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Machame route, Kilimanjaro

Overview

Known as the “Whiskey” route, the Machame route is now the most popular route on themountain. Compared with Marangu, the days on Machame are longer and the walks are steeper. The Machame route is considered a difficult route, and is better suited for more adventurous folks and those with some hiking or backpacking experience.

The route begins from the south, then heads east, traversing underneath Kilimanjaro’s southern ice field before summiting. 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.

Day to Day Itinerary

Day One: Machame Gate (1,800 m/5,905 ft) to Machame Camp (3,000 m/9,840 ft)

Elevation: 1,200 m (3,935 ft)
Hike Time: 6-7 hours
Distance: ?
Habitat: Arctic

At 9am, leave at Hotel Park view Moshi for Machame Gate, where you will meet our porters, guides and cooks that will spend the next six days trekking with you to Uhuru Peak, the roof of Africa. The drive through coffee farms and villages to Machame Gate takes about 1.5 hours. After arriving, wait at the gate while we register your climb and the porters and guides make final preparations.

Hike to Machame Camp via the mystical, moss-covered trees of Kilimanjaro’s cloud forest. As the forest thins later in the hike, take in the heathers, tall grasses and wildflowers. If the weather is clear, enjoy the striking views of your ultimate destination, Kibo Peak. Our porters and cooks will go ahead and prepare the campsite before you arrive.

Day Two: Machame Camp (3,000 m/9,840 ft) to Shira Camp (3,840 m/12,600 ft)

Elevation: 840 m (2,760 ft)
Hike Time: 6-8 hours
Distance: ?
Habitat: Arctic

Today’s trek includes several uphill sections so carry plenty of drinking water as it can be hot hiking on a clear day. There are several viewpoints from which to view the plains and forests below, and the commanding Kibo and Mawenzi peaks above.

Notice the change in vegetation as you gain altitude. The trees diminish in size, giving way to Kilimanjaro’s famous high altitude plants, Scenecio kilimanjari and Lobelia deckenii. After lunch, climb the Shira Plateau, created when Kibo’s lava flows filled the Shira crater. Continue to Shira Camp and relax for the rest of the day. Kibo lies to the west and Mount Meru to the east.

Shira Camp (3,840 m/12,600 ft) to Barranco Camp (3,950 m/12,960 ft)

Elevation: 690 m (2,264 ft)
Hike Time: 6-8 hours
Distance: ?
Habitat: Arctic

Although this up and down day ends with an elevation gain of only 110 meters, by early afternoon you will have climbed 690 meters to a height of 4,530 meters before beginning your descent to Barranco Camp. This day is crucial for acclimatization.

After breakfast, hike east on the Shira Plateau before reaching the junction for the Shira and Lemosho Routes. Continue on through the barren landscape before stopping for lunch. Shortly after lunch, reach the highest point of the day before descending quickly to Barranco Camp. Faster hikers can take a detour via Lava Tower, a 300-foot lava formation jutting out of the mountainside.

Day Four: Barranco Camp (3,950 m/12,960 ft) to Barafu Camp (4,600 m/15,100 ft)

Elevation: 650 m (2,140 ft)
Hike Time: 6-10 hours
Distance: 13 km
Habitat: Arctic

Leave Barranco Camp after breakfast for Karanga Valley. The day begins with a 1.5 hour scramble up the Barranco Wall. This is the hardest part of the day and in some places you may have to use your hands to aid your climb. After reaching the top, hike through fairly level terrain before making a short but steep descent into the green Karanga River Valley.

Continue on to Barafu Camp, viewing several of Kibo’s glaciers as well as the junction that connects the descent route, Mweka, with the Machame trail. During day four, hike by the Heim, Kersten and Decken Glaciers. Although the trail to Barafu passes through alpine desert with little vegetation, Barafu Camp offers stunning views of Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. Try to sleep upon finishing dinner as you will wake before midnight for your summit hike.

Day Five: Barafu Camp (4,600 m/15,100 ft) to Uhuru Peak (5,895 m/19,340 ft) to Mweka Camp (3,100 m/10,170 ft)

Elevation: 1,295 m (4,240 ft) up, 2,795 m (9,170 ft) down
Hike Time: 6 hrs to rim, 1 hr to Uhuru, 3-4 hrs to Barafu, 4 hrs to Mweka
Distance: ?
Habitat: Arctic

Around midnight, begin the final ascent to Uhuru Peak. Hike by the light of your headlamp for the next six hours. The ascent to the crater rim is the most challenging part of the entire trek. The trail is very steep until you reach the crater rim at Stella Point.

The hike from Stella Point to Uhuru Peak is a gradual climb and, as far as hikes go, not very difficult. The altitude, however, makes the hike long and tiring. The crater rim hike takes approximately one hour. Upon reaching Uhuru, take photos of your guide and group at the peak before beginning the descent to Mweka Camp. On the way down from Uhuru, enjoy views of the mountain, crater, clouds and glaciers.

At Barafu Camp, eat breakfast and take a short break. You still have another three to five hours to go before reaching Mweka Camp.

Day Six: Mweka Camp (3,100 m/10,170 ft) to Mweka Gate (1,500 m/4,920 ft)

Elevation: 1,600 m (5,250 ft)
Hike Time: 4 hours
Distance: ?
Habitat: Arctic

After breakfast, finish the trek with a hike through the forest to Mweka Gate. The trail may be slippery following rain. Our vehicles will meet you at the lower station of Mweka Gate to take you back to Hotel park view in Moshi.

Kilimanjaro Trek

Duration

6 days

Route

Machame
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Safari at a Glance

  • Day One: Machame Gate (1,800 m/5,905 ft) to Machame Camp (3,000 m/9,840 ft)
  • Day Two: Machame Camp (3,000 m/9,840 ft) to Shira Camp (3,840 m/12,600 ft)
  • Shira Camp (3,840 m/12,600 ft) to Barranco Camp (3,950 m/12,960 ft)
  • Day Four: Barranco Camp (3,950 m/12,960 ft) to Barafu Camp (4,600 m/15,100 ft)
  • Day Five: Barafu Camp (4,600 m/15,100 ft) to Uhuru Peak (5,895 m/19,340 ft) to Mweka Camp (3,100 m/10,170 ft)
  • Day Six: Mweka Camp (3,100 m/10,170 ft) to Mweka Gate (1,500 m/4,920 ft)

Start Planning Your Safari Adventure

This is a suggested Tanzania safari itinerary. It can be adapted to suit your own personal needs and preferences, as well as for any seasonal changes or migratory animal movements.
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Kilimanjaro Commercial Complex
(New NSSF Building)
2nd Floor, Room No. 3F
Aga Khan Road
Moshi, Tanzania
P.O. Box 1785
Moshi, Tanzania
+255 755 337 828
info@thepeakofafrica.com
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