The Machame route, also known as the “Whiskey” route, is the most popular route on Kilimanjaro. Machame’s draw is in its scenic beauty. However, the trail is considered difficult, steep and challenging, particularly due to its shorter itinerary. Therefore this route is better suited for more adventurous folks or those with some high altitude, hiking or backpacking 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 east and traverses underneath Kilimanjaro’s Southern Ice Field on a path known as the Southern Circuit before summiting from Barafu. Descent is made via the Mweka route.
We offers Machame as a seven day group climb or as a six day private climb. The six day variation combines days four and five, going from Barranco Camp to Barafu Camp without staying at Karanga.
MACHAME ROUTE KILIMANJARO CLIMB
The most popular route to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro these days is Machame route, and for good reason. 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.
Machame route has been nicknamed the “Whiskey Route” because it is often perceived as being tougher than Marangu route, which is often referred to as the “Coca-Cola” route. Unlike that trail however, camping is allowed on Machame, which means trekkers will be sleeping in tents all the way to the summit.
Trekkers who take the 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.
It is for that reason that 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.
The Machame route on Kilimanjaro is a seven day camping route which allows for excellent acclimatization and particularly diverse scenery. It has been called the Whiskey route in the past and nowadays about 35% of all climbers on the mountain use it.
In a matter of days you will climb Kilimanjaro from the equator up to an Arctic zone, moving through grasslands, tropical rainforest, alpine meadows, moorlands and high desert to snow and ice. Each day on this route presents quite a distinct ecosystem to experience, which is one reason it is so popular.
The other reason is that the seven day programme begins on the south west side of the mountain and traverses around to the south east side, enabling you to sleep at the same altitude for three consecutive nights which significantly aids altitude acclimatization. This means that our summit success rate on this route is quite high at around 85%.
We only run seven day trips on Kilimanjaro which is the recommended minimum number of days by all the international mountain associations such as the UIAA (International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation), plus our own assessment of mountain safety. The Machame route could be done in six days by missing out Karanga Valley and going straight to Barafu, but experience tells us that this leads to increased sickness and a much lower summit success rate.
From the start you will be speaking with experienced people who have climbed Kilimanjaro many times, including Gavin Bate who has been leading groups on the mountain regularly since 1994 and is always on hand for advice. We can give you an honest appraisal of the climb, about training for the mountain and what clothing and equipment you will need to buy or rent. This personal service extends to our staff iin Tanzania where AA Tanzania co-ordinator Castro Kapela will meet you and give a team briefing along with our guides.