I have so much to say about the Mountain Kilimanjaro hike and I want to share everything. This will probably be a double entry topic. I have many pictures to share and even a little video.
First, I enthusiastically recommend this day hike to anyone who wants to experience a little of Kili, but like me on this trip, does not have the time, money, or supplies for climbing to the top. Plus, I really want to climb with Keith. Secondly, for any of our climbing needs please contact my friend Methley, who was our guide and a good friend of Sarah’s. He is so knowledgeable and thoughtful and offers a truly boutique and unique climbing experience to all of his clients whether on the day trip or the full trek. His company Just Kilimanjaro can be reached by this link and I will be happy to connect anyone interested. We plan to climb Kili, but I don’t know when.
We started the day at 7:45am finishing the check on my backpack. These shoes have been with me on all my Tanzania adventures since 2007 and are at the end of their life. The hike is their last hurrah. They are falling apart. On that note, do yourself a favor as I will myself in future and invest in a good pair of hiking boots for travel. I don’t hike at home but do a lot of walking here in Tanzania and off the beaten path at times. The books would have been handy on several occasions.
We went to a coffee shop for breakfast and coffee and then headed out to Machame to start our hike. We got to the gate.
We had to check in and pay the park fees. It is $70/day/person to be in Kilimanjaro National Park.
There are several gates or starting places for the climb up Kilimanjaro. Machame is a popular one, but not the most popular. It can be done in 6 or 7 days. Machame and Marangu are two routes you can take for the day hike because they are easily accessible to Moshi, whereas some of the other gates are so far away, that there is not time to drive there and hike up and back in a day. Marangu is a little shorter of a trek on the first day and about 300 meters lower at the first base camp compared to Machame.
Zoom in on the map to get a better idea of the location and click on the Machame route map to see it more clearly.
We hiked 11km each way, for a total of 13.7 miles. We went from the Machame Gate (1,800m/5,905ft) to Machame Camp (3,000m/9,840ft). The path is a mix of gradual inclines, steep inclines, and flat sections. It is very doable if you follow the Tanzanian motto for climbing the mountain, polepole, or slowly slowly. When we reach the Machame huts, I was not tired or sore. There were difficult sections that got your heart rate up and your muscles working, but other all it was fine and not overwhelming at all as a first day if you were climbing further.
The route goes from a lush and vibrant rainforest at the bottom to ha more deciduous forest. You start at the edge of a dense rainforest with extremely high trees.
As you pass through the forest, the trees become shorter with moss and giant ferns appearing until around 2800 meters. The full Machame route transverses 5 biomes and you can see two on the first day.
Kibo, the glacier covered peak where you summit at Uhuru Peak (the specfic spot you reach when you summit to the top of the Kibo peak can be seen from rainforest as it starts to thin out and then even more clearly on the way to and at Machame Hut.
When we got higher and the vegetation started to change, we took a water and picture break.
We had fun goofing around.
After a little more walking, we made it to Machame hut and our well-deserved lunch.
Stay tuned tomorrow for more on our hike and our amazing lunch made my our wonderful guide and gourmet chef, Methley.