Today was one of the longest days of the trip. We got up at 6:00 A.M. and after an early breakfast we traveled by Land Cruiser from our Arusha hotel for about two hours to the Machame Gate located at the southern base of the mountain and the entrance to Kilimanjaro National Park. It is here where we will officially start our climb to the Summit of Uhuru Peak.
There are seven routes to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. We will be going up the “Machame” route. It is not the easiest route but it offers the best way to acclimatize to the high altitude, and it is by far the most scenic albeit steeper route up to the Summit.
After meeting our Tanzanian staff and porters, we officially checked in at the Machame Gate of the National Park, buckled our gaiters, took out our trekking poles and started our 7 miles/11km trek to Machame Camp. The trail took us through the muddy rain forest up a ridge passing through coffee fields, various ferns and wild flowers. We ascended from an altitude of 1,640m/5,380ft at the Machame gate to 2,850m/9,350ft at Machame Camp (Camp 1). It was a beautiful day and we made great time getting to our destination in 6.5 hours.
We unpacked, settled into our tents and had a nice dinner before calling it a night. Tomorrow is another early 6:00AM start as we plan on moving up to Shira Camp (Camp 2) at an altitude of 3,810m/12,500ft.
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