Many people believe this is the most beautiful route up Kilimanjaro. After a gradual ascent through the forest you emerge to see the wide views of the moorlans on Shira Plateau, Kibo and the Western Breach.
To take this route follow the road leading wist from mishi turning right after about ten km forwards Machame village. Leave your car at the hotel or school before Machame. After that you continue on foot up the road for about a km (less than a mile) to Machame which has a triangular piece of grass or village green. Follow the track three km (almost two miles) on through coffee farms and forest to the park gate.
An obvious track continues up through plantation and natural forest to the ridge between Weru Weru stream to your east and Makoa stream to your west, to the trailhead.
From there a narrow path continues to Machame camp at 3,000 metres (9,900 feet) where there are two unfurnished uniports, each sleeping six people. Water will be found in a stream about five minutes down the valley below and there are platform toilets. The walk from Machame village to the park gate will have taken you two hours, the journey onwards to the trail head a similar amount of time, and Machame camp are four to five hours beyond the trail head.
Above Machame camp to reach the upper routes and huts, you cross the valley at Machame Huts and continue up the steep ridge. After three to four hours on the trail goes west into a gorge and ascends to Shira camp and Shira Plateau. The journey to this point from Machame camp will take about five hours. From Shira camp you can then go on to Barranco camp (five to six hours), Moir camp (two hours) or Lava camp (four hours).
Day 1: You will be picked from your accommodation at we drive to Machame Village. The climb begins at the end of the Tarmac Road. Walk through the shamba end through the forest to the Machame camp(3000m) in about 6 hours.
Day 2: Cross the village and continue along the steep ridge going on the rock ridges and through heather. The route turns west into a river gorge, reaching Shira camp( 3800 m).
Day 3: Continue east towards Kibo passing the junction, then east towards the Lava Tower. Shortly after this, you climb down to Barranco camp (3940 m).
Day 4: From Barranco a steep rocky climb, Barranco walls, then up and down until you come to Karanga Valley and then on to Barrafu camp (4600 m).
Day 5: Very early start for the summit, first to Stella Point and then to Uhuru Peak (5895 m). There are two main ways to descend on this route, Marangu or Mweka. The Mweka camp will take about 6 hours. The route is steep but picturesque. The Marangu route-Uhuru-Kibo-Horombo is the main route, it is easier but can be dusty and busy. It is also longer.
Day 6: This day is easy a walk back to Mweka gate where you will be picked and transferred back to your hotel or to the airport.
|Machame gate Machame camp||5-6 hours|
|Machame hut Shira camp||5-6 hours|
|Shira Baranco(13,100ft)||5-7 hours|
|Baranco Barafu camp||6-7 hours|
|Barafu Uhuru||6-7 hours|
|Uhuru- Mweka camp||4-5 hours|
|Mweka camp- Mweka gate||3-4 hours|
Price for 6 days Machame route: € 1435 p.p
Inclusive: Entrance fees, professional guide and carriers, overnights in tents, meals, certificate when you have reached the top.
THE MARUNGU ROUTE
Duration 5 days (minimum)
Start & finish Marangu gate
Highest point Uhuru peak (5896 m)
Overall Altitude Gain 3916m
The Marangu Route starts at Marangu Gate, near Marangu village, on the south-east side of Kilimanjaro, about 40 km by road from Moshi. Most trekking companies provide transport to the gate. If you are taking public transport, the bus between Moshi and Marangu runs several times each day however it only goes as far as marangu village. Marangu gate is a further 5 km up the hill. You may be lucky and hitch a ride, otherwise you’ll have to walk look on it as a good warm up.
Stage 1: Marangu Gate to Mandara Hut
7 km, 4-5 hours, 700 m ascent
From marangu Gate (1980 m) the path is wide and clear, passing through a beautiful section of forest. A short distance from the gate the path divides: the right fork is the main route; the left fork is a slightly longer alternative designed to give you more opportunity to enjoy the forest and observe the birds and monkeys. The path rejoin after about two hours, and again after 2 ½ hrs. From final junction it’s another one to 1 ½ hrs to Mandara Hut (2700 m) — with beds for about 80 people.
From mandara Hut you can visit nearby Maundi crater, a small mound to the North. It’s a two — hour return walk and the path is clearly signposted. Views from the top of the crater, over the forest up to the main peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi, provide plenty of inspiration for the trek to come.
Stage 2: Mandara Hut to Horombo Hut
11 km, 5-7 hrs, 1000 m ascent From mandara Hut two paths run roughly parallel through the forest and then a zone of giant heather, meeting near the start of the moorland. The eastern path is slightly longer but more pleasant. As you leave the forest you’ll get your first clear view of the top of the Kibo dome. To the right are the jagged peaks of Mawenzi, looking higher than Kibo from this angle. The path although undulating and steep in places, is easy to follow all the way up to Horombo Hut(3700m) – a large group of bunkhouses sleeping about 120 people.
If you’ve got time you may prefer to spend two nights at Horombo to help acclimatisation. A good rest-day walk is up the Saddle and the lower slopes of Mawenzi.
Stage 3: Horombo Hut to kibo Hut
10 km, 5-7 hrs, 1000 m ascent after Horombo Hut the path divides. The western path is more popular; it gradually gains height, passing the landmark last water point, and crossing The Saddle. The eastern path(reached by forking right after Horombo) is steep and rough, passing the black-and-white striped Zebra Rock and another Last Water point. It is not used much but is worth considering if you want to escape the crowds plodding along the western path. The two paths meet at Jiwe La Ukoyo (pointed rocks), at 4394 m. From here to Kibo Hut takes one to 1 ½ hrs.
Kibo Hut (4700 m) is more basic than Horombo and Mandara, with space for about 60 people. There is no reliable water supply. All water must be carried from Horombo or one of the Last Water points. At busy times, the huts are often over-full, with people sleeping two to a bunk and on the floor, so the next day’s early start usually comes as a relief.
Stage 4: Kibo Hut to Uhuru Peak; plus descent to Horombo Hut
4 km, 7-8 ½ hrs, 1200 m ascent;
Plus 14 km, 4 ½-7 hrs, 2200 m descent. This stage of the trek can involve up to 16 hours of very strenuous walking, although it’s easy to bail out at any point and return the way you’’e come. It’s usual to start very early in the morning, to see the sunrise from the crater rim, and to give you more chance of avoiding the mist. Also, the scree slope up to Gillman’s Point, and the snow on the path to Uhuru peak, will still be frozen, which will make the walking safer and less tiring. Sunrise is around 6 am, and you should allow five to six hours to get from Kibo Hut to Gilman’s point plus another two hours to reach Uhuru peak. This normally means leaving Kibo Hut between midnight and 1 am.
If you’re only going to Gillman’s it is important not to arrive too early, as this will mean waiting for sunrise, sometimes in extremely cold conditions. Experienced guides will assess your abilities and pace the walk to arrive on the rim at exactly the right time.
From Kibo Hut, the path is easy to follow as it zigzags up the scree. After Hans Mayer Cave(5182m) the gradient gets steeper and the walk becomes, without doubt, a slog. It seems endless but when you finally get to the rim at Gillman’s point (5680 m), it’s all worthwhile. You can see down into the snow-filled crater, across to the spectacular cliffs of the eastern ice fields, back down to the Saddle with the dark bulk of Mawenzi behind, and along the edge of the rim to Uhuru peak.
Most people are happy with reaching Gillman’s point, especially when they see how much further it is to Uhuru, but if how much further it is to Uhuru, but if you’re feeling good and there’s still time, it’s well worth carrying on to the summit. The walk around the crater rim, with the steep drop into the crater on one side and the smooth snow-covered outer slopes of the dome on the other, is one of the most spectacular in Africa. From Gillman’s to Uhuru takes another two to 2 ½ hours.
At Uhuru peak (5896 m) there’s a flag pole, a plaque inscribed with a quote of President Nyerere, and a sign to say you’ve reached the highest point in Africa. If the weather’s good you might want to revel in your success and take in the views. If the weather is bad you’ll probably take a quick photo and hightail it down again.
Descent Route The return from Uhuru to Gillman’s takes about one to 1½ hours. You should aim to be back at Gillman’s about three hours after sunrise, as after this time the top layer of snow becomes wet and much harder for walking.
From Gillman’s back down to Kibo Hut the scree is blissfully easy-going compared with the slog up. An easy walk takes about two hours. If you’ve got strong knees and nerves of steel you can run down the scree and be back at Kibo Hut in less than an hour. From here, retrace the path to Horombo Hut another two to three hours.
Stage 5: Horombo Hut to Marangu Gate
18 km, 5-7 hours, 1900 m descent
On the last day, retrace the route, following the clearly marked path down to Marangu gate. Mandara Hut is about halfway down a good place for a break.
€1435 p.p Includes professional guide, entrance fees, meals and overnight at the huts, certificate when you have reached the top.