kilimanjaro local guides

Mount Kilimanjaro Machame Ruten Itinerary

The Machame Ruten  is a beautiful Kilimanjaro route and we love taking clients up the mountain via this trail. We explain all you need to know about the route, including the different duration options.

The Machame Ruten is the busiest of the seven Kilimanjaro routes, with about 50% of Kilimanjaro climbers using it each year. It’s also one of the most scenic Kilimanjaro routes. It offers breathtaking views and a rich variety of terrain throughout. The route approaches from south and has a high success rate, especially for climbers who choose the Machame route seven-day option.

There are several trekking routes to the summit, and among them, the Machame Route (also called the Whiskey Route) is the most popular, with its fantastic scenery and high success rate (85% on average and above 90% for our trips). It is also great for acclimatisation, allowing you to walk high and sleep low every day naturally. Its downside is that everybody likes it (about 50% of all climbs are done via the Machame Route), so in peak periods it can be quite busy. While the ascent does not involve any technical climbing, the Machame Route is demanding, and a sound level of fitness is an essential pre-requisite. 

Our standard Machame Ruten itinerary is 8 nights (7 trekking days, 9 days total). As all our departures are private, we can be quite flexible and on request, we can adapt the itinerary and make it shorter or longer to suit your preferences and stamina.

Trek Overview

The 7 day Machame route approaches Kilimanjaro through forest and moorland from the south-west, and joins the Shira route before traversing beneath the southern icefields of Kibo. The rainforest is extremely beautiful and there is a tangible sense of ‘wilderness’ once the higher elevations are reached. The views of Mt. Meru floating on the clouds are simply unforgettable, and we make our final ascent to the summit by the stunning Barafu route. The seven day itinerary gives maximum possible acclimatisation, and also gives us plenty of time to enjoy the magnificent scenery.

Machame Ruten

Day

Start

Altitude (m)

Altitude (ft)

Finish

Altitude (m)

Altitude (ft)

TIme

Distance

Distance

1

Machame Gate

1,640

5,380

Machame Camp

2,850

9,350

5-7

11

7

2

Machame Camp

2,850

9,350

Shira 2 Camp

3,810

12,500

4-6

5

3

3

Shira 2 Camp

3,810

12,500

Lava Tower

4,630

15,190

4-5

7

4

 

Lava Tower

4,630

15,190

Barranco Camp

3,976

13,044

2-3

3

2

4

Barranco Camp

3,976

13,044

Karanga Camp

3,995

13,106

4-5

5

3

5

Karanga Camp

3,995

13,106

Barafu Camp

4,673

15,331

4-5

4

2

6

Barafu Camp

4,673

15,331

Unhuru Camp

5,895

19,341

7-8

5

3

 

Unhuru Peak

5,895

19,341

Mweka Camp

3,068

10,065

4-6

12

7

7

Mweka Camp

3,068

10,065

Mweka Gate

1,640

5,380

3-4

10

6

Quick facts about Mount Kilimanjaro Machame Ruten Itinerary

Our Opinion of the Machame Ruten

We really like the Machame route because of its beauty, variety of scenery, and great acclimatisation profile. The one possible downside of this route is that it can get quite crowded. Whilst it’s undeniably a very beautiful Kilimanjaro climb, we usually recommend the Lemosho route over the Machame route. This is because the Lemosho is just as beautiful, yet less crowded.

These two Kilimanjaro routes do, however, join together on the morning of Day 3, so it’s actually only the first couple of days that are different. You can climb Kilimanjaro via the Machame route in six days, though we don’t recommend this for first-time trekkers as it diminishes your acclimatisation period. Rather climb it over seven days.

Machame route overview

  • This machame route is highly recommended for scenic value and has a medium to high success rate, especially if you choose the 7 day itinerary.
  • The Machame route six-day options is not recommended for first-time trekkers.
  • It is a good Kilimanjaro route for acclimatization as it has a climb high, sleep low opportunity for trekkers on day three. Here trekkers climb from Shira Camp 2 to Lava Tower at 4,600 meters, where they have lunch and then back down to Barranco Campn(3,900 meters) to sleep.
  • Like all Kilimanjaro routes, the Machame route is a challenging trek with stunning scenery through four diverse climatic zones.
  • There is a good opportunity to split pre-summit day climb by adding an extra rest day at Karanga Camp (only available to seven day trekkers) to leave hikers well rested before summiting.
  • The Machame route has however got very popular over the past few years which means it can get busy, especially at Barranco where climbers join up with trekkers from the Lemosho, Shira and Umbwe routes.
  • The Machame route only offers fully catered camping.

Machame Route Highlights

Considerations

Machame Route Tours

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Kilimanjaro Machame route 7 Days

What is the Machame route scenery like?

The Machame route is one of the most beautiful of the seven Kilimanjaro routes in Tanzania. You pass through extremely varied terrain the whole way up to the summit. In fact, you pass through five different climate zones: rainforest, grassland, moorland, alpine desert, and the arctic summit. The trek also takes you past stunning natural features such as the volcanic plug known as Lava Tower. The Machame also route stops over at locations that offer some of the best sunrises and sunsets on Kilimanjaro.

How hard is the machame route?

No Kilimanjaro climb is easy, so let's get that out of the way straight off the bat! But you're doubtless wanting to know how hard the Machame route is comparative to the other six routes. Well, it isn't easy to state how hard a route is, especially as the things that might make a Kilimanjaro climb 'hard' can vary from person to person. Generally speaking, the Machame route is considered a more challenging climb than others. For starters, it covers more ground, having more ups and downs than other routes. This means it requires more energy per day than other trails. That said, the route is not technically difficult.

It's also important to note that while it's more physically demanding than other Kilimanjaro routes, the seven-day Machame route has a very good acclimatisation profile. This is because it includes opportunities to climb high and then sleep low, which are important in helping the body to adjust to the increased elevation. Proper acclimatisation increases your chances of summiting. Put simply, with the right Kilimanjaro preparation, anyone should be able to climb Kilimanjaro via the Machame route. Note that you should be physically fit to temp the climb. But with the right support in the form of a qualified and supportive mountain crew, you can achieve the summit whether you have previous hiking experience or are a first-time trekker. Note too that we would not recommend the six-day Machame route for first-time trekkers. We really feel that the Machame route seven-day climb is the better option given its superior acclimatisation profile.

What is the Machame route success rate?

The Machame route provides ideal opportunities to climb high and then sleep low, which means it has an excellent acclimatisation profile. Whilst there are no official statistics, the average success rate across all Kilimanjaro operators is 85% for the seven-day Machame route. It drops to 73% for the six-day option. KIAfrika Adventure retains a success rate of 95% for the seven-day Machame route! Marangu route is one of the shortest Kilimanjaro routes, which gives it a relatively poor acclimatisation profile. Summit success is low. Whilst there are no official statistics, the average success rate across all Kilimanjaro operators for the five day route is 50%. That means your chances of reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro when using the Marangu route aren't fantastic.

How many days is the Machame route?

The Machame route can be completed in a minimum of six days, but we always recommend the seven-day Machame route itinerary. The extra day gives you more time to acclimatise. Further, climbing Kilimanjaro isn't a race. The Machame route is very beautiful, so it would be a shame to rush it.

In our experience, most people who have completed the right Kilimanjaro preparation are able to complete the seven-day Machame route with no real problems.

How busy is the Machame route?

The Machame route is the most frequented of the Kilimanjaro routes. It's a very beautiful and scenic route, and also boasts an amazing acclimatisation profile, so it attracts a lot of climbers each year. Also, the fact that you can climb it in six days means that a lot of budget Kilimanjaro operators use the Machame route.

What is accommodation like?

The Machame route only offers camping accommodation. All of your camping equipment is provided for you as part of your package fee if you climb Kilimanjaro with Kiafrika Adventure. This equipment includes your tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat and pillow. Also, all tents are pitched and then taken down by our dedicated mountain crew throughout the trek.

What does the Machame route cost?

We offers the Machame route as a six- or seven-day group or private climb. The package costs $ 1.850 per person for a Machame route seven-day climb (both based on double occupancy). This fee includes six or seven days on the mountain as well as one day either side at our beautiful partner lodge in Moshi. This brings the entire trip to nine or 10 days in total.

For more information on inclusions and exclusions, as well as more details about the trip, head to our Kilimanjaro climb page. We also delve deeper into the topic in How much does it cost to climb Kilimanjaro?