Machame Route

The Kilimanjaro Whiskey Route

Machame Route is the most popular route on Mount Kilimanjaro “the whiskey route”. Approaching the mountain from the south, the scenic trail offers incredible views and varying landscapes with beautiful forests, of which sometimes a wild game can be sported along the trek. Considered relatively difficult, steep and challenging, particularly due to its shorter itinerary, the route is better suited for more adventurous hikers, but also offers the best chances for acclimatization.


DAY 1: Machame Gate to Machame Camp

Transfer from your hotel in Moshi or Arusha to Machame Gate (1,800 m) passing through the village of Machame located on the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. After the gate, the trail begins through the dense rain forest, winding past the first uniport hut. The hike ends at Machame Campsite sitting near the border of the rainforest zone and the low alpine zone for dinner and overnight.

Elevation: 3,000 m (9,350 ft)

Hiking Distance: 11 Km

Hiking Time: 5 – 6 Hrs

Accommodations: Machame Campsite



DAY 2: Machame Campsite to Shira Campsite

After breakfast, you will leave the glades of the rain forest and continue hiking, crossing a little valley and along a steep, rocky ridge to the heather and open moorlands. The hike will turn to the river gorge to Shira Campsite 2 for dinner and overnight.


Elevation: 3,840 m (12,500 ft)

Hiking Distance: 7 Km

Hiking Time: 4 – 5 Hrs

Accommodations: Shira Campsite 2



DAY 3: Shira Campsite 2 to Barranco Campsite

From Shira Campsite 2, the hike continues to the east, up against a ridge and head southeast to Lava Tower, a 300 ft tall volcanic rock formation. You will descend down to Barranco Camp, passing through the Senecio Forest. The day’s trek is important as it gives you the chance to climb high and sleep low which is important for acclimatization.


Elevation: 3,950 m (12,959 ft)

Hiking Distance: 10 Km

Hiking Time: 5 – 6 Hrs

Accommodation: Barranco Camp



DAY 4: Barranco Camp to Barafu Campsite

After breakfast, you will descend into the ravine to the base of the Barranco Wall. The steep traverse up the Barranco Wall to the top at 4,200 m requires basic scrambling skills to the top. You will stop at the top for a short break for 5 – 10 minutes to enjoy the landscape before following a series of inclines and declines to Karanga Valley where you will have hot lunch. After lunch, you will continue up a rocky section to Barafu Campsite with views of both the Mawenzi and Kibo Peaks. At this point, you have completed the Southern Circuit which offers views of the summit from the many angles.

Arriving at the camp, you will have early dinner in preparation for the summit hike commencing at midnight.

  • On a 7 days/6 nights hike, your fourth day will be spent at Karanga Valley before proceeding to Barafu Campsite (4,600 m) the following day.


Elevation: 4,600 m (15,092)

Hiking Distance: 9 Km

Hiking Time: 8 – 10 Hrs

Accommodation: Barafu Campsite



DAY 5: Uhuru Peak Summit

Just after midnight, you begin your push to the summit. This is the most physically challenging portion of the trek, and the wind and cold at this elevation and time of the day can be extreme. Ascending in the darkness while taking frequent but short breaks, you will reach Stella Point (5,739 m/18,829 ft) and be rewarded with a beautiful sunrise. After the short break, you will proceed to Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa.

Only a few minutes are spent at the peak to take photographs and enjoy the landscape, before starting the descent to Barafu Campsite.


Elevation: 5,895 m (19,340 ft)

Hiking Distance: 5 Km

Hiking Time: 6 – 7 Hrs


  • Descent to Mweka Campsite

After appending a few minutes at Uhuru Peak, you will descend to Barafu Campsite for lunch and afterward, continue descending to Mweka Camp. The descent can be very grueling on your joints, and it is recommended to use hiking poles. The rocky trail will take you to Mweka Camp situated in the upper forest of the rainforest zone with the expectation of mist or rain.


Elevation: 3,100 m (10,171 ft)

Hiking Distance: 12 Km

Hiking Time: 3 – 4 Hrs

Accommodation: Mweka Campsite



DAY 6: Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate

This is by far the easiest day of your hike as it is downhill and oxygen supply increases. The trek will take you through beautiful lower rain-forested slopes, with lots of birdlife to Mweka Gate (1,640 m/5,380 ft). At the gate, you will receive a certificate depending on whether you ended at Stella Point or Uhuru Peak and also meet your driver for the transfer to your accommodation in Moshi or Arusha.


Hiking Distance: 10 Km

Hiking Time: 3 – 4 Hrs