Becoming X

Kilimanjaro - Machame route


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Everyone has the capacity to achieve extraordinary things. This unique climb of Kilimanjaro will be the culmination of a personal development journey that will help you challenge your perceived limits and build critical skills. The journey to the roof of Africa will be supporting Becoming X – a charity focused on helping people around the world to build the confidence and skills to realise their full potential.


  • Summit the world’s highest freestanding mountain (5895m, 19,341 ft)
  • Trek through multiple eco-systems on the stunning Machame route
  • Benefit from a unique personal development opportunity, led by two leading experts on adventure and personal challenges
  • Fundraise for ‘Becoming X’ – a charity focused on helping people around the world to build the skills and confidence to realise their full potential
  • You can extend your trip to go on a safari, or relax in nearby Zanzibar

Kilimanjaro climb

At 5,895m (19,341ft), Kilimanjaro stands as the highest freestanding mountain in the world and the tallest peak in Africa (one of the famous ‘seven summits’). Our 10 day itinerary includes 7 days climbing Kilimanjaro via the Machame route, providing wonderful views through the forest as we ascend up to the planets highest plateau, Shira Plateau before we circumnavigate the southern slopes to reach our high camp, Barafu, from where we push to the summit. After climbing through the night during the full moon, we'll watch the sun rise over the African plains from the highest point on the continent. This is a tough challenge, but also an achievable and enjoyable one.

The experience will be enhanced by an opportunity to visit a local school, set up and built by Adventure Alternative, and witness first-hand how your fundraising can help build a future for people in developing countries. 

Adventure Alternative has been running expeditions to Kilimanjaro for over two decades, and with our own company in Tanzania, we have a reputation for integrity and safe, successful trips. Our summit success rate is 95%.

Mount Kilimanjaro glacier

Personal development and preparation

Unique to this climb of Kilimanjaro is the opportunity to participate in a series of pre-departure personal development opportunities – preparing you mentally and physically, not just for Kilimanjaro, but also in helping you realise your full potential. Becoming X founder Paul Gurney and our expedition lead Gavin Bate, we will focus on building skills such as determination, resilience, team working under pressure, leadership and risk taking. The sessions will be delivered over Skype (and in person from London) and are open to all participants around the world.

Paul Gurney - Becoming X founder                            

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Paul is Accenture's Strategy Director, specialising in Sustainability and International Development and to date has:

  • Completed the Fire and Ice Challenge - the two ‘toughest races on earth’ in the same year – a 600km race to the North Pole (see photo) and a 270km race through the Sahara
  • Run 100 miles in 24 hours, climbed 3 of the 7 summits (including Kilimanjaro – twice), driven across 3 continents and independently travelled to ~130 countries
  • Raised $5m for charity through extreme challenge events to date
  • Public speaker, adventurer and passionate about making a difference in the world

Gavin Bate - Expedition lead

Kilimanjaro Summit Smiles

Gavin is the founder and MD of Adventure Alternative and an:

  • International mountain leader with over 25 years of experience and business coach
  • Summited the highest mountains on every continent (including 6 ascents of Everest, some alone and without oxygen)
  • Walked to the North Pole from land
  • Completed a 6-month solo and unsupported walk across the Sahara
  • Summited Kilimanjaro over 50 times
  • Founded and runs ‘Moving mountains’ charity, focused on putting children through school around the world

Becoming X – charity fundraising

Becoming X is a new charity founded on the belief that anyone, regardless of background or societal barriers, can achieve truly extraordinary things. It is focused on equipping people around the world with the skills and confidence to realise their full potential and lead exceptional lives. Run in partnership with Unicef, One Young World and Enactus, Becoming X aims to build practical, life changing skills such as confidence, determination, resilience and leadership. We ask you to fundraise a minimum of £2,500 to take part in the challenge, money which will help achieve five objectives:

  • · To provide school books and education materials for children in developing countries (for just £75, we can help buy 180 school books and pens for a whole school)
  • To help inspire and equip 1,000 student entrepreneurs to build skills at a grass roots level around the world
  • To provide 3 scholarships for highly promising young people from developing countries
  • To build an online repository of inspiring videos showcasing exceptional people and the lessons they have learnt
  • To provide education materials for students at the school in Tanzania you will visit

You will be given encouragement and support throughout and benefit from the experience of a team that has helped over 1,000 people fundraise for international challenge events. Your efforts will directly improve the skills, confidence and opportunities of others.

Sign up

You can sign up using the ‘book now’ button above. We have flexible payments and ask for a £250 deposit to secure your place and balances 4 weeks prior to departure. You'll find various details on the horizontal menu above and on the lower right which should cover any questions you may have especially the 'More Information' section. Do please feel free to call or email us. We will email you a trip info pack and you won't reach a 'sales agent' but a real person who loves and is experienced in the outdoors, and most importantly, has climbed Kilimanjaro several times!

Adventure Alternative –
Becoming X –


Dates & Bookings

Fixed Itineraries
Start Date
End Date
£1bn dollars
£1bn dollars
Start Date
End Date

Route and Itinerary

Mount Kilimanjaro Machame route and itinerary

  • Arrival on day one
  • Briefing and rest on day two
  • Climb period on days three to nine (arriving back in hotel by mid afternoon)
  • Depart for home / onward travel or start a four day/three night safari (Ngorongoro, Tarangire, Manyara - lodge or camping or local hotel)

The entire climb and descent covers about 70 km and the route traverse the mountain. Generally speaking each day will take about 6 hours of walking, and the distance reduces as you go higher. This chart below shows the the altitude profile of the trip which allows for excellent acclimatisation. 

Day           Start Level    Daily High Point    Sleep Level
Day One          1830m        2580m                  2580m
Day Two          2580m        3840m                  3840m
Day Three       3840m        4560m                  3950m
Day Four         3950m        4200m                  3950m
Day Five          3950m        4600m                  4600m
Day Six           4600m        5985m                  3800m
Day Seven      3800m        3800m                  1830m

Kilimanjaro Machame Route map


DateElevationTravel TimeInfo
20th Sept 900m n/a Arrive in to Kilimanjaro airport or if travelling overland arrive into Moshi. This is the start date for the Kilimanjaro climb advertised above. Relax and overnight stay in hotel.
21st  900m n/a Briefing day in Moshi Hotel, meet the AA Tanzania staff and have time for hiring equipment or relaxing by the pool or visit town.
22nd 900m - 1790m - 2580m 5-7 hours, 10 kms Transport to Machame Gate (1 hour 1790m). Registration. Trek to Machame Camp through beautiful montane forest on good path. Camp overnight at the edge of the forest.

2980m - 3840m

5-7 hours, 7 kms Machame Camp to Shira Plateau uphill through thinning forest and onto a huge volcanic plateau. Camping is more exposed here with great views of the summit massif.
24th 3840m - 3950m 5-7 hours, 10 kms Shira Camp to Barranco Camp traversing the mountain over two valleys and skirting the base of the summit massif. High desert environment with amazing rock formations, quite exposed to the weather, dropping into the Barranco Valley right beneath the Western Breach. This day ascends a maximum of 700 metres to Lava Tower where we have lunch and then drops to camp at a similar height as the previous night giving excellent altitude acclimatisation benefits so the net gain is only about 100 metres.
25th 3950m 5hrs, 6km Barranco Camp to Karanga Valley, starting with a scramble over the Barranco Wall and over a further two valleys to get to this open campsite with great views of the Heim Glacier. Another up and down day reaching to 4200m but no net gain in height, which again is good for acclimatisation..
26th 4550m 4hrs, 7km Karanga Valley to Barafu Camp, now heading more directly upwards towards the open rock and colder temperatures. This is the average freezing level on the mountain and Barafu means 'ice'. Camping in amongst the rocks and an early night.
27th 5985m - 2800m 7hrs up, 4 hrs down, 18km Night-time ascent on rock and scree, occasional snow, to the crater rim and the summit. Cold temperatures with windchill. Final slope to the crater rim is steeper and has loose scree. Descend in sunlight to Barafu for early lunch, and then walk to Millennium Camp, normally arriving mid-afternoon.
28th 900m 4-6hrs, 13km Descending through the lush forest to Mweka Gate where you sign out and pick up the summit certificate. Legs will be tired! Meet Castro at the gate for transport back to the hotel, arriving normally at about 2pm. The gate is where tips are handed out and you say goodbye to the mountain staff. A hot shower and an afternoon relaxing before an overnight in the hotel
29th n/a   Either start our 4 day / 3 night safari or depart home.




Becoming X land only trip cost: £1895.00


  • Full ground price for the Machame Route
  • Accommodation in Moshi for 3 nights in the Keys Annexe Hotel (twin, B&B)
  • Jeep or coach transport to the mountain gate from and to Moshi
  • Park fees, camping fees and park rescue fees
  • Park certified guides (ratio of 1:2 or 1:3 depending on number of climbers) and company reps
  • High altitude Guide and Adventure Alternative founder / MD Gavin Bate
  • Porters and cooks, plus equipment and tents for them
  • All camping equipment including sleeping tents with mattresses
  • Expedition administrator, translator and Manager (Castro Capelo)
  • Meals on the mountain - fresh food, 3 meals per day


  • Fundraising for Becoming X, minimum £2500 (we support you all the way with how to do this)
  • International airfare to Kilimanjaro Airport
  • Airport transfers - £10/$15 per person one way
  • Tanzanian Visa - $50 for most passports & $100 for USA citizens, purchased on arrival
  • Vaccinations and malaria tablets
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance
  • Lunch and dinners in Moshi
  • Tips ~ £100 paid in local currency for distribution at exit gate

How do payments work? We try to make payments as easy and manageable for you as possible. We ask for a deposit of £250 on booking (which is included in the advertised trip fee). The balance is then due 4 weeks prior to your trip start date. When you book a trip with us you are automatically given an online account on our secure server. You can sign into your account at anytime to make interim payments or to make one instalment 4 weeks before your trip. It’s totally up to you, you can spread the cost or make one balance payment.

Travel Insurance

We advise you to take out travel insurance as soon as possible to cover potential events that might cause you to cancel your trip.

You need to ensure that you have a policy which covers trekking to 5985m, but it does not need to cover technical climbing. You should bring with you a copy of your policy and ensure your tent mate knows where you keep it. It is also worth bringing a photocopy of your passport and to keep it separate to your own documents just in case you lose your passport.

Local Providers

Local provider for this trip is Adventure Alternative Tanzania. We provide full employment for our subsidiary company alongside excellent rates of pay, equipment, training and career development.


Mount Kilimanjaro Machame route fitness and terrain

This is a trek to climb Kilimanjaro via the Machame route with no technical requirements, but it does offer a mountain experience which includes camping and being outdoors all the time, and walking uphill every day for a week for an average of 5 or 6 hours per day.  Any regular hill walker will find climbing Kilimanjaro within his or her capabilities, but also remember  that you will be sleeping and eating on the mountain too. The cumulative effect will be tiring and you should mentally prepare for a week of sleeping in a tent and living outdoors.

A training programme should include regular hill walking with a small pack of around 10 kgs, or regular visits to the gym for the final two months before departure. Work on strengthening calf and thigh muscles and exercise your cardio-vascular stamina on a step machine or cross trainer, but don't approach it as if you are training for a marathon, and remember it can be dangerous to over train. It's quite a strenuous challenge to climb the mountain and you will be outdoors all of the time, so this will be an expedition designed to build your skills physically and mentally.  

The secret of climbing Mt Kilimanjaro is to go slowly and drink well, eat well and sleep well. A regular, consistent and slow pace will ensure the proper acclimatisation. Statistically the biggest proportion of failure occurs with young, fit males who go too fast and ignore the simple rules. It’s not a race or a competition!

Operate on the principle that if you look after yourself well during the first five days, then the sixth 'summit day’ will be a big challenge but not dangerous. We cannot condone the people who push themselves beyond the bounds of safety and wear the badge of hardship as a medal of honour, perpetuating the image that getting to the summit has an element of masochism to it! “This is just an example of bad mountaineering”, says Director Gavin Bate, “We want people to be clear-headed on the summit, with the strength to come all the way back down again! Drink lots of liquid, eat every meal and go slowly all the way – this is the mantra that my staff will say to you over and over again”.

Type of Terrain

The terrain on Kilimanjaro varies throughout; in a period of seven days, traversing the mountain over 70km, ascending from 2000m to 5895m and back down, you will pass through cultivated farmland, equatorial forest and alpine heath, across a lunar-like volcanic desert and up to a glaciated summit. Climbing Kilimanjaro is not a technical climb and there are no precipitous drops along the way, no rock climbing or specialist equipment needed.

The paths are in good condition and well trodden; some are steeper than others (in particular the Great Barranco Wall is an exciting scramble) and you will most likely meet people all along the way. On summit day the path is mostly screed, which can be loose and unrelenting, especially on the descent when your knees will probably suffer.

Camps used on Mount Kilimanjaro Machame route

Machame and Millennium Camps are on the tree line and have a number of campsites set in small clearings in the forest. You will see a central ranger station and a number of drop-hole latrines. Mobile coverage here and it is quite easy to descend back to the gate if necessary.

Shira Plateau Camp is on the vast Shira plateau (earths highest plateau) which is a volcanic spill-off from the last explosion some 100,000 years ago. Open and exposed and often dusty with smaller, more fragile plants amongst the rocks. Latrines and Ranger huts are around and the area is so huge it is easy to have some privacy. 

Barranco Camp is in a big clearing at the head of the steep valley which drops down into the Umbwe route, with dramatic cliffs around and right below the ice fields of Kibo, a stunning location for a camp.

Karanga Camp is a very open camp on the side of a hillside with great views of the summit massif and the expanse of land beyond the mountain. Many people go direct from Barranco to Barafu, so Karanga is traditionally a bit of half-way stop, but there are still latrines and a Ranger hut here.

Barafu, meaning ‘ice’, is now no longer covered in permanent snow but it is cold and rocky and exposed. People definitely feel the altitude here and you can expect snow and sometimes high wind. The camp sites are dotted amongst nooks and crannies in the rocks, perched on a sort of ridge.

Experience needed for Mount Kilimanjaro Machame route

Climbing Kilimanjaro is a non-technical trek but it does offer a full mountaineering experience. Experience in hill walking is a benefit but not absolutely necessary, since this is a supported climb. You will have however be outdoors constantly and living in tents so any sort of experience with camping will be useful.

It is not necessary to have any experience of high altitude to climb Kilimanjaro, and there is nowhere in the United Kingdom or Ireland to possibly train for it unless you go to an altitude centre. The important factor will be to go slowly and allow your metabolism to adapt to the lower air pressure and the thinner air.


The staff will carry your main bag up to a maximum weight of 15 kgs plus all the tents, kitchen equipment, food, fuel, tables and chairs. They will cater for all the group needs, providing excellent meals and putting up the tents. The guides will also brief you daily on the climb.

Castro Capelo is our operations manager in Moshi and Director of Adventure Alternative Tanzania. He organises all the staff, equipment, permits and hotel arrangements. You will have his telephone number, or the staff at the hotel desk can call him for you. He is organiser, translator, problem-solver, advisor and the main link between you and the UK office. He talks to the guides every day on the mountain and can make arrangements while you are up high.

You also have continued support from the main office in Northern Ireland. Should a problem arise of significant proportion then you only need to call us.

Kit List

Mount Kilimanjaro Machame route kit list

  • Waterproof day sack of about 30 -40 litres for carrying your daily needs
  • Strong, waterproof duffle bag or rucksack for your main gear
  • Sleeping bag rated down to -10° Celsius or more if you get cold easily
  • Sturdy hiking boots with ankle support, and a sole that does not bend too easily. Gore-Tex lined fabric boots are fine but not quite as warm as leather. Gaiters are advised also.
  • Waterproof windbreaker and trousers, preferably breathable, with a hood and big enough to accommodate several layers beneath
  • Down jacket or a heavy duty fleece for warmth especially on summit night
  • Thermal underwear or long johns for summit night
  • Balaclava or insulated warm hat, insulated gloves or mittens and thermal inner gloves
  • Sun hat, sun lotion, SPF lip screen and sunglasses
  • Trekking clothes - trousers and shorts, shirts and T-shirts, jumper or midlayer fleece, underwear and several pairs of hiking socks, trainers or sandals
  • Water bottle and/or camelback (take a protective cover for the mouthpiece) and water purification tablets (optional, iodine-based is fine)
  • Head torch with spare batteries
  • Trekking poles (especially useful for coming down from the summit)
  • Personal wash kit - include a nail brush, moisturising cream, a small towel, tweezers, soap, nail clippers and wet wipes
  • Variety of waterproof bags - for dirty clothes, sleeping bag and things to keep dry
  • Personal first aid kit including aspirin, Nurofen, plasters, Germolene, Immodium, strepsils and prescription medicines for possible gastric problems
  • Passport, insurance papers, spending money, air tickets, 2 pin (round) plug adaptor, spare batteries for digital cameras, reading books, diary, pen


You can rent equipment from us when you book or in Moshi where we a large store of equipment including good sleeping bags.

Why Us

  • We are a Mountain company run by mountaineers! From your first call or email you'll get good honest advice from someone who is experienced in the outdoors and has climbed Kilimanjaro. 

  • We are a respected and multi award winning company.

  • We have proper itineraries which are designed to give you the very best chances of summiting safely whilst enjoying the experience and a 95% success rate to the summit.

  • Guided by by Gavin Bate, Company Director and Mountaineer

  • We do not outsource our trips to the cheapest local operator. Instead we run our own company in Tanzania and invest in our staff directly. We provide excellent equipment and a team of cooks which simply spoil you!

  • We support sustainable development in Tanzania and Kenya in a real way.

Extra Info

More Information about Mount Kilimanjaro Machame route


The entire climb and descent covers just over 100km and the routes traverse the mountain, except for the Marangu which requires ascent and descent on the same path. Generally speaking each day will take about 5 hours of walking, and the distance reduces as you go higher.

To put the summit day into context, it is pretty much the same as climbing Ben Nevis in one day from a starting altitude of 4200 metres.


Day           Start Level    Daily High Point    Sleep Level
Day One          1830m        2700m                  2700m
Day Two          2700m        3840m                  3840m
Day Three       3840m        4560m                  3950m
Day Four         3950m        4200m                  3950m
Day Five          3950m        4600m                  4600m
Day Six           4600m        5985m                  3800m
Day Seven      3800m        3800m                  1830m

Dominating the landscape like no other mountain, both iconic and instantly recognisable, Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is the highest peak in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world. At 5895 metres, to climb Kilimanjaro is a great challenge, not to be underestimated, but entirely feasible for the hill walker looking to combine a high mountain adventure with going to Africa.

Kilimanjaro translates to “mountain of the springs” and its unique position just below the equator offers an opportunity to experience five different habitats from bottom to top, which makes an ascent of the mountain undeniably special. In a matter of days you’ll climb Kilimanjaro from the equator to what feels like the Arctic, moving through grasslands, tropical rainforest, alpine meadows, moorlands and desert uplands to snow and ice.

The Lemosho Route is a camping trip for an average group size of 6 (we can take up to a maximum of 30 people but this is usually only for organised private groups; most team sizes are 6 - 8 people) using top quality mountain tents, comfortable mattresses, and qualified guides who work with us full time, porters who carry the bags and equipment, and cooks who provide fresh, tasty food every day. The ratio of guide:climber is 1:3 or higher depending on group numbers.

From the start you will have experienced people to talk to in the office, who have all climbed Kilimanjaro before and can give an honest appraisal of the climb. This personal service extends to Tanzania where the MD of Adventure Alternative Tanzania, Castro and high altitude guide and Adventure Alternative MD. Gavin Bate, will give a team briefing and be on hand all the time. They will introduce you to the other guides who all speak good English and understand that this is more than a holiday, it is a personal dream to summit the roof of Africa.




Choose a scheduled date or ask about private dates and itineraries. 
The minimum deposit is £100 with the balance in instalments and final payment six weeks before travel. 

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Key Information
  • Duration 10 days
  • Numbers ~ 30
  • Altitude 5895m
  • Distance 70km
  • Challenge Moderate
  • Comfort Camping
  • Fundraising Target £2500