The high altitude hiking increasingly gathers more followers. Now, the African continent is experiencing its awakening as a favorite destination for alternative trips whose objective is to reach its main peak. If you are an enthusiast of this activity, we tell you all the secrets to make successful trekking in Africa and reach on foot the most desired height: Kilimanjaro, accessing the Machame route.
RICHNESS OF LANDSCAPES
The ascent to Mount Kilimanjaro, located at 5,895 meters of altitude, is one of the dreams of all mountain hikers. In Routes 10, which have been organizing alternative trips for more than 35 years, we know that this holiday circuit arouses great enthusiasm. Therefore, we tell you how this trekking tour in Africa takes place through the Machame route, which is where you will find the greatest wealth of landscapes.
Thus, it is usual to arrive via the area to Kilimanjaro International Airport from where you will move to the city of Moshi at the foot of the southern slope of this mountain of volcanic origin. And the next day, very early, the adventure of the ascent begins, which we organize for days. We summarize the adventures that await you in each day.
DAY 1. REFUGIO MACHAME HUT (3,100 M)
After an informative session and a good breakfast to take your strength, you can go by road to the Machame village (1,490 m), where the guides and porters are waiting with the equipment and supplies available. In the offices of the National Park the registration is made and the long-awaited ascent begins entering a tropical forest, which will be the most humid area of the whole circuit.
As every day, the porters will advance to build the tents in which you will stay and the dining room, as well as to get water in the streams of the area and boil it to make it drinkable. Meanwhile, the cook will prepare dinner.
Attention, because from here you can see a large drop in temperature at night, so do not skimp on the sleeping bag you take to make trekking in Africa.
DAY 2. MACHAME CAMP (3,100 M) – SHIRA CAMP (3,840 M)
During the first hour the trekking continues through the tropical forest and soon you can see the fascinating alpine moor where the heather, the lobelias and the giant scenarios abound. In a couple of hours more you will reach a small rocky ridge that you will ascend to reach the Shira Plateau, a plain between the Kibo and Shira craters.
After the lunch and well-deserved rest, the march begins until a rocky crest of the plateau of Shira that allows to descry the Big West Gap of Kilimanjaro and its impressive glaciers. Now there is only a short walk to reach the Shira camp. Higher, colder, so you’ll sleep below zero.
DAY 3. SHIRA CAMP (3,840 M) – BARANCO HUT (3,976 M)
A great day awaits you full of intense emotions for the natural wonders that your eyes can see. But you must also be prepared for the effects of the height inequality of the day. It is likely that at the end of the day you may have a headache and perhaps a problem sleeping. Today, it is the march of acclimatization. It is more than likely that the next day you are back in shape.
An energetic breakfast will help you to face with force the steep path towards the mass that looms of the Kilimanjaro. The long walk through a spectacular rocky landscape has a prize that is worth the effort, enjoy the Lava Tower (4630 m), formed by the volcanic activity of Kilimanjaro, since the path passes just below it.
Nearby, a stop for lunch and you will resume the greatest descent route you can imagine with the landscape of the cliffs of Western Breach and the Great Wall Gully until you reach the camp of Barranco. We warn you that you will want to photograph everything and at the end of the tour while the dinner arrives you will enjoy an unforgettable sunset.
DAY 4. BARRANCO CAMP (3,976 M) – BARAFU HUT (4,673 M)
After sleeping in the shelter of the imposing Great Wall Canyon, you will ascend through it on a hike that is easier than it seems at first glance. But if it were not like that, when you get to the foot of the Heim glacier, all the evils will go away. Here you can appreciate the majestic beauty of Kilimanjaro.
The march continues through the crests and valleys of the Karanga Valley to reach the Mweka route. At this point the South Circuit is completed, amazing for the views offered by the African Roof from different angles. Now there is only one hour of steep hiking to reach the day destination: Barafu Hut, which means “ice” in Swahili. It is good to familiarize yourself with the terrain before it gets dark, as well as replace the batteries of the headlights and the camera and prepare warm clothes for the summit ascent.
DAY 5. BARAFU HUT (4,673 M) – KILIMANJARO PEAK (UHURU PEAK, 5,985 M) – MWEKA CAMP (3,068 M)
At last, the desired day arrives. Today the hardest day awaits you but, without a doubt, the most comforting. After a steaming tea and cookies, the nocturnal ascent to the Kibo crater begins. A rise of 6 hours, which develops by a cone of collapse located between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers until Stella Point at the edge of the crater. We’re not going to cheat you, this is the hardest part of the route for most climbers. In Stella Point (5,700 m) there will be a short break so that the cold and fatigue do not surrender, but you will also have the chance to experience a magnificent sunrise. Depending on the season and if there have been recent storms, you may find snow on the two-hour course along the edge of the Uhuru peak remaining to reach the summit.
And after this great effort, the immense reward of experiencing the emotion of the achieved goal. Those who have trekked in Africa say that this moment they will remember for the rest of their lives.
A three-hour descent will take you back to Barafu Camp to collect all your stuff and continue down a rocky and pebbled trail until you reach Mweka Camp (3068 m). Here, you can give yourself a small feast of bottled water, soft drinks, chocolates and even beer!
DAY 6. MWEKA CAMP (3,068 M) – MWEKA GATE (1,640 M) – MOSHI
A delicious breakfast will be the prelude to a short walk, since it will seem like a piece of cake, after the previous day, to reach the park gate. In Mweka Gate you can put your rubric in the registration book and receive an ecological certificate if you have reached Stella Point and gold if you have managed to reach the Roof of Africa.
Up to Mweka Village there is another 3 km stretch, which is done by car if the road is in good condition, or on foot. But do not worry, they will receive you with a delicious hot lunch. From here, only the transfer to Moshi remains, where you can rest and make some purchases, before returning to the airport and returning home.
An intense journey, yes, but that will forever fill a corner of your heart. If you want to trek in Africa and need useful information visit: Summit Mount Kilimanjaro.