Machame route is the most popular and scenic route on mountain Kilimanjaro, this route is also known as the whiskey route. Though it is a scenic route, Machame route is considered difficult, steep and challenging to trek because of its shorter itinerary. This route approaches climbing to the summit of mountain Kilimanjaro from the south and begins from Machame gate and ends with descending at Mweka gate, trekking on Machame route begins with a short drive from Moshi city then hiking through the rain forest to Shira plateau where many routes converge. From the Shira plateau the route turns East and transverses underneath Kilimanjaro southern Ice Field on southern circuit path before summiting from Barafu. Descending this route is done via the Mweka route.
CLIMBING MACHAME ROUTE DETAILED DAY BY DAY
Day 1: trek from Machame gate to Machame camp
The first day of climbing mountain Kilimanjaro on Machame route is a trek from Machame gate to Machame camp, points of Machame gate and Machame camp lie on in the altitude range of 5,380 ft to 9,350 ft and the trek takes approximately 11 kilometers through rain forest taking a period of 5-7 hours. Trekking on Machame route to the summit of mountain Kilimanjaro starts with a 50 minutes drive from Moshi to Machame gate through Machame village situated on the lower slopes of the mountain, from the gate you begin your trek through dense rain forest trees on a winding trail up to the ridge leading you to Machame camp where you will spend the night.
Day 2: Trek from Machame camp to Shira 2 camp
The second day of climbing mountain Kilimanjaro on Machame route is a trek from Machame camp to Shira 2 camp, the trek from Machame camp to Shira 2 camp is a trek of 5 kilometers taking approximately 4-6 hours in the altitude rage of 9,350ft – 12,500 ft. Today’s trek begins with leaving Machame camp early in the morning leaving rain forest on an ascending path to a steep, rocky ridge, on your trek you go through the Shira plateau and continue passing through heather and open moorlands. You cross a large river gorge leading you to Shira camp where you will spend the night.
Day 3: Trek from Shira2 camp to Lava Tower and Lava Tower to Barranco camp
The third day of climbing mountain Kilimanjaro on Machame route is a trek from Shira 2 camp to Lava tower and from Lava Tower to Barranco camp, Shira 2 camp to Lava tower lies in the elevation range of 12,500ft to 15,190ft, a distance of 7 kilometers which is approximately 4-5 hours of hiking and the trail runs through Alpine desert. Lava tower to Barranco camp is a distance of 3 kilometers which is approximately 2-3 hours of hiking through the elevation of 15,190 ft to 13,044 ft.
Today’s trek is a continuation to the east up a ridge and then head in south east direction leading towards the Lava Tower which is a 300 ft tall volcanic rock formation, from the Lover tower you descend down through the beautiful senecio forests at an altitude of 13,000 ft to Burranco camp where you will spend the night.
Day 4: Trek from Burranco camp to Karanga camp
The 4th day of climbing mountain Kilimanjaro on Machame route is a trek from Burranco camp to Karanga camp, these two points lie in the elevation range of 13,044 to 13,106 ft, a distance of 5 kilometers taking approximately 4-5 hours of hiking and the trail runs through Alpine desert.
Today’s treks begins with descending down into the ravine to the base of the great Burranco wall, and then proceed to climb the non-technical but steep nearly 900 ft cliff. From the top of Burranco wall you cross a series of hills and valleys until you descend sharply into Karanga valley, the climb leads to Karanga camp where you will spend the night. Today’s trek is shorter and meant for acclimatization.
Day 5: Trek from Karanga camp to Barafu camp
The 5th day of climbing mountain Kilimanjaro on Machame route is a trek from Karanga camp to Barafu camp, the trail from Karanga camp leading to Barafu camp lies in the elevation range of 13,106ft to 15,331 ft and a distance of approximately 4 kilometers taking approximately 4-5 hours of hiking.
Today’s trekking starts with leaving Karanga camp on a trail running through Alpine dessert, hit the junction that connects with the Mweka trail and continue up to the rocky section to Barafu hut. Reaching this point marks the completion of the southern circuit which offers magnificent views of the summit from various angles. At this point you also get uninterrupted views of Mawenzi and Kibo peak, you also get to camp at this point, have dinner and stay overnight.
Day 6: Trek from Barafu camp to Uhuru peak and from Uhuru peak to Mweka camp
The 6th day of climbing mountain Kilimanjaro on Machame route is a trek from Barafu camp to Uhuru camp and from Uhuru peak to Mweka camp. Trekking from Barafu camp to Uhuru peak is done on a trail of 5 kilometers running through Arctic and takes approximately 7-8 hours of hiking, these two points lie in the elevation range of 15,331 ft to 19,341ft. Trekking from Uhuru peak to Mweka camp is done on a trail of 12 kilometers for duration of 4-6 hours, this trail lies in the elevation range of 19,341 ft – 10,065 through rain forests.
The trek starts early in the morning around mid-night and begin trekking up to the summit, this hike is the most mentally and physically challenging experience of climbing mountain Kilimanjaro on Machame route. As you trek wind and coldness are expected to be extreme, you will continue to ascend in the darkness with frequent but short breaks. Near Stella point at the elevation of 18,900 ft you will be rewarded with the colorful sunrise over Mawenzi peak, finally arrive at Uhuru peak – the highest peak of mountain Kilimanjaro and African continent as a whole.
From the summit which is the highlight of the whole safari/trek, you will descend straight down to the Mweka hut campsite which is situated amidst the upper forest and because of the high altitude mist or rain is expected in the late afternoon. The trail is very rocky and can be hard on your knees which make trekking poles helpful, a stopover is made at Barafu for lunch, and in the evening at Mweka camp you will have dinner and stay overnight.
Day 7: descend from Mweka camp to Mweka gate
The 7th day of climbing mountain Kilimanjaro on Machame route is the last day of the climb and it is for descending from Mweka camp to Mweka gate, this trail of Machame route runs through rain forest and lies in the elevation range of 10,065ft to 5,380 ft. From Mweka camp to Mweka gate is a distance of 10 kilometers and approximately 3-4 hours of hike.
Today’s trek is a continuation of the descending to Mweka gate, at the lower elevation it is expected to get wet and muddy. when you get to Mweka gate you will receive the summit certificates and drive for one hour to Mweka village where you will meet your drive and drive to your hotel in Moshi city.