- Machame Route -
The second most popular option among the climbers is the Machame route, also known as “the Whiskey Route”. This route offers a wide variety of views, landscapes and experiences. The starting point of the route, Machame Gate, is only a 20-minute drive from Aishi Machame Hotel. Located on the southern slope of Mt Kilimanjaro, Machame Gate will lead you to the top of Kilimanjaro along the exciting footpath which starts at the tropical forest, then runs through all the climate zones and finishes with the Arctic desert in the summit area.
Camps along the trek are favorably located for a smooth and gradual acclimatization transition process. On the 3rd day Machame Route converges with Lemosho and Umbwe at Barranco camp.
Day to Day Itinerary
Day 1: Machame Gate to Machame Camp
Elevation: 5,380 ft to 9,350 ft
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
Distance: 11 km | 7 miles
Habitat: Rain Forest
The drive from Moshi to the Machame Gate takes about 50 minutes. The journey passes through the village of Machame which is located on the lower slopes of the mountain. As we leave the park gate, we walk through the dense rain forest on a winding trail up a ridge until we reach the Machame Camp.
Day 2: Machame Camp to Shira 2 Camp
Elevation: 9,350 ft to 12,500 ft
Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
Distance: 5 km | 3 miles
We leave the glades of the rain forest and continue on an ascending path up to a steep, rocky ridge. On the Shira Plateau, we pass through heather and open moorlands, then cross a large river gorge to Shira 2 Camp.
Day 3: Shira 2 Camp to Lava Tower to Barranco Camp
Shira 2 Camp to Lava TowerElevation: 12,500 ft to 15,190 ft Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
Lava Tower to Barranco CampElevation: 15,190 ft to 13,044 ft Hiking Time: 2-3 hours
.Distance: 7 km | 4 miles Habitat: Alpine Desert
.Distance: 3 km | 2 miles Habitat: Alpine Desert
We continue to the east up a ridge and then head southeast towards the Lava Tower – a 300 ft tall volcanic rock formation. We descend down to Barranco Camp through the strange but beautiful Senecio Forest to an altitude of 13,000 ft. Although you begin and end the day at the same elevation, the time spent at higher altitude is very beneficial for acclimatization.
Day 4: Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp
Hiking Time: 8-10 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert
After breakfast, we leave Barranco and continue on a steep ridge passing the Barranco Wall, to the Karanga Valley campsite. Then, we leave Karanga and hit the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. We continue up to the Barafu Hut. At this point, you have completed the South Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Here we make camp, rest, enjoy dinner, and prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are to be seen from this position.
Day 5: Barafu Camp to Summit to Mweka Camp
Barafu Camp to Uhuru PeakElevation: 15,331 ft to 19,341 ft Hiking Time: 7-8 hours
Uhuru Peak to Mweka CampElevation: 19,341 ft to 10,065 ft Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
.Distance: 5 km | 3 miles Habitat: Arctic
.Distance: 12 km | 7 miles Habitat: Rain Forest
Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our 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. We ascend in the darkness for several hours while taking frequent, but short, breaks. Near Stella Point (18,900 ft), you will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see coming over Mawenzi Peak. Finally, we arrive at Uhuru Peak- the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.
From the summit, we now make our descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. The trail is very rocky and can be quite hard on the knees; trekking poles are helpful. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.
Day 6: Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate
On our last day, we continue the descent to Mweka Gate and collect the summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. From the gate, we continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet us at Mweka Village to drive us back to the hotel in Moshi.
Please note all trip prices are based on our own Company costs, fees, and supplier prices in effect at the time of booking. We reserves the right to alter trip prices should inflation, cost of fuel, labor, materials, or exchange rates change. If the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) raises park fees, or any hotel, lodge, camp or any other service provider raises their rates, We reserves the right to require additional payment from the client.