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The Machame route, also known as the "Whiskey" route, is the most popular route on Kilimanjaro. Machame’s draw is in its scenic beauty. However, the trail is considered difficult, steep and challenging, particularly due to its shorter itinerary. Therefore this route is better suited for more adventurous folks or those with some high altitude, hiking or backpacking experience.

The route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the south, beginning with a short drive from Moshi to Machame Gate. The path leads hikers through the rain forest to Shira Plateau. Here, many of Kilimanjaro’s routes converge. Then the route turns east and traverses underneath Kilimanjaro's Southern Ice Field on a path known as the Southern Circuit before summiting from Barafu. Descent is made via the Mweka route.

Tanzania Horizon Safaris offers Machame as a seven day group climb or as a six day private climb. The six day variation combines days four and five, going from Barranco Camp to Barafu Camp without staying at Karanga.

                         6 DAY MACHAME ITINERARY


Day 1

Machame Gate to Machame Camp
Elevation: 5,380 ft to 9,350 ft
Distance: 11 km/7 miles
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
Habitat: Rain Forest

The drive from Moshi to the Machame Gate takes about 50 minutes. The journey passes through the village of Machame which is located on the lower slopes of the mountain. As we leave the park gate, we walk through the dense rain forest on a winding trail up a ridge until we reach the Machame Camp.


Day 2

Machame Camp to Shira 2 Camp
Elevation: 9,350 ft to 12,500 ft
Distance: 5 km/3 miles
Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
Habitat: Heath

We leave the glades of the rain forest and continue on an ascending path up to a steep, rocky ridge. On the Shira Plateau, we pass through heather and open moorlands, then cross a large river gorge to Shira 2 Camp.


Day 3

Shira 2 Camp to Lava Tower
Elevation: 12,500 ft to 15,190 ft
Distance: 7 km/4 miles
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert

Lava Tower to Barranco Camp
Elevation: 15,190 ft to 13,044 ft
Distance: 3 km/2 miles
Hiking Time: 2-3 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert

We continue to the east up a ridge and then head southeast towards the Lava Tower – a 300 ft tall volcanic rock formation. We descend down to Barranco Camp through the strange but beautiful Senecio Forest to an altitude of 13,000 ft. Although you begin and end the day at the same elevation, the time spent at higher altitude is very beneficial for acclimatization.


Day 4

Barranco Camp to  Barafu Camp
Distance: 8 km/5.3 miles
Hiking Time: 7-8 hours
Habitat: Arctic

Our day starts by descending into the Great Barranco, a huge ravine. We then exit steeply, up the Great Barranco Wall, which divides us from the southeastern slopes of Kibo. It’s a climb over rock, not technical, but long and tiring. Passing underneath the Heim and Kersten glaciers, we head towards the Karanga valley, which is our last stop for fresh water before the summit. Scree now forms the terrain as we walk through arid and desolate land towards Barafu camp.


Day 5

Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak
Elevation: 15,331 ft to 19,341 ft
Distance: 5 km/3 miles
Hiking Time: 7-8 hours
Habitat: Arctic

Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp
Elevation: 19,341 ft to 10,065 ft
Distance: 12 km/7 miles
Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
Habitat: Rain Forest

Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our push to the summit. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. The wind and cold at this elevation and time of day can be extreme. We ascend in the darkness for several hours while taking frequent, but short, breaks. Near Stella Point (18,900 ft), you  will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see coming over Mawenzi Peak. Finally, we arrive at Uhuru Peak- the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.

From the summit, we now make our descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. The trail is very rocky and can be quite hard on the knees; trekking poles are helpful. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.


Day 6

Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate
Elevation: 10,065 ft to 5,380 ft
Distance: 10 km/6 miles
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Rain Forest

On our last day, we continue the descent to Mweka Gate and collect the summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. From the gate, we continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet us at Mweka Village to drive us back to the hotel in Moshi.



    The prices include

    • 2 nights hotel accommodation in Moshi (before & after climb)
    • Pick up and drop off at Kilimanjaro Airport
    • Group transport to and from Moshi to the trail head
    • Kilimanjaro National Park permits, camping/hut fees, rescue fees and Value Added Tax (VAT)
    • Expert guide, assistant guides, cook and porters
    • Bottled oxygen, for emergency rescue only
    • Private toilet
    • Four season, 3 person mountain tents, double occupancy
    • Sleeping pad, foam, 1.5 inches thick
    • Mess tents, tables, chairs, lanterns
    • Fresh, nutritious meals on the mountain
    • Breakfast at hotel

    Not included in price

    • Airfare
    • Lunch or dinner at hotel
    • Beverages at hotel
    • Personal gear and equipment
    • Tips