Kilimanjaro Trekking: Machame Route
8 Day Trekking Tour, Camping
Number of Participants: 1-10
Tour Price: from 2,140 USD
Single Supplement: 60 USD (hotel only)
The Machame route is one of the most beautiful trekking routes on Mt Kilimanjaro. The trail starts in a rainforest with views of Mount Meru, Shira Ridge as well the main summit of the Kilimanjaro – Kibo peak. The Machame route has more steep passages at higher altitudes than for example the Marangu or Rongai routes and requires a higher level of fitness and determination of the mountain climber.
Start: Machame Gate (1790m)
Finish: Machame Camp (3010m)
Altitude: ↑ 1220m
Walking time: 5-6h
A long day with a beautiful climb through the mountain forest. Monkeys and ferns.
Start: Machame Camp (3010m)
Finish: Shira Camp (3840m)
Altitude: ↑ 900
Walking time: 4-6h
Wonderful views of the Shira ridge and Kibo peak. The route is shorter than the previous day.
Start: Shira Camp (3845m)
Finish: Barranco Camp (3960m)
Altitude: ↑ 800m ↓ 680m
Walking time: 6-7h
Up and down to acclimatise. Today is a longer hike with stunning views and diverse vegetation.
Start: Barranco Camp (3960m)
Finish: Barafu Camp (4640m)
Altitude: ↑ 680m ↓ 50m
Walking time: 6-8h
The hike begins with a steep ascent over the Barranco wall. Up and down with views of the southern glaciers. The altitude will become perceptible.
Start: Barafu Camp (4640m)
Finish: Uhuru Peak (5895m) - Mweka Camp (3080)
Altitude: ↑ 1250m ↓ 2810m
Walking time: 10-14h
Depart at midnight on a very steep, long climb to Stella Point. Panoramic views of the crater as the sun rises. Continue from crater to summit. Steep, fast and dusty descent.
Start: Mweka Camp (3080m)
Finish: Mweka Gate (1630m)
Altitude: ↓ 1450m
Walking time: 2-3h
Easier descent on good paths. The last section passes through the misty forest.
Day 1 Arrival in Moshi, Hotel transfer
Arriving at Kilimanjaro airport, you will be met by our transfer driver and taken to the Keys Hotel in Moshi. The rest of the day will be free. Relax at the pool or explore the small town of Moshi. Later you will meet our operations team who will brief you on what lies ahead.
Day 2 Machame Gate (1790m) - Machame Camp (3010m)
After breakfast, you will be collected from your hotel and taken to the Kilimanjaro National Park - a 45-minute drive. After some paperwork at the gate and the porters loading up, your adventure will begin; after a few minutes you will be deep within the forest with ancient trees, ferns, mosses and black and white colobus monkeys frolicking in the treetops. After 5 - 6 hours you will reach - Machame Camp situated just above the forest line at 3000m. Arriving here, the porters have already set up your tents and warm water for washing will be ready.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 Machame Camp (3010m) - Shira Camp (3845m)
After an early morning start, the path steepens and the vegetation changes into a moorland with shrubs such as hardy Ericas. Today’s stage is shorter than the previous day and by mid-afternoon, you will arrive at the campsite at the Shira Plateau. From the camp you will have breath-taking views of the mountain and evening light on the rock face and glacier of Kibo as the sun sets.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 Shira Camp - Lava Tower Hut (4640m) - Barranco Camp (3950m)
Today will be a day for ups and downs. You will ascend almost 700m but descend again after reaching the imposing Lava Tower (4640m). This will help with acclimatisation as you will reach a height of over 4500m. You will move through different vegetation zones. After reaching Lava Tower the path traverses Barranco Valley dotted with the weird-looking senecios. Barranco Camp is reached after 6 – 7 hours. Considered the most beautiful camp on the mountain, the camp is situated just below the imposing Barranco Wall. Rest and refuel tonight.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 Barranco Camp (3960m) - Barafu Camp (4640m)
The first section of today's route is to scale the 'Barranco Wall'. Use your hands and feet. Safety is paramount and you will be secured if necessary, but it looks more daunting than it actually is. The trail continues with many up and down sections, crossing a few streams, winding and climbing stopping for lunch in the Karanga Valley. After lunch there will be another 2 - 3 hours climb before you reach Barafu Camp (4640m). Tonight, drink a lot of fluids, try to eat and go to bed early to rest enough before tomorrow's summit trek.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 Barafu Camp - Uhuru Peak (5895m) - Mweka Camp (3080m)
You will be woken in the midnight hours with a cup of tea and biscuits. Dressed warmly and geared with a headlight and your daypack you will set off in the darkness. After 5 - 7 hours of 'pole pole', you will reach the rim of the crater, Stella Point. Another one to two hours of going slowly along the crater's edge and you will arrive at the summit - Uhuru Peak (5895m). Looking down over the surrounding landscape in the early morning light, will make you feel on top of the world. You have now reached the 'Roof of Africa'. The descent should be easy but dusty, as the volcanic ash will now have defrosted. Returning on the same route you should arrive at Barafu Camp within a few hours where the porters are waiting with food and tea. Resting for an hour or two, you will continue down to reach Mweka Camp (3080m) for your overnight stay.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 Mweka Camp (3080m) - Mweka Gate (1630m) - Moshi
Last day on the mountain. After breakfast, the crew will celebrate your achievement with a traditional song as part of their farewell ceremony. You will present them with their tips. Setting off and descending into the moist green forest, it should take about three hours to reach the gate. Back at the Keys Hotel in Moshi hot showers and cold beers wait. There you can revive yourself and celebrate your achievement.
Day 8 Moshi - Additional Services
After breakfast, you can continue on a safari (optional) or take be transferred to the Kilimanjaro airport.
- Trekking tour according to the itinerary
- 7 nights accommodation in tents and hotels as indicated in the itinerary
- Professional English-speaking guide
- Personal porter
- Meals as indicated in the itinerary
- At least 3 litres of drinking water per person per day
- Transfers as indicated in the itinerary
- National park fees
- Rescue fees
- Camping Equipment - tents, sleeping mattress and camping furniture
- Flights (international and domestic)
- Meals not indicated in the itinerary
- Beverages other than water (alcohol and soft drinks)
- Visa, tips, personal expenses, travel insurance
- Sleeping bag (can be rented, please inform us at the time of the booking)
How big is the group and where are my fellow travellers from?
- Group sizes vary however there is a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 10 travellers per group.
- Travellers are from all over the world and from all walks of life.
Is there an age limit on this tour?
- As per the national park authorities, the minimum age for climbing Kilimanjaro is 10 years but seeing that children are more prone to altitude sickness than adults, we recommend a minimum age of 14-16 years. There is no maximum age restriction, but a medical check-up is advisable for people over the age of 60.
How fit do I have to be?
- Kilimanjaro is one of the few mountains of its height, than can be challenged without mountaineering skills or experience. You should however be healthy and fit enough to manage the 4-6 hour hike each day, as well as the 12-14 hour hike on the day of the summit. For the last stretch, much endurance and willpower is needed.
Is it possible to climb Kilimanjaro at any time of the year?
- Generally yes. We however discourage any attempts during the main rainy season (end of March to beginning of June). In the small rainy season (November), daily short rainfalls and cloudy views can be expected. From December until the end of February, temperatures are at their highest and rainfall is at its minimum. The best time to travel is between the end of June and the middle of October, when temperatures are a little lower and there is almost no rainfall.
What is the route like?
- The Machame Route also known as the ‘Whiskey Route’ is the most picturesque route and offers hikers spectacular views of the summit. However this is also the route with the most exposure to unpleasant weather conditions such as rain, clouds and fog. On the other hand, this is the reason why the vegetation here is so beautiful and dense. Seeing that the Machame Route is steeper and because of all the ups and downs, this route is physically more demanding than the Marangu and the Rongai Route. The descent follows the Mweka Route.
Where does the group overnight?
- Overnight accommodation will be in two-man tents and sleeping mats are provided. Single travellers usually share a tent with another group member of the same gender. Single tents can be provided on request at additional cost.
What kind of ablution facilities can I expect?
- There are no ablution facilities except for basic long drops (very simple latrines).
What meals are included and what food can be expected?
- Fresh water will be collected from the available sources on the mountain and is boiled before it’s served. Porters will carry water in canisters for the higher areas, where no more fresh water is available. All meals are freshly prepared by your cook.
- Meals are included as indicated in the itinerary:
Breakfast usually consists of fruit, scrambled eggs, porridge, toast and jam, hot chocolate, coffee or tea. For lunch you are usually provided with a lunch box that contains sandwiches, boiled eggs, chicken etc.
For dinner you will be served a soup and bread followed by the main course that either consists of red meat or poultry served with some sort of starch (chips, mashed potatoes, pasta or rice) and vegetables. For dessert you will get fresh fruit, hot chocolate, coffee or tea and milk.
- Breakfast and dinner are served in a mess tent that is equipped with a table and chairs while lunch is en-route.
- We are able to provide meals for vegetarians or people with other dietary requirements or food allergies but we need to know in advance in order to cater for special requests.
How to handle the altitude?
- Almost every hiker attempting Kilimanjaro will notice the altitude and the thinner air. Fitness fanatics are just as likely to suffer from it as are couch potatoes. Symptoms include headaches that are often accompanied by fatigue, loss of appetite and nausea. More often than not, symptoms are mild, allowing you to continue to ascend. Occasionally the symptoms are more severe and a rapid descent is required, after which your body tends to recover quite quickly. Please however always keep in mind, that severe altitude sickness can be life threatening and it may even lead to death. We do not recommend the use of medication, as it suppresses the symptoms of altitude sickness. We do however encourage you to drink enough water to replace the fluids lost from the physical activity. Two to four litres per day are recommended, as are supplementary mineral tablets (magnesium) to help replace lost minerals and to prevent muscle cramps.
What happens in a case of emergency?
- Unfortunately there are no state of the art mountain rescue services like the ones to be found in the European Alps for example. If you no longer have the ability to walk yourself, you will either be carried or transported on a wheeled stretcher. This is by no means a pleasant experience which is why we encourage you not to overstrain your body and to travel safe. Helicopters can only land at a lower altitude and are therefore rarely used.
- Please ensure that you are covered by your health insurance while travelling. If you do not have sufficient coverage, we highly recommend taking out appropriate travel insurance. Your insurance should cover all your medical expenses including costs for rescue and repatriation.
How much extra money do I have to take along?
- It is common practice to tip the members of your mountain crew after the climb. Tips make up a large portion of their income and are therefore highly appreciated. Below are some guidelines based on a group (not per person)
Guide: 12-18 USD / day
Assistant Guide: 8- 12 USD / day
Cook: 8-10 USD / day
Waiter: 7-9 USD / day
Porter: 6-7 USD / day
Of course the above is just a guideline. If you are happy with the service received, you are welcome to show this when it comes to tipping.
- If you plan to tip in USD, please make sure the notes have been printed after 2004 as any earlier dated bank notes are not valid and can therefore not be used in Tanzania.
What kind of equipment and clothing should I bring?
- Travel bag, backpack or kitbag, weighing no more than 12kg (please do not bring a suitcase or trolley bag, as this type of luggage cannot be carried by the porters)
- Day backpack with rain protection
- High quality sleeping bag for harsh conditions (at night temperatures can drop to -20°C)
- Different layers of clothing including thermal base layers, fleece clothing, trekking pants, warm jacket and water-resistant top layers as well as a warm headgear.
- Water-resistant and comfortable hiking boots and a variety of trekking socks
Please note that the above list is not complete and these are just a few things that you will have to bring with you. Once we have confirmed your booking, you will receive a more detailed list.
Do I need a visa for this trip?
- Citizens of all nationalities need to contact the respective embassies of their travel destination to check the visa regulations.
- In general, European citizens can apply for a Tanzanian Tourism Visa upon arrival in Tanzania.
- It is the sole responsibility of every traveller to be in possession of the required documents and visa that allows them to enter their holiday destination.
Do I need vaccinations for this trip?
- The trekking tour starts and ends in Tanzania, a yellow fever region, which is why we recommend a yellow fever vaccination.
- Although there are no mosquitoes at high altitude, Tanzania is within a malaria region. It is up to you if you wish to take medication, but we suggest that you speak to your doctor or travel clinic about the different prophylaxis and their effects and side effects.
- Although Tanzania does not require proof of immunization against Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio and Hepatitis A & B, we nevertheless recommend those vaccinations.