The Machame Route with Crater Camp
- Trekking & Hiking
- Trekking peaks
our UK team
All trekkers need to organise their own flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). From JRO we will arrange a private transfer to your hotel. That night or early the next morning you will meet your local Kandoo representative and have a full pre-climb briefing.
Transfer from your hotel to Machame Gate for registration. Our porters prepare and pack our supplies and luggage before we start our ascent along the forest trail to Machame Camp at 3000m. We will stay here overnight.
After breakfast we start walking, leaving the rainforest behind, and continue our ascent, crossing a small valley and up to a steep rocky ridge, covered with heather. Our route now turns west into a river gorge until we reach Shira Camp. It will be colder tonight than the previous night with temperatures possibly falling below freezing.
Today we will climb up to 4600m to the base of the Lava Tower for lunch and acclimatisation. This will be our toughest day so far and you may, for the first time, feel the altitude. After lunch we will descend again by almost 650m to Barranco Camp, following the ‘walk high, sleep low’ golden rue of acclimatisation. Our descent to Barranco Camp takes about 2 hours and offers great opportunities to take some beautiful photographs of the Western Breach and Breach Wall. The camp is situated in a valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall.
A short, but fun, day starting with a scramble to the top of the Great Barranco Wall. We then traverse over scree to the Karanga Valley (3930m) beneath the icefalls of the Heim, Kersten and Decken Glaciers. We will stay overnight at Karanga campsite.
We leave Karanga campsite behind to meet the junction connecting with the Mweka descent trail. From here we continue up to Barafu Camp. You have now completed the Southern Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. At camp, we can rest, enjoy dinner, and prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are to be clearly seen from this position.
You will be woken around 07:00. We start our trek to the summit between the Rebman and Ratzel glaciers through heavy scree up to Stella Point on the crater rim. This is the most mentally and physically challenging part of the trek. At Stella Point (5732m), we will stop for a short rest. We are now only an hour away from the summit, Uhuru Peak (5895m), the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. After celebrating with a few summit photos, we begin our descent into Kibo Crater to camp for the night. The scenery is breathtakingly unbelievable and depending on the time of year, you will see the fast-receding glaciers set amidst either sandy, desert or snowy conditions.
We wake up early to hike to the Crater Rim in time to see the sunrise. From the rim, we descend to Mweka Hut campsite. Trekking poles will be needed for the loose gravel going down to Mweka Camp (3100m). Later in the evening, we will enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.
Your final day on the trek, departing after breakfast we descend a further 1300m to the Mweka Park Gate to pick up your summit certificates from the Park Headquarters. Transfer to your hotel.
After a much needed nights rest, we will bid you goodbye. If you have arranged airport transfers with us or a safari / Zanzibar trip, we will collect you in the morning for your onward journey.
The Machame route is considered relatively tough. Depending on your level of fitness, you will be trekking for 6-7 hours nearly every day, at increasingly higher altitude. For the summit ascent, you will need to be prepared for a whopping 12-15 hours on your feet! Climbing up for 6-8 hours and descending back down for 6-7 hours. Arriving in great physical condition and with a tough mental "Kandoo" attitude will be your key to success!
Novice climbers are sometimes nervous about how they will cope with the Great Barranco Wall, but this is just a short scramble that is really not that tricky - you will be helped by your guide every step of the way. One stride around a rock outcrop is the most precarious part you will experience. Thousands of climbers safely travel this route each year, let alone the Kilimanjaro porters carrying heavy loads.
CLIMBING BAG WEIGHT
June 2019, Tanzania introduced a ban on all single-use plastic bags. Please support this fight against plastic by
using more sustainable alternatives in your luggage, such as packing cubes and
dry bags. Passengers with plastic bags in their luggage may be asked to
surrender them on arrival at the airport.
The zip-lock bags required to carry
liquids and toiletries in cabin baggage on airplanes will still be permitted.
One question we get asked a lot is 'how fit do I need to be to climb Kilimanjaro? Whilst a high level of fitness will make the climb a lot easier it by no means requires super human fitness. We often take people who have left their fifties well behind them and are not in peak physical condition. In fact, if you are carrying a few extra pounds this is a great way to lose weight! That being said, a solid Kilimanjaro training plan will allow you to better prepare for the climb and give you more opportunity to enjoy yourself when you're on the mountain. What all successful climbers share though is a real Kandoo attitude and that means high levels of grit and determination. Summiting Kilimanjaro is a long slow grind but provided you have the determination to do just one more step even when you are tired we can help you get to the top. If you are comfortable walking for 6-7 hours with an ascent of 1000m then you are certainly fit enough to succeed on Kilimanjaro. Similarly if you can do a full hour spinning, a vigorous aerobics class or can jog at a decent pace for 45 minutes then there is no reason why you can't summit Kilimanjaro. The bare facts about the climb are that you will probably be walking 6-7 hours per day with a rough ascent each day of 1000m.
The best training by far to climb Kilimanjaro is to get your walking boots on and get lots of miles under your belt. Whether this is two to three hours walking locally or full days away on your nearest hills, you just need to clock up lots of hours on your feet as more than anything else it is just walking every day for 7 days that people find tiring. And the best cure for this is to have spent lots of hours just walking.
Hiking practice allows you to understand the stress your joints will be put under and how well you can deal with this. It also allows you to wear in your boots as this takes some time and can often be uncomfortable. Start with a comfortable distance that suits you and slowly try to work your way up to a 5-6 hour trek. If you can do this a few times then you'll be in good stead to climb Kilimanjaro.
Aerobic (or cardio) training will be a key factor in allowing you to climb Kilimanjaro. Aerobic literally means 'requiring free oxygen' and refers to the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic metabolism.
Aerobic exercise builds up your cardiovascular system allowing you process limited oxygen in a more effective way. This is key for Kilimanjaro as it is a long distance exercise at altitude which will give the body less oxygen per breath.
Aerobic exercise, unlike anaerobic exercise, requires oxygen for elongated periods of time. Examples of aerobic exercise would be lane swimming, long distance jogging, walking and cycling.
One crucial thing we tell our customers is don't rush up the mountain! Trying to ascend too quickly is a huge mistake. Our porters can often be heard saying "Pole Pole", meaning 'Slow Slow' in Swahili. Because of the altitude your body needs time to adjust - no matter your fitness levels! However, having a good cardiovascular system will help with this, but it wont prevent it. Kilimanjaro is not a sprint, it's a marathon! We recommend putting the slowest hiker to the front of the group.
Depending on fitness, we recommend a 3-6 month Kilimanjaro training plan. Your hiking practice will help, but we also suggest running 6-12km three times a week. If you're using a treadmill remember to set a slight incline.
Any Kilimanjaro training plan should also include strength training. Although not as important as your aerobic training, strengthening your upper body, core and, in particular, your legs, will greatly increase your chances of success. You'll be on your legs at least 7 hours a day, you therefore need them to be strong enough to take the punishment.
To strengthen your legs we recommend doing the following exercises:
Remember when doing these exercises to keep watch of your technique. Exercises done with poor technique will more often than not harm you instead of help you.
Building upper body and core strength is also crucial as you'll not only be standing for hours, but you'll also be carrying gear.
We recommend the following exercises to strengthen your upper body and core:
Remember to stretch after all exercise sessions! Increasing flexibility will allow your body to recover more quickly overnight after trekking all day. No one wants to trek for 7 hours after waking up with stiff joints aching all over!
Most sports injuries occur due to poor stretching. This is particularly true on mountains where repetitive movements over tough terrain put a lot of stress on joints and muscle. To loosen your muscles and increase suppleness we recommend adopting a regular stretching regime. Spend 10 minutes every morning stretching your main muscle groups.
So get that date with destiny booked, put on your boots and get out there walking!
Just as important as physical stamina is mental stamina and attitude. There always comes a point (most often during summit night) that you will want to quit and just head back down the mountain. Keeping a positive attitude and digging deep to push through is incredibly important and a valuable skill.
Training your mental stamina is no easy thing, but there are ways to accomplish it. You essentially need to construct an activity that pushes your body to what it thinks is its limit, then you need to push past that to reach your goal.
A great way to achieve this is long distance running such as half marathons and full marathons. A marathon will push you to your limit whilst having an achievable goal in sight - the finish line. If you can do this with a friend or training partner then all the better as you will both push each other to achieve more. Remember, it's that final push when your head is telling you to stop that will allow you to get into the state of mind required to scale Kilimanjaro.
We work closely with the Kilimanjaro
Porters Assistance Project and they have recommended the following tipping
procedure. To give you a guide, KPAP recommended tips for porters are in the
range of $6-10/day per porter. For other
roles we recommend $20/day for guides, $12-15/day for assistant guides and
$12-15/day for cooks. These figures are per group, not per climber. You will be
sent a copy of the tip recommendations and the estimated crew numbers for your
group. The size of your crew can only be confirmed on the first day of the
climb once all the bags and equipment have been weighed at the park gate. At
the first camp you will be advised of the final number of crew and their
position on the climb.
You may also find on your summit
attempt that some of the porters accompany the group to provide additional
assistance. This is an additional task that they carry out in order to support
you having the best chance of reaching the summit. Please show your
appreciation for any help you receive by tipping these porters directly. We
would suggest an extra tip of $20.
The tipping announcement will take place
on the last night on the mountain when all the crew will gather together to
celebrate with you. One representative from your group should say a few words
of thanks, which will be translated by the lead guide into kiSwahili.
Due to recent thefts on Kilimanjaro, we
no longer advise our clients to carry cash with them during the climb, so the
actual tip money will be presented when you return to your hotel. Your group
will be supplied with envelopes to assist with the distribution of tips – one
envelope for the porters and a separate envelope that you can use to tip your
lead guide, assistant guides and cook. Three porter representatives will come
to the hotel to accept the tip envelope on behalf of all the porters, and they will
distribute the money themselves.
you’ve decided to rent gear, then below is a list of equipment available.
Just let our team know what you’d like to
hire at your Pre-Climb Briefing. All
payments are made locally in US
Dollars (cash only).
Want to add flights or create a private trip? Don't hesitate to contact us!Contact us