Conquer the highest peak in Africa, mighty Mt Kilimanjaro
Fast becoming the “hotspot”, Tanzania should be visited sooner rather than later!
Step out of your comfort zone and climb the snowy peaks of Africa’s highest peak, Mt Kilimanjaro. The path to Uhuru Peak takes you through a diverse landscape, slowly shifting from verdant rainforests filled with monkeys and birdlife, to alpine meadows and desolate moon-like landscapes.
Prepare to be challenged as you tackle both the steep climbs and thinning atmosphere, but you’ll be equally rewarded with breath-taking vistas of snow-capped mountain peaks, icy craters and verdant plains, which combine to make this a truly incredible adventure.
Cross this mighty peak off your bucket list
Mt. Kilimanjaro is situated south of the equator in Tanzania and, at 5,895m, is Africa’s tallest mountain and the highest “free standing” mountain in the world. Huge permanent glaciers flow down from the summit, and spectacular views and beautiful ice formations are the reward for the successful trekker, as well as the satisfaction of conquering this mighty peak.
Giant tree ferns flourish underneath huge tropical trees decorated with Oldman’s Beard (usnea lichen) and pretty flowers including a variety of lilies and hibiscus. Colobus and Blue Monkeys may often be seen jumping between these ancient trees with an abundance of birdlife and these forests are never quiet.
When to go
To climb Mt Kilimanjaro January to March, or between June and October are the best times.
How to get to the top
Even with the help of our expert guides, there’s only one way to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, and that’s up.
But there are six ways you do this: the Marangu, Machame, Rongai, Lemosho, Shira, Northern and Umbwe routes.
Of these six routes, Marangu and Machame are the most popular, known as the Coca-Cola and Whisky routes respectively.
We favour the Machame route.
Our Kilimanjaro trip
Trail length: 7 day / 6 night hike excluding pre / post nights at Keys Hotel (9 days / 8 nights total)
Start: Machame Gate (1,490 m)
Highest point reached: Uhuru Peak (5,895 m)
Finish: Mweka Gate (1,980 m)
Total trail distance: 90 km
Price from: $4,270
Why we climb Mt Kilimanjaro using the Machame route
Although some may say it is the more difficult route, it takes longer and you sleep in tents as opposed to huts, we think Machame is in fact the easier of the two most popular routes to climb Mt Kilimanjaro. We think it is safer and … well … just better.
Why? First of all, the Machame route is better for acclimatization. Most of the days you climb high and sleep low, which is a good idea on any hike at altitude. Going up and then down every day prepares you for the next day’s altitude and breaks things up a bit. You also use different parts of your legs.
On Kilimanjaro there are more than five climate zones, and on the Machame route you see all of them plus the sub-zones as well. You also start to see glaciers at just after 4,600 metres. You get very close to Western Breach from you start to see most of the glaciers: Heim Glacier, Decken Glacier and Kirsten Glacier. And we set up camp on the fourth night just below the glaciers themselves.
Another very important point is that on the Machame route though you ascend via Machame and descend via the Mweka route. This means you get to see the two sides of the mountain and there’s no two-way traffic. On the Marangu route, for example, you climb Mt Kilimanjaro and descend the same way – so does everybody else. People walk against each other, talk to each other and sometimes bump into each other.
Why we love this trip
- Hiking with experienced guides, cooks and porters, you’ll be in very good hands.
- You get to see the two sides of the mountain as you climb and descend on different routes
- You have more time to acclimatize, so are less likely to get affected by altitude sickness.
- The scenery is more varied. Walk through cultivation zones, mountain rainforest, heath and montane forest, alpine desert, the tundra or moon desert and the alpine desert.
Is this trip right for you?
- You’ll need a good level of fitness to climb Mt Kilimanjaro. The distances may not be long, but the altitude makes it much harder than your average uphill hike. The going will be slow as your body adjusts.
- Tried and tested all-purpose hiking equipment is required. Kilimanjaro gets extremely cold: down to minus 22.C. And it can be freezing from Day 2. It’s essential clothes and sleeping bag are of a good quality. You need ski socks, thermal underwear, windproof trousers, a waterproof shell jacket, a 3-4 season sleeping bag, balaclava and beanie, quality fleeces and a good down jacket.
- You can hire this equipment if need be.
- Safety always comes first. Our experienced guides will monitor everybody for altitude sickness. If you show any signs, you’ll descend with a guide.
- Hiking for several days without a shower can be tough. Wet wipes and hand cleanser could be handy.
Day 01: Kilimanjaro to Moshi
Day 02: Moshi to Kilimanjaro Trek - Machame Route
Walking distance: 11 km Walking time: 5-7 hours Altitude gain: 1,490 m
Day 03: Kilimanjaro Trek - Machame Route
Walking distance: 9 km Walking time: 4-6 hours Altitude gain: 860 m
Day 04: Kilimanjaro Trek - Machame Route
Walking distance: 15 km Walking time: 7-9 hours Altitude gain: 10 m (680 m/2,230 ft to Lava Tower)
Day 05: Kilimanjaro Trek - Machame Route
Walking distance: 5.8 km Walking time: 4-5 hours Altitude gain: 55 m
Day 06: Kilimanjaro Trek - Machame Route
Walking distance: 3.5 km Walking time: 4-5 hours Altitude gain: 510 m
Day 07: Kilimanjaro Trek - Machame Route
Walking distance: 7 km + 23 km descent Walking time: 5-6 hrs + 1-2 hours up, 7-8 hours down (overall time varies between 10-16 hours) Altitude gain: 1,202 m (Stella Point) or 1,345 m (Uhuru Peak) Descent: 2,795 m Mweka Camp
Day 08: Kilimanjaro Trek - Machame Route
Walking distance: About 15 km Walking time: 3-4 hours Descend: 1,120m