Lemosho is our personal first choice for reaching Africa’s summit, thanks to its captivating scenic vistas, pristine wildlife, excellent acclimatization opportunities, and low climber traffic.
Mount Kilimanjaro as seen from the Machame Route
The Machame route, also known as the Whisky Route, is one of Kilimanjaro’s most scenic and highly recommended routes. This popular route follows paths through beautiful forests to a ridge that leads to the Shira Plateau via the moorland zones. It then follows the Barafu Route to the summit, passing beneath the glaciated precipices of the Southern Ice Fields. It has a much higher summit success rate because it can be done over longer periods of time and the incline is more manageable.
Day 1: Moshi (1400m) – Londorossi Gate (2100m) – Mti Mkubwa camp on Day 1 (2750m)
After breakfast at your hotel, your guide will give you an overview of the day. From Moshi (1400m), proceed to the Londorossi Park Gate (2100m). You will be given a packed lunch and the opportunity to purchase mineral water for the hike in the village near Londorossi Gate. The last 45 minutes of the drive up to the gate will be on a bumpy forest track that will require 4WD vehicles. The guides and porters distribute supplies and register with the Tanzania National Parks Authority at the entrance gate (TANAPA).
You’re all set to start your 3-hour hike through the rain forest. Keep an eye out for Colobus monkeys. You’ll take a break for lunch along the way and arrive at Mti Mkubwa (“Big Tree”) Campsite (2750m) in the early evening. The porters will set up your tent and boil water for drinking and washing when they arrive at the campsite ahead of the clients. For the clients, the chef will prepare a snack and then dinner. Mountain temperatures can drop below freezing at night, so be prepared!
Day 2: Shira 2 Camp (2750m) – Mti Mkubwa Camp (2750m) (3840m)
You’ll start your ascent out of the rainforest and into the heather moorland zone after an early morning breakfast. You’ll cross several streams and walk across a plateau to reach Shira 2 Camp (3840m). You’ll be next to a stream and have a spectacular view of the Western Breach and its glaciers to the east from this campsite.
Your tents will be set up before you arrive at camp, similar to the first night, and porters will prepare drinking and washing water for you. You will be treated to evening snacks before our chef prepares dinner for you. Expect a cold night at this exposed camp, as temperatures drop below freezing.
Day 3: Kikelewa Cave (2600m) – Second Tarn Cave (3600m).
You will leave the moorland environment and enter the semi-desert and rocky landscape after an early morning breakfast. You will come face to face with the Lava Tower after 5 hours of walking east (4630m). Hikers can get packed lunches at the Tower, and weather permitting, they can climb the massive Lava Tower. Hikers are likely to experience the effects of altitude at this point in the hike, such as headaches and shortness of breath. You’ll descend from Lava Tower (4630m) to Barranco Campsite after lunch (3950m).
Hikers benefit greatly from the 6800m descent because it allows their bodies to adjust to the high altitude conditions. The descent to camp takes approximately 2 hours. It’s in a valley between the Breach and the Great Barranco Wall (also known as the “Breakfast Wall”). As the sun sets, hikers will be served drinking and washing water, as well as dinner.
Day 4: Barranco Camp (3950m) – Barafu Camp (4550m)
It’s time to conquer the Great Barranco Wall after an early morning breakfast! Despite its intimidating appearance, hikers report that this Class 2 hike is usually much easier than they expected. You will be above the clouds and have a view of Heim Glacier at the top of the Wall. The trail then winds up and down in the Karanga Valley, intersecting with the Mweka Route, which is used for the final two days’ descent.
After an hour of hiking, you will arrive at Barafu Hut. Because there is no accessible water at Barafu Camp, this is the porters’ final water stop (4550m). The Swahili word “barafu” means “ice,” and this camp is on a rocky, exposed ridge.
Hikers should familiarize themselves with the campsite before dark because tents will be exposed to wind and rocks. Hikers will be served an early dinner so they can rest before attempting the summit the next night. Your guide will go over how to prepare for summit night in great detail with you. By 19:00, you should be asleep!
Day 5: Barafu Camp (summit attempt) (4550m) – Mweka (5895m) – Uhuru Peak (5895m) (3100m)
Around 23:30, your guide will wake you up for tea and biscuits. After that, you’ll begin your summit bid. You’ll ascend over stone scree on this route, which heads northwest. Many hikers consider the ascent to be the most mentally and physically demanding part of the journey. Stella Point (5685m) on the crater rim can be reached in about 6 hours.
You will continue ascending for about 2 hours on a snow-covered trail to Uhuru Peak after enjoying the magnificent sunrise (5895m). The summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro is a once-in-a-lifetime achievement! Before beginning the descent to Barafu, you will have the opportunity to spend some time on the summit taking photographs and drinking tea. It takes about 3 hours to hike down to Barafu Camp.
You’ll rest and eat a hot lunch in the sun at camp. You will continue descending to Mweka Hut after eating (3100m). The Mweka Trail will take you through scree and rocks, through moorland, and into the rain forest. Because Mweka Camp (3100m) is in the upper rain forest, fog and rain are likely. At camp, you will eat, wash, and sleep soundly.
Day 6: Mweka camp (3100m) – Mweka Gate (Day 6) (1980m)
Your team will have a big celebration with dancing and singing after a well-deserved breakfast. You will present your suggestions to the guide, assistant guides, chef(s), and porters here on the mountain. You will return to Mweka Gate after celebrating for three hours. To receive a certificate of completion from the National Park, all hikers must sign their names.
Hikers who reach Stella Point (5685m) are awarded green certificates, while those who reach Uhuru Peak (5895m) are awarded gold certificates. Hikers will descend into Mweka village for 1 hour after receiving certificates (3 kilometers). You’ll be served a hot lunch before returning to Moshi for some much-needed rain and more celebrations.