The second most popular and indeed one of the most beautiful routes up the Mountain is the Machame Route. Also known as the Whisky Route, this trail is both longer and slightly more challenging than the Marangu Route. Where accommodation on the Marangu route is in huts, the Machame route offers strictly tents only. The route is better suited to the slightly more adventurous hiker, however rewarding him with a scenic splendor such as not seen on the Marangu route. Provided of its challenge about 80% of hiker makes to the summit of Africa.
How to reach there: Transfer from you hotel and drive from Moshi to Machame gate which takes about 45 minutes passing the Machame village which cultivate bananas and coffee.
Elevation: 1830m to 3000m, 6000ft to 10,200ft | Distance: 11km | Hiking Time: 5-7 hours | Vegetation: Montane Forest
Drive fromArusha or Moshi to the Mount Kilimanjaro National Park Gate , The journeys pass through the village of Machame which is located on the lower slopes of the mountain.
We now leave the park gate and walk through the rain forest on a winding trail up a ridge. Lower down, the trail can be muddy and slippery. Gaiters and trekking poles are a good idea here. We continue a short distance until we reach the Machame Camp.
Elevation: 3000m to 3840m, 10,200ft to 12,600ft | Distance: 5km | Hiking Time: 4-5 hours | Vegetation: Moorland
After breakfast, we leave the glades of the rain forest and continue on an ascending path, crossing the little valley walking along a steep rocky ridge, covered with heather, until the ridge ends. The route now turns west onto a river gorge. Time for rest, dinner, and overnight at the Shira campsite.
Elevation: 3800m to 4630m to 3986m, 15,000ft to 13,700ft | Distance: 11 km | Hiking Time: 5-7 hours | Vegetation: Semi-desert
From the Shira Plateau, we continue to the east up a ridge, passing the junction towards the peak of Kibo. As we continue, our direction changes to the South East towards the Lava Tower, called the “Shark’s Tooth.” Shortly after the tower, we come to the second junction which brings us up to the Arrow Glacier at an altitude of 4876m / 15,997 ft. We now continue down to the Barranco Hut at an altitude of 3860m / 12,664 ft. Here we rest, enjoy dinner, and overnight. Although you end the day at the same elevation as when you started, this day is very important for acclimatization and will help your body prepare for summit day.
Elevation: 3900m to 4600m, 13,007ft to 15,295ft | Distance: 9km | Hiking Time: 8 hours | Vegetation: Alpine Desert
After breakfast, we leave Barranco and continue on a steep ridge up the Barranco Wall, through the Karanga Valley (lunch at 4200m / 13,779 ft), and the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. We continue up to the Barafu Hut. You have completed the South Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Here we make camp, rest, enjoy dinner, and prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are to be seen from this position.
Elevation: 4600m to 5895m (and down to 3100m),15,100ft to 19,300ft (and down to 10,200ft) | Distance: 5km ascent / 12km descent | Hiking | Time: 6-8 hours ascent / 3 hours descent | Vegetation: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
Very early in the morning (midnight to 2am),, we continue our way to the summit. You head in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. At Stella Point (5685m / 18,652 ft), 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 encounter snow all the way on your 2-hour ascent to the summit. At Uhuru Peak, we have reached the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. Faster hikers will see the sunrise from the summit.
It can be very cold at night at these elevations, but it will be quite warm by the end of the hiking day. You will want clothing for both extremes with you.
From the summit, we now make our descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. You will want gaiters and trekking poles for the loose gravel going down. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon.
Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep. Beer and soda may be available for purchase at the Mweka Hut — the only location on this route.
Elevation: 3100m to 1830m, 10,200ft to 6000ft | Distance: 10 km | Hiking Time: 3-4 hours | Vegetation: Forest
After breakfast, we continue the descent down to the Mweka Park Gate to receive your summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts will probably be plenty to wear (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy). A vehicle will meet you at Mweka gate to drive you back to hotel in Arusha or Moshi