Day 1 The climb starts from Machame Gate (1,800 m.) after a short walk through the attractive banana and coffee farms of Machame village. The path follows a ridge through dense mountain forest. This is the richest forested area on the mountain, and also the zone from where 96% of the water on Kilimanjaro originates. On sunny days, and especially in the dry season, this section is very lush and beautiful; it can also be a very muddy experience, particularly if it has rained recently! We have lunch at ‘Halfway Clearing’, a small opening in the trees, and continue climbing steadily. The gradient becomes gentler as the forest slowly merges into giant heather close to the next camp near the ruins of Machame Hut (3,000 m.). We may get our firs closer look at the glaciated dome of Kibo if the evening clouds permit. (6-8 hours walking)
Day 2 A shorter day that begins by climbing up a steep ridge to reach a small semicircular cliff known as Picnic Rock. There are excellent views of Kibo and the jagged rim of Shira Plateau from here, and it is a good rest point too! The trail continues less steeply to reach the Shira Plateau. We camp near Shira Hut (3,840 m.) which has some of the most stunning views on Kilimanjaro; close to huge volcanic cone of Kibo, the spectacular rock formations of Shira Plateau, and looking across to Mt. Meru floating on the clouds. (4-6 hours walking)
Day 3 An acclimation day to explore the grassy moorland and the volcanic rock formations of the plateau. We often walk to the summit of Shira Cathedral, a huge buttress of rock surrounded by spires and pinnacles. There is a tangible sense of wilderness (especially when the afternoon mists come in!) and we can enjoy our peaceful campsite for a second night. (3-4 hours walking)
Day 4 A morning of gentle ascent and panoramic views, leaving the moorland plateau behind to walk on lava ridges beneath the glaciers of the Western Breach. After lunch near the Lava Tower junction (4,550 m.) we descend to the bottom of the Great Barranco valley (3,900 m.), sheltered by towering cliffs and with extensive views of the plains far below. (5-7 hours walking)
Day 5 A steep climb up the Barranco wall leads us to an undulating trail on the south-eastern flank of Kibo, with superb vistas of the Southern Ice fields.
Lunch is usually taken at Karanga, the last water point, in a steep valley. After lunch, the terrain changes to cree and we climb steeply to reach the Barafu campsite (4,600m.) by mid afternoon. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent before a very early night. (6-8 hours walking)
Day 6 We will start our ascent by torchlight at about 1 a.m. so that we can be up on the Crater rim by sunrise. The steep climb over loose volcanic cree has some well-graded zigzags and a slow but steady pace will take us to Stella Point (5,735 m.), in about five or six hours. We will rest there for a short time to enjoy the sunrise over Mawenzi. Those who are still feeling strong can make the two hour round trip from here along the crater rim to Uhuru Peak (5,896 m.), passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Barafu is surprisingly fast, and after some refreshment, we continue to descend to reach our final campsite (3,100 m.) at the edge of Mweka Forest. (11-15 hours walking)
Day 7 A sustained descents through lovely forest with lush undergrowth take us To the National Park gate at Mweka (1,650 m.) (4-6 hours walking)