Kilimanjaro 5895m, Machame trek
Links: Overview / Rongai route / Lemosho route / Mountain focus / Safari extensions
View of the southern icefields of Kilimanjaro from the Karanga camp at 3961m
Course overview
Kilimanjaro is is the “Seventh Summit” of Africa, and the highest free standing in the world. At nearly 6000m high, it is a high altitude ascent, though essentially a non technical one.
As we run expeditions to high altitude peaks, such as Aconcagua and Mount Elbrus, we are very aware of the importance of acclimatisation, and so this itinerary has been carefully designed in order to prepare you as well as possible.
At the equator the seasons are different, and it is key to avoid the rainy seasons of mid-October to mid-December, and April to June. During these months there is often too much snow on the upper mountain. Our scheduled dates and private expeditions are all operated outside the rainy seasons.
This expedition will appeal to those who really want to explore this region and who wish to experience the thrill of high altitude climbing for the first time. This especially appeals to those with aspirations of higher peaks such as Aconcagua or Denali, who are either working towards ascents of the "Seven Summits" (the highest peak on each of the continents), or those who only have Alpine mountaineering or trekking experience.
We offer two options for our Kilimanjaro, either a standard trip from Saturday to the following Sunday (9 days), or you have the option of extending the trip by four days to take in the ascent of Mount Meru beforehand.
Many companies state that they are 'experts' in a mountain. We truly are, as every e-mail you send, or phone call you make to a course advisor, will be answered by someone who have actually climbed the mountain, so can genuinely give expert advice.
Dates not suit?: For groups of just two or more, we will run bespoke trips on any dates outside the rainy seasons for exactly the same price as the standard courses. This offers exceptional value for money for those seeking a more exclusive experience as a couple or in a small group of friends.
Dates: these are listed in the column on the right, and they show the live availability from our secure online booking system. When you book online, you receive immediate confirmation, your Kilimanjaro trip dossier, course specific kit list and invoice.
At the Barancco camp at 3950m
View into the summit crater At the summit with the sunrise

What route do we use on Kilimanjaro, and why?

Our most popular route on Kilimanjaro is use the Machame Route for ascent, and the Mweke Route for descent. There are many reasons for this, perhaps none greater than the acclimatisation potential in that you ascend to around 4000m, then spend three days traversing around the mountain at this altitude before ascending to the final camp at 4600m. This means you are very well acclimatised to move to the top camp just before the summit day. Clearly this works as we have had a 95% success rate on the mountain since 2001. The route also allows an extra day on the mountain to prepare you, compared to itineraries from many other operators. We avoid the 'normal' Marangu Route, often called the "Coca-Cola" Route, as it gains height every single day, not allowing your body any time to acclimatise. For the descent the Mweka Route offers the quickest method of losing height, which is an essential method of avoiding potential altitude sickness issues that may affect people after their summit bid. The route also descends through some amazing jungle scenary on the way to the park gate, and it is highly likely that you will see Blue and Gibbon monkeys swinging through the trees.
September 2006 expedition leaders, Sarah and Kingsley, on the summit.
Mount Meru pre-Kilimanjaro Expedition Itinerary
Tue Fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport, where typically the KLM flight arrives around 19:00. Transfer to the hotel in Moshi, evening meal, expedition briefing, and equipment queries. Night in hotel.
Wed Drive 2½ hours to park gate and ascend to Mirikamba Hut 2520m. This trek through the jungle forests takes c.3 hours. Night in the dormitory style accommodation in the hut, or in a tent at the camp.
Thu Trek up to the Saddle 3566m on Mount Meru, and arrive at Saddle Hut after c.4½ hours. After lunch do an acclimatisation trek to Little Meru 3820m. Return to the Saddle Hut for the night in the hut or camp.
Fri Very early start to reach Rhino Point 3800m after c.1 hour, then after c.6 or 7 hours, you reach the summit 4556m on the crater rim. After summit celebrations, you descend to Mirikamba Hut for the night.
Sat Today it is an easy walk back to the park gate, and the return drive to Moshi for the night, where you meet the other group members, and start the itinerary below from the Sunday. Night in Moshi hotel.
Standard Kilimanjaro Expedition Itinerary
Sat Fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport, where typically the KLM flight arrives around 19:00. Transfer to the hotel in Moshi, evening meal, expedition briefing, and equipment queries. Night in hotel.
Sun Drive to Machame gate 1800m, obtain permits, than trek to Machame camp through rainforests. Lunch boxes are provided for the trek which takes c.4 hours. Night in Machame camp 3100m.
Mon Trek from Machame camp up to the Shira camp. Trek involves some easy rough ground, and takes c.3 hours. Lunch at camp, then a acclimatisation walk to 4000m. Night in Shira camp 3860m.
Tue Today you trek up to the spectacular Lava Tower at 4600m, then descend into the Barancco valley, famed for its Giant Lobellea trees. Trek takes c.6 hours. Night in Barancco camp 3950m.
Wed First you start with the long scramble up to the Karanga plateau. This is easy but exciting scrambling. Today's trek takes c.3 hours. Acclimatisation trek up to 4200m. Night in Karanga camp 3961m.
Thu Short hike to the Barafu camp, followed by a hot lunch, then an acclimatisation trek up to 4900m. Sleep in the afternoon, then early dinner at around 17:00. Night in the Barafu camp 4600m.
Fri Get up at midnight for summit bid. Most of the ascent is in the dark, by headlight, and takes c.6 hours. You normally reach the summit 5895m for sunrise. Descend to Mweka camp 3100m.
Sat Final trek down to Mweka gate, which takes c.3 hours. From the gate you check out of the park, and are driven to the hotel in Moshi. In the evening there's a celebratory meal in the hotel.
Sun Option of morning safari (fees apply) before your airport transfer. The KLM flight usually leaves in the late afternoon, arriving back in the UK on Monday around 06:00, so you could go to work!
ITINERARY NOTES: Where possible we follow the itineraries, but as mountaineering is always weather and conditions dependant, we are sometimes forced to alter the plans. If this is the case, a suitable different route will be attempted, and you will be informed at the first suitable opportunity. Please use this outline course itinerary as a guide to the style of expedition, with good conditions, as it will not necessarily be an exact blueprint for the exact routes and schedule that you will follow on the expedition.
Silhouettes of the group at the summit sign (left of picture), with headlights still on at sunrise

Accommodation & upgrades

On your first and last night in Tanzania, you are based in a comfortable hotel in Moshi on a half board basis (evening meal, bed and breakfast). We vary the hotels that we use, but we always try to ensure that you stay in a hotel with a swimming pool and stay in twin rooms. Airport transfers to and from either hotel are included in the expedition price. The two hotel nights are half board, so your evening meal, bed and breakfast is included.
I just wanted to say a big thank you to you, Evance and the Icicle team for the great experience we had climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. The trip could not have gone better, from the initial help with kit, training and preparation to how we were looked after in Tanzania. Evance was superb and from picking us up at the airport he always ensured we were well briefed as to what would be happening each day. On the mountain Evance and his team were incredibly professional, keeping a close eye on us and making sure we were fit for each day. The camps were always well placed and the food was excellent considering how far we were from resupply. The route and days we spent on the mountain meant we felt little if any altitude sickness and on the summit night, when alot of climbers turned back due to the strong winds, he guided us safely to the summit perfectly timed for the sunrise on our fathers 70th birthday. It capped a perfect week. We would definitely recommend Icicle in the future to anyone wanting to climb Kilimanjaro.
Adam, Michael & Jolyon B , Kilimanjaro
Hotel in centre of Moshi Typical room in the Moshi hotel Swimming pool of the Moshi hotel
Course Prices
Kilimanjaro Expedition
7 days guiding, 9 days in total
(Standard Kilimanjaro trip)
£999 (or £1799 with park fees)
Kilimanjaro + Mt Meru
11 days guiding, 13 days in total
(Standard Kili trip plus 4 day Mt Meru ascent)
£1899 (or £2999 with park fees)
Secure online booking system
Standard Course Inclusions: 1) Kilimanjaro guides for daily leading, 2) Icicle rep if a mixed scheduled group (not a bespoke or private group) has ten or more clients, 3) Pre expedition Info Booklet, 4) Equipment discount voucher for in UK, 5) All mountain tent accommodation in Africa on a full board basis, 6) Two nights hotel on a half board basis, 7) Road transport in Africa to national parks and airport transfers, 8) All costs for expedition leaders, local guides and porters, 9) Personal certificate for all those who reach the summit, 10) We provide all communal equipment such as tents and cooking kit (you provide your own clothing, walking boots, and sleeping bag with mat).
Exclusions: 1) Air travel to & from Kilimanjaro International airport, 2) Travel insurance, 3) Bar / restaurant bills & tips, 4) UK and foreign airport taxes, optional trips, souvenirs and tips, 5) Peak permit for Kilimanjaro / Meru parks, 6) Optional day safari on last day, 7) Your personal laundry, telephone calls, and any purchases in mountain huts / hotels / restaurants, 8) Extras before course: personal activities insurance, & excess baggage charges.
Notes: This trip has guaranteed departures for group sizes of 2 people or more. If you are booking alone, please e-mail to confirm availability and numbers before booking the trip or flights to Kilimanjaro. If there is just 1 person looking to travel on a particular date, we can operate the trip, but the price rises. Contact us for details.
Group leaders can go for FREE
If nine people book together, the group organiser (tenth person) goes for FREE. This offer applies to either the Kilimanjaro or Kili+Meru trips. Sounds too good to be true? Well it is as simple as it sounds, and there is no catch. You get the £999 (Kilimanjaro) or £1599 (Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru) completely for free. We only ask that all the booking forms are sent together, and you can take advantage of this amazing offer..
Icicle expedition kit bag for FREE
All those booking on this trip are entitled to a free Icicle expedition kit bag. This tough c.65 litre capacity kit bag is designed for full expedition usage and is made out of durable fabric, and features carry straps. It normally retails at £50. Postage within the UK is included in the prices. If you live overseas, it's not a problem at all. We'll let you know the price for postage. Want a second bag? Order another, click here.
Upgrade options
Flights UK to Kilimanjaro
From £600 (inc. airport taxes)
Icicle is fully bonded with ATOL, and so we are able to offer flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport. This is served by KLM, and flights from the UK are via its main hub at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam. See our ATOL licence, details.
National Park Fees
Valid for 2018
Kilimanjaro c.£800
Mount Meru c.£300
We do not force clients to have these obligatory park fees included in the prices, as they are paid locally in US Dollars, and some clients may benefit from the exchange rates by opting to pay these directly at the park gate(s). Note that we only accept Park Fee upgrades for trips during the current year, to allow for price changes by the Tanzanian National Parks which are made annually.
Current course availability

Course Dates
Kilimanjaro 5895m
  • [ 4 ] 26 Dec 17 - 3 Jan 18
  • [ 4 ] 10 - 18 Feb 2018
  • [ 4 ] 24 Mar - 1 Apr 2018
  • [ 4 ] 28 Jul - 5 Aug 2018
  • [ 3 ] 4 - 12 Aug 2018
  • [ 4 ] 22 - 30 Sep 2018
  • [ 4 ] 20 - 28 Oct 2018
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Price: £999 Book online

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Client feedback


I am now back at work after the trip to Kili with you recently. It was brilliant! All logistics were seamless – Evans and the crew were superb, the food was great, and we all summitted. What could be better!

David Fletcher , Kilimanjaro

Thank you so much for your meticulously organised and operated expedition. Everyone in the group reached the top. Also, your local team was great

Tom Beesley , Kilimanjaro

An unforgettable holiday for all the right reasons. Watching the sun rise across the plains from the summit was amazing. You have a great local team, who love working for you, and looking after us so well

Samantha Budd , Kili & Mt Meru
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Acclimatisation on Kili
Unlike some operators, we avoid the infamous four or five day summit dashes, as this gives you a very low chance of summiting, and a very high risk of mountain sickness.
As you can see from the altitude graphic below, our expeditions spend seven days on the mountain and four days around 4000m before the summit bid.
 
Our acclimatisation programme works. We are very aware of the symptoms and effects of altitude sickness (AMS), and will be briefed on this.
Climate change on Kili
The weather patterns on Kilimanjaro are changing, and the icefields are shrinking. Generally it is not necessary to use an ice axe or crampons on the mountain. The typical weather at present is clear mornings, then an afternoon cloud build up (often with short shower), then the clouds break in the evening and over night. This pattern explains why the day of the summit bid commences at midnight to take advantage of the clear skies.
The summit crater icefields on Kilimanjaro, lit by the sunrise on the summit day
Groups and experience
Our formula is to restrict the group sizes, so that there are a maximum of 10 clients. The small group sizes enable us to run specialist ascents, where the group can bond well, and each expedition member has great access to all the Icicle staff, local guides and porters. On the summit day the guiding ratio is one guide per two clients. This is more intimate than the mass group commercial style expeditions run by some operators, where the individuals needs and speeds cannot be catered for. Although you require no previous mountaineering experience for this expedition, you are advised to be a competant trekker who is familiar with up to six hour days with 1300m height gains. As you will note from the itinerary, this expedition is quite intensive in order to ensure your acclimatisation. Upon booking you will be sent an expedition dossier & training training schedules.
Group photo at the Lava Tower (4600m)
Guides and porters
For every two clients on an expedition, we use one local guide and up to three porters. The porters carry these tents and the sleeping bags, as well as the mess / cook tents and food, so you need not worry about carrying any major loads each day. When you stay in camps on Kilimanjaro, the tents are high quality tents designed for altitude use, such as the Mountain Hardwear Trango series tents. The porters pitch and strike the tents for you each day. At each camp site on the mountain, there are basic toilet facilities. We recommend you carry only a 20 litre bag at most, the size of a typical day sack for hillwalking in the UK. Evans is the Icicle head local guide, and he is ably supported by other guides such as John, McMillan and Rushtal. We ensure that all the guides and porters are suitable fed and clothed, and have forged close links with the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistant Project (KPAP), www.kiliporters.org.
The team of local porters and some of the guides that are used on each expedition
Suggested reading and kit
View full course equipment list, with examples of kit, click here
Any further questions?
A key part of choosing a company is being able to come and talk about your plans with an experienced course advisor face to face. In an increasingly virtual world, we know our clients value speaking to real people, getting open and honest advice. The vast majority of our clients are British, and our office and outdoor store is based in Windermere in the English Lake District.



Get in contact to arrange a meeting, and come in for a coffee to discuss your course in person with a trip advisor. Many people opt for this service, and it is an integral part of what we offer, as we are keen to ensure that you are prepared as possible, and that you select a course that is suitable for you. It makes it easier and more enjoyable for you and us, if you are on the right trip.
 


 
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