Climb Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Machame Route

If you are short of time and want to have the best chance of going home and saying "I climbed Kilimanjaro" the Machame route is the one for you. Starting in the West of Kilimanjaro it circuits south before climbing to Uhuru Peak via Stella Point. With excellent acclimatisation and varied and interesting scenery every day it is a great choice for the novice climber.



  • One of the most popular routes due to its high success rate.
  • Great for acclimatisation as it allows climbers to “walk high, sleep low”.
  • A challenging trek with stunning scenery over five climatic zones.


6-day trek (+2 hotel nights)
From £1449 pp / $2250 pp
Private treks only. Enquire
7-day trek (+2 hotel nights)
From £1549 pp / $2400 pp
Check availability

What’s included on our tours

Our climb prices include:

  • Your hotel stay for the nights before and after the climb
  • Transfer to and from the mountain
  • National Park entry, camping, climbing and rescue fees
  • A fully supported climb (average ratio of support staff to climber is 4:1 in open groups)
  • All meals and drinking water on the mountain
  • A private portable toilet – no long drops for you!
  • High quality mess and sleeping tents with a comfortable foam mattress (Note that while sleeping bags and Thermarest mats are not included, we do offer them for hire if you do not bring your own)
  • Access to emergency oxygen and first aid kit
  • A certificate documenting your summit ascent

You can read about all of these inclusions here.

Not included in our climb prices are:

  • Airfares and visas – Read our advise here on how to get to Kilimanjaro
  • Airport transfers – these can be arranged for you
  • Tips for your guides and crew (KPAP recommends roughly $250 per person for a 7 day climb) – see here for details
  • Personal items
  • Travel insurance (you must be insured, and specifically for treks up to 6000m) – see here for details
  • Your personal trekking gear – see here for an equipment checklist
  • Your personal medicines or prescriptions
  • Meals and drinks not on the mountain, snacks on the mountain

Machame Route Description

The Machame route, known for reasons nobody seems to know, as the “Whiskey” route, is now the most popular route on the mountain. Its popularity reflects the high success rate achieved and the fact that it can be climbed in 6 or 7 days.

The approach to the Machame route is from the southwest of Kilimanjaro. The route ascends up through the jungle to Shira camp and then traverses south towards Barranco via Lava Tower. From there you climb up the Great Barranco Wall before arriving in base camp at Barafu. The final climb is via Stella point and the descent is on the Mweka route.

Novice climbers are sometimes nervous about how they will cope with the Great Barranco Wall but this is just a short scramble that is really not that tricky and you will be helped by your guide every step of the way. One stride around a rock outcrop is the most precarious part you will experience. Thousands of climbers safely travel this route each year, let alone the Kilimanjaro porters carrying heavy loads.

Climbers sleep in supplied tents at designated campsites, and eat meals either outdoors or inside a large dining tent. Kandoo staff prepare all meals and set up the tents.

Because it has a great success rate and is really attractive the Machame route is undoubtedly the busiest on the mountain. To help mitigate this we make sure all our groups hit the trail early and get ahead of the crowds. We also send part of the porter team ahead of you so that they get into the campsites early to get a good spot and make sure that your tent is ready and there is a nice hot drink and snacks when you arrive

Although the Machame route can be climbed over 6 days we strongly recommend taking 7 days. The extra day makes a huge difference to the success rate as it improves acclimatisation and allows you two easier days before you tackle your long summit night. If you ask any of our climbers who have chosen to do 6 days they invariably say they wish they had taken the extra day.

Machame Route Map


Detailed Itinerary: 7-Day Trek + 2 Hotel Nights

All trekkers need to organise their own flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) – see here for detailed flight information. From JRO you can either catch a taxi to your hotel in Moshi or we can arrange an airport transfer for you. That night or early the next morning you will meet your local Kandoo representative and potentially your Kandoo guide, and have a full pre-climb briefing.

Elevation (m): 1800m to 3000m, Distance: 11km, Time: 5-7 hours, Habitat: Montane Forest
Transfer from your hotel to Machame Gate for registration. Our porters prepare and pack our supplies and luggage before we start our ascent along the forest trail to Machame Camp.

Elevation (m): 3000m to 3850m, Distance: 9km, Time: 4-6 hours, Habitat: Moorland
After breakfast, we start walking, leaving the rainforest behind, and continue our ascent, crossing a small valley and up to a steep rocky ridge, covered with heath. Our route now turns west onto a river gorge until we reach Shira 1 Camp.

Elevation (m): 3850m to 4600m to 3950m, Distance: 12 km, Time: 6-7 hours, Habitat: Semi-desert
Today we will climb up to 4600m to the base of the Lava Tower for lunch and acclimatization. This will be our toughest day so far and you may, for the first time, feel the altitude. After lunch we will descend again by almost 650m to Barranco camp, following “walk high, sleep low” golden rule of acclimatisation. Our descent to Barranco camp takes about 2 hours and offers great opportunities to take some beautiful photographs of the Western Breach and Breach Wall. The camp is situated in a valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall

Elevation (m): 3950m to 3930m, Distance: 7 km, Time: 4 hours, Habitat: Alpine Desert.
A short, but fun day, starting with a scramble, to the top of the Great Barranco Wall. We then traverse over scree to the Karanga Valley (3930m) beneath the icefalls of the Heim, Kersten and Decken Glaciers. We will stay overnight at Karanga campsite.

Elevation (m): 3930m to 4600m, Distance: 6kms, Time: 3 hours Habitat: Alpine Desert
We leave Karanga campsite behind to meet the junction connecting with the Mweka descent Trail. From here we continue up to the Barafu Hut. You have now completed the Southern Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. At camp, we can rest, enjoy dinner, and prepare for summit night. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are to be clearly seen from this position.

Elevation (m): 4600m to 5895m to 3100m), Distance: 7km ascent / 23km descent, Time: 6- 8 hours ascent / 7-8 hours descent, Habitat: Stone screed and ice-capped summit.
You will be woken at 23:30 with tea and biscuits. We start our trek to the summit between the Rebman and Ratzel glaciers through heavy scree up to Stella Point on the crater rim. This is the most mentally and physically challenging part of the trek. At Stella Point (5732m), we will stop for a short rest and hopefully be in time to witness the magnificent sunrise (weather permitting). We are now only an hour away from the summit, Uhuru Peak (5895m), the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. From the summit, we descend down to the Mweka Hut camp site, via Barafu for lunch. Trekking poles will be needed for the loose scree going down to Mweka Camp (3100m). Later in the evening, we will enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.

Elevation (m): 3100m to 1800m, Distance: 10 km, Hiking Time: 3-4 hours, Habitat: Forest
Your final day on the trek, departing after breakfast we descend a further 1300m to the Mweka Park Gate to pick up your summit certificates from the Park Headquarters. Transfer to your hotel.

After a much need shower and rest, you will either make your own way back to your onward destination or if you have arranged airport transfers / a safari through us we will collect you for the next part of your adventure.

Make an Enquiry

+44 (0) 121 288 0388 | [email protected]

We’ll respond within 24 hours
No question is too small!

Mark Whitman
High altitude trekking expert
Phone: +44 (0)121 288 0388

Sharon King
Destination Specialist
Phone: +44 (0)121 288 0388

“Miles ahead by far. We are so grateful to the amazing Kandoo team for getting us to the top of Kilimanjaro safely and providing an amazing once in a lifetime experience!”

trustpilot-badge-landscapeCharlene Angel-Trueman, UK
Trekked Kilimanjaro, Oct ’15
Posted on TrustPilot.Com