The Mweka Route on Mount Kilimanjaro is on the south side of the mountain, like Umbwe, and is now primarily used for descending. However, seasoned hikers occasionally attempt to take on Mount Kilimanjaro via this path as well. It is the most direct route for individuals coming off the summit on the Lemosho or Machame routes who use Barafu Camp as their final staging site for the summit.
After climbing the uhuru peak via the Lemosho, Machame, Umbwe, or Shira Routes you can typically descended the mountain via this route. The high-level Kibo South Circuit trek beneath the Southern Icefields connects these routes to the Barafu-Mweka Route. One of the more beautiful hikes on Kilimanjaro is this crossing. Even after a decent break, the descent from Kibo to the Mweka Huts is quite strenuous after coming down from Uhuru Point to Barafu Camp. This phase can be skipped if you want to spend the night in the Millennium Camp. Direct and quick descent of the mountain provides scant views of the southern glaciers.
The trail is steep and occasionally slippery after the roadhead. It is necessary to carry water above the Mweka Huts. The Barafu Hut occasionally needs to travel a long distance in order to find snow or ice for water. Most people find choosing a course to be difficult. The route’s landscape, difficulty, traffic, and altitude acclimation features should all be taken into account. Mobile tents are the only kind of lodging for the ascent and descent. This route is harder than the Marangu Route and intended for hikers who are more daring.
The challenging Barranco Wall must be scaled on the fourth day of the Machame/Mweka Route, also known as the Smart Route. The nearly 300-meter climb is actually much easier than it seems, and most climbers manage to scale the wall without too much difficulty. The trail levels off after the wall before dropping suddenly into the Karanga Valley. The path ascends once more as it follows the Karanga Valley to the fourth campsite, known as Barafu Camp. It is essential that climbers become familiar with the structure of the campsite before dusk because Barafu is perched on a rocky outcrop just at the mountain’s edge. This will make sure they can avoid getting lost and hurting themselves in the dark on the jagged ridges.
The fifth day’s penultimate stretch of the Machame Trail starts about midnight. Climbers will be rewarded for continuing upward through the pitch-black ice when they see the African sun rising to meet them from behind Stella Point. The last ascent to Uhuru Peak takes around three-quarters of an hour from there. Even for the most experienced climbers, the final few meters are physically taxing and a huge test of willpower despite being technically straightforward. However, most that succeed claim that the view of all of Africa spread out beneath one’s feet is well worth the effort put out during the ascent.
Descending the Mweka route
It will be time to start the descent after a short while above the Roof of Africa. The Machame Route is sometimes known as the Machame-Mweka Combination Route because, unlike on the Marangu Trail, the route down the mountain in this case takes a different route from the one on the ascent. By the time hikers reach Mweka Camp, which is a good 2795 meters below Uhuru, they should be feeling quite worn out and a little shaky in the knees.
After a restful night’s sleep, the journey’s last descent will start. Climbers will return through Kili’s canopy of trees before arriving at the Mweka Park Gate around noon. They will then travel to their accommodation in a nearby town, such as Kibo, Moshi, Rongai, Marangu, or Arusha.
The Mweka is arguably the shortest path to and from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, which is a big reason why it is almost exclusively used for descent because the ascent would be extremely difficult and bad for acclimatization. You must be well-prepared for the stunning and exciting descent of Africa’s highest peak, which is lengthy (more than 4,000m).
You will travel through a variety of ecosystems, such as the rock and ice below the summit craters, cliffs, and glaciers; the gloomy, craggy alpine desert amid the remnants of lava flows; the sparsely beautiful scrubby moorland; the gorgeous, damp giant heather festooned with trailing lichens; and the dense cloud forest full of competing trees, such as podocarpus, fig, hagenia etc. Eagles and buzzards will soar above, but larger wildlife is rare, unlike on the nearby Mount Meru. You may observe colobus and blue monkeys, as well as sunbirds, hornbills, and turacos, although smaller antelope and leopards are rare to see. At higher altitudes, you might also encounter chameleons and the cute Kilimanjaro shrew.
In ascending order:
From savagely stunning rock and scree through delightful moorland to the wonderful gigantic heather zone, the route from Stella Point to Barafu Hut to Millennium Camp is breathtaking. Approximately 1,800 meters (6,000 feet) of fairly constant decline.
An amazingly beautiful time in the big heather zone, probably made even more so by the bright early light, and a length along the ridge of an old lava sill are found on the way to Mweka camp and at the Mweka gate. After leaving the Mweka camp, one enters the lovely, intriguing cloud forests and, subsequently, rain forests. Before it becomes milder farther down, there is a 2,300m (7,800ft) descent that is primarily steep and relentless on wet stairs and pebbles.