Mt. Kilimanjaro Machame Route

  • view-from-stella-point-with-summit-on-highest-point-of-escarpment
  • shira-camp-on-kilimanjaro
  • walk-from-karanga-valley-to-barafu-camp
  • machame-route-walking-on-scree-to-the-crater-rim
  • karanga-valley-camp-on-kilimanjaro
  • camping-on-the-shira-plateau

The Machame route on Kilimanjaro is a seven day camping route which allows for excellent acclimatisation and particularly diverse scenery. It has been called the Whiskey route in the past and nowadays about 35% of all climbers on the mountain use it. In a matter of days you will climb Kilimanjaro from the equator up to an Arctic zone, moving through grasslands, tropical rainforest, alpine meadows, moorlands and high desert to snow and ice. Each day on this route presents quite a distinct ecosystem to experience, which is one reason it is so popular.

Machame route day by day programme

Day Elevation Travel Time Info
1 Arrive into Tanzania. Most people fly into Kilimanjaro airport either directly or via Kenya. Overnight in Keys Annexe Hotel in Moshi Town.
2 900m Day in Moshi, meet the AA Tanzania staff and have time for hiring equipment or relaxing in the hotel. This is a good day to hydrate fully for the start the next day.
3 900m – 1790m – 2980m 5 hours, 10 kms Transport to Machame Gate (1 hour up to 1790m). Registration (sometimes it can take a few hours or so for this process). Trek to Machame Camp through beautiful montane forest on good path. Camp overnight at the edge of the forest.
4 2980m – 3840m 6-7 hours,     7 kms Machame Camp to Shira Plateau uphill through thinning forest and onto a huge volcanic plateau. Camping is more exposed here with great views of the summit massif.
5 3840m – 3950m 7-8 hours,   10 kms Shira Camp to Barranco Camp traversing two valleys skirting the base of the summit massif. High desert environment with amazing rock formations, quite exposed to the weather, dropping into the Barranco Valley right beneath the Western Breach. This day ascends a maximum of 700 metres but the net height gain is only about 100 metres.
6 3950m – 3950m 5 hours,  4 kms Barranco Camp to Karanga Valley, starting with a scramble over the Barranco Wall and over a further two valleys to get to this open campsite with great views of the Heim Glacier. Another up and down day but no net gain in height, which is all good for acclimatisation.
7 3950m – 4550m 4-5 hours,     4 kms Karanga Valley to Barafu Camp, heading upwards towards the open rock and colder temperatures. Barafu means ‘ice’ in Swahili and the camping is amongst the rocks. Early dinner.
8 4550m – 5895m – 2800m 7 hours up, 6 hours down,   18 kms Summit day. Night-time ascent on rock and scree, snow and ice, to the crater rim and the summit. Expect cold temperatures with windchill. The final slope to the crater rim and Stella Point has loose scree and is very slow. From Stella Point it is a further 45 minutes up the escarpment to the summit of Uhuru.
Descend in sunlight to Barafu for early lunch, and then walk down to Millennium Camp, normally arriving mid-afternoon.
9 2800m – 900m 4-6 hours, 11 kms Millennium to Mweka Gate. Descend through the lush forest to Mweka Gate where you sign out and pick up the summit certificate. Legs will be tired! Meet Castro at the gate for transport back to the hotel, arriving normally at about 2pm.
The gate is where tips are handed out and you say goodbye to the mountain staff, although sometimes this is done at the hotel. A hot shower and an afternoon relaxing.
10 Either start the safari or depart home.