The Machame route is a popular one due to the acclimatisation allowed en route – Day 3 we walked up to Lava Camp, around 4600m, and back down to Baranco camp, at 3900m, covering about 10Km in 8 hours.
The going was a bit more undulating, trekking East from the Shira Plateau across the ‘Garden of the Senecios’, navigating the lower alpine moorland. The wind whipped across the landscape making it quite chilly despite the powerful sun. I think we all suffered a little with sun/wind burn by the end of the day.
Our packed lunch was eaten at a very windy Lava Camp, some groups were camping here, whilst our guide also let us know that some people who are suffering from altitude sickness have to spend some time napping and recovering before making their way to Baranco camp. Luckily no-one in our group was feeling any effects from the altitude, and we were very happy to leave the chilly site behind us.
Going down was a nice respite from the uphill, and we were able to pick up the pace a little, and actually it was the first time our group split into two, with some of us powering ahead on the downhill. It was pretty rocky and steep going down so required a lot of concentration to stay on two feet and not on my bum.
With about half an hour to go before reaching camp, we saw some familiar faces walking towards us…it was some of the porters (who nickname themselves G Fighters) coming to grab our bags and walk with us down to camp. My porter, David, was always so full of smiles, chatting in broken English about his studies to become a tour guide (photo below from the previous day.)
Once we arrived into camp, it was all about recovering from the day, enjoying some hot chocolate and popcorn in the mess tent and chilling out for a bit. Our group got on so well together – it was definitely something I was worried about when signing up to go on a group tour on my own, but I really lucked out. We all chatted non-stop from start to finish, making jokes, laughing and talking despite the long, tiring days. I became particularly close with the other girls, Katie and Jaqs, giving us all matching french plaits to cover our greasy mountain hair!
My video from Kilimanjaro is live – would love if you could give it a watch and let me know what you what you think!