MACHAME ROUTE

Enjoy the relaxed pace and stunning views!

HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO CLIMB THE MACHAME ROUTE?

Approaching legendary Kilimanjaro from the south-west, the popular Machame Route taken over six or seven days (we recommend seven) will give you good acclimatization time and every chance of reaching the summit.

The Machame Route is considered relatively tough. Depending on your level of fitness as you will be trekking for 6-7 hours nearly every day and at increasing altitude.

 

For the summit ascent, you will need to be prepared for a whopping 12-15 hours on your feet! Climbing up the crater rim to Uhuru Peak for 6-8 hours, and descending back down for 6-7 hours.

Climbers are sometimes nervous about how they will handle the Great Barranco Wall, but this is just a short scramble and you will be helped by your guide every step of the way. 

That being said, there are no parts on the route that require any technical climbing skills.

Thousands of climbers safely travel this route each year, let alone the Kilimanjaro porters carrying heavy loads.

The total Machame Route distance is approximately 62 kilometers from gate to gate.​

MACHAME ROUTE DISTANCE AND ELEVATION 
Mount Kilimanjaro Machame Elevation
KILIMANJARO CLIMATE ZONES
All Kilimanjaro climbers will pass thru 5 climate zones en-route to Uhuru Peak. Graphic of climate zones on Kilimanjaro.
Climber looking a Mawenzi Peak from Kilimanjaro
Climber looking a Mawenzi Peak from Kilimanjaro

A climber is standing on top of Mt Kilimanjaro looking down at its sister volcano Mawenzi Peak

Mt. Meru from the slopes of Kilimanjaro
Mt. Meru from the slopes of Kilimanjaro

A view of Mt. Meru as seen on the second day hiking the Machame Route, Mt. Kilimanjaro

Glaciers on top of Mt. Kilimanjaro
Glaciers on top of Mt. Kilimanjaro

A glacier seen during the last push to Uhuru Peak

Climber looking a Mawenzi Peak from Kilimanjaro
Climber looking a Mawenzi Peak from Kilimanjaro

A climber is standing on top of Mt Kilimanjaro looking down at its sister volcano Mawenzi Peak

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YOUR CLIMB YOUR CHOICE

We offer customized Kilimanjaro climbs which include a choice of climb only, airport pick up-drop off, one night of backpackers, budget, mid-range and 4-star accomodations before and after the climb, and many more personal preferences.

Climbers experiencing a long flight and major time change also have the option of adding extra nights in the hotel to allow their bodies to recuperate and adjust.

6 DAY AND 7 DAY MACHAME ROUTE ITINERARY COMPARISON

Machame Route

Machame Route Map Karanga.jpg
Detailed Itinerary:
6 Day Machame Route
Four season mountain tents set up at Karanganga Valley Camp

DAY 1 - FROM MACHAME GATE TO MACHAME CAMP

After breakfast drive to Machame Gate. Meet porters and complete registration formalities at the ranger’s office. The hike starts in lush rainforest leading upwards into the thinning forest, long grasses and giant heathers surrounding Machame Camp (3000m), the first campsite on the Machame Route. En route you will enjoy a picnic lunch.

  • Trekking distance: 11 kilometers

  • Trek time: 5 to 7 hours

  • Environment: Montane forest

  • Elevation: From 1800 meters to 3000 meters

 

DAY 2 - FROM MACHAME CAMP TO SHIRA HUT

Leaving Machame Camp, the last of the trees disappear as the trail continues upward on a rocky ridge of volcanic petrified lava, on top of which lunch awaits you. After lunch, a one hour hike, with ever decreasing vegetation along the way, Shira Hut (3850m), your camp for the night, surrounded by rocks and boulders, is within sight. 

  • Trekking distance: 9 kilometers

  • Trek time: 4 to 6 hours

  • Environment: Moorland

  • Elevation: From 3000 meters to 3850 meters


DAY 3 - FROM SHIRA HUT TO BARRANCO CAMP

After waking up on the beautiful Shira Plateau, the hike starts east toward Kibo (the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro) and gradually ascends to Lava Tower, the highest point of the day. After lunch at Lava Tower, we continue on the trail which slowly descents toward Barranco Camp (3950m). “Climb high, sleep lower” is the best way to acclimatize to high altitude. 

  • Highest point: 4600 meters (at Lava Tower)

  • Trekking distance: 12 kilometers

  • Trek time: 6 to 7 hours

  • Environment: Semi-desert

  • Elevation: From 3850 meters to 3950 meters


DAY 4 - BARRANCO CAMP TO BARAFU CAMP

After breakfast we will ascent to the top of the Great Barranco Wall where we will be way above the clouds to see the land spread out before us. Following we will make our way to Karanga Camp where we will stop for lunch. Leaving Karanga Camp the trail continues to gain altitude until reaching Barafu Camp (4600m), which marks the end of the Southern Circuit.

  • Trekking distance: 9 kilometers

  • Trek time: Around 8-10 hours

  • Environment: Alpine desert

  • Elevation: From 3950 meters to 4600 meters

 

DAY 5 - BARAFU CAMP TO SUMMIT UHURU PEAK, DESCENT TO MWEKA CAMP

Today will be the most difficult day, both mentally and physically. The final ascent will start about 0100 in the morning. A slow and steady climb of 5-6 hours, the path zigzagging across the volcanic scree of the crater rim, leads to Stella Point (5752m) just in time for sunrise. From here a one hour climb, passing the stunning glaciers and ice cliffs alongside the crater rim, will lead to Uhuru Peak (5895m). From Uhuru Peak, descending back to Barafu Camp is much shorter. After refreshing briefly at Barafu, the trail continues steadily downward, to Mweka Camp (3100m) the final campsite on the mountain before returning to Moshi the following day.

  • Highest point: 5895 meters (Uhuru Peak)

  • Trekking distance: 20 kilometers (7 kilometers ascent /13 kilometers descent)

  • Trek time: 12 to 15 hours (6 to 8 hours ascent / 6 to 7 hours descent)

  • Environment: Alpine desert/Volcanic scree/Ice-capped summit

  • Elevation: From 4600 meters to 3100 meters

 

DAY 6 - DESCENT FROM MWEKA CAMP TO MWEKA GATE

After a good night’s rest, a continued descent will lead back into the lovely rainforest on the lower slopes of the mountain with the route winding down toward Mweka Gate (1800m). From there a short drive past coffee plantations and banana farms will take us back to Moshi.

  • Trekking distance: 8 kilometers

  • Trek time: 3 to 4 hours

  • Environment: Montane forest

  • Elevation: From 3100 meters to 1800 meters

Detailed Itinerary:
7 Day Machame Route

DAY 1 - FROM MACHAME GATE TO MACHAME CAMP

After breakfast drive to Machame Gate. Meet porters and complete registration formalities at the ranger’s office. The hike starts in lush rainforest leading upwards into the thinning forest, long grasses and giant heathers surrounding Machame Camp (3000m), the first campsite on the Machame Route. En route you will enjoy a picnic lunch.

  • Trekking distance: 11 kilometers

  • Trek time: 5 to 7 hours

  • Environment: Montane forest

  • Elevation: From 1800 meters to 3000 meters

 

DAY 2 - FROM MACHAME CAMP TO SHIRA HUT

Leaving Machame Camp, the last of the trees disappear as the trail continues upward on a rocky ridge of volcanic petrified lava, on top of which lunch awaits you. After lunch, a one hour hike, with ever decreasing vegetation along the way, Shira Hut (3850m), your camp for the night, surrounded by rocks and boulders, is within sight. 

  • Trekking distance: 9 kilometers

  • Trek time: 4 to 6 hours

  • Environment: Moorland

  • Elevation: From 3000 meters to 3850 meters

 

DAY 3 - FROM SHIRA HUT TO BARRANCO CAMP

After waking up on the beautiful Shira Plateau, the hike starts east toward Kibo (the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro) and gradually ascends to Lava Tower, the highest point of the day. After lunch at Lava Tower, we continue on the trail which slowly descents toward Barranco Camp (3950m). “Climb high, sleep lower” is the best way to acclimatize to high altitude. 

  • Highest point: 4600 meters (at Lava Tower)

  • Trekking distance: 12 kilometers

  • Trek time: 6 to 7 hours

  • Environment: Semi-desert

  • Elevation: From 3850 meters to 3950 meters

 

DAY  4 - BARRANCO CAMP TO KARANGA CAMP 

This is a shorter day and starts with a steep climb, requiring an occasional hand scramble up the Barranco Wall. The ground changes into scree, loose small stones, with only the hardiest of vegetation surviving at this altitude. Again, we will descent for the night and sleep lower in the Karanga Camp (3930m).

  • Highest point: 4200 meters (top of the Barranco Wall)

  • Trekking distance: 7 kilometers

  • Trek time: About 4 hours

  • Environment: Alpine desert

  • Elevation: From 3950 meters to 3930 meters

 

DAY 5 - KARANGA CAMP TO BARAFU CAMP

This is another short day. Leaving Karanga Camp the trail continues to gain altitude until reaching Barafu Camp (4600m), which marks the end of the Southern Circuit.

  • Trekking distance: 6 kilometers

  • Trek time: Around 3 hours

  • Environment: Alpine desert

  • Elevation: From 3930 meters to 4600 meters

 

DAY 6 - BARAFU CAMP TO SUMMIT UHURU PEAK, DESCENT TO MWEKA CAMP

Today will be the most difficult day, both mentally and physically. The final ascent will start about 0100 in the morning. A slow and steady climb of 5-6 hours, the path zigzagging across the volcanic scree of the crater rim, leads to Stella Point (5752m) just in time for sunrise. From here a one hour climb, passing the stunning glaciers and ice cliffs alongside the crater rim, will lead to Uhuru Peak (5895m). From Uhuru Peak, descending back to Barafu Camp is much shorter. After refreshing briefly at Barafu, the trail continues steadily downward, to Mweka Camp (3100m) the final campsite on the mountain before returning to Moshi the following day.

  • Highest point: 5895 meters (Uhuru Peak)

  • Trekking distance: 20 kilometers (7 kilometers ascent / 13 kilometers descent)

  • Trek time: 12 to 15 hours (6 to 8 hours ascent / 6 to 7 hours descent)

  • Environment: Alpine desert/Volcanic scree/Ice-capped summit

  • Elevation: From 4600 meters to 3100 meters

 

DAY  7 - DESCENT FROM MWEKA CAMP TO MWEKA GATE

After a good night’s rest, a continued descent will lead back into the lovely rainforest on the lower slopes of the Mountain with the route winding down toward Mweka Gate (1800m) From there a short drive past coffee plantations and banana farms will take us back to Moshi.

  • Trekking distance: 8 kilometers

  • Trek time: 3 to 4 hours

  • Environment: Montane forest

  • Elevation: From 3100 meters to 1800 meters