Machame Route Grade

Grade: Demanding

Don't take any notice of people who tell you that Kilimanjaro is 'just a walk'. It isn't. Pretty much everyone, from beginners to seasoned alpinists, find the final approach to Uhuru Peak tough going. It's high, it's cold, there isn't much oxygene about and it's a long slog from the highest camp.

That said, there's no need to panic. Our 'demanding' expeditions are achievable for most people and you don't need to have any technical mountaineering experience. What you do need is a good level of cardio-vascular fitness and the physical and mental toughness to cope with a week or so on the trail. A good sense of humour is also useful, particularly when it comes to the the pre-summit ritual (a sleepless night in sub-zero temperatures, followed by a 1am alarm call and a tepid mug of coffee before setting off to the top!).  

Previous experience of mountain travel at high altitude isn't necessary to climb Kilimanjaro.

What to expect

  • The climb to Uhuru Peak from the highest camp involves a long, tough slog, and over 1000 meters of vertical ascent followed by long descent back down the mountain. It'll take 12 to 14 hrs tent-to-tent.
  • The terrain is mostly over easy angled rock and scree. It's not technical.
  • Expect to experience some of the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness such as headaches and disturbed sleep.
  • With high altitude comes extreme weather and conditions. An excellent sleeping bag and good quality clothing will be required to deal with temperatures that can fall as low as minus 10c at night.
  • Porters will carry equipment and provisions most of the time, and you will usually carry a rucksack which is no more than 5KGs in weight.