7 Days – Machame Route
|Mount Kilimanjaro/Machame Route|
- Highly recommended for scenic value, with medium success rate. Not recommended for first-time climbers.
- Most technically difficult route available without a permit due to vertical climb on Day 4
- Great for acclimatization with lots of walk high, sleep low opportunities
- Challenging trek with stunning scenery through 5 diverse climatic zones
- Good opportunity to split pre-summit day climb to leave climbers rested before summiting
- Very popular trail, therefore can be busy
- Fully catered camping only
The Machame route is the most popular route on the mountain. The days are longer and the walks are steeper when compared with Marangu. The Machame route is considered a difficult route, and is better suited for more adventurous folks and those with some hiking or backpacking experience. Machame approaches from the southwest and descends using Mweka, rewarding climbers with views of the expansive Shira Plateau, an optional scramble up Lava Tower, a climb up the Great Barranco Wall, and a traverse underneath Kilimanjaro's Southern Icefield. The descent occurs on the Mweka route. Climbers sleep in supplied tents at designated campsites, and eat meals either outdoors or inside a large dining tent. Staff prepares all meals and sets up the tents.
The minimum number of days required for this route is six days, although seven days is recommended.
The Machame route is scenically beautiful and varied. However, due to the heavy crowds, it loses some of its splendor.
Recommended Trip Length Accomodation
7 Days / 6 Nights Camping
Day 1: Machame Gate (1490m) - Machame camp (2980m) Hiking time: 7h Distance: Approximately 18kms Habitat: Montane forest Your day starts early with a briefing, followed by breakfast and a 45-minute drive from Moshi/Arusha (910m) to the Machame village (1490m). Depending on the condition of the road, it is possible to drive from the village to the Machame gate, but if not, the muddy 3 km walk will take about 1 hour to complete. After registering at the gate office, you start your ascent and enter the rain forest almost immediately.
Day 2: Machame camp (2980m) - Shira camp (3840m) Hiking time: 6h Distance: Approximately 9 kms Habitat: Moorland You rise early at Machame camp and after breakfast you climb an hour or so to the top of the forest and then for 2 hours at a gentler gradient through the moorland zone. After a short lunch and rest, you continue up a rocky ridge onto the Shira plateau. By now you will be able to see in an easterly direction, the Western Breach with its stunning glaciers. You are now due west of Kibo and after a short hike you will reach the Shira campsite at 3 840m.
Day 3 Shira (at 3840m) to Lava Tower (at 4630m) to Barranco camp (at 3950m) Hiking time: 7h Distance: Approximately 15 kms Habitat: Semi-desert The semi-desert area of Lava Tower on the Machame route.The route now turns east into a semi desert and rocky landscape surrounding Lava Tower, where you reach an altitude of 4630m after about a 5 hours walk. Lunch is served in a designated area before ascending the rocky scree path to Lava Tower (4630m). This is definitely the toughest day so far. It is normally around this point, where for the first time, some climbers will start to feel symptoms of breathlessness, irritability and headaches.
Day 4 Barranco camp (3950m)- Barafu camp (4550m) Hiking time: 7h Distance: Approximately 13 kms Habitat: Alpine desert After spending a night at the Great Barranco Wall you make your way up this awesome looking obstacle, which in the end normally turns out easier than what you anticipated. Topping out just below the Heim Glacier, you now appreciate just how beautiful Kilimanjaro really is. The route then heads down through the Karanga Valley over intervening ridges and valleys and then joins up with the Mweka route. This is the preferred route down from the summit, so remember it. Turn left up the ridge and after another hour or so, you reach Barafu Hut.
Day 5 (Summit attempt) Barafu camp (4550m) - Uhuru Peak (5895m) - Mweka (3100m) Hiking time: 8h to reach Uhuru Peak, 7 - 8h to descend to Mweka Distance: Approximately 7 kms ascent - 23 kms descent Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit You will rise very early, and after some early breakfast you shuffle off into the night. You will head in a north-westerly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. For many climbers, this 6-hour walk to Stella point is mentally and physically the most challenging on the route. At Stella Point (5685m) you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see (weather permitting).
Day 6 Mweka camp (3100m) - Mweka Gate (1980m) Hiking time: 3h Distance: Approximately 15 kms Habitat: Forest After an early and well-deserved breakfast, it is a short 3-hour and scenic hike back to the Park gate. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. From the Mweka Gate you will continue down into the Mweka village, normally a muddy 3 km (1 hour) hike. In the Mweka village you will be served a delicious hot lunch!! You now drive back to Moshi/Arusha for a long overdue hot shower, dinner and celebrations!