8 days Machame Route Climb Kilimanjaro

Route Description

The Machame route, also known as the “Whiskey” route, is the most popular route on Kilimanjaro. However, this route is considered difficult, steep and challenging, particularly due to its shorter climb. Therefore, it is better suited for more adventurous people or those with some high altitude experience.

The route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the south, beginning with a short drive from Moshi to Machame Gate. The path leads hikers through the rain forest to Shira Plateau. Here, many of Kilimanjaro’s routes converge. Then the route turns western and traverses underneath Kilimanjaro’s Northern Ice Field on a path known as the Northern Circuit before summiting from School Hut. Descent is made via the Mweka route.


    DAY 1:

    Arrival Kilimanjaro airport and drive to Moshi or Arusha and stay in hotel.

    DAY 2:

    • Machame Gate to Machame Camp
    • Elevation: 1840m to 3100m (ft) 5,380 ft to 9,350 ft
    • Distance: 11 km/7 miles
    • Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
    • Habitat: Rain Forest

    The drive from Moshi to the Machame Gate takes about 50 minutes. The journey passes through the village of Machame  which is located on the lower slopes of the mountain. As we leave the park gate, we walk through the dense rain forest on a winding trail up a ridge until we reach the Machame Camp.

    DAY 3:

    • Machame Camp to Shira cave Camp
    • Elevation: 3100m to 3840m  (ft) 9,350 ft to 12,500 ft
    • Distance: 5 km/3 miles
    • Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
    • Habitat: Heath

    We leave the glades of the rain forest and continue on an ascending path up to a steep, rocky ridge. On the Shira Plateau, we pass through heather and open moorlands, then cross a large river gorge to Shira cave Camp.

    DAY 4:

    .Shira Cave to Moir Hut Camp

    .Elevation: 3740m to 4100m (ft) 12,500ft to 13,100ft.

    .Distance: 4 km/2miles

    Hiking Time: 3-4 Hours

    Habitat: Alpine Desert.

    This is very short hiking day to western side of the mountain but after lunch you can go hiking for acclimatization.

    DAY 5:

    • Moir Hut to Buffalo Camp
    • Elevation:  4200m to 4020m  (ft) 13,580 ft to 13,200 ft
    • Distance: 12 km/7 miles
    • Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
    • Habitat: Alpine Desert

    We trek out of Moir Valley with a moderately steep climb, then hike to the summit of Lent Hills before returning to the main trail. The path crosses a rock field and gently undulates before reaching Buffalo Camp. This section of the trail offers great views across the plains that lie north of Kilimanjaro and stretch out to the Kenyan/Tanzanian border.

    DAY 6:

    • Buffalo Camp to Third Cave
    • Elevation: 4020m to 3870m  (ft) 13,200 ft to 12,700 ft
    • Distance: 8 km/5 miles
    • Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
    • Habitat: Heath

    As we head up Buffalo Ridge, the terrain becomes increasingly sparse.  This route is rarely travelled and we will enjoy its mountain wilderness feel. We trek through remote valleys on to the northern slopes of Kilimanjaro until we arrive at Third Cave.

    DAY 7:

    • Third Cave to School Hut
    • Elevation:  3870m to 4750m  (ft) 12,700 ft to 15,600 ft
    • Distance: 5 km/3 miles
    • Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
    • Habitat: Alpine Desert

    We climb steadily up and over the “Saddle,” which sits between Kibo and Mawenzi. We continue on to our camp, School Hut. Once here we rest, enjoy dinner and prepare for the summit day.

    DAY 8:

    • School Hut to Uhuru Peak
    • Elevation: 4750 to 5895m  (ft) 15,600 ft to 19,341 ft
    • Distance: 6 km/4 miles
    • Hiking Time: 6-8 hours
    • Habitat: Arctic
    • Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp
    • Elevation: 5895m to 3060m  (ft) 19,341 ft to 10,065 ft
    • Distance: 12 km/7 miles
    • Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
    • Habitat: Rain Forest.


    Normal Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our push to the summit. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. We ascend for several hours at a slow but steady pace while taking frequent, but short, breaks. The trail turns into heavy scree as we make the steep climb to the crater rim. At Gilman’s Point (18,600 ft), we see the summit sign in the distance. We continue the around the crater rim until finally we arrive at Uhuru Peak- the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.

    Now we descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. The trail is very rocky and can be quite hard on the knees; trekking poles are helpful. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.

    DAY 9:

    • Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate 
    • Elevation: 3060m to 1640m  (ft) 10,065 ft to 5,380 ft
    • Distance: 10 km/6 miles
    • Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
    • Habitat: Rain Forest

    On our last day, we continue the descent to Mweka Gate and collect the summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. From the gate A vehicle will meet us and drive back to the hotel in Moshi or Arusha.

    DAY 10:

    Drive to Kilimanjaro airport and fly back home.

    Items included:

    • Meeting at Kilimanjaro International Airport;
    • Transfer to the hotel  to Moshi or Arusha
    • Accommodation prior to the climb (including breakfast; sharing a twin room);
    • Transfer to the starting point.
    • Professional mountain crew. All guides have “Wilderness First Responder” and “Wilderness First Aid” certificates, along with over 10 years of experience in climbing. Each participant will be provided with a porter (who can carry up to 15 kg of personal baggage)
    • Kilimanjaro National Park rescue fees;
    • Camping/hut fees;
    • 3 square meals daily. The menu includes different soups, garnishes, several types of fish and meat, fresh fruit and vegetables; vegetarian options are available upon request;
    • Oxygen systems and pulse oximeters;
    • First aid kit;
    • Group equipment (dining tent, table, chairs, crockery and cutlery);
    • Meeting the group at the National Park exit and transfer to the hotel;
    • Accommodation after the climb (including breakfast; sharing a twin room);
    • Comfortable sleeping pads.
    • Return transfer to Kilimanjaro airport.

    * Basic tour package price includes sharing a twin room. If you need a single bed accommodation only, you should inform us before the tour.

    ** During the climb you will share a tent with 1-2 other climbers, depending on the number of participants. If you need an individual tent, please, contact us. Single accommodation at sleeping huts on Marangu is impossible.

    Items excluded:

    • Airline tickets;
    • Visa fee;
    • Lunch and dinner at the hotel
    • Personal gears
    • Tips for the mountain crew and Safari Driver.
    • Travel insurance.