Machame Route Kilimanjaro is the most scenic route to climb Kilimanjaro. Also called the Whisky route. Through forests of violets and red-hot pokers you climb through Machame forest paths of moss and lichens which hang on trees, into a scrubland with lobelia and daisy bushes, into a volcanic desert, decorated with large deposits of volcanic rock and grey dust. Mount Kilimanjaro has several different habitats. Glacial ice pours off the summit, stretching ice fingers down to a height of 4800m. Here you have breath taking views of Lava Tower, Arrow Glacier and the western breach.

Climbing Kilimanjaro on Machame route is over 6 days but best over 7 days to allow your body to adjust to altitude. It is not as quiet as Lemosho or Shira but is a beautiful scenic route with a higher summit success rate when climbed over 7 days.

Machame approaches Kilimanjaro from the south after a 40 minute drive from Moshi. The route leads through a lush forest before starting the climb up Shira Ridge towards Shira Plateau. Then above Shira Camp it joins Lemosho and Shira routes near Lava Tower. Then it traverses Lava Tower bypassing the old Arrow Glacier route 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 up to Barafu Hut.

Descent is via 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 (1980m)

Day-8: Depart

Fast Facts

It is 5895m or 19,341 ft above sea level.
The shortest number of days required for Machame Route is 7day, but once 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 chances of success.
The Machame Route is approximately 62 km/ 37 miles from start to finish
June to October. Kilimanjaro is equatorial which means minimal variation between 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 muddy and of course, snow and/or rain higher up.
It is in the sense in that it crosses the entire lower flanks of Kilimanjaro massif from west to east in a pleasant, relatively undulating hike. Also, because it is best done in 8 days, it has great acclimatisation potential.
On Machame trek you stay overnight in two person tents
There are several streams on the trail and porters will collect water from them. The cook then boils this water for you to fill you water bottles for your days hike. You can also use purifier tablets in stream water or add it to your boiled water however it can also have an effect on the diamox and make you feel nauseous. The higher you climb the less water there is is. On the Machame trail, the last water point is at the Karanga Valley, the lunch-stop before Barafu. For this reason it is essential that you carry enough bottles for at least two litres.

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 option 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." 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's your responsibility
to ensure you have correct and adequate cover. If you live in South Africa, we have other cover options

A link to Mount Kilimanjaro National Park website

Kilimanjaro National Park - UNESCO World Heritage Centre

Acute mountain sickness: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

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: 18km
Trekking: 5 to 7 hours
Environment: Montane forest
Today after a brief stop in Moshi we drive to Kilimanjaro park entrance at Machame, 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: 9km
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: 12km
Trek: 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: 30kilometres (7kilometres ascent, 13 kilometres descent)
Trek: 13-16 hours (6 to 8 hours ascent, 7-8 hours descent)
Environment: Stone scree / ice-capped summit
Rising before midnight, you start your climb in a North westerly direction. The route will take you to 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 (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
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 twinshar

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)
Additional transfer across to Londorrosi Gate

Video of Machame

Route Profile Map

Kilimanjaro Machame Route Profile Map 6 days
Machame Route query

Book your Machame Climb

Overview of other routes
7 to 8 days
3 hour drive to Park Gate
Scenic, quiet, longer approach
Good acclimatisation
Starts in forest and joins Machame and Shira routes
Summit through Barafu Hut and Stella Point
Sleep in Tents
Descend via Mweka Route
Lemosho Route
6 - 7 days
3 hour drive to Park Gate
Scenic and quiet
Great for acclimatisation
Starts in forest and joins Lemosho and Machame routes
Summit along Barafu Hut and Stella Point
Overnight in Tents
Descent route is Mweka
Shira Itinerary
6 -7 days
4 hours of driving to Park Gate
Need to add a day to acclimatise
Starts near Kenyan Border
Route joins Marangu Route
Summit via Kibo Hut and Gilman's Point
Tents overnight
Descend on Marangu Route
Rongai Route
5 - 6 days hiking
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 through Kibo and Gilman's
Sleep in Huts
Descend Marangu Route
Marangu Route
8-9 days hiking
4 Hour drive to Shira Gate
Few people
Less scenic but longer approach
Start higher but route is good for acclimatisation
Route joins Rongai and Marangu Routes
Summit through Kibo Hut and Gilman's Point
Sleep in Tents
Descend via Marangu Route
Northern Circuit Route
5-7 days
40 Minute drive to Umbwe Gate
Least used route
Very steep and fast approach
Poor chances to acclimatise
Route joins Shira, Lemosho and Machame Routes
Summit via Kibo Hut and Gilman's Point
Sleep in Tents
Descent route is Mweka
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
Mount Meru
Meru is a great pre-acclimatisation trek before Kilimanjaro or a stand alone trek. These treks are 3-4 days
Meru page

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

Frequently Asked Questions