To climb Mount Kilimanjaro on the Machame route means sharing the mountain with a lot of other trekkers.
Ever since the budget operators discovered it, traffic on the Machame route has been growing. It has now overtaken the Marangu route as the most heavily trafficked climb route on Mount Kilimanjaro.
The reason is not only that prices have been dropping.
The Machame route is considered a very scenic route up Kilimanjaro.
However, that's not really true. The Machame route is a very scenic route, but not the only one. Both the Shira route and the Lemosho route share the same path as the Machame route after the first day or two. But they are less trafficked and ideally longer, so they are more expensive. It would be more correct to say Machame is the most scenic Kilimanjaro route you can climb with a budget operator.
Climbing Kilimanjaro on the Machame is considered to be more difficult than on the Marangu route or Rongai route.
Hence it's jokingly called the "Whiskey Route", a tougher climb than the "Coca Cola route" (Marangu).
Please consider that although the Machame route is supposed to be more difficult, the succes rates are higher on Machame than on Marangu!
Climbing the Machame route is more difficult, but not technically difficult. Mostly it is simply a longer and often times steeper trek. It covers more ground and involves more ups and downs. It wears you out more, takes more energy, not more skills. But it offers much better acclimatisation!
Some people are terribly worried about climbing the Barranco Wall. Don't worry. It's not a cliff face and it's not a climb. It's mostly a very steep path that requires you to use your hands every now and then. A bit of a scramble in a couple of places... (If you are concerned, either about the scrambling or about the demands on your fitness, then you should consider the Rongai route.)
- Day 1:
After breakfast, the climbing team will arrive. The team leaves the hotel and drives to the Northern Entrance to the Kilimanjaro National Park - the Machame Gate. The park permits are arranged and the crew is registered. Then the group moves on through the tropical forest to the first security check point - Machame Camp (3000 m). Biodiversity is rich and unique. Tropical rains are very possible, so do not forget to bring a raincoat! Trekking from Machame Gate to Machame Camp takes approximately 6-7 hours, and it commences your gradual acclimatization process. The camp tents setup will be organized by our staff long before your arrival, and the cook will take care of the warm drinks. It's the first day on such an altitude. Acclimatization may be difficult at night, because respiratory activity is reduced.
Elevations: Machame Gate (1634 m) - Machame Camp (3000m)
Trekking route distance: 1000meter every day
Duration of trekking: 6-7 hours
- Day 2:
Early wake-up, breakfast and the group gradually hikes through the moorland zones of Kilimanjaro. The magnificent sceneries of the African landscapes and flora of Kili will dazzle you! The guide will refresh your stamina with lunchboxes or hot lunch at the camp. The group hikes from the Machame Camp to the second mountainous camp Shira Camp 2 (3840 m). The trekking takes 5-6 hours easing the acclimatization process and making you ready for further endeavors. Our experienced team will set up the camp before your arrival.
Elevations: Machame Camp (3000 m) - Shira Camp (3850 m)
Trekking route distance: 14 km
Duration of trekking: 5-6 hours
- Day 3:
Early wake-up that opens the wilderness, dense vegetation and full glory of the still unconquered Kilimanjaro. Breakfast and warm drinks refill your stamina and eagerness and the group departs. The group hikes through the rocky landscapes from Shira Camp to the Lava Tower (the remnant of Kili volcanic past), the crucial point for acclimatization. Natural resources of your body will be reinforced by the lunchboxes. Then the group descends through the pristine, wild Senecio forest (yes, however, paradoxical it may sound, we go down) to the Barranco Camp (3976 meters), cozily located on the ridge of the Barranco Wall. The wall astonishes the group with its magnificence and escarpments. Do not let the Wall dominate over you - after a 5 minutes hike you will understand that this task is daunting, but far from challenging. The most memorable sunset awaits you here and abundant photography opportunities during the hike. Warning: If high altitude sickness or other health disorders appear, one or some of our climbers' Lava Tower route can be bypassed by the porters' route. Under this option, the group does not have to reach 4,600 meters, the maximum elevation here is only 4400 meters.
Elevations: Shira Camp (3850 m) - Lava Tower (4630 m) - Barranco Camp (3950 m)
Trekking route distance: 15 km
Duration of trekking: 6-8 hours
- Day 4:
Early wake up, breakfast and our adventurers start to conquer the Barranco Wall. We recommend starting as early as possible to outstrip other groups causing 'jams'. Demanding ascend and spectacular views around await you! The today's goal for the group is hiking to the Barafu campsite. Our journey lies beneath the Heim Glacier through the lush Karanga valley (a short stop at Karanga campsite is made for resting and dining). Amazing views on the jagged peaks of Mawenzi Mountain and the pristine African sky will enchant you. Barafu stands on the rocky and icy slopes and its frosty and windy at this height, so do not forget to take warm clothing to your tents. The teammates will erect the camp and prepare the tents and warm sleeping bags for complete rest. The tents will be erected on a stony ground to guarantee your full familiarization with the terrain. The guide will instruct you to go sleeping as early as possible. In the event of necessity, the intake of Diamox will be advised. Try to drink and relax as much as possible. Solar batteries can be used to recharge the mobile devices.
Elevations: Barranco Camp (3950 m) - KarangaCamp(4200 m) - Barafu Camp (4550 m)
Trekking route distance: 16 km
Duration of trekking: 6-8 hours
- Day 5:
At night, we leave the Barafu camp and attempt to conquer the Uhuru Peak (5895 m). The group heads in a northwesterly direction, ascending towards Stella Point (5,685 m/18, 650 ft) on the crater rim. Technically the final ascent is not difficult, the most challenging is the high altitude. For each couple of the climbers, a personal guide monitoring the mentall and physical condition of the crew members will be assigned. After the Uhuru is successfully conquered, the group can descend to the glacier. Once our mission is complete, the group descends to the Mweka Camp (3068 m). Warning: never forget that the 90% of all accidents happened while the happy climbers descend. All bones fractures, broken legs and hands occur at this stage. Legs and feet are the most vulnerable (especially nails on the toes).
Elevations: Barafu Camp (4,550 m) - Uhuru Peak (5895 m) - Mweka Camp (3100 m)
Trekking route distance: 20 km down
Duration of trekking: 11-12 hours
- Day 6:
Mweka Camp is located amidst the tropical forest. After a wake-up, the group will enjoy full magnificence and freshness of the Tanzanian jungles. There is a warm breakfast, and the group rushes to the exit of the National Park - the Mweka Gate (1980 m). Transfer to the hotel and commemorative certificates awarding.
Elevations: Mweka Camp (3100 m) - Mweka Gate (1980 m)
Trekking route distance: 15 km
Duration of trekking: 4 hours