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Machame campsite

Recommended duration of climb

Also known as the “Kilimanjaro whiskey route”, the 6 day Machame route is a popular Kilimanjaro route, because it is an affordable Kilimanjaro route with relative high summit success rate. However we strongly recommend you choose the 7 day Machame route, to allow your body more time to acclimatize, more time to rest before the actual summit attempt start and reduce the possibility to get altitude sickness. Nobody can predict who will get altitude sickness and who not, the reason being that altitude sickness affect every person differently, irrespective of their age, fitness levels etc.

7 Day Machame route itinerary – click here

6 Day Machame route itinerary

Day 1 – Machame Gate (1 800m / 5 905ft) – Machame campsite (3 020m / 9 900ft)

Machame Forest

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 Kilimanjaro rain forest section. Overnight at the Machame campsite, located near the top of the rain forest section.

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

You rise early at Machame campsite and after breakfast you climb an hour or so to the top of the Kilimanjaro rain forest and then for another 2 hours at a gentler gradient through the moorland zone. After a short lunch and rest, you continue up a steep rocky Shira ridge onto the Shira plateau. 

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) – Barranco 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 Barranco campsite takes about 2 hours.

Day 4 – Barranco campsite (3 900m) / 12 795ft) – Barafu campsite (4 673m / 15 330ft)

Hiking time: 6 to 8 hours
Distance: 10 km / 6.2 miles
Habitat: Alpine desert

After breakfast, make your way up the Barranco wall, which in the end, normally turns out to be easier than anticipated. We stop for lunch at Karanga camp and after lunch ascend 640m to Barafu campsite. Barafu is the Swahili word for “ice” and the Barafu campsite is totally exposed to the ever-present gales. The summit is now a further 1 222m / 4 009ft higher and you will commence with your final ascent attempt, the same night. Go to bed at round about 19h00 and try to get some precious rest and sleep.

Day 5 – 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 camp
Distance: 12.5km/7.8 miles to Mweka campsite or 9km/5.6 miles to High campsite
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit

Machame Kilimanjaro 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. 

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!

The walk back to Barafu from the summit, takes about 3 hours. Here you will have a well-earned, but short rest and collect the rest of your gear. If the group managed to summit just after sunrise and everything was on schedule will we descend down to Mweka campsite (3 100m / 10 170ft). However if the summit attempt took longer than planned, will we overnight at High Campsite (3 950m / 12 960ft), which is located closer to Barafu campsite.

Day 6 – 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


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 and well-deserved breakfast, it is a short 3 to 4 hour scenic hike from Mweka campsite to the Mweka gate. If the group spend the last night at High Campsite it will be slightly longer 5 to 7 hour hike down to the Mweka gate.

At Mweka gate, you sign your name and details in a register. This is also where successful climbers will receive their summit certificates.