Machame Route – 6 or 7 days mountain climb

The Machame route is our favoured route and the one that we recommend as a good all-rounder in terms of length of the trek, success rate and price. It is a particularly scenic route. It is a pretty busy route, but that’s because it is such a good route!

You ascend from the western side of Kilimanjaro and descend down the south face. You pass through tropical montane rainforest through heath and moorland and on to the Alpine desert zone. Beyond this is the summit with its permanent glaciers and frequent snow.If the weather is clear there are excellent views across to Mt. Meru and of the western face and the southern icefields of Kilimanjaro as you climb.

This route can be done in 4 days up and 2 days down or you can add a day to the ascent, stopping overnight at the Karanga Valley, to greatly improve your chances of success and ease the pace a little.

As you come around the west and southern sides of the mountain you climb ascend ridges and drop down into valleys. It’s a bit frustrating going down into the valleys as you know you have lost the altitude you just worked so hard to gain – but this is the very action that gives your body the best acclimatisation and therefore the success on this route is excellent.

You start at Machame Gate and summit via Stella point, descending via the Mweka Route to finish at Mweka Gate. Mweka is only used as a down route so you are not passing climbers on their way up.

Machame 6 day Route Map and Itinerary

  • Day 1
    On arrival in Kilimanjaro airport you’ll be driven to the base hotel. This evening you’ll have a briefing where you’ll be given details about the forthcoming climb and have a chance to ask any questions.
  • Day 2
    After breakfast you’ll be driven to the park gates where you’ll meet your guides and porters who’ll play such an important role over the next few days. Having completed formalities (your guide will do the paperwork for you) you’ll set off on foot through the verdant forest. This is a gentle walk of about 5 hours leading to your camp at Machame camp.
  • Day 3
    Today begins with a steep climb which gradually flattens out to an easier walk, still uphill. The zone you pass through today is known as the heath zone where you’ll see attractive helichrysum and lobelia plants. Various geologic features can be seen today from lava tubes to glacial valleys. After lunch the trail heads downhill a little before climbing again and reaching your camp at Shira Camp. The estimated walking time today is 6 hours.
  • Day 4
    You’ll be walking uphill for about 5kms. You ascend into alpine desert and for those that are feeling strong you can even head up to Lava Tower before descending to Barranco camp. Lunch is taken as a picnic lunch on route. This is long day but pays dividends later on as you walk high and sleep low today – great acclimatisation day! It’ll take about 8 hours to complete today’s route, which ends up at Barranco Wall.
  • Day 5
    From Barranco camp, famous for its giant groundsels, you ascend the Barranco wall and hike glacial valleys to Karanga camp. Lunch is at Karanga before heading to Barafu in the afternoon. You are in desolate alpine desert and at times strong winds rip over this camp. But on the plus side you get great views of Mawenzi peak. An early dinner before heading to rest for a few hours. Overnight at Barafu Camp. This is a long day with about 8-9 hours walking today.
  • Day 6
    This is it – summit day! You’ll be woken at about midnight with a hot drink before you set out, torch in hand, for the initial climb to Stella Point. Patience and persistence is the name of game to reach Stella Point on the crater rim at around dawn. It’s then a relatively short final push to the summit, Uhuru Peak – The Roof of Africa!. You’ll see the glaciers and if the weather is clear may get wonderful views of the plains far below. Having achieved your goal, it’s time to head back down to Mweka Camp. You’ll arrive, exhausted but elated, by mid-afternoon.
    This is a seriously long day with 12 – 16 hours hiking time. 4,600m – 5,895m -3,100m
  • Day 7
    After breakfast you descend once again through montane forest and around mid day after saying farewell to your crew, you are picked up and transfer back to the base hotel. Have a shower and a celebratory drink or two!
  • Day 8
    Transfer to Kilimanjaro airport or your onward travels.

Machame 7 day Route Map and Itinerary

  • Day 1
    On arrival in Kilimanjaro airport you’ll be driven to the base hotel. This evening you’ll have a briefing where you’ll be given details about the forthcoming climb and have a chance to ask any questions.
  • Day 2
    After breakfast you’ll be driven to the park gates where you’ll meet your guides and porters who’ll play such an important role over the next few days. Having completed formalities (your guide will do the paperwork for you) you’ll set off on foot through the verdant forest. This is a gentle walk of about 5 hours leading to your camp at Machame camp. 3,000m
  • Day 3
    Today begins with a steep climb which gradually flattens out to an easier walk, still uphill. The zone you pass through today is known as the heath zone where you’ll see attractive helichrysum and lobelia plants. Various geologic features can be seen today from lava tubes to glacial valleys. After lunch the trail heads downhill a little before climbing again and reaching your camp at Shira Camp. The estimated walking time today is 6 hours. 3,850m
  • Day 4
    You’ll be walking uphill for about 5kms. You ascend into alpine desert and for those that are feeling strong you can even head up to Lava Tower before descending to Barranco camp. Lunch is taken as a picnic lunch on route. This is long day but pays dividends later on as you walk high and sleep low today – great acclimatisation day! It’ll take about 8 hours to complete today’s route, which ends up at Barranco Wall. 3,910m
  • Day 5
    From Barranco camp, famous for its giant groundsels, you ascend the Barranco wall and hike glacial valleys to Karanga Valley. Today is a relatively short day hiking and lunch is taken at Karanga camp. In the afternoon a walk can be taken with your guides for great views of the southern walls of Kibo and deep glacial valleys. Overnight Karanga Camp. It’s just 4-5 hours walking today giving you plenty of time for acclimatisation. 4,100m
  • Day 6
    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. You are in desolate alpine desert and at times strong winds rip over this camp. But on the plus side you get great views of Mawenzi peak. An early dinner before heading to rest for a few hours. Overnight at Barafu Camp. It’s just 4-5 hours walking today but you’ll be gald of the rest before a big day tomorrow. 4,600m
  • Day 7
    This is it – summit day! You’ll be woken at about midnight with a hot drink before you set out, torch in hand, for the initial climb to Stella Point. Patience and persistence is the name of game to reach Stella Point on the crater rim at around dawn. It’s then a relatively short final push to the summit, Uhuru Peak – The Roof of Africa!. You’ll see the glaciers and if the weather is clear may get wonderful views of the plains far below. Having achieved your goal, it’s time to head back down to Mweka Camp. You’ll arrive, exhausted but elated, by mid-afternoon.
    This is a seriously long day with 12 – 16 hours hiking time. 4,600m – 5,895m -3,100m
  • Day 8
    After breakfast you descend once again through montane forest and around mid day after saying farewell to your crew, you are picked up and transfer back to the base hotel. Have a shower and a celebratory drink or two!
  • Day 9
    Transfer to Kilimanjaro airport or your onward travels.
L

Amanda Marks

Managing Director
Self confessed Africa-lover, but keen on all new travel experiences, Amanda is passionate about getting to know different cultures.

L

Tracy Edwards

Travel Consultant
Tracy was been born and spent her youth in South Africa, the draw of the animals, the people and wilds of Africa have always run through her veins.

L

Sinead Bailey

Travel Consultant
Sinead caught the travel bug following a year out after university. She has worked in the travel industry ever since, and visited many countries including South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana and Namibia.

L

Christine MacDougall

Travel Consultant
The African dust is firmly planted in Chris’s heart. Born in Tanzania she spent much of her childhood in and around Ruaha. Travel and safari was part of life and through into adulthood fun and travel has never left her.