Kilimanjaro Trek via the Machame Route: 19,341 ft

Our guided Kilimanjaro trek is a wonderful trip for climbers of all abilities. Africa offers such diverse options for travel, but climbing to its pinnacle is our personal favorite way to experience the continent. We cut no corners to help you have a the experience of a lifetime as you revel in the rich culture, spectacular views and encounters with local wildlife while we take care of the details. Enjoy the Kilimanjaro climb with the leadership of our highly trained Mountain Trip guides and additional support from local porters. Add a safari to your trip to round out your experience and see some of Africa’s most majestic and unique animals up close.

Our Kilimanjaro trek ascends the Machame Route, which approaches Kilimanjaro through the forest and moorlands from the southwest side of the mountain.  The rainforest is beautiful and there is a tangible sense of wilderness once we reach higher elevations.  The views of neighboring Mount Meru floating on the clouds are simply unforgettable.  We make our final ascent by the Barafu route, departing for the summit from the camp for which the route is named.

We are happy to add a safari to any Kilimanjaro trek!  Anything from a 3 to 9 day Safari including Tarangire National Park, the N’Gorongoro Crate, Lake Manyara National Park, and the Serengeti.  Inquire for details about an add-on custom luxury Safari.

Mountain Trip offers a seven day Kilimanjaro trek itinerary, designed to allow climbers a bit more time time to acclimatize, which makes the summit push safer and much more enjoyable and also gives us plenty of time to revel in the magnificent scenery of Africa.  You’ll find shorter trips offered by other outfitters, but we firmly believe that building a base of acclimatization makes for a much better experience.

There are many, many options for how to climb Kilimanjaro and you should base your choice of guides based on what you are hoping to get out of your Kilimanjaro trek and your trip to Africa.  We want to help you make the most of your time in Africa, from the moment you land at the Kilimanjaro International Airport we’ll hop in a Land Cruiser and head out to the wilderness instead of staying in a hotel in the cities of Moshi or Arusha.  We enjoy a luxury Safari style tent lodge where we can watch wildlife from the breakfast table and go on a guided walk in the bush.

Shorter, 5-day ascents are common and often cost less. The trade off is that you should expect to feel pretty badly on summit day, as four days on the mountain is just not sufficient time in which to acclimatize to almost 6000m.

Mountain Trip has worked to earn a reputation of providing very high quality experiences around the globe. We bring that commitment to quality to our Kilimanjaro trek as well.

You’ll notice that we stay in extremely nice lodges and our Kilimanjaro treks are staffed with both local guides, as well as our Mountain Trip trained staff from the US. We feel the benefits of having our guides providing the high level of client care, security and knowledge of altitude medicine for which Mountain Trip is renowned is well worth the expense of staffing our treks with our US guides.

Day 1: Arrival Day

Arrive in Tanzania. Generally it is preferable to fly directly into the Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) where we will meet our team and driver. Often these flights come in late in the evening and we’ll go directly to the beautiful N’darakwai Lodge for the night.  Instead of staying at a somewhat generic hotel in the cities of Moshi or Arusha, we’ll take you to a beautiful and luxurious Safari style tent lodge where you’ll see wildlife from your breakfast table.   Make the most of your time in Africa!

Day 2: Kilimanjaro Trek Preparation and Wildlife Viewing!

We’ll have this day to prepare our gear, unwind a bit, and enjoy the grounds of the N’darakwai Lodge. We can take a short walking “safari” through their wildlife preserve and see our first African wildlife! We will meet our local guides, do a final gear check and have a pre-trip briefing on this day.

Day 3: Trek to Machame Camp 9,850 ft/3000m, 7 miles/11 km, 6-7 hours

We’ll wake up early and have breakfast at the Lodge before loading up into our Land Cruisers to drive to the trailhead. The Machame route starts at the Machame Gate Park Entrance (1800m/5900 ft). After a short walk through the banana and coffee farms of Machame village, the path follows a ridge through dense tropical mountain forest. The gradient becomes gentler as the forest slowly merges into giant heather close to our camp near the ruins of the Machame Hut (3000m/9850 ft).

Day 4: Trek to Shira Plateau Camp 12,600 ft/3,840m, 3.1 miles/5 km, 6-7 hours

After coffee and breakfast, we’ll get off to an early start on this day and trek higher above the last of the rainforest and into the fields of heather as the views open up. We’ll enjoy views of the Kibo peak and the jagged rim of the Shira Plateau. We’ll see some of the famously beautiful plant life of Kilimanjaro passing the first lobelia, protea and giant Senecio on our way to our camp near the Shira Hut. From this camp we enjoy some of the most spectactular views on Kilimajaro and can see across to Mt. Meru floating in the clouds.

Day 5: Trek to Barranco Valley Camp 12,960 ft/3,950m, 6 miles/10 km, 6-7 hours

A morning of gentle ascent and panoramic views, leaving the moorland plateau
behind to walk on lava ridges beneath the Western breach to the Lava Tower (15,090ft/4,600m) After lunch near the Lava Tower junction, we descend into the Barranco valley past the giant Senecio plants to our campsite, sheltered by towering cliffs and with extensive views of the plains far below.

Day 6: Trek to Karanga Camp 13,000 ft/3965m, 3.5 miles/5.6 km, 4-5 hours
One of the most stunning days of the trip, we begin this day starts with a steep climb up the Barranco Wall. We continue around the southeastern flank of Kibo, with vistas of the Southern Ice fields to our camp at Karanga. There is plenty of time to rest, or for a short optional acclimatization walk in the afternoon up the valley above the camp.

Day 7: Trek to Barafu/High Camp 15,090 ft/4,600m, 2 miles/3.2 km, 3-4 hours

The air gets thin at this altitude and we’ll start slowing our pace as we climb up to the rocky Barafu Camp. “Barafu” means, “ice” in Swahili, and you’ll feel the temperatures drop as we get higher on the mountain. This is a relatively short day, but we’ll be trying to get some rest as we prepare for our summit climb tonight.

Day 8: Kilimanjaro Trek Summit Day!
Summit: 19,340 ft/5,895m, 2.75 miles/4.5 km, 7-9 hours
Mweka Camp: 10,170 ft/3,100m, 6.8 miles/10.9 km, 5-6 hours

We will start our ascent of Kilimanjaro by headlamp shortly after midnight so that we can be up on the Crater rim by sunrise. The steep climb over loose volcanic scree has some well graded switchbacks, and a slow but steady pace will take us to Stella Point (5,735m), in about six hours. We will rest there for a short time to enjoy the sunrise over Mawenzi before continuing the 1-2 hour roundtrip along the crater rim to the high point of Uhuru Peak. The descent to back down to the Barafu Camp goes much faster, and after some rest and refreshment, we will continue to descend to reach our final campsite at the edge of Mweka Forest.

Day 9: Descend to Mweka Gate 5,500 ft/1,676m, 5.3 miles/8.5 km, 3-4 hours
Overnight at Arusha Coffee Lodge

A sustained descent through lovely forest with lush undergrowth takes us to the National Park gate at Mweka and on through coffee and banana plantations to Mweka village. [3-4 hours walking]. There we will be met by our vehicles to take us back to the beautiful Arusha Coffee Lodge for a well-earned shower and delicious meal.

Day 10: Homeward Bound

At this point some may be heading back home, or if you are continuing for a Safari option, or the Mount Kenya Climb we will start those itineraries on this day.

The following is a general list of required gear for joining Mountain Trip on a trek up Kilimanjaro.

Many of the items on the list need to fit you well in order for you to fully enjoy your experience on the mountain. Please plan ahead with equipment purchased for your trip so you can be certain that your gear fits you well. Tanzania is not the place to discover that your pack is too small for your torso, or that your boots give you blisters, as we will not have many options open to us at that point. Recommended items reflect the opinions of our guides. We have used and have faith in all of our recommendations, but they may not necessarily fit or work for you.

Call or email us with any gear questions. We want you to be as prepared as possible for your Kilimanjaro trek.

Please follow this list closely and do not hesitate to call us for clarifications or to solicit an opinion about anything you are considering. Lastly, only bring quality gear that is in very good condition on your trek.


GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Trekking SocksTrekking socks do not need to be as thick or warm as mountaineering socks. Most trekkers prefer a light to medium weight, wool or wool/synthetic blend sock for use with trekking shoes. Make certain that your socks do not make your trekking shoes too tight, as this will result in cold toes. Aconcagua climbers should bring 2 - 3 pair for the trekking portion of the climb. Nepal trekkers should bring 3-4 pair for the trip.
Light Hiking Shoes or BootsThe days spent hiking require waterproof, well broken in boots or hiking shoes. Trail running shoes will work, if you are comfortable using them, as we will only carry daypacks.
CrocsCrocs make a great lodge/camp shoe. They are lightweight and versatile, you can wear them with a sock in the evening, and even use them for a shower shoe.

Torso Layers

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Light Fleece HoodyLight/mid weight fleece (or wool) top with a hood. You will wear this over your light weight base layer.
“Puffy” Light Insulated JacketSize this layer to fit over your light fleece hoody and wind shell, and it is often layered underneath your expedition parka. Synthetic is easier to deal with and not worry about getting wet than a similar down filled layer. A hood on this layer in mandatory! *** Guides Tip! Use two lightweight puffy layers in the early season or if you are worried about being cold. A Micro or Nano Puff jacket with a Ultra Light Down Jacket or Vest allows versatile layering options.
Hard Shell JacketThis jacket should be large enough to go over your light puffy jacket layer. You do not need the burliest/heaviest Gore-Tex jacket you can find, and we prefer the lightest weight versions.
Soft Shell Wind JacketMany high alpine peaks are cold and dry. We are huge fans of very lightweight softshell wind jackets for high, dry, cold peaks. Weighing just a few ounces, these can be carried in your pocket or in the lid of your pack for rapid deployment. This layer is used in addition to your more waterproof hard shell jacket.
Sun Hoody (optional)A Sun Hoody is a great lightweight layer to help protect you from the intense UV at high altitude. It's a go-to layer for our guides, as it both keeps the sun off your skin and helps keeps you cool. Highly recommended, but **OPTIONAL
Down JacketA nice simple down jacket that you can put on over your light puffy jacket on a cold night. This doesn't need to be a big 8000 meter down parka.

Leg Layers

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Base Layer Bottoms(1 or 2 sets) of Wool or Capilene light weight base layers.
Light Fleece BottomsAs the air thins and the wind picks up, you'll want a bit more insulation on your legs. This should be a slightly warmer layer that can go over your base layer bottoms when it gets cold.
Hard Shell, Waterproof PantsWhen it's raining a soft shell pant just isn't enough and you'll need a waterproof "hard shell" pant, Gore-Tex or equivalent. These should be as light weight as possible, fully separating side zippers will help to get them on without taking off your boots. On some peaks, you might carry hard shell pants for the lower mountain, but switch to soft shell pants for the colder and drier upper mountain.
Lightweight Softshell Trekking PantsA lightweight synthetic softshell pant is a great layer that you'll wear every day on a trek. These are water resistant, breathable and comfortable in a wide range of weather and temps.

Head and Hands

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Warm HatBring one warm hat or two hats of different weights. Wool or fleece are fine, but your hat must provide ear protection from the cold.
Sun HatBaseball type or wide brimmed sun hats are required for protection against the intense sunshine found on many peaks. You can combine a baseball hat with a BUFF for good sun protection or go for a wide brimmed version to protect your face, ears and neck.
SunglassesSunglasses are essential in the mountains. Choose a pair that are comfortable and provide 100% UVA and UVB protection.

Sleeping Gear

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
0 degree Sleeping BagYou'll want a bag rated to about 0 degrees Fahrenheit and warmer if you tend to sleep cold. Down or synthetic will work fine, although down is lighter and more compact for traveling and packing.

Packs and Duffels

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Large Zippered Duffel/ Sled BagYou'll want an XL sized (90 – 120L) duffel for your expedition. Lightweight and inexpensive bags work fine, although water resistant bags like the Patagonia Black Hole Bag 120L are nice for their toughness to weight ratio. A quality duffel bag can work for a sled bag on Denali, a mule bag on Aconcagua and a great all around travel bag.
Trekking Day PackYou will want a day pack of around 30 liters of volume for carrying your extra clothing, food, water, etc. for a day of trekking.

Climbing Gear

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Trekking Poles(Lightweight)Trekking poles can be helpful for long days on the trail and help take some strain off of aching joints going downhill! These are typically lighter weight than a ski pole, and have a smaller basket as you don't use them in deep snow.


GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Toiletry KitTooth brush & paste, dental floss, Handi-wipes (1 per day on average), a small bottle of hand sanitizer, perhaps some foot powder… keep it small!!!
Personal Medical KitMountain Trip's guides will have fairly comprehensive medical kits developed by our Medical Director, but we encourage each climber to bring a small, personal kit. Items to consider bringing include: blister treatment and prevention, pain relievers, and antacids. Presctiption medications should be based on consultation with your personal physician. Suggested drugs for altitude expeditions include: Diamox (acetazolomide) 125 mg, Decadron (dexamthazone) 4 mg, Nifedipine XR 30 mg, and a couple of antibiotics for respiratory and gastrointestinal issues.
Satellite Tracking/Texting DeviceSatellite linked devices such as the Garmin inReach have been increasingly popular, as you can send and receive text messages with it. Again- consider how you will keep it powered over the course of your expedition. These new devices will allow you to send and receive text messages nearly anywhere in the world! It is a fun way to keep in touch with the family and let them follow along on your journey. They are not required, and Mountain Trip guides carry several forms of communication devices including satellite based communications that we can use in case of an emergency situation.
Several Good Jokes!"A Moose walks into a bar..."
Lip BalmBring a tube of quality lip balm with sun protection (SPF).
Water BottlesThe ability to carry 2 liters of water will help you stay hydrated throughout the day.
SunscreenThe sun can be intense at altitude. Bring one small tube for use while climbing and one larger tube for use while not on route.
Water Purification SystemThere are many good options, and they get better every year. Pumps work well, but can be heavy. Our favorite is the relatively easy to use and lightweight water treatment drops by Aquamira. The SteriPen style water treatment is not recommended. Be certain to have enough to treat 3-5 liters per day for the duration of your trip.
HeadlampBring an extra set of batteries, as well. Lithium batteries work the best in cold weather!! For some trips (Carstensz, Everest, Cho Oyu) where we will be frequently climbing at night a second headlamp is a good idea, and always bring extra batteries!
SnacksThink about bringing 10 of your favorite energy bars, or candy bars, and some energy drink. These are optional, but it's nice to have some of your favorites that are not available in Argentina. Don't over do it as this stuff gets heavy and we will provide plenty of food.
Solar Panel/Battery *optionalIf you are planning to charge your iPhone, inReach, or other electronics on the expedition you will need a good, small solar panel. We recommend using the panel to charge a battery and then charging your devices from the battery. This is definitely some extra weight, so keep it light and maybe share a panel and battery with your tentmate!

Refunds and Cancellations for Kilimanjaro Trek

Mountain Trip recognizes how difficult and disappointing it can be for climbers who must cancel expeditions which they have planned for a long time. Team members must also recognize that, due to the nature of planning expeditions and dealing with governmental permits and regulations, Mountain Trip also accrues significant expenses in the months prior to expedition departure dates. We must therefore adhere to a strict refund policy for all climbers. Trip cancellation and travel insurance is generally available for all expeditions. U.S. and Canadian residents should contact us for more information regarding travel insurance. Our refund and cancellation policy is outlined below.

• All Kilimanjaro treks require a $1,500 deposit to secure a spot on the team. Your submission of a deposit constitutes your acceptance of this Fee Schedule, Refund and Cancellation Policy.

• All deposits for Kilimanjaro treks include a non-refundable $750 administration fee.

• Final payments for the Kilimanjaro trek must be received 120 days prior to the Team Meeting Day in Tanzania.

• Failure to pay expedition fees by the date they are due constitutes cancellation of your spot on the team and forfeiture of your deposit.

• Any cancellation 120+ days before your Team Meeting Day will be refunded in full, less the administration fee.

• If you cancel 120-90 days before your Team Meeting Day, you are eligible for a refund of 50% of any monies paid, less the deposit.

• No refunds will be provided for cancellations occurring within the last 89 days prior to the trip meeting date.

• All requests for refunds must be made in writing and received in our Colorado office.

• If you register for a Kilimanjaro trek within 90 days of the Team Meeting Day, expedition fees will be due in full to secure your spot on the team.

• Mountain Trip reserves the right to cancel a Kilimanjaro trek prior to the departure date for any reason. In such an event, all monies collected by Mountain Trip from team members for that expedition shall be promptly refunded. This is the extent of our financial liability.

Inclusions and Exclusions for Kilimanajaro Trek

Included in the Kilimanjaro Trek Fee:

• Unlimited pre-trip access to our office resources

• Guidance of our experienced Mountain Trip guides and our local guide partners

• Scheduled group transportation including airport transfers in Tanzania

• Lodging as included in the itinerary.  We may not be able to guarantee a specific hotel, but will always attempt to substitute with equal accomodations.

• All food while on the mountain

• All group equipment (tents, kitchen, ropes, group med kit, oxygen, Gamow Bag, satellite phone, GPS tracker, etc)

• Custom expedition dispatch blog for your climb, complete with audio posts from team members calling from the mountain

• Assistance arranging for post-climb activities in Africa

Not Included in the Kilimanjaro Trek Fee:

• Flights to and from Africa

• Lodging in Africa beyond what is outlined in the itinerary (2 nights prior to your climb and one night after descent)

• Personal clothing and equipment per our equipment list

• Meals while not on the mountain

• Travel and/or rescue insurance

• Costs incurred due to evacuation or unplanned departure from the mountain due to illness or other problems

• Costs incurred as a result of delays beyond the control of Mountain Trip

• Customary gratuities for guides

• Costs as a result of force majeure

General Agreement Concerning Services to be Provided And Responsibilities of Kilimanjaro Trek Team Members

When registering for a Kilimanjaro trek with Mountain Trip we want to help make sure you understand the services we are providing and the services you are responsible for.

Transportation is incidental

The main purpose of becoming a team member is to join us on a guided Kilimanjaro trek. As such any transportation we provide or that you may contract for on your own is incidental to the trip. We suggest that you make sure you have time built into your itinerary for delays.

Transportation to and from your destination

We will designate a specific Team Meeting Day for your Kilimanjaro trek. Transportation to the meeting point on your Team Meeting Day is to be provided by you. You must arrive in time to be ready to participate in a team meeting at the appointed time on the Team Meeting Day for your expedition. This probably means you will need to arrive the day before, as our Team Meetings for Alaska trips are held in the morning. Expedition climbing is very dynamic and we will provide you with a recommendation as to when you should book your flights to and from your destination. We suggest you book a ticket that allows you to change your flight with little effort or cost.

Lodging off the mountain

Mountain Trip will provide lodging per the Inclusions and Exclusions section above. Any additional lodging is your responsibility.

Responsibilities of Team Members

You are ultimately responsible for your own well-being, including making all necessary preparations to ensure good health and physical conditioning. You are responsible for understanding the conditions that may exist on the climb and choosing a climb that is appropriate for your abilities and interests. You are responsible for having knowledge of all pre-departure information and for assembling the appropriate clothing and equipment for your climb.

While on the Kilimanjaro trek, team members are responsible to maintain basic levels of hygiene and to conduct themselves respectfully with other team members and members of the local population. If a guide feels that a team member is putting other members’ health or safety at risk, the guide has the discretion to remove a team member from a trip.

Use our office staff and your lead guide as pre-trip resources to ensure that all your questions are answered. Travel insurance may help recoup expenses if you need to leave your Kilimanjaro trek due to an illness.

Airline Responsibility Passenger/Airline contracts are in effect while team members are on board any aircraft contracted for use in the expedition.

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