- Of the several routes up Kili, Machame is now the most popular (and some argue most scenic). To maximize chance of reaching the summit, 7 day trek is recommended. 6 is also doable.Day 1:Leave Arusha for Machame gate (6,000 ft) of Kilimanjaro park. 4 hour hike. No sweat. 2 of us plus a support crew of 10 people (head guide, asst guide, cook, waiter, dish washer, and 5 porters).
Starting our hike. Need to reach 10,000 ft. We are in the rainforest entire time. So, it's raining/drizzling/just wet all around. That's Holson behind me. Our head guide.
We met our cook along the way - Godfrey. Believe it or not, he's carrying about 100 eggs in his backpack for cooking in the next 7 days. And man, could he cook...
We are also reaching closer to 10k ft. Shorter trees and drier soil.
Reached our first camp at Machame Hut. Took us about 4 hours. We feel really good. Our guide kept telling us to slow down because porters couldn't keep up with us. In case you think we were in amazing shape - we aren't in bad shape - but the porters are actually in amazing shape. They carry 70-80 lbs (35kg) on their heads up the mountain and they almost always beat the tourists!
- That's our tent. So, Steve and I had never camped before. It's like the classic tale of two yuppies go up a mountain... First night was the harshest. Really cold. Wet. Muddy. No where to really even sit without getting dirty and we still remember how it feels after a clean shower.
This picture sums up our state perfectly. That's Steve wearing several layers of clothing, with a poncho on top, sitting on a tiny stool under the trees, while waiting for our dinner.
We are already starting to miss showers and are noodling over how to shorten our 7-day trek.
Dinner is here. Usually we would eat outside but it's too cold and wet. So, they setup a little table inside our tent. We eat and pass out early.
Summary: Wake up to a wet morning. Today we head to Shira Camp at 12.5k ft. Easy 3 hour hike, no sweat. We again beat the porters and to acclimate better, we continue on to Shira 2 site about an hour away and then get back in time for crew to setup our tent, etc. Eat hot lunch (the cook was quite good). We also float the idea of us finishing in 5 days, instead of planned 7... Already starting to miss showers. And toilet situation isn't pretty either.
Morning gives us the first peek of the mountain.
Day remains foggy for a while until we reach near our camp and above the rainforest.
Reached Shira camp but our porters are behind us. So, we drop our bags and take an hour hike to Shira 2.
Fog is starting to clear up and we are above the first layer of clouds at Shira 2.
Our guide is skeptical about the whole 5 day trek ... and tells us that 6 days is more doable.