Kilimanjaro Hiking – Machame

Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, the rooftop of Africa, via two different routes – the Lemosho Crater or Machame. At 19,341 feet, Mt. Kilimanjaro is one of the classic “Seven Summits” climbs.

The Lemosho Crater and Machame routes are two of the most beautiful climbs on the mountain. Call us about which tour fits your desire to experience Mt. Kilimanjaro!

Machame: The Machame route is a 9 day/8 night tour with seven days on the mountain. This trek starts from the south, just above the picturesque mountain village of Machame.

Traveling via the Shira Plateau, you will hike and climb counter-clockwise below the southern face of Kibo, climb Lava Tower for magnificent 360 degree vistas, and ascend the Great Barranco Wall – a challenging and exhilarating rock scramble.

Finally, you’ll approach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro from Barafu and the ridge that abuts the Southeast Valley.

Lemosho Crater: The Lemosho Crater route is a 11 day/10 night tour with nine days on the mountain.

This popular route has many highlights, including an overnight at 18,800 feet sleeping inside the Mount Kilimanjaro crater! The route takes you to the mountaintop from the west across the Shira Plateau, with an ascent to the base of the Lava Tower, climbing the Lava Tower to enjoy magnificent 360 degree vistas.

You and your fellow travelers and guides will discuss and decide together whether to ascend via the Western Breach (the classic route to the crater with a challenging rock scramble) or the longer but less steep approach from Barafu.

NOTE: All these treks are physically and mentally challenging adventures. You will be hiking up to seven hours per day on varying terrain – both ascending and descending every day. Expect days of up to 3,500 feet of vertical gain or, on the descent, vertical loss in excess of 5,000 feet.

Kilimangaro is great fun and you should be aware of the challenge and be prepared for it so you maximize your fun. Please contact us discuss your level of physical fitness and if appropriate training is necessary to make the adventure more fun for you.


For more information about this tour or to book your next group adventure, contact us today and we will create a fun and exciting adventure you will cherish forever.


9 Days / 8 Nights, 7 Days on the Mountain


This trek starts above the picturesque mountain village of Machame on the south side of Kilimanjaro. If you have never trekked to high altitude, you may be quite surprised by the pace your leaders begin the journey.

After passing through the forest and into the moorland zone, we will clamber up and over some rocks and emerge onto the Shira Plateau. We then proceed counter-clockwise below the southern face of Kibo, climb Lava Tower for magnificent 360 degree vistas, ascend the Great Barranco Wall (a challenging and exhilarating rock scramble), and approach Uhuru Summit from Barafu and the ridge abutting the Southeast Valley.

The climb from Barafu offers incredible views of Mawenzi Peak, Kilimanjaro’s remnant volcanic cone.

Day 1: Arrival Day

Arrival Upon arrival into Kilimanjaro International Airport you are personally met and transferred to your well-appointed lodge in Arusha. This evening you are given a full briefing and equipment check. (D)*

Day 2: Machame Gate (6,000’) to Machame Camp (9,950’), 6.6 miles

After breakfast you depart by vehicle to Kilimanjaro. At the gate your crew will finalize packing and after finishing with formalities you start off from Machame gate. Today’s hiking is through verdant afromontane forest to Machame camp and on route you have a picnic lunch. Look out for stunning endemic flora and a gradation of forest zones.

If you have never trekked to high altitude, you may be quite surprised by the deliberate pace your leaders set to begin the journey. The slow pace now will reap benefits later.

You’ll see many beautiful flowers en route and with luck you will observe colobus monkeys, other animals, and possibly signs and sights of mountain elephants, a smaller sub-species of the better known plains elephant. In the evening you may hear the unforgettable shrieking call of the tree hyrax – this woodchuck-sized animal is actually closely related to the elephant!

This is the rain forest encircling all of Mt Kilimanjaro, and the trail will likely be muddy and possibly slippery. (B, L, D).

Day 3: Machame Camp (9,950’) to Shira Camp (12,620’), 3.5 miles

Today is an easy-paced acclimatization day, although it starts with the majority of the steep altitude gain. After the first day of hearing “po-le’, po-le’”(slowly, slowly), you may notice yourself chanting this mantra for much of the 5 hours.  The day’s hike will take you over streams, a river gorge, and moorlands. Camp is located on the Shira Plateau, providing expansive views of Kilimanjaro.

There is a conditioning hike in the afternoon where you can enjoy the clusters of giant lobelias and senecios that grow at this elevation. These fantastic plants grow in only a few places in Africa, and only at high altitude. You truly may wonder if Dr. Suess used these as models for his illustrations. (B, L, D).

Day 4: Shira Camp (12,620’) to Barranco Camp (13,000’), 9.8 miles

Today is another important day for acclimatization as you hike for seven hours, climbing to about 16,000 feet before descending into camp. This is the “hike high, sleep low” day, helping your body adjust to the diminishing air.

You will pass through the alpine moorland zone where plants are extremely hardy and consist of lichens, grasses, and heather, to reach Kilimanjaro’s alpine desert zone. You will have a spectacular view of the steep Western Breach (which you will not be doing on this route).

Along this section you will pass the Lava Tower and the base of the Arrow Glacier at 16,000 feet. This is one of the longest days of the journey and includes some easy scrambling and repeated altitude gains and losses. (B, L, D).

Day 5: Barranco Camp (13,000’) to Karanga Camp (13,250’), 2.6 miles

Today is another “hike high, sleep low” day taking about 4 or 5 hours to reach Karanga Camp. You will make the ascent on the Barranco Wall and, depending on the route chosen by the guides, you may be lucky enough to pass the “Kissing Rock,” a great place for a picture or two. (B, L, D).

Day 6: Karanga Camp (13,250’) to Barafu Camp (15,360’), 2.4 miles

As you begin hiking today the trail turns steadily uphill. Temperatures are noticeably cooler and the landscape more sparse as you work our way to Barafu camp. Barafu means “ice” in Kiswahili – you’ll see some of it during your four to five hours of hiking.

Camp is set on a beautiful exposed ridge and is the staging point for the push to the summit. After an early dinner, we have a summit briefing and prepare equipment, checking flashlight batteries and the like before retiring.

Typically, the anticipation and excitement of the summit bid the following day will keep your mind racing, so don’t expect a really good night’s sleep. Sometime before midnight the guides will wake you for a brief breakfast/snack and a final check before beginning the final ascent to Uhuru Peak. (B, L, D).

Day 7: Barafu Camp (15,360’) to Uhuru Peak (19,345’) to Mweka Camp (12,530’), 2.5 miles up and 7.5 miles down

The knock on your tent around 11:00pm for is more a reminder than a wake up call. After your midnight snack/breakfast you join the others moving up the mountain. The trail is steep, but your days of acclimatization and that ridiculously slow pace on Day 1 are paying off right now. Your reward is Stella Point at the edge of the crater (18,600’) and knowing that the most physically and mentally demanding portion of the climb is behind you.

From Stella Point you make your way across snowfields and volcanic rock to Uhuru Peak. To your left is a towering glacier wall and to your right is the crater rim falling away to forever. Pictures are certainly in order as the sun rises over the African plains far below. As beautiful and breathtaking as the summit is, you will welcome the descent down to where the breathing is easier.

From the summit you make the descent to the Mweka Camp taking as long as eight hours and stopping at Barafu for lunch. You may want gaiters and trekking poles for the loose gravel going down.

Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Later in the evening, you will enjoy your last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep. (B, L, D)

Day 8: Mweka Camp (10,000) to Rivertrees Country Inn (5,400’), 6.0 miles plus drive

Waking up in the rain forest the day after summiting the highest freestanding mountain in the world is a rather strange feeling. You will notice the humidity, but mostly you will notice the heaviness of the air. Moss falling off the trees and the dark, rich soil soften your steps as you descend for the last four or five hours off Kilimanjaro.

Around mid day, after saying farewell to your crew, you are picked up and transferred back to your hotel for a well deserved shower and celebratory dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 9: Departure Day

Today a dayroom is held for your convenience to freshen up, have lunch and re pack before being transferred to Kilimanjaro International Airport for International departures, or for your connections with onward programs. (B, L)

*(B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)

While the above information describes a typical itinerary, the tour’s actual itinerary may vary due to changes in transportation, weather, lodging availability, local events or safety conditions. We reserve the right to alter the tour due to these circumstances should the need arise.


For more information about this tour or to book your next group adventure, contact us today and we will create a fun and exciting adventure you will cherish forever.

Machame Route – Luxury Tour Dates:

(Custom dates available upon request)

Pricing (per person, double occupancy):

(Call for current pricing)

Price Includes: All accommodations; all meals as indicated (B, L, D); services of trip leader, climbing guides, and mountain crew (does not include gratuities); Kilimanjaro National Park entrance and camping fees and rescue insurance; all dining and camping equipment (excluding sleeping bag and pad); Gamow bag (portable hyperbaric chamber) and supplemental oxygen on all climbs; transfers to/from Kilimanjaro International Airport and to/from park entrance/exit gates, including optional trip to Moshi Town

Price Excludes: International airfare; airport departure taxes; tips and gratuities to leaders, guides, crew, or other staff; additional accommodations and meals made necessary by airline schedule changes, inability to complete the climb, or other factors; pre-trip expenses such as immunizations, travel insurance, passports, and visas; and any expenses of a personal nature such as souvenirs and laundry.

Single Supplement Policy:  All tour pricing is based on double occupancy lodging. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability.

If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender.  If you reserve your tour at least 90 days ahead and a roommate is not available, you will only be charged a “forced” single supplement of half the standard single supplement (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary). Single accommodations are limited so you are encouraged to reserve early.


For more information about this tour or to book your next group adventure, contact us today and we will create a fun and exciting adventure you will cherish forever.

Activities:  High elevation hiking and camping

Rating:  Moderately Challenging to Challenging

Group Size:  2-14 guests

Length:  9 days / 8 nights

Meeting Time & Place:  Kilimanjaro International Airport (airport code JRO) on Day 1. After clearing customs, you will be met by our local representative and transferred to your hotel. Airport transfers on Day 1 and Day 9 are included in the trip price.

Departure Time & Place:  Kilimanjaro International Airport (airport code JRO) on Day 9. Do not book departing flights earlier than noon.

Best Time To Travel:  September, October and February (dry weather, less people), April to early June and early November (rainy seasons), July and August (expensive flights, crowds on the mountain). Please call for more information.

Weather and Climate:  Due to the alpine environment, weather is variable throughout the day and by elevation. Dressing in layers will be essential to your comfort throughout the day. Rain is possible at any time and weather conditions can change rapidly in the mountains, so have good rain gear.

The sun is strong at higher elevations- take adequate precautions should be taken to prevent sunburn, even on cool, sunny days. On average, the temperature in June through August range from highs in the 70’s and 80’s Fahrenheit and lows in the 40’s and 50’s Fahrenheit. 

More detailed weather information is available by visiting

Physical Preparation:  This tour is designed for energetic and flexible individuals who like to be active, have a spirit of adventure, and possess a positive attitude. The bulk of most days are spent hiking – plan on three to four hours in the morning and again in the afternoon, with a lunch stop in between.

It is very important you realistically assess your physical condition with regard to the demands of this trip. All participants must be in strong enough physical condition to complete the trek. The more physically prepared you are for this tour, the more you will enjoy this unique, adventure experience.

We encourage you to call us and talk more specifically about any questions you have on the activities, your fitness, and any other aspects of the trip – please don’t be shy!


For more information about this tour or to book your next group adventure, contact us today and we will create a fun and exciting adventure you will cherish forever.

Days 1 and 9: Rivertrees Country Inn

Rivertrees Country Inn is nestled between Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru, in natural gardens along the Usa River. Combining old world ambiance, African country elegance, excellent farm cuisine, personal service and a genuine warmth from your hosts – Rivertrees is simply a magical place to stay.

It is the perfect choice of accommodation for the visitor looking for peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of a city hotel.

Days 3-8 (6 nights): Kilimanjaro Mountain Camps

Camp is set up every step of the way and ready for when you arrive into camp in the afternoon. A mess tent contains a table, chairs, and all cutlery. Guest tents fit two people comfortably with three-inch mattresses, -30F sleeping bag, and thermal liner all set up for a comfortable sleep.

A separate toilet tent is also set up on the perimeter for private and cleaner bathroom facilities.

“Your next trip needs to be this one! The highest place in Africa is absolutely spectacular!! Excellent service and attention to detail.

Incredible guide and support. Great food. Quality gear. I would highly recommend Return On Adventure. There was excellent service and attention to detail throughout.” Andrea D. San Francisco, CA (Summited September 2011)


For more information about this tour or to book your next group adventure, contact us today and we will create a fun and exciting adventure you will cherish forever.



Your next trip needs to be this one! The highest place in Africa is absolutely spectacular!! Excellent service and attention to detail. Incredible guide and support. Great food. Quality gear. I would highly recommend Return On Adventure. There was excellent service and attention to detail throughout. — Andrea D. San Francisco, CA

I would like to express appreciation to Return On Adventure for an absolutely perfect ten-day trip to Guatemala a couple of years ago. The hotels, were very nice and the guides were always on time, provided excellent information, answered questions, and escorted me to wonderful sites in the country. I highly recommend this company, as my experience was wonderful! — Lee W. Fort Collins, CO

In 2010, Dean created a three week Alaskan tour for my two sons and me. For all the trips I`ve ever taken in my life, and I`ve traveled quite a bit, this was by far the most customized trip I`ve ever taken. He did a great job of challenging us and catering it to our desires. The whole thing was exquisitely coordinated. — David K. New York, NY

I have traveled with Dean on more than one occasion and I cannot speak highly enough about his professionalism, friendliness and dedication to his guests. Dean is an excellent guide and he makes every trip an adventure. His excellent attitude ensures that every guest will have a great time. I am looking forward to traveling with Return On Adventure because I know any trip that Dean facilitates will exceed my expectations. — Janet H., San Diego, CA

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