Machame Route

Machame Route, in recent years, has become the most popular trekking route for Kilimanjaro Summit. The route is known for its scenic beauty and provides incredible views and varying sceneries to hikers on the trail. Machame route is considered to be arduous, difficult, challenging but still, the success rate of this route is higher than the Mangaru route. The main reason for the high success rate is due to the high acclimatisation time.

The trail on Machame Route commences on the southern side of Mt. Kilimanjaro, which then follows through the rainforest to Shira Plateau, then route turns east wars and transverses underneath Southern circuit before summiting from Barafu camp. The descent is made the Mweka route.

Trekking Mt. Kilimanjaro: 7 Days Machame Route

Duration: 7 Days
Total hiking distance: About 100 km

This is the most beautiful route up Kilimanjaro. All your equip ment and supplies are ported and a cook will prepare all of your meals. The Machame route offers strictly tent camping. For this reason the Machame route (also referred to as the “Whiskey route”) is better suited to the slightly more advent urous hiker. This is a more scenic route than Marangu. From late afternoon sunsets at Shira, to the misty protrusions of Kibo at the great Barranco Wall, the Machame route offers the adventurous hiker a stunning scenic “slide show” over 7 days. The Machame route is normally completed in a minimum of 6 days, but some chose to take 7 days. There is an added benefit to taking an extra day, as you are afforded the most valuable commodity on the mountain – acclimation. The Machame route takes you high to Lava Tower (4630m) on the day 3 and brings you down by nearly 700m for an overnight at Barranco camp (3950m). This is the secret to successful acclimation.

Day 0 arrival picked up and transferred to the hotel here in Arusha for dinner and overnight {bed and breakfast included}

DAY 1 – Machame Gate (1490m) – Machame camp (2980m)

Hiking time: 7 hours
Distance: About 18 km
Habitat: Montane forest

Your day starts early with a briefing from the tour organizer and the guides  followed by 70-minute drive from Your Hotel in Moshi (910m) to the Machame village (1490m). The guides and porters prepare and pack the supplies and your equipment in the village. You will receive a lunch pack and you can also buy water in the village. Depending on the condition of the road, it is possible to drive from the village to the Machame gate, but if not, the muddy 1 km walk will take about 30minutes to complete. After registering at the gate office, you start your ascent and enter the rain forest almost immediately. There is a strong possibility of rain in the forest, which will transform the trail into a very foggy, muddy and slippery experience. You will have a welcome lunch stop about half way and will reach the Machame camping area in the late afternoon. Your porters (arriving at the camp site long before you) will have your tent set up on your arrival. In the evening the porters will boil drinking and washing water and the cook will prepare dinner, before you retire to your tent for the night. Night temperatures can drop to freezing at this Machame campsite. Be prepared for this.

DAY 2 – Machame camp (2980m) – Shira camp (3840m)

Hiking time: 6 hours
Distance: About 9 km
Habitat: Moorland

You rise early at Machame camp and after breakfast climb an hour or so to the top of the forest. Next there will be a 2 hour gentle uphill gradient through the moorland zone. After a short lunch and rest, you continue up a rocky ridge onto the Shira plateau. By now you will be able to see in an easterly direction. This will be a view of the Western Breach with its stunning glaciers. You are now due west of Kibo and after a short hike you will reach the Shira campsite at 840m. The porters will boil drinking and washing water, and then serve dinner. The night at this exposed camp will be colder than the previous night, with temperatures dropping to well below freezing.

DAY 3 – Shira (3840m) – Lava Tower (4630m) – Barranco camp (3950m)

Hiking time: 7 hours
Distance: About 15 km
Habitat: Semi desert

The route now turns east into a semi desert and rocky landscape surround ing the “Lava Tower” where you reach an altitude of 4630m after a 5 hour walk. Lunch is served in a designated area before ascending the rocky scree path to Lava Tower (4630m). This will be the toughest day so far. It is normally around this point where some climbers will start to feel symptoms of breathlessness, irritability, and headaches. After lunch you descend almost 680m to the Barranco camping. As this camping area is lower than the high altitude of 4600m at Lava Tower, you will experience acclimation benefits. This is a proven method to help climbers adjust to the altitude of Kilimanjaro. The descent to Barranco camp takes about 2 hours and offers great opportunities to take some beautiful photographs of the Western Breach and Breach Wall. The camp is situated in a valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall, which could provide you with a memorable sunset while you wait for the preparation of your dinner and overnight at Barranco Camp site.

Day 5 – Karanga Valley to Barafu Camp

Hiking time: 4-5 hours

After breakfast at the Karanga valley camp, you will walk a ridge and enter a cold desert for about 4 hours and then reach the Barafu Hut. Crews will collect water from the last water stop at Karanga Valley in morning, as there is no water at Barafu camp. Barafu is the Swahili word for “ice” as it is a bleak and inhospitable camping area to spend the night. Totally exposed to the ever-present gales the tents are pitched on a narrow, stony, and dangerous ridge. Make sure that you familiarize yourself with the terrain before dark to avoid any accidents as this is a dangerous area. The summit is now 1345m above you, and you will make the final ascent tonight. Prepare your equipment, ski stick, and thermal clothing for your summit attempt. Make sure and replace the batteries in your headlamp and camera and make sure you have a spare set available as well. To prevent freezing, it would be wise to carry your water in a thermal flask. Go to bed around 7 PM and try to get some good. Try not to sleep more than 5 hours.


Barafu camp (4550m) – Uhuru Peak (5895m) – Mweka Camp (3100m)

Hiking time: 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak – 7-8 hours to descend to Mweka camp
Distance: About 7 km ascent – 23 km descent
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit

You will rise around 11:30 PM and have some hot tea and biscuits before you shuffle off into the night. You will head in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. This 6-hour walk to Stella point is for many climbers the most mentally and physically challenging part of the trip. At Stella Point (5685m) you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you will witness in your lifetime (weather permitting). From Stella Point you will normally encounter snow to Uhuru Peak (2 hour ascent). The time you will spend on the summit will depend on the weather conditions. Do not stop here for too long, as it will be extremely difficult to start again due to cold and fatigue. Enjoy your accomplishment as this is a day to remember for the rest of your life. The walk back to Barafu from the summit will take about 3 hours. Here you will have a well earned but short rest. You will then collect the rest of your gear before heading down to Mweka hut (3100m). This route is not difficult and will take you down the rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually into the forest. The camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Dinner and washing water will be prepared. Drinking water, soft drinks, chocolate, and beer is available from the camp office if you so desire.

DAY 7 – Mweka camp (3100m) – Mweka Gate (1980m)

Hiking time: 3 hours

After Hot breakfast from in Mweka Campsite you will start walking slowly towards the mountain gate the walk takes about 3hours to get to the Mweka campsite where our driver will pick you and transfer you to the Hotel in Arusha.


End of the expedition


Costs cover the following;

  • All the park fees
  • Pickup from the airport in case you’re landing on Kilimanjaro international airport or other parts of Arusha
  • Accommodation one night before the climb
  • Camping fees
  • Meals {breakfast lunch and dinner}
  • Camping facilities tents, table, chairs, mess tent and private portable toilet
  • Rescue fees
  • Guiding fees
  • Porters’ salaries
  • Cook allowances
  • Conservation fees
  • Local government taxes
  • Transfers to and from the mountain gate
  • Clean water daily.

We can also arrange your stay at the beach as a combination with your safari itinerary. Talk to us and let us offer you the best package the suites your safaris.

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