Mt Kilimanjaro Trek - Machame Route

Overview

The Machame Route, also known as the “Whiskey” route, is one of the most popular routes on Kilimanjaro. Machame’s attraction is in its scenic beauty. However, the trail is considered steep and challenging, particularly due to its shorter itinerary. This route is better suited for more adventurous folks, or those with some high-altitude backpacking experience. 

The route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the south and the path leads hikers through the rainforest to Shira Plateau. Here, many of Kilimanjaro’s routes converge. Then the path turns east and traverses underneath Kilimanjaro’s Southern Ice Field on a path known as the Southern Circuit. 

Highlights

  • The Machame Route is one of the most scenic and popular routes up Mount Kilimanjaro. It’s a challenging trek that takes about 6-7 days to complete, offering breathtaking landscapes and diverse climates. 
  • Considered a moderately difficult route, it requires a good level of fitness and acclimatization. It involves steep ascents and descents, particularly on the Barranco Wall.
  • The Machame Route provides stunning views of the surrounding landscapes, including lush rainforests, heathlands, and the vast Shira Plateau. The scenery changes dramatically as you ascend. 
  • The lower parts of the route are abundant in flora and wildlife, such as colobus monkeys and various bird species. The forest section is particularly lush and green.
Included
Excluded

Day 1: Arrive in Moshi/ Airport Transfer

Arrive in Moshi and you’ll be picked up at the airport by our representative at Moshi Airport (QSI) and taken to your hotel. Moshi is a small and clean town that offers many activities and sceneries to take part in. 

Arrive a few days before your climb and visit the ever-beautiful and tranquil Lak Chala, or take a dip in the Kikuletwa Hot Springs. Take a village trip to Materuni waterfalls and Materuni Village for a local coffee-making tour or take a tour to Olpopongi Village located at West Kilimanjaro. 

INCLUDE: 
— Airport Transfer

Overnight at Moshi Hotel

Day 2: Machame Gate to Machame Camp

This morning, you’ll be picked up from your hotel in Moshi and driven 45-minutes through the village of Machame to the Machame Gate. Here, you’ll wait patiently for your permits to be issued while watching the hustle and bustle of operations as many crews prepare for the journey ahead. Enjoy the beautiful rainforest scenery and windy trails while your guide tells you about the local flora and fauna and natural wildlife. At these lower elevations, the trail can be muddy and quite slippery. We recommend gaiters and trekking poles here. 

INCLUDED: 
— Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Elevation:1,640m/5,380ft to 2,850m/9,350ft
Hiking time:
 
5-7 hours
Distance: 11km/ 7 miles
Zone: Rainforest

Overnight at Machame Camp

Day 3: Machame Camp to Shira 2 Camp

After a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast, you’ll level the glades of the rainforest and continue your journey on an ascending path, crossing the valley along a steep rocky ridge. The route then turns west onto a river gorge until you arrive at the Shira campsite for your overnight stay.

INCLUDED: 
— Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Elevation: 3,050m/9,950ft to 3,850m/12,600ft
Hiking time:
 
4-6 hours
Distance: 5km/ 3 miles
Zone: Heathland

Overnight at Shira 2 Camp

Day 4: Shira 2 Camp to Lava Tower to Barranco Camp

From the Shira Plateau, you’ll continue to the east, up a ridge, passing the junctions towards the peak of Kibo. As you continue, your direction changes to the South East towards the Lava Tower, called the “Shark’s Tooth” (elevation 4,650m/ 15,250ft). Shortly after the tower, you’ll come to the second junction which goes to the Arrow Glacier. You will now continue down to the Barranco Camp where you’ll spend the night. Although you end the day around the same elevation as when you began, this day is very important for acclimatization and will help your body prepare for the summit day.

INCLUDED: 
— Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Shira 2 Camp to Lava Tower
Elevation:
3,810m/12,500ft to 4,630m/15,190ft
Hiking time:
 
4-6 hours
Distance: 7km/ 4 miles
Zone: Alpine Desert

Lava Tower to Barranco Camp
Elevation:
4,630m/15,190ft to 3,976m/13,044ft
Hiking time:
 
2-3 hours
Distance: 3km/ 2 miles
Zone: Alpine Desert

Overnight at Barranco Camp

Day 5: Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp

After breakfast, you’ll begin the day by descending into a ravine to the base of the Great Barranco Wall (elevation 4,250 m/ 13,900 ft), then you’ll climb a steep nearly 274m/ 900ft cliff. From the top of Barranco Wall, you’ll cross a series of hills and valleys until you descend sharply into Karanga Valley. One more steep climb up leads you to Karanga Camp. This is a shorter day and meant for acclimatization and rest. 

INCLUDED:
— Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Elevation: 3,976m/13,044ft to 3,995m/13,106ft
Hiking time:
 
4-6 hours
Distance: 5km/ 3 miles
Zone: Alpine Desert

Overnight at Karanga Camp

Day 6: Karangu Camp to Barafu Camp

After breakfast, you’ll leave Karanga and hit the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. Continue up the rocky section to Barafu Camp. As you continue up to the Barafu Camp, you will feel a sense of accomplishment as you have completed the South Circuit, and will now have views of the summit from many different angles. 

INCLUDED:
— Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Elevation: 3,995m/13,106ft to 4,673m/15,331ft
Hiking time:
 
4-6 hours
Distance: 4km/ 2 miles
Zone: Alpine Desert

Overnight at Barafu Camp

Day 7: Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak

Excitement is building as morning comes with an early start (around Midnight) as you begin your push to the summit.  This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. The wind and cold at this elevation and time of day can be extreme. You’ll ascend in the darkness for several hours while taking frequent, but short breaks. At Stella Point (5,761m/ 18,900ft), you’ll stop for a short rest and be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see as you come over Mawenzi Peak. From here, you may encounter snow all the way on your 1-hour ascent to the summit. Finally, you’ll arrive at Uhuru Peak, the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa! Congratulations!

After photos, celebrations, and maybe a few tears of joy, you’ll take a few moments to enjoy this incredible accomplishment. You’ll then begin your steep descent down to Mweka Camp, stopping at Barafu for lunch. We strongly recommend gaiters and trekking poles for the uncooperative loose gravel and volcano ash terrain. Later, enjoy your last dinner and a well-deserved rest as you spend your last evening on the mountain. 

INCLUDED:
— Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak
Elevation:
4,673m/15,331ft to 5,895m/19,341ft
Hiking time:
 
7-9 hours 
Distance: 5km/ 3 miles
Zone: Arctic

Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp
Elevation:
5,895m/19,340ft to 3,090m/10,150ft
Hiking time:
4-6
 hours
Distance: 12km/ 7 miles
Zone: Rainforest

Overnight at Mweka Camp

Day 8: Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate

After breakfast, you’ll continue the descent down to the Mweka Park Gate to receive your summit certificates.  As the weather is drastically warmer at lower elevations, the terrain is wet, muddy, and steep. We highly recommend gaiters and trekking poles here. Remember to tip your guides, cooks, and porters, since you will be leaving them here.

A vehicle will be waiting for you to drive you to your hotel in Moshi (about 30 minutes). Enjoy a long overdue hot shower, and dinner, and celebrate your accomplishment of climbing the highest mountain in Africa!

INCLUDED:
— Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Elevation:3,090m/10,150ft to 1,680m/5,500ft
Hiking time:
3-5
 hours
Distance: 10km/ 6 miles
Zone: Rainforest

Overnight at Moshi Hotel

Day 9: Depart Moshi/ Airport Transfer

Today is departure day and there are no scheduled activities. At the appropriate time, a representative will pick you up and take you to the airport for your return home or to your next destination.

INCLUDED:
— Meals: Breakfast 
— Airport Transfer

ITINERARY DISCLAIMER

The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However, it is subject to change and does not form a contract between parties. While it is our intention to adhere to the route described, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary, and on occasion, it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. Occasionally, our itineraries change due to weather or other circumstances that are beyond our control. This includes regulations surrounding COVID-19. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and are subject to vary.

  • Our local travel partner for the Mount Kilimanjaro Trek is a Moshi-based, family-owned company whose mission is to not only give you a meaningful and exciting adventure but to also positively contribute to the well-being of local communities by increasing job opportunities to boost the local economy. They also encourage environmental conservation and regeneration practices and participate in mountain clean-up efforts and tree-planting activities in collaboration with the local government and various NGOs. Furthermore, they proudly support the Nguzo Women’s Foundation, a grassroots non-profit in the Hai District of the Kilimanjaro region, whose initiatives include providing menstrual kits and health education to young girls in six government primary schools. In addition, they have taken proactive steps to create opportunities for female guides and porters on their team.
  • All of our guides have at least 10 years of experience on the mountain, and all have extensive training in first-aid, mountain rescue, flora, fauna, and geology, and all have been certified in Wilderness First Responder, Wilderness Emergency Medicine, and Heartsaver CPR. 
  • Although no mountaineering experience is required, a good level of physical fitness is necessary to tackle Mt Kilimanjaro. You’ll need to be comfortable walking 6-8 hours uphill a day. The distances may not be long, but the altitude makes it harder than your average uphill hike. 
  • Sections of this trek take you above 9200 ft (2800 m), where it is common to experience altitude sickness.
  • You will need to limit the weight of your duffel bag and its contents to be carried by the porters on the climb to 15 kg (32 lbs) or less. Extra luggage, including clean clothes to wear after your climb can be left at the hotel in Moshi.
  • Temperatures at night can get very low when you’re above 3500 m, so clothing and a sleeping bag made for this kind of climate are essential. You can rent this at the beginning of your trip if you don’t have your own. 
  • Trekking the Machame Route involves camping throughout the journey. Several campsites are strategically placed along the trail, providing basic facilities like toilets and dining tents.
  • Daily meals during the hike include breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner. Breakfast is generally between 7:30 and 8:00 am, and departure from the huts/camp is at 9 am after a medical checkup. Lunch is mid-day, a hot drink, and a snack are around 4 pm, and dinner is at 7 pm. Summit morning is different: full breakfast at 11:30 pm, start hiking at midnight or sometimes 1 am. 
  • The food on the mountain consists of such staples as pasta, potatoes, meats, and stews. Vegetarian and vegan diets can be accommodated. For more specific requirements, please contact us to discuss. All dietary requirements need to be specified prior to arrival. 
  • Most daily hikes take from 4-7 hours and the pace is slow with a rest at least once every hour and plenty of time to take photos and enjoy the view. When you arrive at the campsite, you will find your tents already set up and your bags ready to collect. 
  • Hiking for several days without a shower can be tough – be prepared for some dust and dirt. A mask, wet wipes, and a face cloth may become your best friends!
  • Hiking insurance is mandatory for this trip. This should cover high-altitude trekking of at least 19,340 ft and should be on a ‘non-reimbursement’ basis so the insurer will pay for the hospital bills immediately, as opposed to claiming when you get home. We strongly recommend purchasing comprehensive travel insurance which provides coverage for trip interruption, flight cancellation, and loss of baggage. 
  • We are aware of the negative impacts of travel and we choose our travel partners based on their commitment to social development and environment preservation. Our guides are responsible for ensuring that the guests understand the nature of the environment that they are in and minimize the impact they may have. 

Level 5: Challenging

Our Challenging Trips are intended for physically fit individuals who are seeking a challenging experience. Previous trekking experience is not required for Mount Kilimanjaro, but you should be able to hike 6-8 hours a day at a moderate pace over hilly terrain with a light day pack. To ensure that you are physically and mentally fit and capable of attempting your Kilimanjaro challenge, we would highly advise you to start training at least 3-4 months before your tour date.

Once we receive your inquiry, we will reach out with a calendar invite in order to schedule a time to talk about your trip. A 25% deposit is required once the itinerary is approved. Payment is due in full 90-days prior to the start date of your trip. 

From $3033

For group size of 3-4 people

Inquire About This Trek

Gallery

Photo Gallery