Of the seven main routes for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the Machame route is by far the most popular choice. About 50% of all climbers, choose the Machame route for good reason. The climbing is challenging, but not overwhelming. The scenery on the Machame route is absolutely amazing and by climbing to high altitude during the day and sleeping at a lower altitude at night, this route prepares climbers for proper acclimatization. It is also one of the cheaper routes due to its easy access from Moshi and the shorter itinerary of either 6 or 7 days.
The Machame route is better known as the Whiskey route, given its reputation for being a tough, but a rewarding climb. Unlike the gradual incline and hut accommodations found on the Marangu Route, the climbers that chose the Machame hike will find steeper trails, for longer distances, and will be sleeping in tents. Overall the Machame route is an excellent choice for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
How Much Does It Cost To Climb Mount Kilimanjaro Via the Machame Route?
Machame Route Cost
The Machame route is usually climbed in either 6 or 7 days. The 7 day route allows for an extra day of acclimatization. We strongly recommend choosing the 7 day route for all clients that live or are coming from lower elevations.
6 Days + 2 Nights hotel - $1800 to $2200 per person
7 Days + 2 Nights hotel - $2050 to $2450 per person
Pricing depends on how many people are in the group and what type of lodging / accommodations are desired.
7-Day Machame Route Itinerary
This 7-day Machame route is an excellent choice as this route allows for proper acclimatization to high altitude climbing. Chacha Tours Africa recommends the Machame route for climbers with camping and hiking experience. Machame is the route known for its short and strenuous climbs and incredible scenery.
We will gather in the afternoon or the evening at your hotel for an introduction to your mountain guide and for a pre-climb briefing / equipment check. We will also confirm that you have purchased the appropriate travel insurance.
Machame Route: Machame Gate (1,634 meters / 5,363 feet) to Machame Camp (3,000 meters / 9,300 feet)
- Approximate Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
- Distance: 11 kilometers (6.8 miles)
- Elevation Gain: 1,366 meters (3,937 feet)
- Habitat: Rain Forest
After enjoying breakfast at your hotel, your guide will brief you on your climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. You will drive two hours from Arusha to the Machame Gate. In the village near Machame Gate, we will receive a packed lunch and you can buy mineral water for the first day’s hike.
At the entrance to Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, the guides and porters will need to organize all the food and supplies and your guides will register everyone with the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA).
Note: It typically takes 30 to 90 minutes for the porters to get sorted and everyone checked into the National Park Authority. We apologize this process isn’t faster, but the registration process isn’t the most efficient. We always ensure that all climbers and our porters are following correct government procedures.
After all the paperwork is finalized, we are ready to begin our climb up Kilimanjaro! We start our journey with a hike into the rain forest. It is frequently muddy; gaiters and trekking poles are a good idea here.
Along the way, you will stop for an afternoon lunch break and we will arrive at the Machame camp (3,000 meters /9,300 feet) in the late afternoon. The Chacha Tours Africa porters will arrive at the campsite before you arrive and they will set up the tents and will boil water for drinking and washing. Your porters will also carry your personal belongings except for your day pack, your daily drinking water, and your camera equipment.
Chacha Tours Africa knows how important delicious and nutritious food is for a successful climb. This is why we hire the best chefs who will prepare a light snack upon your arrival and shortly thereafter a nutritious dinner. This is a great time to get to know your support crew, relax, or play cards before bedtime.
Machame Route: Machame Camp (3,000 meters / 9,300 feet) to Shira Camp (3,840 meters / 12,605 feet)
- Approximate Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
- Distance: 5 kilometers (3.1 miles)
- Elevation Gain: 840 meters (3,305 feet)
- Habitat: Moorland
After a morning breakfast, we will begin our ascent out of the rain forest and into the heather moorland zone - low growing grasses and shrubs in acidic soils. Today is a short day, but there is some steep elevation gain so be prepared for some difficult hiking. We will cross many streams along the way and walk over a plateau that leads to the Shira Camp (3840 meters / 12,605 feet). This beautiful campsite lies next to a gorgeous stream with a spectacular view of the western face of Mt. Kilimanjaro. If it isn’t too cloudy, this is a great location for taking photos.
Similar to the first night of camping, your tents will be set-up by your hard-working porters and there will be drinking and warm water for freshening up. Snacks and a delicious dinner will be prepared by your expert chef. Tonight, is frequently cold as temperatures almost always drop below freezing at this exposed camp.
Machame Route: Shira Camp (3,840 meters / 12,605 feet) via Lava Tower (4,630 meters / 15,190 feet) to Barranco Camp (3,950 meters / 12,959 feet)
- Approximate Hiking Time: 6-8 hours
- Distance: 15 kilometers (9.3 miles)
- Elevation Gain: 790 meters (2,585 feet)
- Elevation Descent: 680 meters (2,231 feet)
- Habitat: Semi-arid Desert
After a delicious morning breakfast, we will begin the day by leaving the moorland landscape and entering the semi-arid desert. We will hike for approximately 5 hours until we arrive at the Lava Tower (4630 meters / 15,190 feet). We will enjoy our lunches after climbing to the top of the Lava Tower. If the weather is cooperating, adventurous hikers will have the option of climbing up the tower. At this elevation, it is normal to be feeling the effects from altitude sickness, including headaches and shortness of breath.
We will descend from Lava Tower (4630 meters / 15,190 feet) to the Barranco Campsite (3950 meters / 12,959 feet). We prefer climbing to a high elevation and then descending to a lower elevation (680 meters / 2,230 feet) because it is a great way to help with acclimatization.
From Lava Tower the descent to Barranco camp will take approximately 2 hours. Barranco camp is in an open valley below the Great Barranco Wall. As always, after arriving at camp, you will enjoy warm water for washing. We will enjoy a nutritious and well-earned dinner and if it is a clear night you will be able to witness a beautiful sunset.
Machame Route: Barranco Camp (3,950 meters / 12,959 feet) to Karanga Camp (3,950 meters / 12,959 feet)
- Approximate Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
- Distance: 5.5 kilometers (3.4 miles)
- Elevation Gain: 725 meters (2,378 feet)
- Elevation Descent: 725 meters (2,378 feet)
- Habitat: Alpine desert
Note: This is a relatively short hiking day on Mount Kilimanjaro which is intended for extra acclimatization and it offers you a day to rest your sore muscles.
After breakfast, it is now time to conquer the Great Barranco Wall! Although it may look daunting at first glance, you will see that this class 2 hike is much easier than anticipated. At the top of the Barranco Wall, you will have a view of the Heim Glacier. You will also be standing above the clouds and this is a great place for taking some awesome pictures.
As the trail continues it will lead hikers through a repeating up and down path through the Karanga Valley. You will spend the night at Karanga Camp (3,950 meters / 12,959 feet) which is at the same elevation as the previous camp. You will notice that the air is easier to breathe as your body will be starting to acclimatize to the altitude; however, we are still at a much lower elevation than the summit of Kilimanjaro.
Note: The 4-day Machame Route Itinerary skips sleeping at Karanga Camp and instead the route continues to Barafu Camp. This eliminates one day of climbing, but it also doesn’t allow for an extra day of altitude acclimatization.
Machame Route: Karanga Camp (3,950 meters / 12,959 feet) to Barafu Camp (4,600 meters / 15,091 feet)
- Approximate Hiking Time: 2-3 hours
- Distance: 4 kilometers (2.5 miles)
- Elevation Gain: 650 meters (2,132 feet)
- Habitat: Alpine
After breakfast, we will begin our climb to Barafu Hut. The trail intersects with the Mweka Route, which is the trail we will use to descend to the bottom of Kilimanjaro. After joining the Mweka trail it is another hour until will reach the Barafu campsite. Unfortunately, there is no accessible water at Barafu Camp so your porters will have to carry all the water for cooking and drinking from Karanga Camp. This is a hard 3-hour hike for them as they will be carrying a lot of weight up 650 meters / 2133 feet climb.
The word “barafu” is a Swahili word that means “ice” and this camp is located on a rocky, exposed ridge and sometimes has snow and sometimes it is dry. It is important for all hikers to familiarize themselves with the campsite before dark as it is a rocky area that is difficult to navigate. An early dinner will be served so you can rest before attempting the summit of Kilimanjaro later this same evening. Your guide will brief you on details regarding preparation for your Kilimanjaro climb.
The speed of how fast you hike will determine when you will need to wake up in the evening of your summit attempt. It is common to struggle with sleeping at this elevation as many people suffer from minor insomnia at high altitude campsites. Don’t be surprised by the very cold temperatures at the camp so dress in warm clothes. We will go to sleep very early because we will be waking up before midnight to begin our summit attempt of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Machame Route: Kilimanjaro Summit attempt from Barafu Camp (4,600 meters / 15,091 feet) to Summit Uhuru Peak (5,895 meters / 19,341 feet) to Mweka Camp (3,100 meters / 10,170 feet)
- Approximate Hiking Time: 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak, 7-8 hours to descend to Mweka Camp
- Distance: 7 kilometers ascent (4.34 miles ascent) then 23 kilometers descent (14.3 miles descent)
- Elevation Gain: 1,295 meters (4,250 feet)
- Elevation Descent: 2,795 meters (9,171 feet)
- Habitat: Stone scree, sometimes snow-covered, and ice-capped summit
Your Chacha Tours Africa guide will wake you up around 23:30 (11:30 PM) with hot tea and biscuits before beginning your attempt to the summit of Kilimanjaro. The route heads up pretty quickly and you will slowly ascend over the stone scree. Due to the high altitude and steep climbing, many hikers feel that this is the most mentally and physically challenging day of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. The cold temperature can be intense and symptoms of the high altitude are common for most climbers.
In about 6 hours, you will reach Stella Point (5,685 meters / 18,651 feet), which is located on the rim of the crater. After enjoying a beautiful sunrise, we will continue ascending for about 2 more hours on a snow-covered trail to the summit of Kilimanjaro - also known as Uhuru Peak (5,895 meters / 19,341 feet). Hopefully you will be reaching the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, which is an incredible accomplishment! We will be able to spend a short time on the summit taking photographs and drinking hot tea before descending back to Barafu Camp. The hike down to Barafu Camp typically takes about 3 hours.
After returning to Barafu camp, you will need to rest your knees and feet. We will prepare a hot lunch to help you refuel your tired body. You may not feel hungry due to the effects of the high altitude, but you should eat as much as possible because we have a long descent ahead of us today. After a few hours of rest, we will begin our descent for another 1,500 meters / 4,912 feet to the Mweka Hut (3100 meters / 10,179 feet). The Mweka Trail descent will lead you through the high alpine scree and rocks and eventually into the rainforest. You can feel the air getting thicker and thicker and breathing will become much easier.
It is incredible to think that just a few hours ago you were standing on the “Roof of Africa” and now you are in a rain forest. We will celebrate your incredible accomplishment of reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro with a well-earned and delicious meal. Tonight, is special! We will be sharing stores over hot tea as we reflect on today’s journey. You will probably be exhausted and you will sleep very well tonight. You should be proud of your incredible perseverance.
Machame Route: Mweka Camp (3,100 meters / 10,170 feet) to Mweka Gate (1,980 meters / 6,496 feet)
- Approximate Hiking Time: 3 hours
- Distance: 15 kilometers (9.3 miles)
- Elevation Descent: 1,120 meters (3,674 feet)
- Habitat: Rain Forest
You will be very happy to get off of the mountain today, but you will be sad that your adventure is coming to an end. Following a warm breakfast, your Kilimanjaro porters and guides will have a big celebration full of dancing and singing. After celebrating with your group, we will descend for about three hours down to the Mweka Gate. Now is a good time to present your tips to the guides, assistant guides, chef(s), and porters.
The Mount Kilimanjaro National Park Authority requires that all hikers sign their names to receive certificates of completion. Climbers who reached Stella Point (5,685 meters / 18,651 feet) will receive green certificates and climbers who successfully reached the summit of Uhuru Peak (5,895 meters / 19,341 feet) will receive gold certificates. After receiving your certificates, we will continue the short descent into the Mweka village which takes about 1 hour (3 kilometers / 1.86 miles) before driving back to the hotel.
After arriving back at your hotel, you will enjoy a long overdue shower. Congratulations are in order and this is when you can finally celebrate with cold beer!
"Best friends are made on the best adventures!"