Machame Route to the Roof of Africa

Kilimanjaro Machame Route

The most scenic route up Kilimanjaro is via Machame Route, which progressively winds up clearly laid paths through a forest of wild violets and red-hot pokers. Starting in comfortable temperatures, you head through paths of moss and lichens, which hang on towering trees, clothed in a blanket of mist. Above the forest line, the vegetation changes to scrubland with huge lobelia's and giant daisy bushes, blooming like overgrown pompoms.

Towards Shira ridge, the terrain becomes more rocky and soon melts into an expansive alpine desert, decorated with large deposits of volcanic rock and fine grey dust. Glacial ice pours off the summit, stretching ice like fingers down to a height of about 4800m. At this point, you have breath taking views of Lava Tower. The crater of Kilimanjaro houses one of the most circular volcanic vents in the world, Ash Pit, and looming above the crater and Furtwangler Glacier, stands Uhuru Peak. At 5895m above sea level, it is the highest point in Africa, and the highest freestanding volcano in the world.

A sunrise summit on a crystal clear day, and you will feel like you are standing on top of the world. With only 6 days of trekking behind you and a gold certificate in hand, it's an experience that will live with you for a lifetime and an achievement to constantly reminisce over.


Day-1: Arrive

Day-2: Machame Gate to Machame Camp (2450m)

Day-3: Machame Camp (2450m) to Shira Camp 2 (3840m).

Day-4: Shira - Lava Tower (4630m) - Baranco camp (3950m)

Day-5: Baranco Camp to Barafu Camp (4550m)

Day-6: Barafu - Uhuru Peak (5895m) - Mweka (3100m)

Day-7: Mweka camp (3100m)- Mweka Gate (1980m)

Day-8: Depart



Day-1: Kilimanjaro International Airport arrival and transfer to hotel.

Day-2: Machame Gate (1830m) - Machame Camp (2835m)

Elevation: 1830 metres to 2835 metres
Distance: 18km
Trekking: 5 to 7 hours
Environment: Montane forest Your day starts around 06h00 with breakfast, after which you head to Machame village and on to Machame camp to start trekking. Rain in the Machame forest is possible although the paths are in very good condition having been re-worked in 2005. About half way, you will stop for lunch before continuing up to Machame camp in the late afternoon.

Day-3: Machame Camp (2835m) to Shira Camp 2 (3840m)

Elevation: 2835 metres - 3840m
Distance: 9km
5 to 6 hours
Environment: Moorland
You will head out of Machame camp and climb quite steeply for about an hour until you are above the forest area and then follow a more gentle gradient toward the base Shira Plateau. Then you will head up the rocky outcrop before heading in an easterly direction, towards Shira Camp.

Day-4: Shira (3840m)- Lava Tower (4630m)-Barranco (3950m)

Elevation: 3840 metres up to 4630 metres then down to 3950 metres
Distance: 10 km
Hiking Time: 6 hours - 8 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert
After breakfast, you hike though the moorland scrub and enter into a moonscape of semi-alpine desert, while you hike constantly upwards toward Lava Tower. As you approach an altitude of 4200m, you may start to feel a shortness of breath as the effects of altitude take hold. After Lava Tower, you trek into a beautiful valley to Barranco camp where you spend the night at a lower altitude than Lava Tower. Shira to Barranco follows the golden principle of climb high and sleep low on Lemosho Route.

Day-5: Barranco (3950m) to Barafu (4550m)

Elevation: 3950metres up to 4550 metres
Distance: 13 kilometres
Trek time: About 7 hours
Early morning, you will head up the impressive Great Barranco Wall. The route then heads down through the Karanga Valley over several ridges and valleys where you will see the magnificent giant Senecio Kilimanjari. You will then join up with your later descent route where you will head left up the ridge for another hour, before reaching Barafu Hut.

Day-7: Barafu (4550m)- Uhuru Peak (5895m)-Mweka (3100m)

Elevation: 4600 metres to 3100 metres
Highest point: 5895 metres (Uhuru Peak)
Distance: 30 kilometres (7 kilometres ascent, 13 kilometres descent)
Trek duration: 13 to 16 hours (6 - 8 hours ascent, 7 - 8 hours descent)
Environment: Stone scree / ice-capped summit
You will rise around 23h30 on 19th November, and after some tea and biscuits you will head off 'pole pole' into the night. Heading in a North westerly direction you will ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point (5685) on the crater rim. The hike up is about 6 hours. The remainder of the climb to Uhuru Peak will take anything from 1-2 hours. After your moment of glory, you will head back to Barafu, in about 2 hours where you will have a chance to rest, buy a cola or two before heading down towards Mweka hut (3100m).

Day-8: Mweka camp (3100m)- Mweka Gate (1980m)

After an early and well-deserved breakfast, it is a short 3-hour scenic hike back to the Park gate. Those climbers who reached Stella Point (5685m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m) receive gold certificates.

Day-9: Depart

After breakfast you are transferred to Kilimanjaro airport for your flight home.

End of services


Machame Route Variations

Alternate 9 days Alternate 10 days

Day-1: Arrive

Day-2: Machame Gate to Machame Camp (2450m)

Day-3: Machame Camp (2450m) to Shira Camp 2 (3840m).

Day-4: Shira - Lava Tower (4630m) - Baranco camp (3950m)

Day-5: Barranco to Karanga (3,960m)

Day-6: Karanga to Barafu (4,680m)

Day-7: Barafu to Uhuru Peak (5,895m) to Mweka (3,100m)

Day-8: Mweka to Mweka Gate (1980m)

Day-9: Depart


Day-1: Arrive Kilimanjaro Airport

Day-2: Machame Gate to Machame Camp (2450m)

Day-3: Machame (2450m) to Shira Camp 2 (3840m).

Day-4: Shira 2 to Lava Tower (4,600m)

Day-5: Lava Tower to Barranco (3,900m)

Day-6: Barranco to Karanga (3,960m)

Day-7: Karanga to Barafu (4,680m)

Day-8: Barafu to Uhuru Peak (5,895m) to Mweka (3,100m)

Day-9: Mweka to Mweka Gate (1980m)

Day-10: Depart


Your Questions Answered

Very definitely yes. Porters and guides are the life blood of any successful mountain climb. Through our partners in Tanzania we support various charity initiatives including the most important Kilimanjaro Porters Society. This society was registered under the name Mount Kilimanjaro Porters Society on 30th September 2005 as a non governmental organization with a certificate no 13296 under the organization art of the United Republic of Tanzania. The society exists as a shield for porters who are registered under it with the goal of improving the living and working condition of these porters.
The Machame Route is also known as the "Whiskey" route, (though there is none for sale on the mountain). It approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the south through the Machame forest and heads slightly north west to Shira Plateau. Then about 2 hours north of Shira Camp it joins Lemosho and Shira routes near Lava Tower. From Lava Tower the route heads east under Mt Kilimanjaro's Southern Ice Fieldsdown to Barranco Camp. Then it is up the famous Barranco Wall through the Karanga Valleys and up to Barafu Hut. Descent is via Mweka route. It has a higher success rate than the shorter 5 day Marangu and Rongai routes. That said, it's a good idea to add on an extra date.
Kilimanjaro Machame route is approximately 62 km/ 37 miles from gate to gate. Most trekkers complete the Machame Route in seven days; however it can be done in 8 and 9 day vairations. The 8-day Machame variation is great for acclimatisation and increases the probability of success. The nine day route stops for a night at both Lava Tower and Karanga Camps.
Generally speaking crowds are determined by the time of year. Machame is less busy than the cheaper and shorter Marangu route. It is also a steeper route so is a deterrent for those wanting a less strenous climb. The camps can be busy but this does not mean you will be hiking up other peoples heels. This only happens on summit night when all of the routes converge and before that, on Baranco Wall. However, you only need one large group on the mountain with you to make it feel busy. On top of that from Lava tower onwards you're on the Machame route and so busy it will become busier from then on.
There are two distinct trekking seasons during which is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro. They are January-March and June-October. January-March is generally colder than June-October and there is a higher probability of encountering snow on the summit. 
Kilimanjaro is just three degrees south of the equator, so the lower slopes are generally hot and dry reaching 25°C during the day. This quickly dips with each ecological zone however, open heathlands, alpine desert and then, at the summit, categorically Arctic. Temperatures at Uhuru Peak are between -7 to -29°C.
Every night stop has an area with drop/toilet facilities, that are designated areas to allow for camping. You will sleep in tents.
This is a popular question. The toilets that are available on the mountain are pretty rudimentary unless you are on Marangu, and are really just a wooden or block building with a hole in the ground (or a 'long drop'). One option though it adds to the cost is to hire a portable toilet. Finally, although there may not be toilet facilities when you really need them during the days trek, we ask that you seek out a 'loo with a view' away from the path, and keep your used paper in a small bag to dispose of later at camp so as to preserve the environment.
Altitude sickness, also called mountain sickness, is a group of general symptoms that are brought on by climbing or walking to a higher and higher altitude (elevation) too quickly. High altitude is defined as 8,000 - 12,000 feet (2400 - 2600m) above sea level. Altitude sickness can affect anyone who goes to high altitudes without giving the body time to adjust to the changes in air pressure and oxygen level. Symptoms usually come on within 12 to 24 hours of reaching a higher elevation and then get better within a day or two as your body adjusts to the change in altitude. Because Kilimanjaro has a rapid ascent profile ie. 1000m a day, altitude sickness tends to be more common than on some other treks. It is for this reason that taking your time is vitally important and why shorter routes have a lower success rate.
Month 2019 2020 2021
January - 10 28
February - 9 27
March - 9 28
April - 8 27
May - 7 26
June - 5 24
July 17 5 24
August 15 3 22
September 14 2 21
October 14 1, 31 20
November 12 30 19
December 12 30 19

Machame at a Glance