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machame route map

T he Machame Route, also known as the “Whiskey” route, is the most popular route on Kilimanjaro. The route begins at Machame Gate on the southern side of Kilimanjaro. Like the Lemosho and Northern Circuits, it starts in the lush rainforest, climbing to the Shira Plateau before joining the Lemosho route and summiting from the southeast. Due to the popularity of this route, it can be crowded during busy months. Many groups share campsites. This route is a good choice for people who want to enjoy a scenic hike on a challenging route but do not mind the company of other climbers. 

The Machame Route is five and a half days to the summit and one and a half days to the gate.


We recommend booking your flight to arrive at least the morning before your climb starts or two evenings prior. It is difficult to get a trip briefing and proper rest if you arrive the evening before your climb. Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) is 45 minutes from your lodging. We will pick you up from JRO and take you to your hotel, or you can take a taxi.

At the trip briefing, we will make sure you have the required equipment, perform your initial health check, and that you have the appropriate mandatory medical coverage and travel insurance.

Kilimanjaro: Day 1

5-6 hours · 6.7 miles elevation: +4,400 ft.

From the hotel, we will drive you to the Machame National Park gate to sign you into the park. While the guides and porters weigh the gear you’ll begin your trek. Depending on the time, you’ll eat lunch at the trailhead or along the way to Machame Camp (9,800 ft), where you’ll camp for the night. We will perform a daily health check and give a quick briefing of what the next day will entail including how much water to bring.

Kilimanjaro: Day 2

4-5 hours · 3.3 miles · elevation: +2,800 ft.

Day two trek continues through the rainforest until you reach the Shira Plateau. The trail climbs steadily up rolling hills with expansive views. You’ll know you are on the plateau when you are surrounded by the giant heather shrub of the Moorland zone. You will continue along this relatively flat, rock plain toward your camp at Shira Hut (12,600 ft). The view of Mount Meru floating on the clouds is amazing.

Kilimanjaro: Day 3

7-9 hours · 7.5 miles · elevation: +200 ft.

The morning ascent takes you to the iconic Lava Tower(15,150 ft), where you’ll break for lunch. While you rest you may even view a rock slide along the Western Breach trail above. The afternoon trail descends into the Barranco Valley (12,800 ft). The Valley is flanked by the infamous Barranco Wall which you’ll tackle the next morning. At this point, you’ll also join the Lemosho trail. This is one of the best camps on Kilimanjaro, situated along a cliff face that allows clouds to swirl up into camp as they journey toward their destination.

Kilimanjaro: Day 4

4-6 hours · 3.2 miles · elevation: +300 ft

Today starts with a lung-burning ascent of the 800 foot Barranco Wall. It is a short ascent to the top where you’ll stop and admire what you just accomplished, gazing back down to Barranco Valley. Continuing on you’ll be treated to the views of the Southern Icefield above you until you reach Karanga Camp (13,100 ft). This camp is the last water point on the way to the Summit.

Kilimanjaro: Day 5

3-5 hours · 3.4 miles · elevation: +1,700 ft

Today you’ll follow an easy trail on scree with broad views of the countryside below. You’ll gain elevation rapidly as you ascend to your next camp—Barafu Hut (14,800 ft). If you are up for it, there is a short acclimatization hike to the plateau at the bottom of the southeast valley. The rest of the day is spent preparing for summit night. You should spend the afternoon resting as much as possible before you head to bed for the evening.

Kilimanjaro: Day 6

11-15 hours · 10.4 miles · elevation: +4,155 ft gain · -9,300 ft loss

Summit Night: You will be woken by the guide around midnight and begin your ascent by headlamp. Your goal is to reach the crater rim by sunrise. A slow and steady climb up switchbacks over 5-6 hours will take you to Stella Point (18,800 ft). Here you’ll take a short break before you begin your final push to the Summit. It takes about two hours to make the roundtrip from Stella Point to Uhuru Peak, the Summit of Kilimanjaro (19,341 ft). Along this final leg, you pass close to the Southern Glaciers and be able to gaze down into the dormant crater of Kibo. Once at the Summit you’ll spend about 45 minutes resting, eating, and waiting for your turn to take a photo at the sign. Don’t waste this time.

The descent from here down to Barafu Hut is fairly quick, where you’ll eat then continue down to the final campsite, Mweka Camp (10,000 ft).

Kilimanjaro: Day 7

4-6 hours · 5.14 miles · elevation: -4,800 ft

After breakfast, you’ll begin the remainder of your descent through the rainforest to the Mweka Gate (5,400 ft.). You’ll be entertained by singing birds and crazy primates swinging through the trees saying goodbye to you as you finish your journey. Once your guide has checked you out, you’ll travel through coffee plantations and fields of bananas and avocado as you head back toward your hotel.


After breakfast, you’ll either be driven to JRO or picked up for your safari.

Machame Route Map


  • All park fees and taxes
  • Hotel lodging the night before and the night after the climb (double occupancy)
  • Breakfast
  • Transport to and from the hotel and trailhead
  • Tents (double occupancy)
  • Sleeping pad
  • All meals and water on the mountain
  • Support personnel (guides, cooks, and porters)


  • Airfare to Tanzania
  • Airport pick up and drop off
  • Tips for guides and porters
  • Sleeping bags and other personal gear
  • Rental gear – Sleeping bag, jacket, duffel, private toilet tent, trekking poles
  • Visa
  • Travel Insurance
  • Drinks and/or snacks
  • Lunch and dinner at the hotel

Miles & Elevation