This is the summary trip report for the exedition to the Uhuru sumit of Mount Kilmanjaro organized by Miyar Adventures in January 2016 using the Machame route. Machame is a regulrly used route to the summit and in this expedition there were no significant deviations from the Machame itinerary publicized on Miyar Adventures website. As such the report contains only summary climb information and needs to be read in conjunction with the above itinerary.
The group consisted of ten customers, Miyar Adventures lead guide Sandeep Nain, local chief guide for Kilimanjaro Aaron Mwaigwisya, 4 assistant guides, 20 porters and 3 cooks. We started climbing from Machame Gate on 05/Jan/2016 and returned to the base at Mweka Gate on 11/Jan/2016.
Day 0: Stella Maris Lodge, Moshi
The team was assembled at Stella Maris Lodge near Moshi on Jan 4th, the day before the climb. There was a briefing session for all customers taking part in this expedition. Lead guide Aaron was introduced.
Customers were briefed on the proposed itinerary and key aspects of climbing. A final gear check was carried out for all members.
Before the team briefing, some of the members found time to move around the local village community.
Day 1 (05/Jan/2016): Machame Gate to Machame Camp
We set off from Stella Maris Lodge on the morning of 5th Jan, Tuesday around 8:00am; after breakfast. All of us were in high spirits and eagerly looking forward to the adventure.
The drive to Machame Gate took us 1 hour. Formalities at the gate took us 1 hour. This included registering details of all the crew members with KINAPA authorities. All the stuff we were carrying were weighed carefull in compliance with the strict KINAPA garbage regulations.
Formalities also included weighing each of the porters bags to ensure that they were within the limits prescribed (20 kg per porter) by KINAPA.
All the stuff done, we finally set off on the trail around 10:00 in the morning. The weather was perfect with a glorious sun overhead and the temperature in the low twenties (degree centigrade).
Winding through verdant rain forests, the beginning of the hike was a treat for the eyes and heart. The tropical foliage housed a varitey of wild life. We spotted several blue monkeys perched on branches.
We also spotted the glorious Impatiens Kilimanjari blossoms as we moved further on our trail.
Around two hours into the trail we took a well deserved lunch break at the designated dining area. It was a great experience setting down at a well appointed table right in the middle of the jungle. It was a cold but tasty lunch consisting of sandwiches. Our crew took special care to avoid any littering during lunch time.
Post lunch we hiked for another 3 hours still enjoying the great scenery around us. We set camp at Machame hut around 5:00 in the evening.
The day saw us moving from an altitude of 5940 ft above MSL (Machame Gate) to 9900 ft (Machame hut). We had covered a distance of 10 km in slightly less than six hours.
Day 2 (06/Jan/2016): Machame camp to Shira huts
We had breakfast at the Machame hut and soon set off. Soon the rain forests were left behind and the scenery around us changed drastically.
Lunch today was a simple affair. After a short bteak we pushed on towards the Shira caves. Glorious views of Mount Meru to the West was an energizing sight in the afternoon.
Late afternoon we walked into the Shira camp. After a hot lunch, we found time to explore the nearby Shira caves.
Though we missed the glorious rain forests, the day was kind to us with sightings of mountain gladiolus, white straw flowers. A winged companion in the form of a white necked raven also visited us.
The camp location itself was quite scenic with great views of the snow capped mountain above.
The day saw us moving from an altitude of 9900 feet above MSL (Machame Camp) to 12600 feet (Shira hut). We had covered a distance of 8 km in about six hours.
Day 3 (07/Jan/2016): Shira Huts to Barranco
Once again we set off after breakfast at the camp.
The vegetation grew scanty as we moved up the mountain.
After more than three hours of steady and we reached the foot of the lava tower.
The dining tent was set up and we had a much deserved lunch break.
A short while after lunch, we started our descend to the Barranco valley.
The greenery started picking up as we went down. Giant lobelia and senecio abounded as we approached Barranco.
We walked into our camp site late afternoon. It was near freezing and temperature dipped further in the night. The camp site however afforded great views all around.
On this third day we gained 480 feet moving from 12600 feet to 13080 feet above MSL. We took about 8 hours to cover a distance of 11 km.
Day 4 (08/Jan/2016): Barranco to Karanga Valley
We had breakfast at the camp soon after daybreak and set off on the trail. The day started with the steep Barranco wall ascend.
This was the hardest section so far in our expedition. In less than a couple of hours we ‘scaled’ the wall.
Thereafter we moved up a much easier gradient towards the Karanga camp.
It was a relatively short hike today and we reached Karanga camp in time for lunch.
Our crew had arranged a nice ‘mountain’ cake for our group member Kathryn, who was celebrating birthday on 8th Jan.
The afternoon was spent resting and relaxing. Great views of the Tanzanian plains that Karanga camp offered made the time more worthwhile.
On this third day we moved from 13080 feet above MSL at Barranco to 13230 ft at Karanga. It was a short day with just four of hours of hike to cover a distance of 5 km.
Day 5 (09/Jan/2016): Karanga Valley to Kosovo camp
Karanaga offered a good rest to us. We left camp after breakfast.
The weather was quite cold and terrain completely barren except for volcanic rocks.
The snow caps were clearly visible. The climb was steep and in about three hours we reached Barafu camp
We did not halt here and proceeded higher up. Another hour of hike got us to Kosovo.
This camp above Barafu offered several benefits, the privacy and space it offered compared to Barafu being among the most important.
The camp location was quite scenic with Mawenzi peak in the backdrop.
On this third day we gained 2720 feet moving from 13230 feet to 15950 feet above MSL. We took about 6 hours to cover a distance of 5 km.
Day 6 (10/Jan/2016): Ascend from Kosovo Camp to Uhuru Peak and descend to Millenium Camp
At close to midnight we started out summit push from Kosovo camp.
It was tough going for the next three hours but the thought of summiting soon kept us going. Day break saw us gain the crater rim of Kilimanjaro.
We soon reached Stella Point and moved on to the actual summit.
Glorious sunrise awaited us and all the hardwork of the last few days were richly rewarded.
We spent about half an hour near the summit enjoying the great views and photographing.
Ace photographer Liren briefly becomes the highest soaring bird in Africa, courtesy lead guide Sandeep Nain.
Ace photographer Liren briefly becomes the highest soaring bird in Africa, courtesy lead guide Sandeep Nain
Against the busybody Kibo, the technically challenging Mawenzi peak has a solemn bearing.
We then commenced our descent towards Millenium Camp, our camp location for the day.
The day saw us reach the Uhuru summit of Kilimanjaro at 19344 feet from the Kosovo camp at 15950 feet. We too about eight hours in our summit push and covered 7 km to the Uhuru summit. We then descended to 12500 feet at Millenium camp. The distance covered was about 10 km and hiking time was 8 hours including a short break at Kosovo on the way down. It was a long day!!
Day 7 (11/Jan/2016): Millenium Camp to Mweka Gate
A relatively uneventful day when we made the last leg of our trek from Millenium Camp to the exit point for the mountain viz. Mweka Gate. We bid adieu to the mountain here and drove back to Stella Maris Lodge.