The Kilimanjaro Machame Route, also known as the Whiskey Route, is by far Kilimanjaro’s most popular, and therefore busiest, route. It is beautiful and rugged. While it can be climbed in six or seven days, we are proposing seven days to give you adequate acclimatization time and, therefore, the best chances of submitting successfully. The trek begins from the southwest and continues via the southern circuit, finally ascending to the summit via the southeast-facing Mweka (Barafu Camp) route to the crater rim at Stella Point. Explore all Kilimanjaro routes in map detail.
Day 1: Arrival Tanzania
Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport, you will be met by a Tansafari Tours representative and transferred to your hotel in Arusha, where you can relax and enjoy your new surroundings.
Day 2: REST DAY
Today is at your leisure to rest from your travels and prepare for your climb. Your head Kilimanjaro guide will meet you at your hotel to give you a thorough briefing about your climb and check your gear. If you need to rent any clothing or equipment, today will be the day to do so.
DAY 3 (CLIMB DAY 1): ARUSHA – Machame Gate – Machame camp
Beginning of the Trekking Kilimanjaro Machame route; We will depart Arusha this morning at around 8:30am and head to Machame Gate (about a 1½-hour drive). After the porters and guides have made their final preparations and entry formalities have been completed, we will set off for our first day of hiking. Our trek will be quite long today (18km/11 miles), but not very steep. We will start along a 4×4 track through Kilimanjaro’s rainforest and mist for about one hour. When the track ends, we will continue up the trail through the forest. Keep an eye out for the Black & White Colobus monkeys that can often be seen here. It will take us approximately 5-7 hours to reach our first camp, Machame Camp, located just above the forest zone. On a clear day, you can enjoy views of Shira ridge and the summit, itself, ahead. Upon arrival, you will have time to unpack and relax until dinner.
- Beginning altitude: 1,800m/5,905ft
- Ending altitude: 3,000m/9,840ft
- Zone: Rainforest
- Hiking time: 5-7 hours
- Distance: 20km/12mi
- Elevation gain: 1,200m/3,937ft
Day 4 (CLIMB DAY 2): Machame Camp – Shira 2 Camp
Wake up early and enjoy a hearty breakfast before we head out. The distance is shorter today, but the path will be more challenging, and rocky, including several uphill sections. Beware…the exposed hike can be hot on a clear day! From camp, we will climb for approximately one hour to the top of the forest. We will then continue for a few more hours, at a more gentle gradient, through the scrub zone. After a break for lunch and a short rest, we will continue up a rocky ridge onto the Shira plateau, created when Kibo’s lava flows filled the Shira crater. The clouds should clear for a beautiful view of the top of Uhuru Peak, the summit. We are now due west of Kibo, and after a short hike, we will reach Shira 2 Camp. The rest of the day is yours to relax. Our night at this exposed camp will be colder than last night, with temperatures dropping to below freezing.
- Beginning altitude: 3,000m/9,840ft
- Ending altitude: 3,840m/12,600ft
- Zone: Heath
- Hiking time: 4-6 hours
- Distance: 5km/3mi
- Elevation gain: 840m/2,760ft
Day 5 (CLIMB DAY 3): shira 2 Camp – Barranco Camp
Today is an up-and-down day, and very important for your acclimatization. We head out after breakfast, hiking east on the Shira Plateau before reaching the meeting point of the Shira and Lemosho routes. After about five hours walking through a rocky, semi-desert landscape, stopping for lunch along the way, we will reach the Lava Tower; this is the highest point on today’s trek, at an altitude of 4,630m/15,190ft. It is possible at this point that you may start having headaches, feeling out of breath and perhaps a bit irritable; do not worry! This is not unusual. The positives of today’s up-and-down route will become clear once you descend from the Lava Tower’s altitude to that of Barranco Camp (about 3,950m/12,960ft), where we will spend the night.
Our descent from the Lava Tower to Barranco Camp will take about two to three hours and offers some great photo opportunities. The camp is in a valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall, which should provide you with a memorable sunset while you wait for dinner.
- Beginning altitude: 3,840m/12,600ft
- Altitude at the Lava Tower: 4,630m/15,190ft
- Ending altitude: 3,950m/12,960ft
- Zone: Alpine desert
- Hiking time: 6-8 hours
- Distance: 10km/6mi
- Elevation gain: 790m/2,952ft
- Elevation loss: 680m/2,231ft
Day 6 (CLIMB DAY 4): Barranco Camp – Karanga Camp
Having enjoyed an early breakfast, it is now time to face and conquer the Great Barranco Wall! Do NOT be intimidated! You do not need any special talent to scale the wall. While the task in front of you may look daunting, there is always a guide nearby to offer a helping hand and, in the end, you will find that it was easier than you expected. The trick is to go slowly and be deliberate with each step you take.
When you have finally arrived on top of the wall, take a moment to enjoy the amazing views. From here, we will cross a series of hills and valleys until we descend sharply into the Karanga valley. One more steep climb takes us to Karanga Camp. This shorter day, with its ups and downs, will help with your acclimatization.
- Beginning altitude: 3,950m/12,960ft
- Ending altitude: 4,200m/13,780ft
- Zone: Alpine desert
- Hiking time: 4-5 hours
- Distance: 5km/3mi
- Elevation gain: 250m/820ft
Day 7 (CLIMB DAY 5): karangA camp – Barafu camp
After breakfast, we will begin our hike steadily uphill toward Barafu Camp, the base from which we will start our climb to the summit late tonight. As we advance, the temperature will begin to drop (“barafu” is the Swahili word for ice), the landscape will become increasingly more desertic, and our excitement about the challenge awaiting us tonight will start to mount. We will arrive at camp early afternoon, where you will be rewarded with stunning views of Kibo and Mawenzi peaks, as well as a hot lunch. The afternoon is yours to rest and prepare for the long night ahead. Eat and drink as much as possible before retiring early to your tent to get some sleep. The summit is now only 1,295m/4250ft above us, and we will start our final ascent after midnight. This last push is likely to be one of the hardest things you will ever put your body through, so take some quiet time to mentally prepare yourself.
- Beginning altitude: 4,200m/13,780ft
- Ending altitude: 4,600m/15,100ft
- Zone: High Alpine
- Hiking time: 3-5 hours
- Distance: 6km/4mi
- Elevation gain: 400m/1,310ft
Day 8 (CLIMB DAY 6): bARAFU CAMP – UHURU PEAK – MWEKA CAMP
Rise and shine! A midnight wake-up call with a hot drink will kick off this momentous day. We will start our trek to the Roof of Africa at about 12:30am (do not forget your headlamp). Temperatures will range from just below freezing at midnight to between -10 and -12 degrees Celsius (14-10 degrees Fahrenheit) just before dawn at the summit. Successful day for Kilimanjaro Climbing via Machame Route.
We will head out in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree toward Stella Point on the crater rim (which marks the end of the steep track). The six-hour walk to Stella Point is, for many climbers, the most challenging part of the climb to the summit, both mentally and physically. Don’t give up! Use all of your mental energy to keep moving one small step at a time. At Stella Point (5,685m/18,650ft), we will stop for a short rest before continuing to the summit.
The last one-hour push from Stella Point to Uhuru Peak is a gradual climb, and as far as hikes go, not very difficult. That said, the altitude makes the hike long an tiring; just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you will arrive at the Roof of Africa at 5,895 meters (19,340 feet)! Look around you at the beautiful vistas, take a deep breath, and congratulate yourself! Do not stop for too long, however, as it will be extremely difficult to start again due to cold and fatigue.
The trek back down to Barafu Camp from the summit takes about 2-3 hours over slippery scree; just take your time. At Barafu Camp, we will have a short well-earned rest and a hot lunch. We will then collect the rest of our gear and start heading down to Mweka Camp (3,100m/10,170ft) for dinner and overnight. The trek from Barafu to Mweka Camp is relatively easy, but, as you will be tired, you will still need to summon all your strength to reach it.
- Beginning altitude: 4,600m/15,100ft
- Altitude at the summit: 5,895m/19,340ft
- Ending altitude: 3,100m/10,170ft
- Zones: Stone scree & arctic
- Hiking time: 15-16 hours
- Distance: 17km/10.5mi
- Elevation gain: 1,295m/4,250ft
- Elevation loss: 2,795m/9,170ft
DAY 9 (CLIMB DAY 7) Mweka Camp – Mweka Gate
After breakfast, we will descend through the rainforest from Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate. At the gate, you will collect your certificates and then be transferred back to Arusha or to Kilimanjaro Airport, depending on your travel plans.
- Beginning altitude: 3,100m/10,170ft
- Ending altitude: 1,500m/4,920ft
- Zone: Rain forest
- Hiking time: 3-4 hours
- Distance: 9km/5.5mi
- Elevation loss: 1,600m/5,250ft
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