The Machame route on Kilimanjaro is a seven day camping route which allows for excellent acclimatisation and particularly diverse scenery. It has been called the Whiskey route in the past and nowadays about 35% of all climbers on the mountain use it.
In a matter of days you will climb Kilimanjaro from the equator up to an Arctic zone, moving through grasslands, tropical rainforest, alpine meadows, moorlands and high desert to snow and ice. Each day on this route presents quite a distinct ecosystem to experience, which is one reason it is so popular.
The other reason is that the seven day programme begins on the south west side of the mountain and traverses around to the south east side, enabling you to sleep at the same altitude for three consecutive nights which significantly aids altitude acclimatisation. This means that our summit success rate on this route is quite high at around 85%.
Tour ref. no
Departure / return location
Approximately 4:00 to 6:30 pm
Safari type / style
Treking / Hiking
See our pack list page
Arrival to Tanzania
We recommend a stay at:
– Planet Lodge
– Keys Hotel
– Kibo Palace Hotel
Arusha 1400m - Machame Gate 1800m - Machame Camp 2980m
5 hours walking – 10 kms
Registration (sometimes it can take a few hours or so for this process).
Trek to Machame Camp through beautiful montane forest on good path.
Camp overnight at the edge of the forest.
Machame Camp 2980m - Shira Plateau 3840m
6-7 hours walking – 7 kms
Camping is more exposed here with great views of the summit massif.
Shira Camp 3840m - Barranco Camp 3950m
7-8 hours walking – 10 kms
High desert environment with amazing rock formations, quite exposed to the weather.
Dropping into the Barranco Valley right beneath the Western Breach.
This day ascends a maximum of 700 metres but the net height gain is only about 100 metres.
Barranco camp 3950m - Karanga Valley Camp 3950m
5 hours walking – 4 kms
Another up and down day but no net gain in height, which is all good for acclimatisation.
Karanga Valley 3950m - Barafu Camp 4550m
4-5 hours walking – 4 kms
Barafu means ‘ice’ in Swahili and the camping is amongst the rocks.
Barafu Camp 4550m - Uhuru Peak 5895m - Millennium Camp 2800m
7 hours up and 6 hours down – 18 kms
Night-time ascent on rock and scree, snow and ice, to the crater rim and the summit. Expect cold temperatures with windchill.
The final slope to the crater rim and Stella Point has loose scree and is very slow. From Stella Point it is a further 45 minutes up the escarpment to the summit of Uhuru.
Descend in sunlight to Barafu for early lunch, and then walk down to Millennium Camp, normally arriving mid-afternoon.
Millennium Camp 2800m - Mweka Gate 1000m - Arusha
4-6 hours walking – 11 kms
Descend through the lush forest to Mweka Gate where you sign out and pick up the summit certificate. Legs will be tired!
Meet Castro at the gate for transport back to the hotel, arriving normally at about 2pm.
The gate is where tips are handed out and you say goodbye to the mountain staff, although sometimes this is done at the hotel. A hot shower and an afternoon relaxing.