The Machame route, also known as the Whisky Route is one of the most scenic and recommended routes on Kilimanjaro. This 6 Days Mount Kilimanjaro Trekking Machame Route is a popular route with paths through magnificent forests to gain a ridge leading through the moorland zones to the Shira Plateau. It then traverses beneath the glaciated precipices of the Southern Ice fields to join the Barafu Route to the summit. Because it can be done over longer periods and the incline is more manageable it has a much higher success rate of summit.
This is probably the most beautiful route up Kilimanjaro. Unlike Marangu where people sleep in huts the Machame route offers strictly tents only. This route is also referred to as the Whiskey route. Probably because it requires a hiker to be more strong and prepared, its better suited to the slightly more adventurous hiker, there are rewarding sceneries like the afternoon sunsets at Shira, the misty revelations of Kibo at the great Barranco Wall, this route offers the adventurous hiker a stunning scenic “slide show” in a short period of 6 days.
The big success secret offered in this route is by taking hikers high to Lava Tower (4630m) on the day 3 and brings them down by nearly 700m for an overnight at Barranco camp (3950m). The Machame route can also be completed in 5 days. If one goes directly to Kibo on day 3 with an overnight at the Arrow Glacier camp, attempting the summit on day 4.
Pre Day: Arriving in Tanzania
Our Kilimanjaro adventure starts the Moment you land at Kilimanjaro international Aiport, you will be met by our staff at the airport and transferred to Arusha in the peaceful surrounds of our comfortable pre and post trek accommodation in Arusha – Kigongoni Lodge, from where there are great views of the mountain. You can relax by the pool before your briefing with the Guides, who will provide the essential information for your trek to the roof of Africa.
Accommodation: Kigongoni Lodge or similar accommodation in Arusha
• Hiking time: 7 hours
• Distance: Approximately 18 kilometers
• Habitat: Montane forest
• Hiking time: 6h
• Distance: Approximately 9 KMS
• Habitat: Moorland
You rise early at Machame camp and after breakfast you climb an hour or so to the top of the forest and then for 2 hours at a gentler gradient through the moorland zone. After a short lunch and rest, you continue up a rocky ridge onto the Shira plateau. By now you will be able to see in an easterly direction, the Western Breach with its stunning glaciers. You are now due west of Kibo and after a short hike you will reach the Shira campsite at 3 840m. The porters will boil drinking and washing water, before serving dinner. The night at this exposed camp will even be colder than the previous night, with temperatures dropping to well below freezing.
• Hiking time: 7h
• Distance: Approximately 15 KMS
• Habitat: Semi-desert
The route now turns east into a semi desert and rocky landscape surrounding Lava Tower, where you reach an altitude of 4630m after about a 5 hours walk. Lunch is served in a designated area before ascending the rocky scree path to Lava Tower (4630m). This is definitely the toughest day so far. It is normally around this point, where for the first time, some climbers will start to feel symptoms of breathlessness, irritability and headaches.
After lunch, you descent again by almost 680m to the Barranco camping area and after reaching the high altitude of 4600m at Lava Tower, the true acclimatization benefit of this day becomes clear. This descent to Barranco camp takes about 2 hours and offers great opportunities to take some beautiful photographs of the Western Breach and Breach Wall. The camp is situated in a valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall, which should provide you with a memorable sunset while you wait for the preparation of your dinner.
• Hiking time: 7h
• Distance: Approximately 13 kms
• Habitat: Alpine desert
After spending a night at the Great Barranco Wall (a very imposing sight at first), you make your way up this awesome looking obstacle, which in the end normally turns out easier than what you anticipated. Topping out just below the Heim Glacier, you now appreciate just how beautiful Kilimanjaro really is. The route then heads down through the Karanga Valley over intervening ridges and valleys, and then joins up with the Mweka route. This is the preferred route down from the summit, so remember it. Turn left up the ridge and after another hour or so, you reach Barafu Hut.
The last water stop on the route is the Karranga Valley, as there is no water at Barafu camp. Barafu is the Swahili word for “ice” and it is a bleak and inhospitable camping area to spend the night. Totally exposed to the ever-present gales the tents are pitched on a narrow, stony, and dangerous ridge. Make sure that you familiarise yourself with the terrain before dark to avoid any accidents.
The summit is now a further 1345m up and you will make the final ascent the same night. Prepare your equipment, ski stick and thermal clothing for your summit attempt. This should include the replacement of your headlamp and camera batteries and make sure you have a spare set available as well. To prevent freezing it will be wise to carry your water in a thermal flask. Go to bed at round about 19h00 and try to get some precious rest and sleep.
• Hiking time: 8h to reach Uhuru Peak, 7 – 8h to descend to Mweka
• Distance: Approximately 7 kms ascent – 23 kms descent
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
You will rise around 23h30, and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the night. You will head in a north-westerly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. For many climbers, this 6-hour walk to Stella point is mentally and physically the most challenging on the route. At Stella Point (5685m) you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see (weather permitting). From Stella Point you will normally encounter snow all the way on your 2-hour ascent to Uhuru Peak.
The time you will spend on the summit will depend on the weather conditions. Do not stop here for too long, as it will be extremely difficult to start again due to cold and fatigue. Enjoy your accomplishment and a day to remember for the rest of your live. The walk back to Barafu from the summit, takes about 3 hours. Here you will have a well-earned but short rest and collect the rest of your gear. The route is not difficult and will take you down the rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually into the forest. The camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Dinner and washing water will be prepared.
• Hiking time: 3h
• Distance: Approximately 15 kms
• Habitat: Forest
Following a well-deserved breakfast, your staff will have a big celebration full of dancing and singing. It is here on the mountain that you will present your tips to the guide, assistant guides, chef(s), and porters. After celebrating, you will descend for three hours back to Mweka Gate. The National Park requires all hikers to sign their names to receive certificates of completion. Hikers who reached Stella Point (5685m) receive green certificates and hikers who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m) receive gold certificates. After receiving certificates, hikers will descend into the Mweka village for 1 hour (3 kilometers). You will be served a hot lunch then you will drive back to Arusha for long overdue showers and more celebrations.