Mt. Kilimanjaro Machame Route Planning & Hike Preparation

6-days Mt. Kilimanjaro Machame route Solo Climb in Tanzania
July 14 to July 21, 2014

Mt. Kilimanjaro Introduction

Kilimanjaro is technically the easiest to climb of the Seven Summits. You don’t need ropes or special mountaineering gear but be prepared physically and mentally.

My Fun-hiking Experience; 

I am a self-confessed budget Amateur Mountaineer / Fun-hiker. I started minor trek locally way back 2007 where I just hitch-hiked to my workmates. Started on Mt. Tapulao(2,037m), Mt. Pinatubo(1,486m), Tarak Ridge(1,288m), Mt. Pico De Loro(664m), Mt. Gulugod-Baboy(525m), Mt. Batulao(813m) and Mt Taal(311m). At 2010, I started to organize my own fun-hike on the 3rd highest peak in Philippines, Mt. Pulag(2,922m) on its rainiest season. Then after a year, I went back to Mt. Pulag(2011) again joined an organized tour. Two years after, I decided to hike alone the highest peak in Malaysia and also in Southeast Asia, Mt. Kinabalu(4,095m). That was my first time climbing alone and also outside my homeland. I did not prepare any physical training as I initially thought that my experience in Mt. Pulag would suffice the capability. Furthermore, most blogs I read implied that it was easy to hike this mountain. After the 2 days, 1 night at the mountain and conquering the summit of Low's Peak of Mt. Kinabalu, I cursed the adventure. This was due to the enormous pain on my calves that I could not do anymore the city tour after. I did not use trekking pole, my backpack weighed more than 10kg and I did not took any medication. Not just that, my trekking time was below the average climber and I even felt breathlessness momentarily around 4,000m elevation. I thought this was the last climbing trip but upon going back to my real life, the eagerness of going back to the mountain wilderness strikes back and honestly don't know why. I don't know what's with mountain hiking that is irresistible and tempting to go back.

Mt. Kilimanjaro Machame route (final choice due to excellent scenerary and summiting success)

Mt. Kilimanjaro Machame route (initial choice due to budget and time constraint)

How Hard is it to Hike Mt. Kilimanjaro;

I stated my amateur mountaineering portfolio above to boost morale and give justice on the thought that I can make it to Mt. Kilimanjaro Summit(5,895m) despite that (1) my trekking hours are below the average climber (2) my dilemma as a corporate slave for approve vacation leave and (3) no intensive endurance training before the actual hike. Furthermore according to my research, you don't need to be super fit. You do need to be fit enough to walk, because that's what you will be doing. A Kilimanjaro climb is a very slow walk, all the way...Thus, the best Kilimanjaro training is to simply walk for long hours. 

Mt. Kilimanjaro is a popular climb because no special expertise or mountaineering equipment is required. In fact, it is not a climb, it's a hike. You can walk all the way to the top. It is not the lack of fitness that prevents people from reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro, it's the ALTITUDE SICKNESS! (regardless of age or fitness level). The key to preventing altitude sickness on Kilimanjaro is taking your time. Altitude sickness is not just a result of the absolute height you are at, it also depends how fast you got there! Pole pole! That is Kiswahili word for "slow and steady" which you can hear all day out. There is NOTHING to gain on Kilimanjaro by being the first.

Choice of Route and Seeking for other experience advise;

Initially, I picked Marangu route due to having an easy trail and cheaper price. But upon researching further, I finally chose Machame route due to its excellent scenery along the trail with high volume of trekkers but having a difficult, longer trail (62km) and expensive than Marangu.

Mt. Kilimanjaro hike routes comparing Machame(left) to Marangu(right)

Query and Booking;

I made my booking together with 3-days Masai Mara Safari adventure in Kenya. Fortunately, the travel tour I asked is offering also Kilimanjaro Machame route for a cheaper price combined compared to others online.
http://www.wildraceafrica.com/index.php/tanzania-safaris/mount-kilimanjaro-safaris/14-sample-data-articles/155-6-days-machame-route-kilimanjaro-climbing

Preparation;

For gearing up and what to bring... http://www.ultimatekilimanjaro.com/preparation.htm 

Recommended Mountain Clothing
(1) Warm, windproof jacket with hood; Waterproof Jacket and over trousers
(2) Walking trousers, shirts and pullover; Warm underwear
(3) Walking socks; Good broken-in boots
(4)
Sun hat & sun glasses; Warm hat or balaclava; Scarf
(5) Raining shoes & Gaiters (optional)

Recommended Mountain Equipment
(1) Good warm sleeping bag (available for rent)
(2) Water bottle (2 liters); Water purification tablets / solutions (and filter)
(3) Wash kit, towel, toilet paper
(4) Torch, flashlight, headlamp
(5) First aid kit (including blister plasters, headache tablets, sun cream, lip salve, personal medication)
(5) Trekking pole(s)
(available for rent) 
(6) Rescue blank and Emergency whistle

How cold is it during night climb and on the summit?

The temperatures during summit night can drop to -10°C, but be aware that with the additional chill factor of wind the felt temperature may be as low as -30°C. Prepare for the worst case scenario, and then enjoy that everything turns out much easier than expected! Due to its proximity to the equator, temperatures on Mt. Kilimanjaro are determined more so by the altitude and time of day. http://www.ultimatekilimanjaro.com/mountain.htm#weather

Mt. Kilimanjaro Machame Preparation (BEFORE packing inside a single 45L backpack)

Mt. Kilimanjaro Machame Preparation (AFTER packing inside a single 45L backpack)

Other Important Information to be noted;

1. 30% of total fee is the recommended amount for down payment, either by their local bank or through PayPal.
2. For Philippine passport holders, you can apply on single entry visa on arrival in Kenya even though you will re-entry Kenya after Mt. Kilimanjaro hike. As long as you will return in Kenya border within 2 weeks (14 days), single entry Kenya Tourist visa is valid. The Tanzania tourist visa can be obtained at Namanga border and be careful with the Fixers.
3. At Nairobi Airport, you will be required to produce Yellow fever vaccination certificate in Yellow Card. If you don't have it, you will have to be vaccinated at the Airport for $35. One vaccination for all African countries against Yellow fever.
4. Travel insurance is not really a mandatory requirement but it is important for your own benefit. No inspection for this before the hike.  

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS TO REMEMBER DURING MT. KILIMANJARO HIKE

1. Hikers attempting to reach the summit SHOULD BE PHYSICALLY FIT.
2. If you have a sore throat, cold or breathing problems, do not hike beyond 3,000masl
3. Children under 10 years of age are not allowed above 3,000masl.
4. If you have heart or lung problems do not attempt to hike at all without consulting your doctor.
5. Allow plenty of time for the body to acclimatize by ascending SLOWLY.
6. Do not push yourself to go if your body is exhausted or if you have extreme mountain sickness.
7. Drink 4-5 liters of fluid each day, water is best but fruit juices are good supplement.
8. If symptoms of altitude mountain sickness persist, please descend immediately and seek medical treatment. Rescue team is on stand-by to render such services at Kibo, Horombo and Marangu headquarters.
9. Please do not litter on the trail. Pack all your trash and leave the park as clean as you found it.

Mt. Kilimanjaro Machame route Hike Preparation (before)

Mt. Kilimanjaro Machame route Hike Preparation (after)


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