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Machame Route

The approach to the Machame route is from the southwest of Kilimanjaro. The route ascends up through the jungle to Shira Camp and then traverses south towards Barranco via Lava Tower. From there you climb up the Great Barranco Wall before arriving in base camp at Barafu. The final climb is via Stella Point and the descent is on the Mweka route.

Novice climbers are sometimes nervous about how they will cope with the Great Barranco Wall but this is just a short scramble that is really not that tricky and you will be helped by your guide every step of the way. One stride around a rock outcrop is the most precarious part you will experience. Thousands of climbers safely travel this route each year, let alone the Kilimanjaro porters carrying heavy loads.

Climbers sleep in supplied tents at designated campsites, and eat meals either outdoors or inside a large dining tent. Staff prepares all meals and set up the tents.Because it has a great success rate it is undoubtedly the busiest on the mountain. To help mitigate this, we make sure all our groups hit the trail early and get ahead of the crowds. We also send part of the porter team ahead of you so that they get into the campsites early to get a good spot and make sure that your tent is ready and there is a nice hot drink and snacks when you arrive. 

Although the Machame route can be climbed over 6 days we recommend taking 7 days. The extra day makes a huge difference to the success rate as it improves acclimatisation and allows you two easier days before you tackle your long summit night.

 

Itinerary

You'll arrive at Kilimanjaro airport where you'll be met by a Tazama Africa representative who will take you to your hotel to get settled in before the climb.

Day 1

Arrive at the Machame gate and begin the day's trek through the rainforest.  Lunch will be eaten on the trail, and the night will be spent at Machame Camp.

Day 2

Today we will trek from the Machame Camp to Shira 1 Camp. We leave the rainforest behind, seeing the vegetation grow sparser and the paths become dustier as we ascend. We'll have rocks and boulders to contend with as we near the famed Shira Plateau.

Day 3

From Shira 1 Camp we will make our way to Lava Tower. We will then descend again to the campsite in the Barranco Valley. This is an excellent example of the 'walk high, sleep low' strategy in practice. The Lava Tower ascent is quite gradual, and we will have an opportunity to rest and eat lunch when we arrive. Along the way, look for excellent views of Helm Glacier, the Western Breach and Kibo.

Day 4

Just after breakfast we will ascend to the top of the Great Barranco Wall. At this point we will be above the cloud line and will be able to see the land spread out below us for miles. Again, we will descend for the night, making camp in the Karanga Valley. Along the way, look for the Decken, Kersten and Heim Glaciers above the valley. 

Day 5

From Karanga Camp, we join the Mweka Descent Trail, and continue along it to the Barafu Hut. The Hut marks the end of the Southern Circuit, along which we will have enjoyed views of the summit from many different angles. This is another short day, so we'll have a chance to relax a bit, and prepare for the summit day in the morning. Take some time to enjoy the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi, which are clearly visible from Barafu Hut. 

Day 6

We will head for the summit just before midnight, and will be the most difficult, both mentally and physically. We'll have a warm drink and a snack before we set off, threading between the Rebman and Ratzel glaciers. Next we'll cross some heavy scree to reach Stella Point (5732 metres) along the crater rim. There we'll have a short rest and enjoy a unique sight: sunrise at the very top of Africa. Another hour's hike brings us to Uhuru Peak, the real summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Next, we'll descend to Barafu Hut again for lunch, then to Mweka Camp (at 3100 metres) for our last dinner on the mountain, and some well-earned sleep.

Day 7

This is our last on the mountain and will see us trek from Mweka Camp back to the park gate where you will receive a certificate of your achievement. Expect the last bit of the route to be muddy, but keep an eye out for colobus monkeys and other jungle wildlife in the trees!

 

Highlights

  • One of the most popular routes on Kilimanjaro
  • Machame is very scenic route, providing hikers with incredible views and varying landscapes
  • The exact trekking distance from gate to gate is 62km or 37 miles.
  • Due to its climb high sleep low profile, summit success rates on the Machame route are very high. Whilst there are no official statistics, the average success rate across all operators is 85% for the 7-day trek and a 73% success rate for the 6-day trek. 
  • The scenery is extremely varied and you will pass through 5 climatic zones on your way to the summit. The trek begins in rainforest on the lower slopes before continuing up into the low alpine zone of wild grasslands and moorlands. From there you trek into the high alpine zone before reaching the glacial zone. You will encounter many incredible vistas and visit stunning places such as Shira Plateau, Barranco and Lava Tower.