Machame Route

7 Days Machame Route

Overview

The Machame route is our second ‘favourite’ route on Kilimanjaro. Together with Lemosho, it is widely considered the most scenic with beautiful views and a rich variety of terrain. Therefore, it’s no coincidence that it is a very popular Kilimanjaro route, with the latest figures suggesting that just over 20,000 people climb the Machame route each year. Its popularity is unfortunately therefore it’s only downfall, in that it can get quite overcrowded in peak season.

The acclimatisation profile of the Machame route is great, making use of the climb high sleep low concept most effectively. The route approaches from south and has a comparatively high success rate, especially for climbers who choose the seven-day option. The six-day itinerary is not recommended for first-time trekkers due to less time for acclimatisation. There are no huts and only camping is possible on Machame.

Machame Route

Uniqueness

  • The Machame route is the busiest of the seven  Kilimanjaro routes, with about 50% of Kilimanjaro climbers using it each year.
  • It offers breath-taking 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.

Success Rate

The Machame route provides ideal opportunities to climb high and then sleep low, which means it has an excellent acclimatization profile. Whilst there are no official statistics, the average success rate across all Kilimanjaro operators is 85% for the seven-day Machame route. It drops to 73% for the six-day option.

Highlights

  • Good acclimatization
  • High success rates
  • Beautiful scenery
  • Varying landscapes
  • Variety of terrain

Tour Details

The seven-day Machame route starts its approach of the mountain from the southwest, at Machame Gate

From there, you trek steeply up through rainforest to Shira Ridge, before crossing the Shira Plateau.

From there, you trek steeply up through rainforest to Shira Ridge, before crossing the Shira Plateau.

Continuing along the southern circuit, you follow the Machame route up Barranco Wall and then through the Karanga Valley.

Itinerary

Day
1
Machame Gate to Machame Camp

To start the trek you drive to Machame Gate where you’re recorded in the Kilimanjaro National Park’s register. You then start on your journey by hiking through the rainforest to Machame Camp, which at 3,020 m (9,908 ft) above sea level is your first overnight stop.

Day
2
Machame Camp to Shira Cave

After an early breakfast, you climb up and out of the rainforest and into the heather and moorland zone. You cross many streams and walk over a plateau that leads to Shira 2 Camp. At this campsite you have a spectacular view of the Western Breach and its glaciers in the east. Today’s hike lasts about five to six hours in total.

Day
3
Shira 2 Camp to Lava Tower to Barranco Camp

Today is a day to climb high and then sleep low. As such today’s route consists of two parts: the hike up to Lava Tower, followed by the hike down to Barranco Camp.You hike for about five hours to reach the impressive rock formation called Lava Tower at 4,630 m (15,419 ft) above sea level. The tower is a real highlight on the Kilimanjaro trek.After lunch at Lava Tower, you head down to Barranco Camp. The descent takes about two hours. Barranco Camp is located in a valley below the Western Breach and imposing Barranco Wall.

Day
4
Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp

This is a short hiking day of four to five hours that’s all about acclimatisation. After an early breakfast, it’s time for you to conquer the Barranco Wall. Although it may look intimidating at first, most trekkers report the wall isn’t as difficult as they anticipated. At the top of the wall you’re above the clouds and have superb views of the Southern Ice Fields and the summit. The trail then winds up and down until you arrive at Karanga Camp, where you spend the night.

Day
5
Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp

It’s getting real! You’re now very close to the summit and have some amazing views of the mountain during your short ascent of two to three hours to the last base, Barafu Camp, which sits at 4,600 m (15,091 ft) above sea level. You go to bed early tonight as you’ll be woken around midnight to start the long summit trek.

Day
6
Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp

Today is summit day! This is the big push to the summit at nearly 6,000 metres above sea level. It requires grit and determination, but you can do it! Our guide wakes you up around midnight so you can 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. After about six hours you reach Stella Point on the crater rim at 5,685 m (18,651 ft) above sea level. It should be sunrise about now, and you continue for an hour or so on a snow-covered trail to reach Uhuru Peak at 5,895 m (19,341 ft), which is the very highest point in all of Africa!After reaching the summit, you descend to Mweka Camp at 3,110 m (10,204 ft) above sea level. Here, you spend your final night on the mountain after having hiked for about 12 to 15 hours today!

Day
7
Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate

Today you hike down the last bit of the trail to the foot of the mountain, where your driver is waiting for you. Time for a beer and celebration dinner!

Map

What's Include

  • Gate Enter fees
  • All meals on the mountain (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks)
  • Purified water throughout the climb
  • Breakfast and dinner at the lodge before and after the climb
  • Beautiful lodging before and after the climb (2 nights, based on double occupancy)
  • Professional, English-speaking, experienced mountain guides
  • Transport to and from trail head
  • Cook and porters
  • Private toilet tent
  • High-quality sleeping bags and insulated pads
  • Tents and all camping gear
  • Emergency oxygen and rescue equipment
  • Daily blood check with pulse oxymeter

What's Exclude

  • Airfare to Tanzania
  • Airport transfers
  • Visa
  • Tips for the crew
  • Personal rental gear you might need

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