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Mt Kilimanjaro - Machame Route

7 Days/6 Nights

The Machame route is the second most popular route after the Marangu route when trekking Mount Kilimanjaro. This route is considered more picturesque because of the ascent in the west and the descent down the north offering great vistas of Kilimanjaro. Throughout the trek you will also visit Shira Plateau, Barranco and Lava Tower. While Marangu is known as the Coca-Cola route, Machame is called the whiskey route.

Machame boasts a greater percentage of trekkers who summit, primarily because of the additional opportunities it offers for acclimatisation. This route can be done in 6 days but trekkers often extend it to 7 to allow for greater acclimitisation and a greater chance of summiting.

It is worth noting that the distances travelled each day are much longer than any other route.  It is for this reason that we recommend this route for more seasoned trekkers. There are more valley traverses throughout the trek meaning more climbing. The summit stage is particularly arduous and involving up to 15hours of walking. From the peak at Uhuru the descent is via the Mweka route. Accommodation is tents only, while Marangu offers huts and is good for first time trekkers.

Budget Standard Luxury Campsite Permanent Campsite Lodge Hotel

Safari Highlights

  • High success rate to Uhuru Peak. Approx 88% on 7 day trek.
  • Considered the most beautiful trek
  • Tented accommodation
  • Great acclimatisation, allowing climbers to climb high and sleep low
  • Challenging trekking through 5 diverse climatic zones
  • Suitable for groups

Safari at a Glance

1Machame Gate (1640m) to Machame Camp (2850m) Machame Camp
2Machame Camp (2950m) to Shira Camp (3840m)Shira 1 Camp
3Shira Camp (3840m) to Lava Tower (4630m) to Barranco Camp (3975m) Barranco Camp
4Barranco Camp (3975m) to Karanga Camp(3995m)Karanga Camp
5Karanga Camp (3995m) to Barafu Camp (4550m)Barafu Camp
6Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak (5895m) to Mweka Camp (3100m)Mweka Camp
7Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate
The Itinerary

Start: Arrival in Moshi

Meals: None

Jambo, welcome to Tanzania. You will be transferred to your accommodation in Moshi where you will attend a pre-departure meeting with your Kilimanjaro guide to go over last minute details of your upcoming trek.

Day 1: Machame Gate (1640m) to Machame Camp (2850m)

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After registering with the park authority you will begin your trek from Machame Gate. You will trek through dense montane forest that rises steadily. This section is quite beautiful and you will probably want to take some photographs. Be on the look out for exotic birds and black and white colobus monkeys. After 2 1/2 hours of trekking you will reach ‘halfway clearing’ where you will take a rest from trekking. Continuing from here the montane forest merges into giant heather and you will head directly to Machame Hut. Machame Hut is where you will pitch your tent for the night.

Hiking Distance:  17kms

Hiking TIme:  6-7 hrs

Day 2: Machame Camp (2950m) to Shira Camp (3840m)

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

From Machame Hut you will set out for Shira Camp. You will trek up a steep rocky ridge and make your way to a place called Picnic Rock, where there are excellent views of the Shira Plateau and the pinnacles on the southern edge. After a rest at Picnic Rock you will continue to your trek across small stream beds to reach the flatter ground of the Shira Plateau. From this point, the trek is relatively level and crosses through sparse bush and grass. You will pitch your tents at Shira Camp 1.

Hiking Distance: 9kms

Hiking Time:  5-6hrs

Day 3: Shira Camp (3840m) to Lava Tower (4630m) to Barranco Camp (3975m)

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

The third day starts in the moorlands and moves into alpine desert, with fewer trees and more rocks. The trek becomes more strenuous as the trail steepens on the approach to the Lava Tower, which is a 300 foot tall volcanic plug. The highest point is the base of the Lava Tower, after which the trail descends into the Barranco Valley. More vegetation is present in this zone, especially the area just before the campsite. Hanging glaciers glint in the sunshine above amidst a surreal landscape in an area called the ‘Garden of the Senecios’ which features many of the huge Senecio plants and giant Lobelia. Pitch your tents at Barranco Camp.

Hiking Distance: 12kms

Hiking Time: 7-8hrs

Day 4: Barranco Camp (3975m) to Karanga Camp(3995m)

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

From Barranco camp, famous for its’ giant groundsels (Senecio species), you ascend the Barranco wall and hike glacial valleys to Karanga camp. Today is a relatively short day hiking and lunch is taken at Karanga camp where you will stay the night.

Hiking Distance: 5kms

Hiking Time: 5hrs

Day 5: Karanga Camp (3995m) to Barafu Camp (4550m)

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today is another half day ascending to Barafu camp. Once again lunch is taken in camp allowing plenty of time to relax before the summit bid. Very little vegetation can be found at this altitude. Desolate alpine desert and at times strong winds rip over this camp and yet in the evening splendid views of Mawenzi peak are the norm. A relatively early dinner is taken before heading to rest for the evening. Please note that a six day trek omits the Karanga campsite, and trekkers continue directly to Barafu on the same day.

Hiking Distance: 4kms

Hiking Time: 4-5hrs

Day 6: Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak (5895m) to Mweka Camp (3100m)

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Most people depart just before midnight for the final summit bid. By dawn as the first rays of light start to appear, most arrive near the rim. Ascending via Stella Point(which is on the crater rim) affords a relatively short final section of a 30minute trek to Uhuru peak -the Roof of Africa! What goes up must come down and your goal today is to reach Mweka camp. Trekkers typically take somewhere between five and seven hours to ascend, using headlamps and cold weather gear.

The descent back to Barafu takes roughly four hours. Some trekkers ‘scree slide’ down the slope, which entails skidding/running down the loose gravel at medium speed. From Barafu, trekkers typically take a short break, and continue downwards through the alpine desert and ensuing moorlands to Mweka Camp.

Hiking Distance: 31kms

Hiking Time: approx. 16hrs

Day 7: Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

From Mweka Hut, descend steely through the forest on a narrow path, along the crest of a broad ridge between two river valleys. Continue through the montane forest to Mweka Gate. Troops of black-and-white colobus monkeys can often be seen in the dense growth.From the Mweka gate you will be presented with your summit certificate, those reaching Stella Point will receive green certificates whilst those reaching Uhuru peak will receive gold certificates. Once  the certificates are presented, you will be served a hot lunch before being  and be transferred back to your accommodation or drop off point of choice.

Hiking Distance: 15kms

Hiking Time: approx. 3hrs

What's Included?

  • 1 night before and after the climb in Moshi in hotel (BB)
  • Transport to and from Moshi
  • All National Park fees
  • Guide and porter fees
  • Tented accommodation based on twin share
  • All food whilst on the trek

What's Not Included?

  • Airport Transfers $20 each way
  • Single supplements for private tent or room use ($120)
  • Private parties of two persons or less ($300 per trip)
  • Extra Porter $15
  • Bottled water for rescue/emergency use $120
  • Gamow bag, per trip $150
  • Private Toilet per trip $120
  • Sleeping bag rental per trip$40
  • Trekking poles rental per trip $12