Duration: 6 Days | Total hiking distance: About 100 km
This is probably the most beautiful route up Kilimanjaro. All your equipment and supplies are portered and a cook prepares all your meals. Where accommodation on the Marangu route is in huts, the Machame route offers strictly tents only.
This makes Machame (also referred to as the “Whiskey route”) better suited to the slightly more adventurous hiker, rewarding him with a scenic splendor such as not seen on the Marangu route.
From late afternoon sunsets at Shira, to the misty revelations of Kibo at the great Barranco Wall, the Machame route offers the adventurous hiker a stunning scenic “slide show” over 6 days. The Machame route is normally completed in a minimum of 6 days.
There is an added benefit to this, as you are afforded the most valuable commodity on the mountain – acclimatisation. 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 acclimatisation.
6 day Itinerary for the Machame route
The Machame route can also be completed in 5 days. On day 3 on the itinerary below, you go directly to Kibo with an overnight at the Arrow Glacier camp, with your final summating attempt on day 4. An extremely physically and mentally demanding option, not recommended for the average climber.
Day 1: Arrival – Moshi
On arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport, met and assisted. Transfer to Keys Annex Hotel for an overnight rest on bed and breakfast in readiness for the next day’s hit to Kilimanjaro.
Day 2: Machame Gate (1490m) – Machame camp (2980m
Hiking time: 7 hours | Distance: About 18 km’s | Habitat: Montane forest
Your day starts early with a briefing, followed by breakfast and a 45-minute drive from Moshi (910m) to the Machame village (1490m).
Day 3: Machame camp (2980m) – Shira camp (3840m)
Hiking time: 6 hours | Distance: About 9 km’s | Habitat: Moorland
You rise early at Machame camp and after breakfast you climb an hour or so to the top of the forest and then for 2 hours at a gentler gradient through the moorland zone. After a short lunch and rest, you continue up a rocky ridge onto the Shira plateau.
Day 4: Shira (3840m) – Lava Tower (4630m)-Barranco camp (3950m)
Hiking time: 7 hours | Distance: About 15 km’s | Habitat: Semi desert
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 5 hours walk. Lunch is served in a designated area before ascending the rocky scree path to Lava Tower (4630m).
Day 5: Barranco camp (3950m) – Barafu camp (4550m)
Hiking time: 7 hours | Distance: About 13 km’s | Habitat: Alpine desert
After spending a night at the Great Barranco Wall (a very imposing sight at first), you make your way up this awesome looking obstacle, which in the end normally turns out easier than what you anticipated.
Day 6: SUMMIT ATTEMPT, Barafu camp (4550m) – Uhuru Peak (5895m)-Mweka (3100m)
Hiking time: 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak | 7/8 hours to descend to Mweka | Distance: About 7 km’s ascent – 23 km’s descent | Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
Day 7: Mweka camp (3100m) – Mweka Gate (1980m)
Hiking time: 3 hours | Distance: About 15 km’s | Habitat: Forest
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.
Day 8: Departure
Transfer to Kilimanjaro Airport for your flight back home or continue with your safari schedule. End of services.