Philippe Gatta
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Mount Kilimanjaro (5895 m / 19,308 ft)
Machame, Mweka Traverse - Tanzania

Mount Kilimanjaro (Wikipedia, GNU)
Mount Kilimanjaro (Wikipedia, GNU 1.3)

Mount Kilimanjaro, 5895 m (19,308ft)

Mount Kilimanjaro is an inactive volcano in northeastern Tanzania. It has 3 volcanic cones; Kibo, Mawensi, and Shira. The highest point is Uhuru Peak on the volcano Kibo, 5895 m (19,340 ft). Kibo has a 1.5 mile wide crater on the top of it. As the highest point in Africa, Uhuru Peak is one of the Seven Summits.

The Kilimanjaro was first reached by the Marangu army scout, Yohanas Kinyala Lauwo, German Hans Meyer and Austrian Ludwig Purtscheller, on October 6, 1889. Two other peaks are also extinct volcanoes: Mawenzi (5,149 m, 16,890 ft), the third highest peak in Africa (after Mount Kenya) and Shira (3,962 m, 13,000 ft).

Mount Kilimanjaro (© P. Gatta)
Mount Kilimanjaro (© P. Gatta)

Kilimanjaro and Africa's map
Kilimanjaro and Africa's map (Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Mount Kilimanjaro, Machame - Mweka Traverse

Map of Mount Kilimanjaro (Wikipedia, GNU 1.2)
Map of Mount Kilimanjaro (Wikipedia, GNU 1.2)

March 3: Machame Gate (1800m) - Machame Hut (3000m)


We started at Machame gate at 1800m (5,905ft) and walked through the rainforest. Above 3000 m the rainforest is less dense and it is progressively replaced by bushlands. We made our camp site at Machame Hut at 3000m (9,842ft).

Total of day: 15km, +1230m / -25m, 4h30

Serengeti National Park (© P. Gatta)
Serengeti National Park (© P. Gatta)

Masai during the acclimatization trek (© P. Gatta)
Masai during the acclimatization trek (© P. Gatta)

March 4: Machame Hut (3000m) - Shira Camp (3750m)

We left the camp at Machame Hut at 3000m (9,842ft) up to Shira Camp at 3750m (12,300ft). The scenery changed with more bushes, lots of mosses and less trees. Shira Camp is on a plateau in the high moorlands. From the camp we had nice views over the Mount Meru and the Kibo.

Total of day: 10km, +885m / -110m, 3h15

Crater of Mount Kilimanjaro (© P. Gatta)
Glacier and crater of Mount Kilimanjaro (© P. Gatta)

March 5: Shira Camp (3750m) - Lava Tower (4650m) - Barranco (3940m)

We left Shira camp to follow a rocky trail into a alpine desert scenery. We had nice views over the Kibo and the North side. We went up until the Lava Tower at 4650m (15,255ft) then the trail descends toward Barranco. This area is know for the huge Senecio plants. We pitched the tents at Barranco at 3940m (13,000ft).

Total of day: 14km, +855 / -700m, 3h45
Shira - Lava Tower: 2h40
Lava Tower - Barranco: 1h05

Shira camp, Mount Kilimanjaro (© P. Gatta)
Shira camp, Mount Kilimanjaro (© P. Gatta)

March 6: Barranco (3940m) - Barafu (4600m)

We left the camp and climbed the Barranco Wall which is around 300m high. The trail is almost at the bottom of the Heim and Kersten glacier. Then we followed part of the Kibo South circuit at around 4200m (13,780ft). The trail goes up and down sections across small streams and rivulets, and finally crosses the Karanga River to the Karanga campsite. We kept going until Barafu camp at 4600m (15,100ft).

Total of day: 13km, +1075m / -405m, 4h10
Barranco - Karanga: 2h
Karanga - Barafu: +700m, 2h

These two images taken by NASA show the changes in snow accumulations on the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro (NASA, public domain)
These two images taken by NASA show the changes in snow accumulations on the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro (NASA, public domain)

March 7: Barafu (4600m) - Kilimanjaro Summit, Uhuru Point (5895m) - Mweca Camp (3100m)

We left Barafu camp around midnight and reached the summit of Kilimanjaro at 6am via Stella Point. We enjoyed the view of the sunrise in a clear but pretty cold weather. We came back to Barafu in 2 hours, took our gear and continued the descent until Mweka camp at 3100m (10,170ft).

Total of day: 24km, +1580 / -3120m, 10h
Barafu (00:15) - Uhuru (06:15): 5km, +1580m, 6h
Uhuru (06:30) - Barafu (08:30): 5km, -1580m, 2h
Barafu (12:00) - Mweka (14:00): 14km, -1540m, 2h

On the way to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro (© P. Gatta)
On the way to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro (© P. Gatta)

Summit of Mount Kilimanjaro (© P. Gatta)
Summit of Mount Kilimanjaro (© P. Gatta)

March 8: Mweca Camp (3100m) - Mweka gate (1640m)

The last day we run part of the descent from Mweca camp to Mweka gate that we reached 45 minutes.

Total of day: 12km, -1460m, 45min (max -2400m/h)

Giraffes in Serengeti National Park (© P. Gatta)
Giraffes in Serengeti National Park (© P. Gatta)

Lions in Ngorongoro Crater (© P. Gatta)
Lions in Ngorongoro Crater (© P. Gatta)

Google Map of Kilimanjaro Machame and Mweka Routes



Legend: Machame and Mweka routes, huts and camps.

Usage: use the arrows or "drag & drop" to move the map. Click on + or - to zoom in or out.

Click on Terrain to get the map with altitudes, Satellite to see the satellite photo, Hybrid to get the satellite photo with the names of cities and road. Click on the icons to see location's names and elevation.


7 Summits Challenge

The Kilimanjaro is part of the 7 Summits Challenge which consists in climbing the highest mountain of each of the 7 continents.

Mount Kilimanjaro - with Landsat Overlay
Mount Kilimanjaro - with Landsat Overlay (Wikipedia, NASA, public domain)


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