Machame Route Kilimanjaro is the most scenic route up Kilimanjaro?  Interestingly it is also called the Whisky route. It winds up clearly laid paths through a forest of violets and red-hot pokers. Starting in comfortable temperatures, you trek along paths of moss and lichens which hang on trees, clothed in a blanket of mist. Above the Machame forest, the vegetation changes to scrubland with lobelia and daisy bushes, blooming like overgrown pompoms. Toward Shira ridge, the terrain becomes more rocky and melts into an expansive alpine volcanic desert, decorated with large deposits of volcanic rock and grey dust. Glacial ice pours off the summit, stretching ice fingers down to a height of 4800m. Here you have breath taking views of Lava Tower at the base of Arrow Glacier and the western breach.

Machame route climb is generally done over six days but best done over seven to allow your body to acclimatise to increases in altitude. It is not as quiet as Lemosho or Shira but is a very beautiful scenic route with  a higher summit success rate when done over a longer period.

The route approaches Kilimanjaro from the southern side at Machame Gate, after a short 40 minute drive from Moshi. The route leads through a lush steep forest before starting the climb up Shira Ridge towards Shira Plateau. The route then climbs above Shira Plateau where it is joined by Lemosho and Shira routes near Lava Tower. Then the route traverses from Lava Tower bypassing the old Arrow Glacier route to the Western Breach, down to Barranco Camp descending in altitude under Mt Kilimanjaro's Southern Ice Fields. Then continuing along the southern circuit the Machame route climbs up Barranco Wall then through the Karanga Valley and climb to Barafu Hut.

Descent is made via the Mweka route


Day-1: Arrive Kilimanjaro

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day-8: Depart

Detailed Itinerary

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

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

Elevation: 1830 metres to 2835 metres
Distance: 5.5 km
Trek time: 5 to 7 hours
Environment: Montane forest
Today after a brief stop in Moshi we drive to Kilimanjaro park entrance at Machame Gate, near the Machame village. Here we complete formalities for trekking permits and then start trekking through the forest. Rain is possible in Machame Forest.

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

Elevation: 2835 metres - 3850 metres
Distance: 9 km
Trek time: 5 to 6 hours
Environment: Moorland
You leave Machame camp and climb quite steeply for about an hour. The route then follows a more gentle gradient toward the base Shira Plateau which is actually a the remains of a caldera, or collapsed volcanic crater. Then you traverse up the rocky outcrop before trekking in an easterly direction, to Shira Camp, Shira being one of the three volcanoes of the Kilimanjaro massif.

Day-4: Shira Camp 2 (3840m) to Lava Tower (4640m) - Barranco Huts (3985m)

Elevation: 3840 metres - 3985metres
Distance: 12 km
Trek time: 6 to 7 hours
Environment: Moorland
Shira camp can be quite cold early morning as you hike  away from views of Mt Meru into an arid desert type environment full of lava rock. The route is a steady gentle climb toward Lava Tower. It is not uncommon to start feeling the effects of altitude on Machame Route or any other route with shortness of breath around 4200m. At Lava Tower you break for lunch before descending almost 680m in altitude to Barranco Camp at the base of Barranco Wall. Today you follow the principle of climb high, sleep low.

Day-5: Barranco Huts (3985m) to Barafu Huts (4680m)

Elevation: 3985 metres - 4680metres
Distance: 13 km
Hiking Time: 7-9 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert
This morning you start the slow climb up the well known Barranco Wall, bringing you out below Heim Glacier. After taking in incredible views you trek along the route to Karanga Valley which takes you through three ridges and valleys, before coming out at Karanga Camp. This however is not your camp, and you climb another 2-3 hours to a rocky narrow camp, at Barafu. Today is a very long day, but above you, 1345m up is the summit of Kilimanjaro.

Day-6: Barafu (4550m)- Uhuru Peak (5895m)-Mweka (3100m)

Elevation: 4600metres to 5895 metres to 3100 metres
Highest: 5895 metres (Summit)
Distance: 30 kilometres (7 kilometres ascent, 13 kilometres descent)
Trek time: 13 to 16 hours (6 to 8 hours ascent, 7 to 8 hours descent)
Environment: Stone scree / ice-capped summit
Rising before midnight, you start your climb into the night in a North westerly direction. The route will take you towards Stella Point (5685) on Kibo crater rim. It can take anything from 5 - 6 hours and is physically challenging. After a short rest at Stella before trekking to Kilimanjaro summit, another altitude gain of 200m, taking anywhere from 1-2 hours. After basket in a moment of glory at the summit of Kilimanjaro, you hike down to Barafu and then down towards Mweka hut (3100m).

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

Elevation: 3100 metres to 1800 metres
Distance: 8 kilometres
Trek time: 3 to 4 hours
Environment: Montane forest
This morning is a short 3-hour scenic hike to Mweka. Those climbers who made Stella (5685m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m) receive gold certificates for your Machame Route climb on Kilimanjaro.

Day-8: Depart

Today you are transferred to Kilimanjaro airport for your flight home.

End of services

What's Included

Price includes

Return Kilimanjaro airport transfers
Return transfers to Kilimanjaro park gates
Three meals a day while on trek except for last day of trek
All park entry fees
All porter, guide and cook fees
Kilimanjaro emergency rescue fees
Machame Route Kilimanjaro Park permit for 6 days
Camping fees for the Machame Route
Tents on Mt Kilimanjaro
Dining tent, chairs, utensils etc.
Sleeping mattresses for Mt Kilimanjaro
Two night's bed and breakfast at Moshi Springlands Hotel twinshare

Price Excludes

Mandatory travel and medical insurance
Tips, baggage and porterage
Bottled water
Meals other than those indicated
Visa's and vaccinations
International flights
Costs for giving up the expedition (no refunds applicable)
Costs incurred for returning to the hotel earlier than expected (From $70 per night)

Fast Facts

It is 5895m or 19,341 ft above sea level.
The shortest number of days required for Machame Route is 7day, but by the time you have added on arrival and departure days it is 9, It is however better to do the trek over 7 days to increase your changes of success.
The Machame Route is approximately 62 km/ 37 miles from gate to gate
June to October. Kilimanjaro is equatorial which means minimal variation between the seasons. However, there are two rainy seasons in Tanzania, the first is from March to May (short rains) and November to December (longer rains) which can make the forest track very muddy and of course, snow and/or rain higher up.
On the Machame trek you stay overnight in two person tents

Yes you do. We (Nomadic Adventures) do not allow anyone to climb with us unless they have adequate travel insurance. Adequate, means you must be covered for

1) trekking or hiking - this may sound strange, but many insurance list that as an exclusion.

2) altitude up to 6,000 meters. Most travel insurance providers do not include this under their standard cover and often limit it to 3500m or less.

3) Sprains strains and physiotherapy - yes, many insurers exclude this, though ironically, this is what you will most likely need cover for.

4) personal accident - this is the horrible part of insurance. Yes, you need to be covered in the case of death. We are often told by clients - "if anything happens to me, just leave me there." It is not that simple. Bodies need to be brought home or laid to rest overseas, and this can run into thousands of dollars, creating a huge burden on family members.

We will assist in helping you provide good cover. If you need cover or simply a quote, follow the details herewith:. Once you have done your initial quote, you will need to upgrade your cover to include altitudes up to 6000m. Towards the bottom of the page you will see a section called, Options: Upgrade your cover. Click the link called 'View Adventure Sports Benefits'. A blue pop up screen will open. Look for the level of cover required for 'trekking to 6,000 meters' or 'hiking to 6,000 meters'. Depending on your country it is usually a level 1 or 2. Note: we are not insurance experts and it is your responsibility
to ensure you have correct and adequate cover. If you live in South Africa, we have other cover options

For further answers to other general questions on Kilimanjaro, click on the questions on the left


Route Profile Map

Kilimanjaro Machame Route Profile Map 6 days
 Machame Route query

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We can arrange private climbs on any dates to suit you - otherwise you can join other groups as per below

25th Jul 2018: Machame 6 days, Machame 7 days

26th Jul 2018: Machame 6 days

28th Jul 2018: Machame 7 days

1st Aug 2018: Machame 6 days

2nd Aug 2018: Machame 6 days, Machame 7 days

3rd Aug 2018: Machame 6 days, Machame 7

5th Aug 2018: Machame 7 days

6th Aug 2018: Machame 6 days

9th Aug 2018: Machame 6 days, Machame 7 days

15th Aug 2018: Machame 6 days, Machame 7 days

16th Aug 2018: Machame 6 days

19th Aug 2018: Machame 6 days, Machame 7 days

22nd Aug 2018: Machame 6 days

24th Aug 2018: Machame 6 days

26th Aug 2018: Machame 6 days

29th Aug 2018: Machame 7 days

30th Aug 2018: Machame 7 days, Machame 6 days

31st Aug 2018: Machame 6 days

Overview of other routes
 7 to 8 days trekking
 3 hour drive to Park Gate
 Scenic, quiet, longer approach
 Good for acclimatisation
 Starts in forest and joins Machame and Shira routes
 Summit via Barafu Hut and Stella Point
 Sleep in Tents
 Descend via Mweka Route
Lemosho Route
 6 to 7 trekking days
  3 hour drive to Park Gate
  Scenic and quiet
  Good for acclimatisation
  Starts in forest and joins Lemosho and Machame routes
  Summit via Barafu Hut and Stella
  Sleep in Tents
  Descend via Mweka Route
Shira Itinerary
 6 or more trekking days
  4 hours of driving to Park Gate
  Very quiet
  Need to add a day for acclimatisation
  Starts near Kenyan Border
  Route joins Marangu Route
  Summit via Kibo Hut and Gilman's Point
  Sleep in Tents
  Descend via Marangu Route
Rongai Route
 5 or more days trekking
  30 minutes road to Marangu Gate
  Busy route
  Less scenic - same ascent and descent
  Need to add a day for acclimatisation
  Route joins Northern Circuit and Rongai Route
  Summit via Kibo Hut and Gilman's
  Sleep in Huts
  Descend via Marangu Route
Marangu Route
8-9 days trekking
  4 Hour drive to Shira Gate
  Very Quiet
  Less scenic but longer approach
  Start higher but route is good for acclimatisation
  Route joins Rongai and Marangu Routes
  Summit via Kibo Hut and Gilman's Point
  Sleep in Tents
  Descend via Marangu Route
Northern Circuit Route
 5-7 days trekking
  40 Minute drive to Umbwe Gate
  Very Quiet
  Very steep and fast approach
  Poor chances for acclimatisation
  Route joins Shira, Lemosho and Machame Routes
  Summit via Kibo Hut and Gilman's
  Sleep in Tents
  Descend via Mweka Route
Umbwe Route
 Kilimanjaro Short Treks
These treks are designed for people with less time available or who do not want to go for summit. They range from 1 to 4 days on the mountain
Kilimanjaro Short Treks
 Mt Meru
Mt Meru is a great pre-acclimatisation trek before Kilimanjaro or a stand alone trek. These treks are 3-4 days
Mt Meru page

There are several options to add on a safari tour in either Tanzania or Kenya after climbing Kilimanjaro. The shortest safari is 3 days up to around 9 or longer if you prefer.
Safari Tours

Frequently Asked Questions