Machame ("Whiskey Route")
No, we do not sell or serve whiskey on the Machame Route, a popular route on Kilimanjaro. It is nicknamed the "Whiskey Route" because it is more difficult than other routes, such as Marangu ("Coca Cola Route") or Rongai. It is best if you have some hiking or climbing experience before you attempt Machame, but trust me: it is doable, because the Honey Badger did it!
By way of background, the Machame is one of the tribal groups in the larger Chagga tribe from the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania. There are several other subsets in the Chagga tribe, including one that is mentioned in the Marangu route.
Your Machame journey commences at the Machame Gate on the northeast side of the mountain. You will spend your first day climbing 1,200 meters over 10 kilometers to Machame Camp. If you keep your eyes peeled, you might spot (and if you are brave, use) a few of the primitive outhouses that are not to be missed! (Bring your mask.)
Day Two, which we fondly refer to as "Stairmaster," climbs 800 meters over six kilometers to Shira Camp, with a final altitude of 3,800 meters. Shira is one of the more popular camps because of its spectacular view over the Shira Plateau to Mount Meru, with Mount Kilimanjaro rising behind you. After a lunch stop, you will continue up the plateau to Shira Camp to enjoy the majesty of Kilimanjaro's views. Before dinner, after a tea and popcorn snack, you have the option of more acclimation by climbing to Shira Cave. After that, you return to camp for dinner and rest for the next day.
Day Three is an acclimation day, where you will climb up to 4,630 meters, stopping for lunch at Lava Tower. After lunch, you will employ the "climb high, sleep low" methodology and descend 2,000' feet to Barranco Camp. On the way to Barranco Camp, you will have the opportunity to view the Western Breach route and the Arrow Glacier. You will also enjoy viewing giant senecio trees, lobelia deckenii flowers, which resemble pineapples, and see varieties of birds, which dine on the nectar in the lobelia flower. At Barranco Camp, you will be able to take in views of Moshi Town, Kilimanjaro, and the Great Barranco Wall, depending on cloud cover before retiring for the night.
On Day Four, you will start with some "monkey business" (Class 3 scrambling) up the Great Barranco Wall. Don't worry--your guides will take good care of you to assist you on this fun portion of the trip. Like on Day Three, climbing Barranco brings you to a higher elevation as part of "climb high, sleep low," after which you will descend and then ascend into Karanga Camp. Karanga Camp also affords spectacular views, where you can see Moshi Town again, with Kilimanjaro beckoning behind you.
Day Five involves a trek to Barafu Camp, which will be your base camp for the summit bid. Barafu sits at a little more than 4,000' below the Uhuru Peak summit. After reaching Barafu, you will eat lunch, receive instructions to prepare for summit night, take a nap, and eat a light dinner after your nap. After dinner, your guide will give you your final instructions to prepare for summit night. Depending on you and your group's progress, your staff will wake you around 11:00 pm to midnight, with your summit bid starting once your guide clears you for departure.
On Day Six, you will climb to Stella Point, followed by an approximately one-hour hike to Uhuru Peak at 19,341'. After celebrating and taking pictures of the beautiful glaciers and views, your guides will take you down through the scree back to Barafu Camp. Depending on your guide's advice, you may eat lunch and rest a short time at Barafu. Then you will prepare to descend to Millennium (High Camp) or Mweka Camp, depending on your guides' advice and assessment. After being on Kilimanjaro for several days and having acclimated to high altitude, the oxygen levels at Millennium or Mweka will seem like sea level to you!
On Day Seven, you will wake and eat breakfast and enjoy your staff's rendition of the
Kilimanjaro and Jambo songs. After that, you will start your final descent to Mweka Gate. At Mweka Gate, you will eat a hearty lunch, drink Kilimanjaro beer and/or soft drinks, and have the opportunity to gift some of your gear and clothing to the staff. After that, this is the proper time to tip your staff. (See Tipping Guidelines.) Make sure you show your appreciation for the excellent service and their hard work!
Following the celebration, we will provide transportation back to your hotel, after which you can arrange for safari, an excursion to Zanzibar, or something else tailored to your needs.
Day 1: Machame Gate to Machame Camp
Day 2: Machame Camp to Shira Camp
Day 3: Shira Camp TO BARRANCO CAMP
Day 4: BARRANCO CAMP TO KARANGA CAMP
Day 5: KARANGA CamP TO BARAFU CAMP
Day 6: BARAFU CAMP TO SUMMIT TO MILLENIUM OR MWEKA CAMP
Day 7: MILLENIUM OR MWEKA CAMP TO MWEKA GATE