Machame Route

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Ascent Distance: 40.16 Km

No Of People Climbing – 20,339 Per Year

Trek Difficulty: Strenuous

Duration: 6-8 days

Duration: 6-8 days

Machame Route Overview

The Machame route is our second favourite route on Kilimanjaro. Together with Lemosho, it is widely considered the most scenic with beautiful views and a rich variety of terrain. Therefore, it’s no coincidence that it is a very popular Kilimanjaro route, with the latest figures suggesting that just over 20,000 people climb the Machame route each year. It’s popularity is unfortunately therefore it’s only downfall, in that it can get quite overcrowded in peak season.

The acclimatisation profile of the Machame route is great, making use of the climb high sleep low concept most effectively. The route approaches from south and has a comparatively high success rate, especially for climbers who choose the seven-day option. The six-day itinerary is not recommended for first-time trekkers as it provides less time for acclimatisation. There are no huts, and only camping is possible on the Machame.

The Machame Route is one of the most popular routes for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Known for its scenic beauty, it offers climbers a diverse range of landscapes, including rainforest, moorland, and alpine desert. Here’s a detailed overview:

Key Features:

  • Length and Duration:
    • The route is approximately 62 kilometers (38.5 miles) long.
    • Typically, the climb takes 6-7 days, allowing for better acclimatization.
  • Starting Point:
    • The trek begins at Machame Gate, located at an altitude of about 1,800 meters (5,900 feet).
  • Major Campsites:
    • Machame Camp: The first campsite, located at 3,010 meters (9,875 feet).
    • Shira Camp: Situated at 3,840 meters (12,600 feet), offering stunning views of the Shira Plateau.
    • Barranco Camp: At 3,960 meters (13,000 feet), known for the Barranco Wall, a steep but manageable climb.
    • Karanga Camp: At 4,035 meters (13,235 feet), used by those opting for an extra acclimatization day.
    • Barafu Camp: The final camp before the summit push, located at 4,640 meters (15,223 feet).
  • Summit Attempt:
    • The summit push usually starts around midnight from Barafu Camp.
    • Climbers aim to reach Uhuru Peak (5,895 meters / 19,341 feet) around sunrise.
  • Descent Route:
    • The descent is typically via the Mweka Route, which offers a faster and more direct path down the mountain.


  • Scenic Variety: The Machame Route is renowned for its breathtaking scenery, passing through different ecological zones.
  • High Success Rate: Due to the longer itinerary allowing for acclimatization, the success rate is higher compared to shorter routes.
  • Challenging Terrain: While not requiring technical climbing skills, the route includes steep and challenging sections, particularly the Barranco Wall.

Preparation and Considerations:

  • Physical Fitness: Adequate physical preparation is essential due to the demanding nature of the climb.
  • Altitude Sickness: Acclimatization is crucial; climbers should be aware of altitude sickness symptoms and take appropriate measures.
  • Gear and Equipment: Proper gear, including warm clothing, sturdy hiking boots, and a good-quality sleeping bag, is necessary.
  • Guides and Porters: Hiring experienced guides and porters is mandatory and greatly enhances safety and the overall experience.

Typical Itinerary:

  1. Day 1: Machame Gate to Machame Camp
  2. Day 2: Machame Camp to Shira Camp
  3. Day 3: Shira Camp to Barranco Camp
  4. Day 4: Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp
  5. Day 5: Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp
  6. Day 6: Barafu Camp to Summit to Mweka Camp
  7. Day 7: Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate

The Machame Route is a great choice for climbers looking for a balance between challenge and beautiful scenery while having a higher chance of a successful summit due to better acclimatization opportunities.

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