Mt Kilimanjaro Group Trek - Machame Route & Tanzania Safari Experience
16 days in Tanzania!
aFreeUniverse ACTIVE Budget
an Exclusive DavidTravel Departure (EDD)
Witnessing the curvature of the earth from the roof of Africa, Trekking past verdant forests and silent glaciers on the way to Uhuru Peak.
Possibly the most scenic route to the summit, Machame boasts different paths to the summit and back. Emerge onto high alpine deserts with amazing views of ice fields, all en route to Uhuru, peak of Mt Kilimanjaro! Known as the 'Whiskey Route', this path leads you through magnificent forests to gain a ridge leading through moorland to the Shira Plateau. It offers great scenery beneath the glaciated precipices of the Southern Icefields before summiting from the higher Barafu Camp. Camp along the route with support from local guides and porters. As a world leader in Kili treks, we'll take you to new heights in adventure!
Tour dates (16 days/15 nights in Tanzania):
1. Sunday, October 13-28, 2013
2. Sunday, February 09-24, 2014
3. Sunday, October 12-27, 2014
DAY 1 MOSHI
Arrive in Moshi and group transfer to the hotel. Attend a pre-departure meeting with your guide scheduled for the evening.
Overnight Springlands Hotel or similar
DAY 2 MACHAME GATE TO MACHAME CAMP (B,L,D)
Hiking Time: 6-7 hrs, 18km
Altitude: 1490m - 2980m
Habitat: Montane (rain) Forest
After breakfast, we drive to the village of Machame (approx. 1 hour). Depending on the condition of the road, it may be possible to drive 3km further from the village to the Machame gate of the Mt. Kilimanjaro National Park (1815m). After registering at the gate office, you start your ascent and enter the lush rain forest. It is very possible that we will see some rain today, or that at least the trail will be moist and soggy, and possibly muddy.
We cover a lot of distance today, though the gradient is gradual. We climb the lower slopes of the mountain, ending at the Machame Campsite, just beyond the rain forest and within the fascinating heath-land.
DAY 3 MACHAME CAMP TO SHIRA 2 CAMP (B,L,D)
Hiking Time: 6-7 hrs, 9km
Altitude: 2980m - 3840m
Rise early and climb steeply through the heath land of savannah, and trees such as Giant Heather and Erica. You will reach a gentler ascent through the lower alpine moorland, which is notable for beautiful wild alpine flowers and the unique giant lobelia and giant groundsel plants. If its a clear day, you will have direct views of Kibo, the peak and ultimate goal of your adventure.
After a short lunch and rest, traverse across the Shira plateau west towards a river gorge, and finally you will reach the Shira campsite. The night at this exposed camp will even be colder than the previous night, with temperatures dropping to well below freezing.
DAY 4 SHIRA 2 CAMP TO BARRANCO CAMP (B,L,D)
Hiking Time: 7-8 hrs, 15km
Altitude: 3840m - 4630m - 3950m
Habitat: Montane Semi-Desert
Today we turn east and continue to climb “pole pole” (slowly, slowly) through increasingly rocky and barren terrain. We have lunch and ascend to the Lava Tower (4630m). The trek now starts to become more difficult, as the trail steepens, and most hikers start to feel the affects of the altitude, such as weakness and lack of breathe.
From the Lava Tower, we descend steeply for 2 hours down more than 600m into the Great Barranco Valley. This descent affords fantastic views and some great photo opportunities of the Western Breach and Breach Wall. You will also feel here the clear benefits of this acclimatization day as we lose altitude down to the camp. This is definitely the toughest day so far, but incredibly beautiful.
DAY 5 BARRANCO CAMP TO KARANGA CAMP (B,L,D)
Hiking Time: 4-5 hrs
Total Distance: 8km
Starting Altitude: 3950m
Final Altitude: 3900m
Habitat: Alpine Desert
Today we tackle the Great Barranco Wall – an imposing face above your camp. A steady climb up the eastern wall takes us just below the Heim Glacier, where we may have some awesome views of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Our trail continues down into the alpine desert of the Karanga Valley, where we finish this acclimatization day at Karanga Camp at 3900m. (Hiking time: 4-5 hrs).
DAY 6 KARANGA CAMP TO BARAFU CAMP (B,L,D)
Hiking Time: 4 hrs
Total Distance: 4 km
Starting Altitude: 3900m
Final Altitude: 4550m
Habitat: Alpine Desert
We begin the day trekking through the alpine desert of the Karanga Valley. Our porters will stop to collect water along the way, as there will be none further on. Here the temperature will grow colder as we follow the trail climbing through this empty and dry landscape up to the Barafu Camp. The two peaks Kibo and Mawenzi can been seen from our camp, at 4550m. Barafu is the Swahili word for "ice", and the camping area is on a ridge in a narrow and exposed flat area. Here there are ever-present powerful winds blowing down from the mountain peaks.
In preparation for your final ascent the same night, you will familiarize yourself with the terrain before dark, and prepare you equipment and thermal clothing for the summit attempt. Sleep may be difficult, but you will lie down after dinner to rest for the 1345m final ascent. (Hiking time: 4 hrs).
DAY 7 BARAFU CAMP TO SUMMIT TO MWEKA CAMP (B,L,D)
Hiking Time: 7 hrs to summit, 7-8hrs descent
Total Distance: 7km to summit, 23km descent
Starting Altitude: 4550m
Summit Altitude: 5895m – Uhuru Peak
Final Altitude: 3100m
Habitat: Stone Scree, ice capped summit, Alpine desert
Today you will be woken in time to leave camp at around 12am and after a warm drink and a light snack, you will begin the most difficult though most rewarding day of the trek – your hike up to the top of Africa. Climbing through the dark, you will ascend northwest on rough scree passing between the Rebmann and Tarzel glaciers. After approximately 6 hours of slow but strenuous hiking, you will reach the rim of the main crater, Stella Point, at 5685m.
It is here where you will be rewarded with a breath-taking sunrise (weather permitting), which we enjoy while taking a short rest. From Stella Point the trail is normally snow-covered, and every step of the 2 hour ascent to Uhuru peak is challenging. At 5895m, Uhuru, which means “freedom” in Swahili, is the highest point in Africa. Take a few minutes to appreciate your accomplishment, as this is day to remember for the rest of your life!
The time you will spend on the summit will depend on the weather conditions; the temperatures range from just below freezing at midnight, to between -12 C to -23 C just before dawn. We start back down the same trail, and descend back to Barafu camp. Here you will have a well earned but short rest and collect the rest of your gear. We then head down the rock and scree path into the moorland zone, reaching the forest, and eventually arriving at Mweka hut in the late afternoon.
Today is the longest, and the most mentally and physically challenging of the trek. But a day that will stay with you forever, as you conquered the heights of Kilimanjaro.
DAY 8 DESCENT - MWEKA CAMP TO MWEKA GATE TO MOSHI (B,L,D)
Hiking Time: 4-5 hrs, 12km
Altitude: 3100m - 1980m
Habitat: Montane Rain Forest
At a much lower altitude than the last few mornings, today you will wake up full of oxygen and ready to descend the short hike to the Mweka Gate. Enjoy the forest on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and upon arrival at the Mweka gate, successful hikers will receive their summit certificates (gold for Uhuru Peale, Green for Stella point).
From the Mweka Gate you will continue down into the Mweka village for lunch, normally a muddy 1 hour hike. Upon arrival to Moshi in the afternoon, relax, or have that much-deserved shower and congratulatory beverage.
Overnight Springland Hotel or similar
DAY 9 ARUSHA (B)
The early morning is at your leisure. By mid-morning you will be transferred to the picturesque town of Arusha which sits at the foot of rugged Mount Meru, at 4.556m, the fifth highest mountain in Africa. Arusha is the gateway to Tanzania's safari areas. A group meeting with your tour leader for this safari portion of your trip is scheduled for the early evening. Please look for information from your tour leader on the hotel bulletin board regarding the time of this meeting. You can use your time at leisure to stock up on anything you may wish to bring with you on safari.
Arusha, also known as Tanzania’s “safari capital”, is undoubtedly the most important center in northen Tanzania. With many protected national parks, reserves, and mountains nearby (on a clear day, it may be possible to see Mt. Kilimanjaro in the distance), Arusha is a modern town, and with its markets, services, and fine location, it is a great base for your safari trip.
Overnight East African Hotel or similar
DAY 10 LAKE MANYARA (B,L,D)
Approximate Distance: 130 km
Estimated Travel Time: 2-3 hrs
After breakfast, we make our way to Lake Manyara National Park with a picnic lunch for a full day of game viewing in the park. This area is truly stunning, as the western wall of the Rift Valley escarpment provides a backdrop for your search of the park's phenomenal bird life, tree-climbing lions, elephants, giraffes, and hippos. The afternoon is spent game viewing along the main road that winds for several kilometers through a cool, lush, mature groundwater forest dominated by large fichus trees and a tangle of green epiphytes.
Animals such as blue monkeys, hippo, impala, elephant, wildebeest, buffalo, warthog, and giraffe all roam the park’s territory. The park is also home to legendary tree-climbing lions, and also has small populations of leopard. Manyara provides the perfect introduction to Tanzania’s bird life, with over 400 species having been recorded within the parks boundaries. Highlights include thousands of pink-hued flamingos on their perpetual migration, as well as other large water birds such as pelicans, cormorants and storks.
Overnight Manyara Wildlife Camp or similar
DAY 11-13 SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK (3B,3L,3D)
Approximate Distance: 135 miles (220 km)
Estimated Travel Time: 5-6 hr
Travel to the world famous Serengeti, one of Africa's premier game parks, stopping first at a traditional Masai Village. Here we get a chance to see the way of life of the heritage tribe of Tanzania.
En route we visit the archeological site of Olduvai Gorge, famous for the discovery of the 3.5 million year-old fosil fragments of an early human civilization. We finally reach the Serengeti in the late afternoon in time for a game drive en route to our camp.
The Serengeti National Park is to Tanzania what the Masai Mara Game reserve is to Kenya, but with an area of 5,678 sq miles (14,763 sq km), it is actually over 7 times as large. The Serengeti, which derives its name from the Masai for “endless plain”, is the jewel of Tanzania’s protected areas. Combined with the Masai Mara and the Ngorongoro Conservation area it protects the most varied and greatest collection of wildlife on earth. With the Big Five, the Small Five and extensive amounts of wildlife, this region offers arguably the best wildlife viewing in the world. That said, with its vast size and varied terrain, game viewing is only one aspect of the Serengeti - the scenery is simply breathtaking.
This area is most famous for the migration that takes place every year; in October over a million herbivores travel toward the southern plains, crossing the Mara River from the hills to the north. They continue west across the Serengeti, and then north once again, crossing the Mara River, after the rains around April. This phenomenon is sometimes also called the circular migration. Over 250,000 wildebeest alone will die along the journey from Tanzania to Masai Mara reserve in Kenya.
Overnight Maisha Camp or similar
DAY 14 NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA (B,L,D)
Approximate Distance: 160 km
Estimated Travel Time: 4 hrs
After an early breakfast we depart the Serengeti to continue our journey to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area for a full day game drive. The rich pasture and permanent water of the Crater floor supports a resident population of more than 20,000 to 25,000 large mammals. They are not confined by the crater walls, and can leave freely; they stay because conditions are favorable. Since most of the crater floor is grassland, grazing animals dominate: zebra, gazelles, buffalo, eland, and warthogs. The swamp and forest provide additional resources for hippos, some of Tanzania's last remaining black rhinos, giant-tusked elephants, waterbucks, reedbucks and bushbucks, baboons and vervet monkeys. All these animals in turn support large predators such as the lion and leopard, and scavengers such as hyenas and jackals.
Overnight Country Lodge Kantu or similar
DAY 15 ARUSHA (B,L)
Approximate Distance: 125 miles (200 km)
Estimated Travel Time: 4-5hrs
After breakfast we continue on to Mto wa Mbu which means Mosquito River. Here we take part in a cultural walk to learn a little about what a typical village in the area is like. The village has over 18,000 inhabitants from 120 tribes. This two hour tour will take you from the village's local market through several different farms, local huts, and artisan shops, and back to the market, giving you the opportunity to get a true glimpse of northern Tanzanian culture!! After our walk we have a local traditional lunch before continuing on to Arusha.
Enjoy one last evening with our travel companions.
Overnight East African Hotel or similar
DAY 16 ARUSHA (B)
Depart Arusha and group transfer to the airport.
Kilimanjaro 9 Day Machame Route
• Arrival group transfers, Guided group trek up Mt. Kilimanjaro Machame route
• 8 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners. (Allow USD40-50 for meals and drinks (including bottled water) not included)
• Standard hotels (2 nts), full service alpine camping (6 nts)
• Private minibus, trekking
• Chief Experience Officer (CEO), certified mountain guide throughout, local representative, cook, porters
• Small group experience; Max 22
Tanzania Safari Experience
• Group transfer Moshi-Arusha and departure group transfers, Entrances and game drives in Ngorongoro Crater, and in Lake Manyara and Serengeti National Parks, Olduvai Gorge visit, traditional Masai village visit, lunch in local community
• 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 5 Dinners. (Allow USD50-65 for meals and drinks (including bottled water) not included)
• Comfort hotels (2 nts), luxury tented camp (1 nt), safari lodge (1 nt), classic mobile tented camps (3 nts)
• 7-seat 4x4 safari vehicle(s)
• Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, certified driver/guide
• Small group experience; Max 22
Note: The accommodation listed is an example of the service level accommodation you can expect to stay at while on this tour. In the instance that they are not available, a similar service level accommodation will be substituted.
• Domestic flights (domestic flights are not needed for this itinerary if arriving/departing from Kilimanjaro International Airport - JRO)
• International air (also applies to Trans-border flights)
• Applicable Tourist Visas
• Airport taxes
• Tips or gratuities
• Meals not mentioned above
• Optional Tours or optional admissions
Please contact: Brandon Perkins (Travel Consultant)
Please Email: Brandon@DavidTravel.com AND Request@DavidTravel.com
Brandon’s Mobile #: 323.546.9354
DavidTravel Office #: 949.427.0199
For more info: www.aFreeUniverse.com AND www.DavidTravel.com