Super excited about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro we arrived at Kilimanjaro Airport. It took about an hour to get a visa at the airport. Some members in our group did not need a visa, therefore you would want to check the list of countries that require a visa beforehand as you can save $100.
We found our driver holding a sign with the name of our trekking company outside the arrival hall. He took us directly to our hotel in Moshi and the drive took about an hour.
Here is a short video I made from Kilimanjaro Day 1
Acclimatizing For Kilimanjaro Trek
We stayed at a hotel in Moshi for two nights to acclimatize before our trek. Moshi is at about 2,800 meters (9,000 feet), therefore if you live at sea level, like me, then Moshi is at a great level to start acclimatizing.
I think most of the companies that take people to hike Kilimanjaro include 2 days to acclimatize. It’s essential for the body to adapt since we are about to climb the highest free-standing mountain in the world at almost 6,000 meters (almost 20,000 feet)! I had never been anything close to this high up before and was pretty excited about going on this adventure.
Kilimanjaro Day 1 – Machame Route
The day we were to start our trek we drove a couple of hours on a minibus from our hotel to get to Machame Gate. Since we would be going on the Machame Route, we would start from Machame Gate on our journey to the top of Kilimanjaro.
Clothing For Kilimanjaro Day 1
This first day we walked through the rainforest for about 5 hours (11km) to get to Machame Camp. This campsite is at elevation 2,835 meters (9,000 feet). It was drizzling when we started, but it was only at the beginning of the trek.
Here is my Climbing Kilimanjaro Gear List.
We purchased a plastic cover at the Machame Gate for our backpacks to protect against the rain should it start to pour down. I wore my waterproof jacket in the beginning but took it off after a while when it stopped drizzling. I had a beanie on my head to stay warm and then gators on my feet which I highly recommend since it can get muddy.
Footwear For Kilimanjaro Day 1
When it comes to footwear, I brought two types of hiking shoes. A low-top and a high-top hiking boot. For this walk, I could have worn my low-top hiking shoes, but I decided to go with my high-top boots. Some of the days (actually most of the days) you can wear a low top hiking shoe, but I don’t recommend it. The day you absolutely need high tops hiking boots is on summit day (Day 6).
I wore my low-top boots during our time at the campsite but used my high-top boots every day for the trek. I did this because I did not want to roll my ankle. Some parts of the trek have nice paths that are even and easy to walk on. But then some parts have large rocks, and that is when you have to be more careful.
Kilimanjaro Day 1 Rainforest
I brought a poncho and had it in my backpack since I did not bring waterproof rain pants. I never used the poncho during the trek, but glad I brought it since others have experiences lots of rain while going through the rainforest.
I have a friend that also went in July a few years ago, and he said it rained the first 3 days of their trek. It’s therefore important to have either a poncho, or pants and a jacket that are waterproof. Since it was just drizzling, I just wore my regular hiking pants, gators, jacket and the plastic to cover my backpack.
Green & Beautiful
The rainforest starts at about 800 meters (2,600 feet) and goes to around 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) in elevation. It’s quite beautiful and green in this part. Since Machame Camp is at 2,800 meters (9,100 feet), we mainly stayed in the rainforest the first day.
Mosquitoes Climbing Kilimanjaro
We didn’t take anything for malaria but did spray ourselves down quite a lot with the mosquito repellent. I hardly saw any mosquitoes, and they say it’s not really a problem anymore. We were concerned about malaria but knew mosquitoes would only be around the first day during the trek, and the first two days at the hotel.
Mosquitoes can’t survive at the campsite we reached on Day 1 and the rest of the days. We took the chance and didn’t take any medication to prevent getting malaria. Some people in our group did take it; therefore it’s best you consult with your doctor about it.
Terrain On Kilimanjaro Day 1
The most intense part of the first day was the last 20 minutes of the trek. It was more uphill than any other parts of that day to get up to Machame Camp. When we arrived, our tents were already set up for us to go inside and rest.
As you can see in the pictures, the path is easy to walk on. I found that most of the terrain each day had a clear path, though some places were much tougher than I expected. Even after watching videos on YouTube and reading other blogs about the terrain, Barranco Wall was much steeper than I expected!
Machame Camp has a bathroom or a wooden building around a hole in the floor. There are also portable toilets that are brought to the camp, therefore you have a couple of options. I have written more about the toilets on this post about Kilimanjaro Day 2.
When you arrive at Machame Camp and when the sun has set, the first thing I would recommend you do at night is to look up at the sky. It’s just so beautiful! Stars everywhere!