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machame route OUR FAVOURITE ROUTE FOR A SEVEN DAY CLIMB kandoo machame route climb kilimanjaro

Machame Route Highlights


Our favourite route for a seven day climb
Great acclimatisation as you "walk high, sleep low"
Climbs up through all 5 climate zones
One of the routes with the best success rate
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9 days

About the Machame route

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 on this route and the fact that it can be climbed in 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. You can download the detailed itinerary by clicking the link here.

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. 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 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. Our climbers invariably say they have benefited from the extra day.

During the main trekking season we run at least one open climb on the Machame route each week, and often more. Each group can accommodate 10 people, and we guarantee to run every booked climb, no exceptions. Our open groups are very popular with fundraisers climbing Kilimanjaro for charity, and we welcome all such climbers. For more information, please see our schedule and availability below.

If you want to make the climb with an open group on a particular date that isn’t on our schedule, please contact us and let us know. Often times we can arrange a new group for a particular set of days upon request.

Detailed Itinerary for the Machame Route

Day 1Arrival

You will arrive at Kilimanjaro Airport, where a Kandoo driver will meet you and transfer you to your hotel in Moshi.

Day 2From Machame Gate to Machame Camp

At the start of day two, Kandoo will drive us from our hotel to the Machame Gate for registration. This will be our last chance to use a proper toilet before the day's trek through the rainforest!

We will follow a 4WD track before turning off onto a foot-only trail on our way to Machame Camp. Lunch will be eaten on the trail, and the night will be spent at Machame Camp.

  •  Elevation: From 1800 metres to 3000 metres
  • Trekking distance: 11 kilometres
  • Trek time: 5 to 7 hours
  • Environment: Montane forest
Day 3From Machame Camp to Shira 1 Camp

Day three will see us trek from the Machame Camp to Shira 1 Camp. We'll leave the rainforest behind, seeing the vegetation grow more sparse and the paths become dustier as we ascend. We'll have rocks and boulders to contend with as we near the famed Shira Plateau.

  •  Elevation: From 3000 metres to 3850 metres
  • Trekking distance: 9 kilometres
  • Trek time: 4 to 6 hours
  • Environment: Moorland
Day 4From Shira 1 Camp to Barranco Valley Camp via Lava Tower

Day four takes us up from Shira 1 Camp to Lava Tower. We will then descend again to the campsite in the Barranco Valley. This is an excellent example of the 'walk high, sleep low' strategy in practice.

The Lava Tower ascent is quite gradual, and we will have an opportunity to rest and eat lunch when we arrive. Along the way, look for excellent views of Helm Glacier, the Western Breach and Kibo.

  •  Elevation: From 3850 metres to 3950 metres
  • Highest point: 4600 metres (Lava Tower)
  • Trekking distance: 12 kilometres
  • Trek time: 6 to 7 hours
  • Environment: Semi-desert
Day 5From Barranco Valley Camp to Karanga Valley Camp

Day five is a shorter trek, but an energetic one. Just after breakfast we will ascend to the top of the Great Barranco Wall. We'll be above the clouds at this point, and will be able to see the land spread out below us for miles.

Again, we will descend for the night, making camp in the Karanga Valley. Along the way, look for the Decken, Kersten and Heim Glaciers above the valley.

  •  Elevation: From 3950 metres to 3930 metres
  • Highest point: Great Barranco Wall
  • Trekking distance: 7 kilometres
  • Trek time: About 4 hours
  • Environment: Alpine desert
Day 6From Karanga Valley to Barafu Hut

From Karanga Camp, we join the Mweka Descent Trail, and continue along it to the Barafu Hut. The Hut marks the end of the Southern Circuit, along which we will have enjoyed views of the summit from many different angles.

This is another short day, so we'll have a chance to relax a bit, and prepare for the summit day in the morning. Take some time to enjoy the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi which are clearly visible from Barafu Hut.

  • Elevation: From 3930 metres to 4600 metres
  • Trekking distance: 6 kilometres
  • Trek time: Around 3 hours
  • Environment: Alpine desert.
Day 7From Barafu Hut to summit at Uhuru Peak, descent to Mweka Camp

Day seven begins just before midnight, and will be the most difficult, both mentally and physically. 

We'll have a warm drink and a snack before we set off, threading between the Rebman and Ratzel glaciers. Next we'll cross some heavy scree to reach Stella Point (5732 metres) along the crater rim. There we'll have a short rest and enjoy a unique sight: sunrise at the very top of Africa.

Another hour's hike brings us to Uhuru Peak, the real summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Next, we'll descend to Barafu Hut again for lunch, then to Mweka Camp (at 3100 metres) for our last dinner on the mountain, and some well-earned sleep.

  •  Elevation: From 4600 metres to 3100 metres
  • Highest point: 5895 metres (Uhuru Peak)
  • Trekking distance: 20 kilometres (7 kilometres ascent / 13 kilometres descent)
  • Trek time: 12 to 15 hours (6 to 8 hours ascent / 6 to 7 hours descent)
  • Environment: Alpine desert/stone scree/ice-capped summit.
Day 8Descent from Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate

Day eight is our last on the mountain, and will see us trek from Mweka Camp back to the park gate where you will receive a certificate of your achievement.

Expect the last bit of the route to be muddy, but keep an eye out for Columbus monkeys and other jungle wildlife in the trees!

  •  Elevation: From 3100 metres to 1800 metres
  • Trekking distance: 8 kilometres
  • Trek time: 3 to 4 hours
  • Environment: Montane forest
Day 9Departure

After a night in a warm, comfortable bed at your hotel in Moshi, we'll take you to Kilimanjaro Airport for your return flight.

Congratulations! You've made it!

Machame Route Open Group Availability

Last Updated September 7 2017
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Route: Machame
Arrival: September 23 2017
Days: 9
Price: £2099 $2729 €0
Comment: FULLY BOOKED
 
Route: Machame
Arrival: October 1 2017
Days: 9
Price: £2099 $2729 €0
Comment: Limited Spaces
Route: Machame
Arrival: October 12 2017
Days: 9
Price: £2099 $2729 €0
Comment: Spaces
 
Route: Machame
Arrival: October 22 2017
Days: 9
Price: £2099 $2729 €0
Comment: FULLY BOOKED
 
Route: Machame
Arrival: December 3 2017
Days: 9
Price: £2099 $2729 €0
Comment: Spaces
Route: Machame
Arrival: December 16 2017
Days: 9
Price: £2099 $2729 €0
Comment: Spaces
Route: Machame
Arrival: December 24 2017
Days: 9
Price: £2099 $2729 €0
Comment: Limited Spaces
Route: Machame
Arrival: January 7 2018
Days: 9
Price: £2099 $2729 €0
Comment: Spaces
Route: Machame
Arrival: February 11 2018
Days: 9
Price: £2099 $2729 €0
Comment: Limited Spaces
Arrival: February 25 2018
Days: 9
Price: £2099 $2729 €0
Comment: Spaces
Route: Machame
Arrival: March 11 2018
Days: 9
Price: £2099 $2729 €0
Comment: Spaces
Arrival: March 25 2018
Days: 9
Price: £2099 $2729 €0
Comment: Spaces
Route: Machame
Arrival: June 3 2018
Days: 9
Price: £2099 $2729 €0
Comment: Spaces
Route: Machame
Arrival: June 17 2018
Days: 9
Price: £2099 $2729 €0
Comment: Spaces
Route: Machame
Arrival: July 5 2018
Days: 9
Price: £1999 $2599 €0
Comment: Spaces
Arrival: July 22 2018
Days: 9
Price: £1999 $2599 €0
Comment: Spaces
Route: Machame
Arrival: August 5 2018
Days: 9
Price: £1999 $2599 €0
Comment: Spaces
Route: Machame
Arrival: August 20 2018
Days: 9
Price: £1999 $2599 €0
Comment: Spaces
Arrival: September 9 2018
Days: 9
Price: £1999 $2599 €0
Comment: Spaces
Arrival: September 20 2018
Days: 9
Price: £1999 $2599 €0
Comment: Spaces
Route: Machame
Arrival: September 30 2018
Days: 9
Price: £1999 $2599 €0
Comment: Spaces
Route: Machame
Arrival: October 14 2018
Days: 9
Price: £1999 $2599 €0
Comment: Spaces
Route: Machame
Arrival: December 2 2018
Days: 9
Price: £1999 $2599 €0
Comment: Spaces
Arrival: December 17 2018
Days: 9
Price: £1999 $2599 €0
Comment: Spaces

FAQs about the Machame route

Q1HOW DIFFICULT IS THE MACHAME ROUTE?

The Machame route is considered relatively difficult. Trekkers will need to ascend the Barranco Wall during day four and hike up the steep incline of Kibo during summit night. No technical climbing is required.

Q2WHAT IS THE DISTANCE OF THE MACHAME ROUTE?

The exact trekking distance from gate to gate is 62km or 37 miles.

Q3WHAT IS THE MACHAME ROUTE SUMMIT SUCCESS RATE?

Due to its climb high sleep low profile, summit success rates on the Machame route are very high. Whilst there are no official statistics, the average success rate across all operators is 85% for the 7 day trek and a 73% success rate for the 6 day trek. However, Kandoo have a 90% summit success rate for the Machame route.

Q4WHAT IS THE SCENERY LIKE ON THE MACHAME ROUTE?

The scenery is extremely varied and you will pass through 5 climatic zones on your way to the summit. The trek begins in rainforest on the lower slopes before continuing up into the low alpine zone of wild grasslands and moorlands. From there you trek into the high alpine zone before reaching the glacial zone. You will encounter many incredible vistas and visit stunning places such as Shira Plateau, Barranco and Lava Tower.

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