Kilimanjaro Machame Route
The Machame route is traditionally the most popular out of the seven Kilimanjaro routes, recently overtaking the Marangu route with about 50% of climbers using it each year.
Popularly known as the Whiskey Route, the Machame route is widely considered as one of the most scenic Kilimanjaro routes. It offers breathtaking views and a rich variety of terrain throughout. The route approaches from south and has a high success rate, especially for climbers who choose the seven day option.
Follow Alice’s view
We really like the Machame route because of its beauty, variety of scenery and great
✓ Good acclimatisation
✓ High success rates
✓ Beautiful scenery
✓ Varying landscapes
✓ Variety of terrain
– Can get crowded
– Some parts can be considered difficult
The Machame route is for climbers who: want high chances of summiting, are up for a challenge and don’t mind it being slightly more crowded
What is the scenery like on the Machame route?
The Machame route is often known for being the most beautiful out of the 7 Kilimanjaro routes in Tanzania. You pass through extremely varied terrain the whole way up to the summit, including 5 different climatic zones. These include magnificent forests in the first couple of days, low alpine zone of wild grasslands and moorlands and glaciated precipices of the southern ice fields. You’ll experience stunning features such as the lunar landscapes near Barafu Campsite and breathtaking views of Lava Tower.
How hard is the Machame route?
No Kilimanjaro climb is easy, so it can be a tough question to answer. What makes a Kilimanjaro climb ‘hard’ can be different for everyone. Generally speaking, the Machame route is considered more challenging climb than others. It covers more ground with more ups and downs. However, though it may be more difficult in that it wears you out more and requires more energy, it is not technically difficult.
And despite being considered slightly more difficult than other Kilimanjaro routes, the 7-day Machame route has a very good
What is the Machame route summit success rate?
The Machame route has amazing climb high sleep low opportunities which means it has an excellent acclimatisation profile. Whilst there are no official statistics, the average success rate across all Kilimanjaro operators is 85% for the seven-day route. It drops to 73% for the six-day option. Follow Alice retains a success rate of 95% for the seven-day Machame route!
How long does it take to hike the Machame route?
The Machame route can be completed in a minimum of 6 days, but we always recommend the 7-day Machame route itinerary. The extra day gives you more time to
How busy is the Machame route?
The Machame route is the most frequented of the Kilimanjaro routes. It is a very beautiful and scenic route, and also boasts an amazing acclimatisation profile, which attracts a lot of climbers each year. Also, the fact that you can climb it in six days means that a lot of budget Kilimanjaro operators use the Machame route.
What is the accommodation on the Machame route?
The Machame route only offers camping accommodation. As part of our climbing package all of your camping equipment is included; tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat and pillow. The tents are taken up and down each day by your dedicated mountain crew.
What does the Machame route cost?
Follow Alice offers the Machame route as a 7-day group climb or private climb. This package costs $2585 per person (based on double occupancy). This includes 7 days on the mountain and 1 day either side at our beautiful parter lodge in Arusha, Kigongoni Lodge, bringing the entire trip to 9 days in total. For more information on the inclusions / exclusions and more details about the trip, head to our Kilimanjaro climb page.
“Climbing the Uhuru Peak was a worthwhile experience thanks to the unique combination of absolutely breathtaking nature, stunning views of varied scenery, excellent guides and spending 7 days outdoors in a group of interesting young people from all over the world.” Beni Lörtscher
7 Day Machame Route Overview
Starting from Machame Gate to the summit and finish at Mweka Gate
|Day||Start||Altitude (m)||Altitude (ft)||Finish||Altitude (m)||Altitude (ft)||Time (hrs)||Distance (km)||Distance (miles|
|1||Machame Gate||1,640||5,380||Machame Camp||2,850||9,350||5-7||11||7|
|2||Machame Camp||2,850||9,350||Shira 2 Camp||3,810||12,500||4-6||5||3|
|3||Shira 2 Camp||3,810||12,500||Lava Tower||4,630||15,190||4-5||7||4|
|Lava Tower||4,630||15,190||Barranco Camp||3,976||13,044||2-3||3||2|
|4||Barranco Camp||3,976||13,044||Karanga Camp||3,995||13,106||4-5||5||3|
|5||Karanga Camp||3,995||13,106||Barafu Camp||4,673||15,331||4-5||4||2|
|6||Barafu Camp||4,673||15,331||Uhuru Peak||5,895||19,341||7-8||5||3|
|Uhuru Peak||5,895||19,341||Mweka Camp||3,068||10,065||4-6||12||7|
|7||Mweka Camp||3,068||10,065||Mweka Gate||1,640||5,380||3-4||10||6|
Machame route itinerary
The Machame 7-day route first approaches the mountain from the southwest. Before the climbing can begin, you will leave Moshi and take a short 40 minute drive to Machame gate. From there, you will take a steep trek through the rainforest to Shira Ridge, before crossing the Shira Plateau. From here, you join up with the Lemosho route and Shira route near the Lava Tower. You will then travel across from Lava Tower bypassing the old Arrow Glacier route to the Western Breach. Then descending in altitude you will move down towards Barranco Camp under Mount Kilimanjaro’s Southern Ice Fields. Continuing along the southern circuit, you will follow the Machame route up Barranco Wall and then through the Karanga Valley. You will summit from Barafu, and descend via Mweka.
The Machame route is great for acclimatisation because of the many climb high sleep low opportunities
Machame Gate to Machame Camp
After an early breakfast, our driver will take you to the Machame Gate. Here we get recorded and enter the national park. You will then start on your journey and make your way through the rainforest to the Machame Camp at 3020m. You will stay here overnight.
Machame Camp to Shira 2 Camp
After an early morning breakfast, you will begin your ascent out of the rainforest from Machame Camp and into the heather and moorland zone. You will cross many streams and walk over a plateau that leads to Shira 2 Campsite. At this campsite, you will have a spectacular view of the Western Breach and its glaciers in the East. We hike about 5-6h in total today.
Part 1 | Shira 2 Camp to Lava Tower
Today, we do our first acclimatisation walk up to an impressive rock formation called Lava Tower at 4,630m (15,419ft). It takes 5h to get there and is a first highlight on the way to the summit.
Part 2 | Lava Tower to Barranco Camp
After lunch at Lava Tower, we head down and reach Barranco Campsite in about 2h. The camp is located in a valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall (“Breakfast Wall”)
Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp
This is a short 4-5h hiking day meant for acclimatisation. After an early morning breakfast, it’s time for us to conquer the Great Barranco Wall. Although it may look intimidating at first, our travellers usually state it was much easier than they anticipated. At the top of the wall, you will be above the clouds with superb views of the southern ice-fields and the summit. The trail then winds up and down until we arrive at Karanga Campsite where we spend the night.
Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp
It’s getting real! We’re now very close to the summit and will have some amazing views of the mountain during our short 2-3h ascent to the last base, Barafu Campsite, at 4,600m (15,091ft). An early dinner will be served so you can get some rest before attempting the summit that same night. Before you go to bed, our guide will brief you in detail on how best to prepare for summit night. Don’t worry, you’ll be in great hands!
Part 1 | Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak (summit day!)
Our guide will wake you up around midnight for tea and biscuits. You then begin your summit attempt which many describe as the most mentally and physically challenging part of the whole Kilimanjaro climb. The route heads northwest into the dark night ascending over stone scree. In about 6h, we’ll reach Stella Point (5,685m/18,651ft), located on the crater rim. After enjoying the magnificent sunrise, we continue for an hour or so on a snow-covered trail before reaching Uhuru Peak (5,895m / 19,341ft), the very top of Africa and a life-time accomplishment! Be prepared to be overwhelmed and don’t forget to take your pictures.
Part 2 | Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp
After reaching the summit, we descend down to Mweka Campsite at 3,110m (10,204ft). Here, we’ll spend our final night on the mountain after having hiked for about 12-15h. You’ll fall asleep immediately, trust us!
Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate
We wake up at our last campsite down in the rainforest. After breakfast, we’ll say goodbye to all of our helpers that have been working so hard throughout the week to get us successfully to the summit. Helpers that have become friends during our days on the mountain. We do the last bit of hiking down to the foot of the mountain, where our driver will be waiting to bring us back to Kigongoni Lodge. Time for a beer and great celebration dinner!
Feeling inspired to climb the Machame route? Got some more questions that you want answered? Shoot us a message! We are always happy to hear from you.
Other useful Kilimanjaro posts
- Kilimanjaro routes
- Kilimanjaro packing list
- Best time to climb Kilimanjaro
- Kilimanjaro preparation
- Kilimanjaro safety
- Tipping on Kilimanjaro
- What is it like to climb Kilimanjaro
The 7 Kilimanjaro routes
- Lemosho Route
The Lemosho is the most beautiful Kilimanjaro route
- Machame Route
The Machame is the most popular Kilimanjaro route
- Marangu Route
The Marangu route only offers hut accommodation
- Rongai Route
The Rongai is the only route that approaches from the North
- Shira Route
The Shira route Approaches from the Western side of Kilimanjaro
- Northern Circuit Route
The Northern Circuit is the newest and longest Kilimanjaro route
- Umbwe Route
The Umbwe is the shortest, steepest and hardest Kilimanjaro route