Machame Route is the “Whiskey” route. It is the second most popular and one of the most scenic routes on the mountain. All climbers sleep in tents (tents are included) and meals are served in a dinner tent or on a blanket outside.
It is done over 6 days, so acclimatization is easier, and the success rate is fairly high. It is for physically fit people with some hiking experience. Descent is down the Mweka trail staying at the Mweka or Millenium camp the final night on the mountain.
Day 1: Drive to Kilimanjaro National Park Machame Gate, Hike to Machame Camp
Drive from Moshi to the Mount Kilimanjaro National Park Gate takes about 45 minutes. The journey passes through the village of Machame which is located on the lower slopes of the mountain.
We depart the park gate and walk through the rain forest on a winding trail up a ridge. At lower elevations, the trail can be muddy and slippery. Gaiters and trekking poles are a good idea here. We continue a short distance until we reach the Machame Camp.
- Elevation: 1830m/6000ft to 3050m/9950ft
- Distance: 11km/7mi
- Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
- Habitat: Montane Forest
Day 2: Hike Machame Camp to Shira Camp
After breakfast we leave the glades of the rain forest and continue on an ascending path, crossing the valley along a steep rocky ridge. The route now turns west onto a river gorge until we arrive at the Shira campsite.
- Elevation: 3050m/9950ft to 3850m/12,600ft
- Distance: 5km/3mi
- Walking Time: 4-5 hours
- Habitat: Moorland
Day 3: Hike Shira Camp to Lava Tower to Barranco Camp
From the Shira Plateau, we continue to the east up a ridge, passing the junction towards the peak of Kibo. As we continue, our direction changes to the South East towards the Lava Tower, called the “Shark’s Tooth” (eleven 4650m/15,250ft). Shortly after the tower, we come to the second junction which goes to the Arrow Glacier. We now continue down to the Barranco Camp. Although you end the day around the same elevation as when you began, this day is very important for acclimatization and will help your body prepare for summit day.
- Elevation: 3850m/12,600ft to 4000m/13,000ft
- Distance: 10km/6mi
- Walking Time: 5-6 hours
- Habitat: Semi-desert
Day 4 : Hike Barranco Camp to Barafu Camp
After breakfast, we leave Barranco and continue on a steep ridge up to the Barranco Wall (eleven 4250m/13,900ft), through the Karanga Valley (eleven 4050m/13,250ft) to the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. We continue up to the Barafu Camp. You have completed the South Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Here we make camp with views of the summit in the distance.
- Elevation: 4000m/13,000ft to 4700m/15,350ft
- Distance: 9km/6mi
- Hiking Time: 6-8 hours
- Habitat: Alpine Desert
Day 5 : Hike Barafu Camp to Summit, down to Mweka Camp
Very early in the morning (midnight to 2 am), we continue our way to the summit between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers. You head in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. At Stella Point, you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see. Faster hikers may view the sunrise from the summit.
From Stella Point, you may encounter snow all the way on your 1-hour ascent to the summit. Once at Uhuru Peak you have reached the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa!
From the summit we begin our descent by continuing straight down to the Mweka Camp, stopping at Barafu for lunch. You may want gaiters and trekking poles for the loose gravel going down. We arrive at Mweka Camp and enjoy our last evening on the mountain.
- Elevation: 4700m/15,350ft to 5895m/19,340ft | Down to 3090m/10,150ft
- Distance: 5km/3mi up / 13km/8mi down
- Hiking Time: 5-7 hours up / 5-6 hours down
- Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
Day 6 : Hike Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate, drive to Moshi
After breakfast, we continue the descent down to the Mweka Park Gate to receive your summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts will probably be plenty to wear (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy).
From the gate, continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet you at Mweka village to drive you back to your hotel in Moshi (about 30 minutes). Don’t forget to tip your guides and porters.
- Elevation: 3090m/10,150ft to 1680m/5500ft
- Distance: 10km/6mi
- Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
- Habitat: Forest | Meals: B