Machame Route - Climb Kilimanjaro

Short Overview

Considered to be the most beautiful and scenic of the various routes up Mount Kilimanjaro, the Machame Route is appropriate for more adventurous hikers who wish for a more physically demanding climb than Marangu or Rongai can offer. You can choose to complete this route in either six days or seven days.

Kilimanjaro Trekking: Machame Route
Tourcode: KL08LTZINST
From: Arusha
To: Arusha
Min. number to guarantee tour: N/A
Max number of participants: private safari
Departure day: any day of your choice
Price:
from 1750 USD   (2-3 pax)
From 1590 USD  (4-6 pax)
NOTE : The price listed above are per person

When to visit?
  • All year round
Included in the price
  • All meals on the safari.
  • All Park entrance fees.
  • All prices are quoted in US Dollars.
  • Camping equipment if applicable (tents
  • mattresses
  • sleeping bags
  • pillows
  • table and chairs)
  • Flying Doctors rescue insurance for the time of the tour with Shadows of Africa.
Excluded from the price
  • Any sightseeing
  • excursions and optional activities other than those specified
  • Entry visas
  • International flights
  • Laundry
  • Please
  • read our Terms and Conditions
  • Tips and gratuities to safari crew – recommended: 15-20 USD per day to safari driver
  • 10 – 15 USD per day to safari cook
  • Travel insurance
Itinerary Note
  • Note that for transfer from Nairobi Airport we use Impala Shuttle Service with departures daily at 0800 and 1400 or we can arrange private shuttle or a flight from NBO to JRO

Details of Machame Route – Climb Kilimanjaro – 6 days

The Machame Route is located in the south-western part of the Kilimanjaro National Park. This route is also called “the Whiskey Route” and is considered as the most beautiful and scenic of all of the routes. This route is appropriate for more adventurous hikers as it is harder and physically more demanding than the Marangu route and you will need to be well prepared and fit to do this route. Although this route is not as easy as Marangu route, you will get amazing photo opportunities of Shira and the Barranco Wall. About 25% of climbers choose this route. The accommodation on this route is in tents only. This route can be done in 6 days (5 nights) or 7 days (6 nights). If you choose the 7 days Machame route tour, you will spend your overnight stay on the fourth day at the Karanga camp, whereas at the 6 days Machame route tour you will continue your hike on the fourth day from Karanga camp to Barafu camp.

DAY 1 Start of Machame Route at Machame Gate (1790m) – Machame Camp (3010m)

You will walk the first meters on the way to the first camp on a well-developed forest road. The rain forest is responsible for the wet and humid climate. Right and left of the road you will find the Kilimanjaro Bright red giant ferns and impatiens.
Walking distance: approximately 9 km
Duration: 6-7 hours
Vegetation zone: Ascent in the rainforest zone
On the first day of your Kilimanjaro climb you will be picked up after breakfast from your hotel and transferred to Machame Gate. From Arusha, the journey takes about 2 hours. On the way you get a first glimpse of Tanzanian life. Just after the village Weru Weru you leave the main road and make your way on a small mountain road, past banana plantations to the gate. There all the paperwork is done and your luggage will be distributed to the porters.

Once registered in the official book of TANAPA you can finally start climbing. You will walk the first meters on the way to the first camp on a well-developed forest road. The rain forest is responsible for the wet and humid climate. Right and left of the road you will find the Kilimanjaro Bright red giant ferns and impatiens. On the way enjoy your picnic lunch. Strengthened you will continue your way after lunch. The path gets narrower and steeper winding through the jungle, past the gargantuan trees and ferns. After another hour, the landscape is slowly changing. You enter the moorland zone. After 6 hours of climbing to reach the Machame Camp at an altitude of 3010m.

The porters have already built your tent and welcome you with tea and biscuits. After resting, get a briefing for the next day and enjoy a tasty dinner. With luck, you will experience a beautiful sunset and see the first snow-capped peak of Kibo.

DAY 2 Machame Camp (3010m) – Shira Camp (3845m)

The route begins in the moorland zone. At an altitude of 3200 meters large rock formations obstruct the now only 50 cm wide path. After passing those rocks you will be rewarded with a magnificent view over the Machame Camp and down to Machame Village.

On this day you have only a short stage. Wake up with the first rays of sun to start your day with a good breakfast. Enjoy an incredible view of the summit of Kilimanjaro and start to walk towards Shira Camp. The route begins in the moorland zone. At an altitude of 3200 meters large rock formations obstruct the now only 50 cm wide path.

After passing those rocks you will be rewarded with a magnificent view over the Machame Camp and down to Machame Village. The air is already much thinner and the lunch break is held at an altitude of 3400 meters. After lunch you have the most difficult part of today’s stage. The vegetation is decreasing and the black lava sand is increasing. Again and again, it goes up and down, past the small mountain streams to rocky walls and deep ravines. At an altitude of 3700 meters, the landscape changes again. The Shira Camp is situated at an altitude of 3845 meters in the middle of the Shira Plateau. If you are still fit, ask your guide to go with you to the Shira Cathedral and the Needle and the Shira-Hill. The view of Mount Meru, among other things is more than worthwhile.

The rest of the evening is as the previous day.

DAY 3- Shira Camp (3845m) – Barranco Camp (3960m)

The route is well passable. On Lavatower at an altitude of 4430 meters you have reached your altitude goal for today. It is very quiet up here, so you can hear your own heartbeat and the wind in your ears.
Walking distance: approximately 10 km
Duration: 6-7 hours
Vegetation zone: Ascend in Moorland / alpine desert

After breakfast you start your 3rd stage. First trek south of the Shira / Lemosho route. The path runs through a black lava desert past millions of heavy rocks. Some of them remind us of cairns. The route is well passable. On Lavatower at an altitude of 4430 meters you have reached your altitude goal for today. It is very quiet up here, so you can hear your own heartbeat and the wind in your ears. During the lunch break you can glimpse the snowline above the Lavatower and the temperatures are very close to freezing point. After lunch break move on to Barranco Valley. The path runs along the mountain range over the Kibo Circuit.

Slowly the stonedesert disappears and along the way you find again the typical giants cross herbs, as well as heath and moorland. After about 7 hours you reach your destination. From the Barranco Camp you can see the Great Barranco Wall, the Western Breach of Kibo, the window and the south glacier. In the evening sun occurres a wonderful play of colors. The evening is similar to the evening of yesterday.

DAY 4 – Barranco Camp (3960m) – Barafu camp (4550m)

After breakfast, we leave Barranco and continue on a steep ridge up the Barranco Wall, through the Karanga Valley to the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. We continue up to the Barafu Hut.

Walking distance: approximately 13 km
Duration: 8 hours
Vegetation zone: Alpine Desert
After breakfast, we leave Barranco and continue on a steep ridge up the Barranco Wall, through the Karanga Valley to the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. We continue up to the Barafu Hut. You have completed the South Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Here we make camp with views of the summit in the distance.

DAY 5 Summit Day: Barafu Camp (4640m) – Uhuru Peak (5895m) – Mweka Camp (3080m)

Night ascend to the summit and then descend to Mweka Camp…

Walking distance: approximately 19 km
Duration: 14-16 hours
Vegetation zone: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
Night ascend to the summit and then descend to Mweka Camp. After a short night wake up at midnight and take a small snack and then start for the final part of your ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro. Together with your guide you will step into the freezing cold and silent night. Step by step the path leads steeply up and over boulders to reach the crater rim after 5-6 hours, and thus the Stella Point, at an altitude of 5740m. From here there are only 150 meters left to reach your gaol. Accompanied by the first rays of the day you pass the Rebmann Glacier and move to the Hans Meyer Point. During sunrise occurs an amazing play of light across the ice formations.

Soon you can see the summit sign of Mount Kilimanjaro and then you have actually done it. Congratulations you have reached the highest point of Africa. At an altitude of 5895 meters, you will be rewarded with a fabulous view of the hardships and you can proudly make the typical summit picture.

After a short break, the descent is made along the crater rim back to Stella Point and further down to the Rebmann Glacier. The descent is via the same route as the ascent back to Barafu Camp. There, a hot lunch is waiting for you. After that you will go further down to Mweka Camp. The vegetation is of increasing interest and in the late afternoon you will reach your camp. The rest of the day is to relax and gather strength.

DAY 6 – Descend: Mweka Camp (3080m) – Mweka-Gate (1680m)

After 10 kilometers you will reach the Mweka Gate. Your driver is already there waiting for you and transfers you back to your hotel. At the end of the tour your guide will present to you a more than earned certificate for your Kilimanjaro climb. Transfe

Walking distance: approximately 10 km
Duration: 3-4 hours
Vegetation zone: Descent through moorland and rain forest
Your last day of the Kilimanjaro climb begins with a good breakfast. There is one last souvenir photo of the whole team before your way towards Mweka Gate continues. The route is a well-developed forest road and in the second half it is mainly characterized by rain forest. After 10 kilometers you will reach the Mweka Gate. Your driver is already there waiting for you and transfers you back to your hotel.

At the end of the tour your guide will present to you a more than earned certificate for your Kilimanjaro climb. Transfer back to Arusha. Dinner and overnight at the hotel/lodge, according to the type of accommodation options requested.

Day 1 Transfer from Moshi town to Machame Gate

Transfer from Moshi town to Machame Gate (1490m) – Machame camp (2980m).
Hiking time: 7 hours.
Distance: About 18 km’s.
Habitat: Montane forest.
Elevation change: + 1490 m

Early in the morning the guide of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro will be with you for briefing after breakfast around 9:00 am drive to Machame gate which takes about 40 to 45 minutes. With your picnic lunch climbers will do registering at the gate office, thereafter 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 soggy, 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. Tents and other belonging will be take care by porters and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro guide. Most of the time porters and cook happens to reach to the camping site before you for preparation of meals as well as erection of tents for your accommodation. Sometime weather condition in the night temperatures can already drop to freezing point at Machame campsite.

Day 2 Machame camp (2980m) – Shira campsite (3840m)

Machame camp (2980m) – Shira campsite (3840m).
Hiking time: 6 hours
Distance: About 9 km’s.
Habitat: Moorland.
Elevation change: + 860 m

Early in the morning after breakfast, the day is spent to reach Shira campsite (3840 m) with our picnic lunch. The night at this bare camp will even be colder than the previous night, with temperatures dropping to well below freezing. The trail take us for an hour or so to the top of the forest and then for about two hours at a gentler gradient through the moorland zone. After a picnic lunch and rest, you continue up a rocky ridge onto the Shira plateau. Hiking to this point you will be able to see in an easterly direction, the Western Breach with its spectacular glaciers. You are now due west of Kibo and after a short hike you will reach the Shira campsite.

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

Hiking time: 6 hours
Distance: About 15 km’s
Habitat: Semi desert.
Elevation change: + 790 m, – 680 m
Final Elevation: 3950 m

The route now turns east into a semi desert and rocky landscape surrounding Lava Tower, where you reach an altitude of 4630m after about a four hours walk. Lunch is served in a designated area before ascending the rocky scree path to Lava Tower (4630m). Definitely, the toughest day so far. It is normally around this point, where for the first time, some climbers will start to feel symptoms of breathlessness, irritability and headaches. After lunch you descent again by almost 680m to the Barranco camping area and after reaching the high altitude of 4600m at Lava Tower, the true acclimatization benefit of this day becomes clear. This descent to Barranco camp takes about two 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 should provide you with a memorable sunset while you wait for the preparation of your dinner.

Day 4 Barranco Hut (3950 m) to Karanga Valley Camp (4200 m).

Hiking time: 3 hours
Distance: About 7 km’s
Habitat: Alpine desert
Elevation change: + 250 m

The morning starts with a scramble up the almost vertical Barranco Wall to an altitude of about 4,200m. After lunch the climbers are advised to take a rest at this point. Dinner and overnight at Karanga Valley camp.

Day 5 Karanga Valley (4200 m) to Barafu camp (4600 m).

Karanga Valley (4200 m) to Barafu camp (4600 m).
Hiking time: 3 hours
Distance: About 6 km’s
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped.
Elevation change: + 400 m

From here there is no water, so take care to stock them for there is no water at Barafu Hut. It is recommended that the climbers must familiarize with the camp before dark because of this camp is situated on an exposed and dangerous ridge. Dinner and overnight at Barafu camp.

Day 6 SUMMIT ATTEMPT, Barafu camp (4550m) – Uhuru Peak (5895m) – Mweka (3100m)


Hiking time:
 6 hours to reach Uhuru Peak.
5 – 7 hours to descend to Mweka.
Distance: About 7 km’s ascent – 23 km’s descent.
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit.
Elevation change: + 1345 m, – 2795 m
Final Elevation: 3100 m

You will wake up around 2330hrs, and after some tea and biscuits you start climbing to Uhuru peak 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 walks to Stella point is for many climbers, mentally and physically the most challenging on the route. At Stella Point (5685m) you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see (weather permitting). From Stella Point you will normally encounter snow all the way on your 2-hour ascent to Uhuru Peak. 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 and a day to remember for the rest of your life. The walk back to Barafu from the summit, takes about 3 hours. Here you will have a well earned but short rest and collect the rest of your gear, before heading down to Mweka hut (3100m). The 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.

Day 7 Mweka camp (3100m) – Mweka Gate (1980m).

Hiking time: 4 hours.
Distance: About 15 km’s
Habitat: Forest
Elevation change: – 1120 m

After an early and well-deserved breakfast, it is a short 3-hour and scenic hike back to the Park gate. At Mweka gate you sign your name and details in a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Those climbers who reached Stella Point (5685m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m) receive gold certificates. From the Mweka Gate you will continue down into the Mweka village, normally a muddy 3 km (1 hour) hike. At the Mweka Gate, meet Mount Kilimanjaro National Park Officials gives you the Certificate of Achievement. You now drive back to Moshi for a long over due hot shower.

Machame Route Climb Kilimanjaro 6 Days
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Itinerary in Brief

DAY 1 Start of Machame Route at Machame Gate (1790m) – Machame Camp (3010m)

DAY 2 Machame Camp (3010m) – Shira Camp (3845m)

DAY 3- Shira Camp (3845m) – Barranco Camp (3960m)

DAY 4 – Barranco Camp (3960m) – Barafu camp (4550m)

DAY 5 Summit Day: Barafu Camp (4640m) – Uhuru Peak (5895m) – Mweka Camp (3080m)

DAY 6 – Descend: Mweka Camp (3080m) – Mweka-Gate (1680m)