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
Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport and collecting your luggage, you will be met by our local representative and transferred to your Moshi hotel. A climb briefing is scheduled for today in order to meet your guides and discuss the expedition with you in person.
Day 02: Moshi to Kilimanjaro Trek - Machame Route
After breakfast you will be transferred to the Machame Gate at Kilimanjaro National Park from where your hike starts. Walk through the beautiful rainforest with dense vegetation, often on a muddy trail, with short sections of steep climbs. The trekking pace is slow and very comfortable, ensuring you have enough time to enjoy the natural surroundings, take a photo and nibble on your packed lunch that we provide. The first campsite, Machame, is on the edge of the dense rainforest, offering your first peek of the mountain in the distance.

Walking distance: 11 km Walking time: 5-7 hours Altitude gain: 1,490 m

Day 03: Kilimanjaro Trek - Machame Route
From Machame Camp, the trail continues over steeper terrain interspersed with easy walking. The vegetation changes to increasingly sparse trees and bushes into moorland. There are generally plenty of Proteas and Erica flowers en-route as you gain height along the path. Views of Kibo and Uhuru peak with it’s snow-capped summit becomes a regular sight as you near Shira Camp. The camp itself is one of the most scenic as it allows views towards the west with Mt Meru in the distance and offer views of Kibo (the top of Mt Kilimanjaro). You often see the most spectacular sunsets from Shira with the clouds below you and the higher mountain peaks peeking through to catch the last bit of sunshine. Just a short hike from the camp is the Shira Caves. This makes a very nice acclimatisation walk before you enjoy a sumptuous dinner and good night’s rest. Overnight at New Shira Camp at around 3,840m.

Walking distance: 9 km Walking time: 4-6 hours Altitude gain: 860 m

Day 04: Kilimanjaro Trek - Machame Route
Today you hike up to 4,630 m while crossing a ridge and view the plains far below. Hiking through the alpine desert with boulders scattered around and dust hugging the rocks gives the illusion that you are walking on the moon. At Lava Tower, a big rocky outcrop, you have views of the ancient glacier ice of the Breach Wall on Kibo before descending to Barranco Camp. The path passes the “Garden of the Senecios”, which features many of the huge senecio plants as well as lobelia plants. Sunset and sunrise at this camp is breath-taking. The sun paints the rocks in front of camp a dreamy red-yellow colour with the white ice of the high peaks shining bright. Looking towards the south you may see the little town of Moshi far below. Overnight at Barranco Camp at 3,950m.

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
After breakfast you cross the Great Barranco Wall, topping out at about 4,420 m before dropping to the camp at the Karanga River at about 4,040 m. The hike up the Barranco Wall is steep. You pass below the famous Breach Wall, the largest ice and rock face in Africa. The Breach Wall climbing route, known as ‘The Icicle’, was first climbed in the early 1970’s by Reinhold Messner. Daytime temperatures can reach up to 26C, while evening temperatures often drop below freezing.

Walking distance: 5.8 km Walking time: 4-5 hours Altitude gain: 55 m

Day 06: Kilimanjaro Trek - Machame Route
Today’s path takes you up and across a rocky zone where very little vegetation can be found on the inhospitable terrain. A field of sedimentary rocks litter the ground. You leave Karanga and hit the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. Continue up to the Barafu Camp. At this point, you have completed the South Circuit. From this point you have incredible views of the summit from many different angles. Amazing sights of Kilimanjaro’s two peaks, Mawenzi and Kibo, are to be seen from Barafu Camp. An early dinner will be served in order for you to get the maximum rest before the final ascent starting at around midnight.

Walking distance: 3.5 km Walking time: 4-5 hours Altitude gain: 510 m

Day 07: Kilimanjaro Trek - Machame Route
Wake up very early to have a quick bite to eat and something warm to drink before setting out in darkness. The hike to Stella Point is a very slow steep walk on volcanic scree for about 5-6 hours. The headlamps on the trail towards the summit almost look like fireflies flying in a long row. As you approach the crater rim you will enjoy the most memorable sunrise you may ever experience – the sunrise over Africa! Often you see the curving of the earth at this high altitude and the sunrise on the horizon just accentuates it. Keep your camera ready at all times as there are plenty of photo opportunities along the summit. Once you reach Stella Point on top of the crater rim Uhuru Peak is in sight. Hike along fairly flat terrain for about 40-45 min to reach Uhuru Peak. Spend a few minutes at the top and get that photo of you next to the sign marking the summit – definitely one for your collection. Descend from Uhuru Peak in high spirits as you have just achieved your goal. The trail down from Stella Point on the Mweka route is often enjoyed by hikers sliding down the scree slope, which entails skidding down the loose gravel with big steps and some sideways moves. Try it, it is fun! With every step going down your body enjoys having more oxygen to breathe in. Depending on how you feel, you may enjoy a short rest at Barafu Camp before descending down to Millennium Camp or Mweka Camp. Most of our expeditions overnight at Mweka Camp this evening.

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
Enjoy a slow hike through the rainforest to Mweka Gate. It is not a rare sight to spot Black and White Colobus Monkeys in the trees as well as Blue Monkeys. Take time to enjoy the lush vegetation with the Old Man’s Beard (tree moss) growing on the giant trees as well as some Giant Ferns towering high over the forest bed. The path has many steps leading you down to Mweka Gate where you may find a cold beer or soft-drink to start celebrating your assault of Kilimanjaro. Afterwards you will be transferred back to your accommodation in Moshi for your overnight stay.

Walking distance: About 15 km Walking time: 3-4 hours Descend: 1,120m

Day 09: Moshi to Arusha
This morning you will be met at the hotel and transferred by vehicle to Arusha Airport for departure.