by continuing straight down to the Mweka Camp, stopping at Barafu for lunch. You may want gaiters and trekking poles for the loose gravel going down. We arrive at Mweka Camp and enjoy our last evening on the mountain.
After breakfast we continue the descent down to the Mweka Park Gate to receive your summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts will probably be plenty to wear (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy).
Tanzania Joy Tours vehicle will be waiting for you at Mweka gate to drive you back to your hotel in Moshi (about 30 minutes).