The tallest free-standing mountain in the world

best Kilimanjaro climb

The second most popular and indeed one of the most beautiful routes up the mountain is the Machame Route. Also known as the Whisky Route, this trail is both longer and slightly more challenging than the Marangu Route. Whereas accommodation on the Marangu route is in huts, the Machame route has tents. The route is better suited to the slightly more adventurous hiker, however you are rewarded with splendid scenery. From late afternoon sunsets at Shira, to the misty revelations of Kibo at the great Barranco Wall, the Machame route offers the adventurous hiker a stunning scenic slide show over 6 days. The Machame route is normally completed in 6 days. There is an added benefit to this, as you are afforded the most valuable commodity on the mountain – acclimatisation. The Machame route takes you high to Lava Tower (4630m) on day three and brings you down by nearly 700m for an overnight at Barranco camp (3950m). This is the secret to successful acclimatisation.

Day 1 : Arusha
Arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport. You will be met by a member of Excess Africa who will Transfer to your lodge for dinner and overnight Stay. Mountain village Serena.

If you need to hire any extra gear, advise your mountain guide this evening. Leave any excess clothing and valuables at the hotel – they will lock them up for you. Pack your bag carefully for the climb – remember the weight limit of 15 kg. Leave some ‘plastic bin bags’ in an outer pocket of your bag, and show the porters where they are so that in case of rain they can quickly cover your bag.

Day 2: Marangu Route
Transfer from Arusha town to Marangu Gate (1980m) – Mandara hut (2700m).
Hiking time: 5 hours. 
Distance: About 12 km’s. 
Habitat: Montane forest. 
Elevation change: + 720 m

Early in the morning after breakfast you have a final pre-hike briefing with your guide before being driven to the Marangu gate around 9:00 a.m in the morning. On arrival, we complete the national park registrations at the small office there. Take a day-backpack to carry few things which will be useful during the day such as a camera, extra clothes, rain jacket and snacks. Porters will carry the rest of your luggage and stores including the food, drinking water, clothes and cooking gas. Porters will walk faster than you so they can prepare dinner for your arrival in camp.

After all the formalities, our guide will lead the way and assist you with any additional information or needs you might have. You now leave the park office and ascend on a cleared ridge route through the rain forest. The forest is covered with mist and saturated with beards of moss. This trail follows the edge of a stream through the undergrowth and offers you the option to rejoin the main trail. After one and half hours of hiking you will reach Mandara hut. The weather at Mandara hut isn’t much colder than in Moshi and normal clothes and a jacket is usually enough. With the exception of Kibo huts, the huts are groups of wooden A-framed cabins in a forest clearing. Each hut features 6-8 sleeping bunks with solar generated lighting. The total capacity of the camp is 60 climbers. Water is piped into the camp from springs above and there are flush toilets behind the main hut.

Day 3: Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro Marangu Route 
Mandara hut (2700m) – Horombo hut (3720m) 
Hiking time: 6 hours. 
Distance: About 15 km’s. 
Habitat: Moorland. 
Elevation change: + 1020 m

Early in the morning after your breakfast you will start climbing towards Horombo hut with your picnic lunch. From Mandara hut the trail passes through a short stretch of forest, and then heads around the base of the Maundi Crater where you will leave the forest and enter the moorland zone.

We recommend you take a short detour up to the rim of the Maundi Crater – from here you see the impressive Kibo Crater, and on a clear day you will also be able to see the glaciers of Kibo. This is a great photographic opportunity. In the moorlands you will also encounter some of Kilimanjaro’s most spectacular and strange plants in the open moorland – with giant lobelia and groundsel growing to heights of 3 and 5 metres respectively! Later in the afternoon you reach Horombo Huts and we stay here for the night after a hot dinner. Your hut will be comfortable enough to ensure a good nights rest. Temperatures during the night will be around freezing point.

Day 4: Climb Kili Marangu Route
Horombo hut (3720m) – Kibo hut (4700m)
Hiking time: 6 hours
Distance: About 15 km’s
Habitat: Alpine desert
Elevation change: + 980 m

The climb is becoming more difficult as the oxygen at these altitudes begins to thin out considerably. To begin today you can take one of the two trails to the “Saddle”, located between the peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo. We usually stick to the lower route, which is much easier and has the added benefit of taking you past the last watering point. You should stock up with all the water you will need – the next watering point will be at Horombo hut when you return there on your descent the night after next. Once again remember to take it slowly and drink enough water. It will take from 5 to 7 hours to reach Kibo Hut where you will rest and have dinner. This is a barren area of extreme conditions, with temperatures at night sometimes dropping to below freezing point and daytime temperatures being relatively high. Kibo hut is a large stone dormitory house split into several sleeping rooms with bunk beds. There is no water supply at this hut. There are toilet facilities behind the hut.

Spend time this afternoon preparing your equipment as you will be making your final ascent tonight. You will need your ski-stick and extra thermal clothing for your summit bid – also ensure that your headlamp and camera batteries are in order and make sure you have spare sets of batteries available as well. Carry your water in a thermal flask otherwise it will freeze later. Make sure you are in bed by 7:00 pm – you will need all the sleep you can get before your very early wake up call in only four and half hours time.

Day 5: Climb Kili Marangu Route 
Kibo hut (4700 m) – Uhuru Peak (5895 m) – Horombo hut (3720 m) 
Hiking time: 10 hours 
Distance: About 27 km’s 
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit 
Elevation change: + 1195 m, – 2175 m

Today will by far be your toughest day, you will be woken just before midnight and soon head off into the cold night up a rocky path towards to the Hans Meyer Cave at 5150 metres – you may take a short rest here before continuing your ascent up to Gillman’s point at 5680 metres. Probably the most demanding section of the entire route as it is very steep and stony – go slowly and carefully here. From Gillman’s Point, you will more than likely be walking through snow for the next 2 hours, when you will finally reach the summit of Uhuru Peak at an altitude of 5,895 metres above mean sea level.

Cold and fatigue will set in quickly here and you may find it very difficult to get started again. So spend a short time enjoying the fact that you have conquered Kilimanjaro, get the camera out and take some pictures, then it will be best that you get moving again – it’s a long way down! The first part of your descent to Kibo hut will take almost another 3 hours. After a short rest you which will be accompanied with a hearty breakfast, you will begin the next part of your descent – it will take another 3 hours of hiking to get to Horombo hut. We arrive at Horombo huts in the afternoon and have a hot hut lunch and a rest. Later we enjoy dinner and spend the night there. You will no doubt have a good sleep, feeling exhilarated and rightly proud of your achievement.

Day 6: Climb Kili Marangu Route 
Horombo hut (3720 m) – Mandara hut (1980m) 
Hiking time: 6 hours 
Distance: About 27 km’s 
Habitat: Moorland + Rain Forest 
Elevation change: – 1740 m

After an early and well-deserved breakfast, you continue your descent passing the Mandara huts, down to the Marangu gate – this will take the best part of six hours. At Marangu gate you sign your name and details in a register so the park authorities know you have arrived back safely. To make your achievement official, you will receive a summit certificate. If you reached Gillman’s Point you will be presented with a green certificate, and if you made it all the way to Uhuru Peak you will have earned yourself a gold certificate. Excess Africa team will be waiting for you and drive back to your lodge for delicious meals.
Dinner and overnight at the Mountain Village Serena.

Day 7 : Departure

Here also are some options for things to do. After Kili climb join and explore the Excess Photography Safari in Serengeti or catch your local flight to Island of Zanzibar for Beach Holiday. See more details for Zanzibar and Serengeti.