Machame Ice caps

Kilimanjaro Machame Route 7 days

The Kilimanjaro Machame route 7 days is one of the most popular and successful trails on Kilimanjaro. Known for its breathtaking scenery, this route provides a truly beautiful journey to the summit. aking it an unforgettable experience for adventurers seeking to conquer Kilimanjaro. Click on our detailed Machame route map to see a bigger Machame route map.

Kilimanjaro Machame route 7 days acclimatization benefit

The key to the success of the Kilimanjaro Machame route 7 days is its topography, allowing hikers to climb high and sleep low, helping towards better acclimatisation. The summit trail on the Machame route is notably less challenging and strenuous in comparison to the summit trail from Kibo Hut. The Machame route summit trail is slightly shorter and boasts fewer loose scree (rocks), rendering it somewhat easier to navigate on the way to the crater rim.

Kilimanjaro Machame Route 7 days, Machame Route map

Regrettably, the Machame route is a busy trail up Kilimanjaro, often frequented by a higher number of hikers. This popularity arises from its remarkable success rate. Beginning on day 3, the Machame route converges with other paths, contributing to the increased foot traffic. The descent follows the Mweka route. For a more detailed view of the Machame route, kindly click on the provided map for an enlarged version.

While the 6-day Machame route represents the minimum duration allowed, we strongly recommend opting for the 7-day Machame route. The biggest cause of altitude sickness is going too high, too fast, and nobody can predict who will get altitude sickness and who will not. Altitude sickness affects every person differently, irrespective of their age, fitness levels, etc. By choosing the 7-day Machame route, you allow your body more time to acclimatize, consequently reducing the possibility of altitude sickness. Additionally, it provides more time to rest before the actual summit attempt begins.

Summary

Machame route advantagesMachame route disadvantages
Opportunity to climb high / sleep low, reducing the possibility to get altitude sickness. Actual trail from the Machame gate to Barafu campsite is challenging,
The actual summit trail shorter, less challenging than the Marangu route summit trail The Baranco wall is a potential problem for hikers with a fear of heights
Ascend and descend using different routes High number of hikers can be expected
Short distance to High campsite or Mweka campsite, after reaching the summit Campsites can be crowded
Daily hiking distances relatively short Basic long drop style toilets at campsites
Scenic and beautiful route Some parts like the Baranco wall, subject to “bottled neck” effect due to high number of hikers     

Kilimanjaro Machame route 7 days itinerary

Day 1 – Machame Gate (1 800m / 5 905ft) – Machame campsite (2 835m / 9 300ft)

Hiking time: 5 to 6 hours
Distance: Approximately 11 km / 6.8 miles
Habitat: Montane forest

The drive from Moshi town to the Machame gate, takes about 1 hour. After registering, you start your ascent through the beautiful rain forest section. There is a strong possibility of rain in the forest section, which will transform the trail into a very soggy, muddy and slippery experience.

a hiker taking a rest in the Machame route forest

Day 2 – Machame campsite (2 835m / 9 300ft) – Shira Cave campsite (3 750m / 12 303ft)

Hiking time: 5 to 6 hours
Distance: Approximately 5.3 km / 3.3 miles
Habitat: Moorland

Rise early at the Machame campsite. After a hearty breakfast, you ascend for about an hour, reaching the pinnacle of the forest. You continue for an additional two hours, navigating through the moorland zone at a gentler gradient. After a short lunch and rest, you continue up a steep rocky Shira ridge onto the Shira plateau. On this day will the Kilimanjaro Machame route 7 days join the Lemosho and Shira routes.

Day 3 – Climb high, sleep low

Ascend: Shira Cave campsite (3 750m / 12 303ft) – Lava Tower (4 600m / 15 090ft)

Hiking time: 4 to 5 hours
Distance: Approximately 7 km / 4.3 miles                                                                                                                                                                                              Habitat: Semi-desert

Descend: Lava Tower (4 600m / 15 090ft) – Baranco campsite (3 900m) / 12 795ft)

Hiking time: 2 to 3 hours
Distance: Approximately 3.3 km / 2 miles                                                                                                                                                                                            Habitat: Semi-desert

The route now turns east into a semi desert and rocky landscape surrounding Lava Tower, where you reach an altitude of 4 600m / 15 090ft and stop for lunch. This is where the true acclimatisation benefit of the Machame route becomes clear, of climbing high and sleeping low. The descent to Baranco campsite takes about 2 hours. Click on the Machame route 7 days, Machame route map to visualize.

Day 4 – Baranco campsite (3 900m) / 12 795ft) – Karanga campsite (3 995m / 13 105ft)

Hiking time: 6 hours
Distance: 6 km / 3.7 miles
Habitat: Semi desert

After indulging in a hearty breakfast, embark on the ascent of the Baranco wall, an endeavor that ultimately proves to be more manageable than expected. Upon reaching the summit just below the Heim Glacier, you’ll discover a newfound appreciation for the awe-inspiring beauty of Kilimanjaro. It’s worth noting that three successive rises and falls precede the arrival at the Karanga campsite, where you will relish lunch, dinner, and spend the night. On this day will the Kilimanjaro Machame route 7 days join the Umbwe route.

Day 5 – Karanga campsite (3 995m / 13 105ft) – Barafu campsite (4 673m / 15 330ft)

Hiking time: 3 hours
Distance: 4 km / 2.5 miles
Habitat: Alpine desert

a camp site that is setup on the Machame route

After savoring a hearty breakfast, your next adventure unfolds with a challenging ascent of 640m to reach Barafu campsite. Notably, “Barafu,” Swahili for “ice,” serves as a fitting descriptor for the campsite’s exposure to relentless gales. As the summit looms a further 1,222m / 4,009ft higher, your final ascent attempt is scheduled for later that night. To optimize your chances of success, transition into the evening by retiring to bed around 19h00, ensuring you secure some precious rest and sleep before the demanding final push towards the summit.

Day 6 – Summit attempt

Ascend: Barafu campsite (4 673m / 15 330ft) – Uhuru Peak (5 895m / 19 341ft)

Hiking time: 7 to 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak
Distance: Approximately 5 km / 3.1 miles
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit

Descend: Uhuru Peak (5 895m / 19 341ft) – Mweka (3 100m / 10 170ft)

Hiking time: 7 to 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak, 6 to 8 hours to descend to Mweka Campsite
Distance: 12.5 km / 7.8 miles to Mweka campsite or 9 km / 5.6 miles to High campsite
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit

You will get up around 23h20, and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the night. You will head in a north-westerly direction and ascend up a steep path towards Stella Point, located on the crater rim. For many climbers the 6-hour walk to Stella point is mentally and physically the most challenging part of the entire hike. Click on the Machame route 7 days, Machame route map to visualize.

At Stella Point (5 756m / 18 884ft) you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see (weather permitting). From Stella Point it is possible to encounter snow all the way on your 2-hour ascent to Uhuru Peak. Enjoy your accomplishment and a day to remember for the rest of your life – you have conquered the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro!

Descend to Mweka camp

Upon completing the approximately 3-hour descent back to Barafu camp from the summit, a well-earned yet brief rest awaits, providing you with the opportunity to collect the remainder of your gear. If the group successfully summited just after sunrise and adhered to the schedule, the descent seamlessly continues to Mweka campsite (3,100m / 10,170ft). However, in the event that the summit attempt took longer than anticipated, an overnight stay at High Campsite (3,950m / 12,960ft) becomes the alternative. This option is particularly beneficial given its close proximity to Barafu campsite, ensuring a smoother transition and offering a comfortable respite after the demanding ascent. This contingency plan proves essential in adapting to any unexpected delays and fostering a well-managed descent experience. On this day will the Kilimanjaro Machame route 7 days join the northern circuit route.

Day 7 – Final descend

Shorter: Mweka campsite (3 100m / 10 170ft) – Mweka Gate (1 640m / 5 380ft)

Hiking time: 3 to 4 hours
Distance: Approximately 10 km / 6.2 miles
Habitat: Forest

OR

Longer: High campsite (3 950m / 12 960ft) – Mweka Gate (1 640m / 5 380ft)

Hiking time: 5 to 7 hours
Distance: From High Campsite approximately 13.5 km Mweka campsite approximately 13.5 km / 8.4 miles
Habitat: Forest

After an early breakfast, commence on a short 3 to 4 hour hike from Mweka campsite to the Mweka gate. Finally, it is worth noting that the descent will take on a slightly extended duration if the group spend the last night at High Campsite.

Upon reaching Mweka gate, the final stage of your Kilimanjaro adventure, you’ll be prompted to sign your name and details in a register. Notably, this is the very spot where triumphant climbers will be awarded their well-deserved summit certificates.