The Machame route is our most successful and popular hiking route on Mt. Kilimanjaro, mainly as a result of the following two important factors:
On Day 3 of the hike the topography of this route, allow you to climb high and sleep low – when you start from Shira camp (3 847m) hike up to Lava Tower (4 642m) and then down to Barranco camp (3 984m) to overnight.
The summit attempt path from Barafu camp has less loose scree (rocks) compared to the summit attempt path from Kibo Hut, making it slightly easier to reach the crater rim.
Machame Gate (1828m) – Machame camp (3020m)
Hiking time: 7 hours
Distance: Approximately 10.8 km
Habitat: Montane forest
Forest section Machame routeYour day starts early with breakfast, followed by a 45-minute drive from Moshi (910m) to the Machame Gate (1828m). The guides and porters prepare and pack the supplies and your equipment at the gate. 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 camp (3020m) in the late afternoon. Your porters (arriving at the camp site long before you) will have erected your tent on arrival. In the evening the porters will bring a small bowl of washing water to your tent 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.
Machame camp (3020m) – Shira camp (3847m)
Hiking time: 6 hours
Distance: Approximately 5.2 km
On the way to Shira camp 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 847m. The porters will once again supply you with a small bowl of 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.
Shira Camp (3847m) to Lava Tower (4642m) to Barranco camp (3984m)
Hiking time: 7 hours
Distance: Approximately 10.7 km
Lava TowerThe route now turns east into a semi desert and rocky landscape surrounding Lava Tower, where you reach an altitude of 4642m after about a 5 hour trek. Lunch is served at a designated area. This is definitely the toughest day so far. It is normally around this point, where for the first time, some climbers will start experiencing symptoms of breathlessness, irritability and headaches. After lunch you descent again by almost 658m to the Barranco camping area.
After reaching the high altitude of 4600m at Lava Tower, the true acclimatisation 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 your dinner to be prepared.
Start hiking from the Barranco camp at 8:00am and hike approximately 10km to Barafu campstopping at Karanga camp for lunch. You can expect to arrive at Barranco camp by 16:00pm to 17:00pm. Enjoy dinner, prepare your summit gear and rest till 23:30pm when you will be woken up for the start of the summit attempt.
Start the summit attempt just after midnight and expect to reach the summit by sunrise. Descend to Barafu camp and then to Mweka camp which you should reach by around 16:00pm.
From Mweka Hut to Mweka Gate.
Mweka Hut 3100m
Mweka Gate 1860m
Distance: 8.60 km
Leave Mweka Hut early in the Morning to Mweka gate
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