Machame Route - Kilimanjaro
The Machame Route, the most popular route on Mount Kilimanjaro was built for climbing. Located in Tanzania, this trail commands respect thanks to its steepness and scenic beauty – inexperienced climbers need not apply! If you have more experience backpacking than serious trekking, consider opting for Kilimanjaro's more classic trail: the Marangu Route.See all Machame route tours with prices
Day-by-day breakdown of Machame route
Below you will find a detailed breakdown of what, where and how long you'll be trekking should you opt to select the popular 7-day itinerary for the "Whiskey" route along Mount Kilimanjaro.
|DAY||START||ALTITUDE (M/FT)||FINISH||ALTITUDE (M/FT)||TIME (HRS)||DISTANCE (KM/MI)|
|1||Machame Gate||1,640m/ 5,380ft||Machame Camp||2,850m/ 9,350ft||5-7||11km/ 7mi|
|2||Machame Camp||2,850m/ 9,350ft||Shira 2 Camp||3,810m/ 12,500ft||4-6||5km/ 3mi|
|3||Shira 2 Camp||3,810m/ 12,500ft||Lava Tower||4,630m/ 15,190ft||4-5||7km/ 4mi|
|Lava Tower||4,630m/ 15,190ft||Barranco Camp||3,976m/ 13,044ft||2-3||3km/ 2mi|
|4||Barranco Camp||3,976m/ 13,044ft||Karanga Camp||3,995m/ 13,106ft||4-5||5km/ 3mi|
|5||Karanga Camp||3,995m/ 13,106ft||Barafu Camp||4,673m/ 15,331ft||4-5||4km/ 2mi|
|6||Barafu Camp||4,673m/ 15,331ft||Uhuru Peak||5,895m/ 19,341ft||7-8||5km/ 3mi|
|Uhuru Peak||5,895m/ 19,341ft||Mweka Camp||3,068m/ 10,065ft||4-6||12km/ 7mi|
|7||Mweka Camp||3,068m/ 10,065ft||Mweka Gate||1,640m/ 5,380ft||3-4||10km/ 6mi|
Frequently asked questions: how to climb the Machame route
How do I prepare for the Machame route?
Any physical activity you can do beforehand will help make your ascent more enjoyable. As for how hard you train, this will depend on whether you're aiming for the Uhuru Peak or embarking on a shorter journey and will be different for everyone.
When should I climb the Machame route?
You can climb the Machame route year-round, but it may be wet and cold which means you should be equipped with the right waterproof gear. Consider climbing between January–March and June–October. Note that April, May and November are the wettest months.
What should I pack and what equipment do I need?
While trekking tour operators may supply some of the gear you’ll need, there are a few non-negotiables you will need that includes waterproof clothing, a headlamp, sunglasses, appropriate hiking boots, personal medication, a non-disposable water bottle and a cap or a beanie for example. Learn more.
How to get to the Machame route?
Before you start your hiking escapade to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, you will need to establish how to get there, and the best mode of transport to suit your itinerary or tour. Travellers flying from the UK, the US, Australia or Canada and other parts of the world have a few options to explore. Learn more.
What are the climbing requirements for the Machame route?
Mount Kilimanjaro welcomes hikers of all levels of fitness and ability, but if you’re planning to reach the summit, careful planning and vigorous training is vital. Consider adding extra time to your itinerary to avoid altitude sickness and to enjoy your time climbing Kilimanjaro. Learn more.
What permits do I need?
Each visitor will be required to pay a fee per person, per day for the conservation fee to help manage the national park, however, most tours will cover the permits and entry fees are included in the price.
Mount Kilimanjaro routes & maps
If you’re searching for the most ‘iconic’ trek, the Marangu route is the oldest marked trail. The gradual slope appeals to many travellers as it's considered the easiest route, and is the only Kilimanjaro route that offers hut accommodation. It’s recommended to allow for one extra night to acclimatise.Read more
Distance: 72 km
Average duration: 5-6 days
Average difficulty: Marangu route has one of the lowest summit success rates of all the routes up the mountain. Although it is known as the easiest trekking route, the summit success rate is sometimes as low as 50% when travellers undertake a shorter hike.
Starting in a similar direction to the Shira route, climbers are likely to encounter lower traffic on the trails until the route meets with the Machame route. Lemosho is known as one of the most beautiful routes as it includes hiking through the rainforest, past the Shira Plateau and through vast icefields.Read more
Distance: 70 km
Average duration: 7-8 days
Average difficulty: The success rates are high, and the longer you take to complete the journey often shows a higher success rate. An 8-day hike usually offers around a 90% success rate while a 7-day hike will be around 85%. For a 6-day hike, the success rate will be much lower at approximately 65%.
Starting from the northern side of Kilimanjaro, Rongai is the only route that travels from this direction and is often less crowded than Marangu. Rongai is considered a moderately difficult route recommended for less experienced hikers.Read more
Distance: 73 km
Average duration: 6-7 days
Average difficulty: This route is considered difficult as it does not offer the same climb height. The longer you take to complete this trail, the higher the success rate will be. A 7-day hike often sees an 80% success rate, and a 6-day hike is much lower at 65%.
Shira Plateau Route
Boasting similar qualities to the Lemosho route, the Shira route also approaches Kilimanjaro from the west. Hikers should take note of the steep elevation on this route, as day one catapults you to some serious altitude.Read more
Distance: 56 km
Average duration: 7-8 days
Average difficulty: Shira has an excellent success rate. However, it should only be tackled by more experienced climbers or those who are comfortable with their ability to acclimatise as the first day is incredibly steep.
One of the most difficult, and most demanding routes on Kilimanjaro, Umbwe also happens to be the most spectacular. This short and steep route is only recommended for experienced climbers who are confident in their ability to adapt to the altitude.Read more
Distance: 53 km
Average duration: 5-6 days
Average difficulty/success rate: As the most difficult and demanding trek on Mount Kilimanjaro, Umbwe has a much lower success rate than the other trails. This route should only be attempted if you are an experienced or confident hiker.
Northern Circuit Route
The Northern Circuit route follows the Lemosho trail at the start before travelling along the northern slopes where trekkers can enjoy more space on the trails.Read more
Distance: 98 km
Average duration: 8-9 days
Average difficulty: Because of its length, the Northern Circuit is one of the most successful routes for reaching the summit and sees a success rate of almost 95%.