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.
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.
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.