6 Days Mount Kilimanjaro climbing Machame Route
6 Days Mount Kilimanjaro climbing Machame Route is the most popular route to the summit. This trail offers stunning views, a reasonable challenge, and plenty of time to acclimate, making it a good choice for those who have a bit of extra time in their schedule.
Mount Kilimanjaro Trekkers who take Machame Route pass several well-known Mount Kilimanjaro landmarks while en-route, including the famed Lava Tower and Shira Plateau. The route wanders up and down a series of valleys and ridges, which make the walk a bit more strenuous, but rewards hikers with some of the best views on the mountain.
Day 01: Arusha – Machame Gate (1490m) – Machame camp (2980m), Hiking time: 7 hours, Distance: About 18 km’s, Habitat: Montane forest
Day 02: Machame Camp – Shira camp (2980m) – Shira camp (3840m), Hiking time: 6 hours, Distance: About 9 km’s, Habitat: Moorland
Day 03: Shira camp – Barranco camp, Shira (3840m)-Lava Tower (4630m)-Barranco camp (3950m), Hiking time: 7 hours, Distance: About 15 km’s, Habitat: Semi-desert
Day 04: Barranco Camp – Barafu Camp, Barranco camp (3950m)- Barafu camp (4550m), Hiking time: 7 hours, Distance: About 13 km’s, Habitat: Alpine desert
Day 05: Barafu Camp – Uhuru Peak – Mweka Camp, SUMMIT ATTEMPT, Barafu camp (4550m)-Uhuru Peak, 5895m)-Mweka (3100m), Hiking time: 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak, 7/8 hours to descend to Mweka, Distance: About 7 km’s ascent – 23 km’s descent, Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
Day 06: Mweka camp – Mweka Gate – Arusha, Mweka camp (3100m)- Mweka Gate (1980m), Hiking time: 3 hours, Distance: About 15 km’s, Habitat: Forest
6 Days Mount Kilimanjaro climbing Machame Route, relevant information
One or two additional days of acclimatization can make a big difference in the success rate. Trekkers choose this route to reach the summit more often, despite the fact that this is a more challenging and tougher hike than the Marangu route. Unlike that trail, however, camping is allowed on Machame, which means trekkers will be sleeping in tents all the way to the summit.
It is for that reason that the Machame route is widely considered to be the most scenic of all of the routes up Mount Kilimanjaro, providing unique and varied landscapes to pass through on each and every day. The trail starts on the south side of the mountain, passes underneath the Southern Ice Field, and makes its summit approach from the Barafu Camp.
For travelers who have a few extra days in their schedule, the Machame route is an excellent option, while your Medical Emergency Evacuation Insurance is included.
Day 1: Arusha - Machame Gate (1490m) - Machame camp (2980m)
Hiking time: 7 hours |Distance: About 18 Km |Habitat: Montane forest
Pick up from your Hotel in Arusha at 0800am and drive to the Machame village (1490m). The guides and porters prepare and pack the supplies and your equipment in the village. You will receive a lunch pack and you can also buy mineral water in the village. Depending on the condition of the road, it is possible to drive from the village to the Machame gate, but if not, the muddy 3 km walk will take about 1 hour to complete. After registering at the gate office, you start your ascent and enter the rain forest almost immediately. There is a strong possibility of rain in the forest, which will transform the trail into a very soggy, muddy, and slippery experience. You will have a welcome lunch stop about halfway and will reach the Machame camping area in the late afternoon.
Your porters (arriving at the campsite long before you) will have erect your tent on your arrival. In the evening the porters will boil drinking and washing water and the cook will prepare dinner before you retire to your tent for the night. Night temperatures can already drop to freezing point at this campsite. Meal Plan: L & D
Day 2: Machame camp (2980m) - Shira camp (3840m)
Hiking time: 6 hours | Distance: About 9Km | Habitat: Moorland
You rise early at Machame camp and after breakfast, you climb an hour or so to the top of the forest and then for 2 hours at a gentler gradient through the moorland zone. After a short lunch and rest, you continue up a rocky ridge onto the Shira plateau. By now you will be able to see in an easterly direction, the Western Breach with its stunning glaciers. You are now due west of Kibo and after a short hike, you will reach the Shira campsite at 3 840m. The porters will boil drinking and washing water, before serving dinner. The night at this exposed camp will even be colder than the previous night, with temperatures dropping to well below freezing. Dinner and Overnight at Shira camp Meal Plan: B, L & D
Day 3: Shira Camp (3840m) - Lava Tower (4630m) - Barranco camp (3950m)
Hiking time: 7 hours | Distance: About 15Km | Habitat: Semi-desert
The route now turns east into a semi-desert and rocky landscape surrounding Lava Tower, where you reach an altitude of 4630m after about a 5 hours walk. Lunch is served in a designated area before ascending the rocky scree path to Lava Tower (4630m). Definitely the toughest day so far. It is normally around this point, where for the first time, some climbers will start to feel symptoms of breathlessness, irritability, and headaches. After lunch you descent again by almost 680m to the Barranco camping area and after reaching the high altitude of 4600m at Lava Tower, the true acclimatization benefit of this day becomes clear. This descent to Barranco camp takes about 2 hours and offers great opportunities to take some beautiful photographs of the Western Breach and Breach Wall. The camp is situated in a valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall, which should provide you with a memorable sunset while you wait for the preparation of your dinner. Meal Plan: B, L & D
Day 4: Barranco camp (3950m) - Barafu camp (4550m)
Hiking time: 7 hours | Distance: About 13Km | Habitat: Alpine desert
After spending a night at the Great Barranco Wall (a very imposing sight at first), you make your way up this awesome-looking obstacle, which in the end normally turns out easier than what you anticipated. Topping out just below the Heim Glacier, you now appreciate just how beautiful Kilimanjaro really is. The route then heads down through the Karanga Valley over intervening ridges and valleys and then joins up with the Mweka route. This is the preferred route down from the summit, so remember it. Turn left up the ridge and after another hour or so, you reach Barafu Hut.
The last water stop on the route is the Karranga Valley, as there is no water at Barafu camp. Barafu is the Swahili word for “ice” and it is a bleak and inhospitable camping area to spend the night. Totally exposed to the ever-present gales the tents are pitched on a narrow, stony, and dangerous ridge. Make sure that you familiarize yourself with the terrain before dark to avoid any accidents. The summit is now a further 1345m up and you will make the final ascent the same night. Prepare your equipment, ski stick, and thermal clothing for your summit attempt. This should include the replacement of your headlamp and camera batteries and make sure you have a spare set available as well. To prevent freezing it will be wise to carry your water in a thermal flask. Go to bed at around about 19h00 and try to get some precious rest and sleep. Meal Plan: B, L & D
Day 5: SUMMIT ATTEMPT, Barafu camp (4550m) - Uhuru Peak (5895m)-Mweka (3100m)
Hiking time: 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak | 7/8 hours to descend to Mweka | Distance: About 7Km ascent – 23Km descent | Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
You will rise around 23:30hrs, and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the night. You will head in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. This 6-hour walk to Stella point is for many climbers, mentally and physically the most challenging on the route. At Stella Point (5685m) 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, you will normally encounter snow all the way on your 2-hour ascent to Uhuru Peak. The time you will spend on the summit will depend on the weather conditions. 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, before heading down to Mweka hut (3100m). The route is not difficult and will take you down the rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually into the forest. The camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Dinner and washing water will be prepared. Meal Plan: B, L & D
Day 6: Mweka Camp (3100m) - Mweka Gate (1980m) - Arusha
Hiking time: 3 hours | Distance: About 15Km | Habitat: Forest
After an early and well-deserved breakfast, it is a short 3-hour and scenic hike back to the Park gate. It is strongly recommended not to pay your porters any tips until you and all your gear have reached the gate safely. Click here for more info on tips. At Mweka gate you sign your name and details in a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificate. Those climbers who reached Stella Point (5685m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m) receive gold certificates. From the Mweka Gate you will continue down into the Mweka village, normally a muddy 3 km (1 hour) hike. In the Mweka village, you will be served a delicious hot lunch!! You now drive back to Arusha for the drop-off at the hotel in Arusha. Meal Plan: B & L
- Transfer to and from the base of the mountain
- Machame Route trek as per the itinerary
- Full board accommodation in tents whilst on the trek.
- Kilimanjaro park entrance fees to include government taxes
- Services of English speaking professional Mountain guide on the mountain, porters, and skilled cook/s
- All services begin and end at Kilimanjaro Airport as per the itinerary
- Treated water on the trek
- Return airport transfers from/to Kilimanjaro Airport
Trek price excludes:
- All personal travel insurances
- All personal expenses including; telephones, tips, alcoholic drinks, laundry, etc
- Sleeping bags and climbing gears
- Arusha/Moshi hotel accommodations
- International flights and airport taxes
- Items of a personal nature and any other extras not detailed in the above itinerary