Machame Route

Machame is, without a doubt, the most popular route to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro these days. This trail offers incredible views, moderate difficulty, and enough time to acclimate, making it an excellent choice for anyone with some leisure moments.

The Machame route is known as the “Whiskey Route” because it is thought to be more difficult than the Marangu route, known as the “Coca-Cola” route. On the other hand, unlike that trail, camping is allowed on Machame; therefore, hikers will be sleeping in tents to the top.

The Machame Route passes through several well-known Mount Kilimanjaro attractions, including the famous Lava Tower and Shira Plateau. The trip takes hikers up and down various valleys and hills, making it a little more difficult but rewarding them with some of the best sights on the mountain.

As a result, the Machame path is usually regarded as the most spectacular of all the routes up Mount Kilimanjaro, offering unique and varied landscapes to pass through daily. The trail begins on the mountain’s south flank, passes beneath the Southern Ice Field, and approaches the summit from the Barafu Camp.

Challenging Hike

Machame is a wonderful alternative for those who have a few extra days in their schedule. Because an extra day of acclimatization can make a major difference in the success rate, trekkers who take this route are more likely to reach the summit, although it is a more difficult hike than the Marangu route.

The Barranco Wall, a steep rock face that might look quite dangerous on the first approach, is one of those difficulties’ greatest and most intimidating. Barranco isn’t quite as scary or challenging as it appears. However, you’ll need to keep an eye on your step and possibly use your hands for extra leverage while climbing over some places. The hike normally takes an hour to an hour and a half, and the view from the top is well worth the effort.

The disadvantage of Machame Route is that it might get busy at times. It is a popular alternative for Kilimanjaro hikers since it is so gorgeous and provides a few more days to acclimate, making the trail and campsites very congested, especially during the high season.

Still, the Machame route is impossible to beat if you are searching for the ultimate Kilimanjaro experience.

Success Rate of the Machame Route

The Machame route has a high success rate because of the many ups and downs that allow for better acclimatization. It is advisable to take your time to ensure a higher success rate. The average summit success rate for the 7-day route is 85 percent. The success percentage reduces to 75% on average for the 6-day itinerary.

Machame Route Detailed Itinerary

On the way to the Shira Plateau from the south of Mount Kilimanjaro, the trek will take you via magnificent, verdant woods. The Southern Ice Field will then surround hikers before making their way to the top.

Machame is a seven-day or six-day climb on Kilimanjaro. The six-day option combines days four and five and takes you from Barranco Camp to Barafu Camp without stopping at Karanga, skipping Karanga Camp.


Day 1: Machame Gate (1,790m) to Machame Camp (3,010m)

  • Distance: ~11km / 7 miles
  • Trekking time: 5-7 hours
  • Zone: Rainforest

After breakfast, you will be picked up from your accommodation and driven 45 minutes to the Kilimanjaro National Park gate. Your adventure begins after you have completed all of the relevant paperwork. The first destination is Machame Camp, a 5- to 6-hour climb. 

You will be trekking through the lush rainforest, which is home to enormous ancient trees, ancient ferns, and unique flowers such as the Impatiens Kilimanjaro. Black and white thumb-less colobus monkeys may also be seen peeking through the leaves. When you get to the campsite, take some time to relax, stretch your legs, and eat a good meal before returning to your tent for the night.


Day 2: Machame Camp (3,010m) to Shira Camp (3,845m)

  • Distance: ~5km / 3 miles
  • Trekking time: 4-6 hours
  • Zone: Rainforest / low Alpine Zone

The early start of the second day is not owing to a long journey but rather to allow you to get to Shira Camp in mid-afternoon. The landscape changes dramatically as you travel, from lush, green jungle to dry moor and heathland. When you arrive at your campground, you are welcomed with a stunning view of the surrounding mountains. As you have another wonderfully cooked meal before climbing into your tent, the Kibo glaciers shimmer in the golden hue of the setting sun.


Day 3: Shira Camp (3,845m) to Lava Tower Hut (4,640m) to Barranco Camp (3,960m)

  • Distance: ~11km / 7 miles
  • Trekking time: 5-7 hours
  • Zone: High alpine zone/ low alpine zone 

Acclimatization is on the third-day schedule, with a climb of about 700 meters and a night’s sleep at a height not much higher than the previous night. You will begin at Shira Plateau and climb to Lava Tower (4,640m), where you will have a break before continuing through the Barranco Valley to the lovely Barranco Camp. 

The trip will take about 6–7 hours, but the alpine desert’s different distractions, as well as the Barranco Valley’s little lobelia plants and large senecios, will keep your mind off the last stretch. Barranco Camp will provide you with a well-deserved dinner and an overnight stay.


Day 4: Barranco Camp (3,960m) to Karanga Camp (4,035m)

  • Distance: ~7km / 5 miles
  • Trekking time: 7 hours
  • Zone: High alpine zone

The Barranco Wall now stands before you, ready to be conquered. Some levels will demand you to use your hands to gain a stronger hold, but no actual climbing is required, and your guide will be there to assist you at all times. Before reaching the mountain ridge, the route provides for more acclimatization with its multiple ascents and descents. 

Before reaching the foggy Karanga Camp, walk up the ridge to take in the lovely view with its spectacular contrasts of desert and greenery. The walk will take 3–4 hours, giving you plenty of time to relax and play a game of rummy. At Karanga Camp, there will be an evening meal and an overnight stay.


Day 5: Karanga Camp (4,035m) to Barafu Camp (4,640m)

  • Distance: ~6km / 4 miles
  • Trekking time: 3 hours
  • Zone: High alpine zone

You will wake up to the sun dancing off the Kibo Summit and have a delicious breakfast before heading to Barafu Camp, your destination for the day. Most of the day will be spent trekking over extremely desert terrain, with Kibo on your left side. After 3-4 hours, you will arrive at Barafu Camp, where you will have an early dinner and stay the night, as the trip’s peak is only a few hours away.


Day 6: Barafu Camp (4,640m) to Uhuru Peak (5,895m) to Mweka Camp (3,080m)

  • Distance: 4.5-kilometer (three-mile) elevation is followed by an 11-kilometer (seven-mile) drop.
  • Trekking time: 6-8 hours to the peak and then 5-8 hours to Mweka
  • Zone: Glacial zone and all preceding zones

Your guide will wake you up at midnight with a warm cup of tea and biscuits to get you ready for the final ascent. Your only source of light will be the moon and your headlamps as you make your way up to Stella Point, taking around 5–7 hours to reach the crater rim. Another 1–2 hours will bring you to Uhuru Summit (5,895m), where you can watch the sunrise over the African landscape, giving a pink hue over the white peak and sparkling the glaciers surrounding you like diamonds.

After recording this spectacular view and achievement on video, you’ll return to Barafu Camp through the same route, where your team will greet you with snacks and refreshments. Rested and calm, you will travel to Mweka Camp, where you will spend your final night on Africa’s highest peak.


Day 7: Mweka Camp (3,080m) to Mweka Gate (1,630m)

  • Distance: ~9km / 5.5 miles
  • Trekking time: 3-5 hours
  • Zone: Rainforest

After a delicious breakfast, your mountain crew will conduct a traditional farewell ceremony before you begin your final descent. You will travel through the rainforest once more, giving you another chance to see the cheeky colobus monkeys, before arriving at the Mweka gate in about 2 – 3 hours. You will be greeted at the gate and driven back to the hotel for a relaxing shower. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy at your leisure while patting yourself on the back for climbing Kilimanjaro!

Get Fit for the Machame Route

Practicing is a sure approach to improving your skills. Hiking is the finest way to prepare for a trip.  Assuming that you enjoy trekking because you want to climb Kilimanjaro. Keep hiking; if you are lucky enough to live in an area surrounded by hills or even mountains, now is the time to make use of your surroundings.   Experts recommend starting six months before the event by going for an hour (or two) hike once a week if you are new to hiking. After about three weeks, when you have gained the hang of it, it’s time to beef up your intensity. Bring a 10- to 15-kilogram backpack and add a three-hour hike to your week’s itinerary.

It’s time to put your endurance to the test after a few months of solid hiking. Do two long hikes in a row. By going hiking for a few days, you can simulate a few days of nonstop trekking.   Plan a shorter trekking trip or keep it simple by hiking the same path again and again. You’ll be alright if you’re used to hiking for 4 hours a day, three days in a row, while carrying a 10kg to 15kg rucksack.

About The mountain

At 5,895 meters Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest freestanding mountain on the earth; it is one of the Seven Summits. The snow-capped peak of Africa is a dormant volcano. This majestic mountain can be found inside the Kilimanjaro National Park of Tanzania, at 005.00 degrees south, 036 degrees east, 5895m above mean sea level.

Exceptional climb success

Since 1994, ClimbingKilimanjaro has been fore runner in operating Kilimanjaro tours. We have a proud and unbeatable track record of more than 15,000 safe and successful summit attempts.

The specialised experience of ClimbingKilimanjaro puts us, as a tour operator, in a unique position to offer the most professional support, guidance, information and motivation to realise this proverbial “bucket-list” dream.

ClimbingKilimanjaro can provide references from previous successful and satisfied clients – on request. Visitors are also welcome to visit our Testimonials & Summit Gallery pages

Real-Time Tracking Service

ClimbingKilimanjaro is the only operator that offers real-time tracking to hikers on Mount Kilimanjaro. This unique service will allow family and friends to track the live progress of their loved ones, as they hike to the summit of Kilimanjaro, subject to availability, pre-booking and at a small supplementary fee.

Guides and porters

ClimbingKilimanjaro only utilises highly trained and registered guides, with several years of experience, to lead a mountain support team that are properly equipped to look after climbers on the mountain.

All of the Climbing Kilimanjaro package options includes the services of one porter per hiker, who will carry the client’s duffel bag (max. 15kg) from one camp to the next.

The above average staff ratio of the Climbing Kilimanjaro Mountain Support Team to climber is: 2 Porters per climber and 2 guides for a maximum of 4 hikers – a very favourable ratio to directly enhance safety and enjoyment on the mountain.