The Machame route, also referred to as the Whiskey route, is one of the most popular routes on Kilimanjaro and a favourite for us.
Machame route is one of the highest summit success rates given the topography and nature of the route which allows climbers to “trek high & sleep low” hence making it a more favorable route for acclimatization.
This route offers some of the most spectacular scenery while on the mountain. The Machame route starts in the south west side of the mountain and proceeds steeply north, traversing the Shira plateau and eventually joining the Shira and Lemosho routes just after the Shira cave camp.
The Machame route can be done in minimum 6 days but a 7 days trek is recommended to allow climbers been well rested and acclimatized before making the final ascent to the summit
After breakfast and a general briefing for your upcoming tour (including equipment check), the drive first goes to the National Park gate, which takes about an hour. While your guide does the necessary formalities, you can relax and watch the various mountain teams in their preparation. As soon as everything is done, your adventure begins. In short time you will be immersed in the magnificent mountain forest with its huge jungle trees, ferns, moss carpets and lianas. With luck, you will observe the black and white colobus monkeys in the tree tops. After about 5 – 6 hours, you will reach the day’s destination – Machame Camp. This is just above the tree line at about 3010 meters above sea level. After dinner, you will spend your first night on Kilimanjaro.
After an early start, you will begin the day’s walk through heath and moorland before the trail becomes steeper and the landscape more open. Soon you will glimpse the summit region of
Kilimanjaro. Today’s stage is shorter and you will soon arrive at the New Shira Camp, where the view of Kilimanjaro with its rock faces and hanging glaciers is something you should not miss – particularly at sunset. An early night will be needed tonight as tomorrow the trail becomes more strenuous.
Today you will ascend approx. 800 meters, but the night is spent only slightly higher than the previous night at Shira Camp. This allows your body a better acclimatization for the further climb.
The hike begins with a long ascent over the Shira Plateau to the Lava Tower. Here the vegetation becomes barren and turns into an alpine desert landscape. The path then leads through the extensive Barranco Valley, with its lobelias and the huge senecios. After approximately 6-7 hours you will reach the Barranco Camp, which many claim is the most beautiful camp on the mountain.
Today we will lead you through the Barranco Wall and it is another day to help with acclimatization. The climbing is relatively easy, although sometimes you need to use hands to hold on. Enjoy the amazing views before you reach Karanga Camp after approx. 3-4 hours.
After a leisurely breakfast, you will set off for today’s destination, the Barafu Camp. The hike leads you through a barren landscape, and after 3-4 hours you reach the camp. For the rest of the day you can relax because tomorrow is summit day! After dinner, we will have a very early bedtime as tomorrow will be exciting, but also exhausting and very long. Try to sleep a bit!
You will be woken around midnight. To strengthen yourself, you will first have a hot coffee or tea and a small snack. Using the light of your headlight, the next few hours are steadily upwards. After approximately 5-7 hours, in the early morning light, you will reach the crater rim at the Stella Point. After a short rest you will continue for about an hour to the highest point, the Uhuru Peak. Finally, it is done, and the rewards are fantastic views in all directions. The shadow that the Kilimanjaro casts over Mount Meru in the morning is a special experience. After you have enjoyed the summit, and taken a few memorable photos, it is time for the descent. At the Barafu Camp you have a short rest, where your mountain team will greet you with a hot drink and snacks. Afterwards, you will slowly go to Mweka Camp, where you will spend the last night at the mountain.
After breakfast, and strengthened by the increasingly oxygen dense air, you will begin a leisurely walk towards the Mweka Gate. The trail continues through the dense rainforest, and after about 2-3 hours you will reach the gate. At this point it will be time to say goodbye to your team. Once you arrive at the hotel, you can finally enjoy a well-deserved shower and celebrate your summit success.