There are three itineraries to the top of Kilimanjaro that are connected like a chain to a main path called Mweka. The Mweka Route can be seen as a separate road or as the semi-circular ring that includes also Machame, Umbwe and Shira itineraries. So when you read about one of these ways you are getting to know Mweka at the same time. You will then choose which part of this path is good for you. Machame is the most panoramic. Worth the choice!
It will take 7 to 10 days to complete both the climbing and the descent, it will be hard too, sometimes. But you will admire the most beautiful views of the volcano Kilimanjaro and of the valleys at its foot. You will walk through forests, deserts, grassy plains and snow. So be prepared with your clothes, shoes and … training. This route is for people who love sport, have already climbed mountains and can face very long and tiring walks. But it is for dreamers, too.
The Machame Route to Barranco
The trip starts from Moshi or Arusha and will take you, by car, to Machame Gate. From this point on, you will walk for 6 hours through the forest. Wild animals will be all around you, but no one of them is fierce or dangerous. The first part of the route can be hard, but is good for average trained people. As you get to Machame Camp you will eat, drink and rest for the night. The next day, the trip goes on and the landscape changes from shady forest to grassy moorland.
You will start the real climbing here, and after 6 more hours walk there you are, at Shira – over 3000 metres high. Take a good rest, and a rich breakfast the next morning, because you will have to face the hardest part of the safari. Five hours walking up and down lava hills will test your strength but in return you will admire wonderful places as the Lava Towers and the Shark’s Tooth. The difficult and continuous climbing and descending will help to get accustomed to the altitude. The trip will have its next stop at Barranco Camp – 3950 metres high.
Machame Route: getting to the top
As you walk again along the Machame Route heading to Karanga, you will admire the impressive glacier Barranco Wall. The route here becomes easier for a while. At Karanga Camp the guides will give you time to get used to altitude changes. The next morning, Machame Route will cross Mweka Road and the two will become as one. You will go on, up to the very cold Barafu Camp, enjoying the view of Mt Kibo and Mt Mawenzi and getting ready for the last, steepest part.
Uhuru Point, the top peak of Kilimanjaro, is not far anymore. In 5 or 6 hours walk the goal will be reached, passing by the stunning Stella Point – with its glacier inside a crater. Getting to Uhuru will be the prize to all the efforts. Enjoy this moment before starting the long descent. Two more days walk will lead you back to the valley, divide your itinerary from the one of Mweka and return along Machame to your starting point.