Machame Route

It’s A Scenic Challenge

If you are prepared for a steep climbing challenge then Machame Route with its scenic vistas and impressive habitats will make it a happy adventure for you. En route to the summit, you will cover a host of ecosystems from the tropical jungle, to mountain heath, alpine and finally apex or arctic.

Much-Trafficked Route

But if you are looking for those moments of solitude spent in reflection- don’t get your hopes high! As the favourite of budgeted trekkers, it attracts a lot of traffic. So you will always have a fair number of trekkers accompanying you.

Requires Good All Round Fitness

On Kilimanjaro Machame Route, you can get away with a lack of technical skills but not with poor fitness levels. Ensure decent fitness levels before beginning your ascent. The long ardours treks interspersed with steep ascents and descents will exact a toll of energy- so a little trekking experience always helps.

Cornucopia Of Stunning Vistas

Watch the trees being replaced by low bush as you Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to the rim of the Shira Plateau through senecios and lobelias.  Feel the strains of altitude as you push ahead applying the principles of climb high/sleep low from Barranco to Karanga to Barafu on the southern circuit to the eventual peak at Uhuru – exposed to some breathtaking natural sceneries making up for a tough days trekking.

Summiting to the top of Kilimanjaro via Machame Route is accessible with the information of Best Time To Climb Mount Kilimanjaro and Things To Know Before Climbing Kilimanjaro.

Want to raise that toast at the end of your Machame Route trek? Lifetime Safaris will guide to the dizzy heights.

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 – Machame Gate (1790m) – Machame Camp (3010m)

The first few meters of this trail will be spent walking on well laid out forest road to the forest camp. The habitat on this section of the trek constitutes dense rainforests so you will feel the humidity and the effects of precipitation. On either side of the road, you will see giant red ferns and impatiens.

Walking distance: approximately 9 km
Duration: 6-7 hours
Vegetation zone: Ascent in the rainforest zone

After your breakfast, you will be picked up from the hotel and driven to the Machame Gate. It’s a two-hour journey to the Gate and on way, you will see vignettes of local Tanzanian life. Once you reach the village Weru Weru you will make a break for a small mountain trail past banana plantations leaving the main road behind. At the Machame Gate, you will finish your the paperwork and registration formalities in the official book of TANAPA and have your luggage distributed to the porters before you start your climb.

The first few meters of this trail will be spent walking on the well-laid forest road to the forest camp. The habitat on this section of the trek is through dense rainforests so you will feel the humidity and the effects of precipitation. On either side of the road, you will see red giant ferns and impatiens. Along the way, you will have a brief halt for lunch. The trek after lunch will be on a steep narrow ridge. As you continue ascending you can see the rainforests giving way to heather moorland and after a short hike later you reach the Machame Camp at an altitude of 3010m.

The porters would have reached the place in advance to set up the tent. After some tea and biscuits, you can settle down and plan for the next day. If the conditions are right you can enjoy the evening views of Kibo before having your dinner and turning in.

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

You will wake up with the morning sun and enjoy a good breakfast before starting your ascent at the heather moorland zone at an altitude of 3200 meters on narrow trails laden with huge rocks formations. The trek towards the Shira camp will be a shorter one but challenging as you will be required to negotiate certain steep sections. At this height, the air is already rarified and after arriving at a rocky outcrop you will have a lunch break at 3400 meters. Post lunch awaits the difficult part of the trek which includes steep walls and deep gorges, many ascents and descents and changes of habitat with sparse vegetation giving way to black lava to reach the Shira camp which is located in the middle of the Shira Plateau at an altitude of 3845 meters. If you have some energy and adventure pending in you then have your guide accompany you to the  Shira Cathedral, and the Needle and the Shira-Hill. The views of  Mount Meru and Kibo from Shira camp are great.

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 will leave your camp and embark on a hike to Kibo. The hike on the alpine deserts rises gently and a steady trek later you will reach Lava Tower perched at an altitude of 4430 meters. It’s a desolate and barren place up there and you can feel the wind rustling in your ears. As you take a break for lunch pan out your eyes and explore the magnificent snowlines above the Lava Tower. Post lunch you will continue your hike to Barranco Valley only to descent south to Barranco Camp through the impressive Senecio forests. From here you can catch glimpses of the Barranco Wall and the Western Breach. It’s a day which will make you feel the effects of high altitude so you might feel some dizziness or headaches, but its normal. Rest and hydrate well in the wonderful views of the evening sunset.

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

Today we will tackle the intimidating Barranco Wall. After breakfast, we will begin our ascent of the steep Barranco Wall, which will be less climbing and more a scramble on all fours and then make a descent into Karanga Valley. From Karanga valley, we head to the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail and continuing a steady ascent we reach the Barafu Hut.

Walking distance: approximately 13 km
Duration: 8 hours
Vegetation zone: Alpine Desert

Today we will tackle the intimidating Barranco Wall. After breakfast, we will begin our ascent of the steep Barranco Wall, which will be less climbing and more a scramble on all fours and then make a descent into Karanga Valley. From Karanga valley, we head to the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail and continuing a steady ascent we reach the Barafu Hut. At this point, we have finished a round-up of the southern circuit and from Barafu, you can see soak in some great views of the summit and Mawenzi peak from a multitude of angles. You will have your dinner and turn in early as the summit challenge begins at midnight and sleep and rest will put you in better shape to make it to the top

DAY 5 –  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

The ascent to the summit begins at midnight so you will wake up at midnight, have tea and some snacks. Then you will gather your gear and start your ascent into darkness in freezing temperatures with your guide showing you the way. The first challenge will be negotiating the moderately steep boulder laden trail to make your way through  Rebmann Glacier to reach Hans Meyer Cave (5,150 m). Continuing on and after multiple switchbacks, you reach the crater rim and finally the Stella Point(5740m). But that’s not the summit and after another short hike of about 150 m, you reach the summit at Uhuru peak. The trail to the Uhuru is laden with snow and scree along the crater’s rim. At the summit at Uhuru(5895m) awaits the most magnificent sunrise over the east. Pull out your camera to capture the breathtaking vistas that open up to you and also capture photos with your team to mark a personal milestone

After basking for a few moments at the summit you will start your descent to Stella point, then Hans Meyer Point down to the Rebmann Glacier and further downhill to the Mweka Camp where you will rest and recuperate. The decent is a taxing one so use your trekking poles to support your joints.

DAY 6 – 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

This is your last day on Kilimanjaro and after breakfast you will have a nice group photo as a souvenir and memory of your triumph before you start your descent. The descent trail is a well laid out forest road with a major section characterised by rainforested slopes. After ten kilometers you will reach the Mweka Gate where you will receive your summit certificates(green certificate – Stella Point and gold certificate – Uhuru Peak) from the park office as a recognition of your efforts. After that, it’s a drive back to Arusha for a long overdue hot shower and celebrations at your choice of accommodation

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.

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
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