The Machame route is also called the "Whiskey Route", a reference to the "Coca Cola Route" Marangu (see above). Machame is "tougher" than that... Machame is indeed a more difficult climb in some respects, but it does have much higher success rates than Marangu, especially if you choose the seven day version. (Over 90% of the climbers on Machame make it to the summit.
The seven day version gives you a very short day before your summit attempt, with plenty of time to recover, acclimatise and get ready. The six day version has the same problem as the Marangu route in that respect.
The Machame route is not technically difficult. It is more strenuous. The trail is often steeper and it involves many ups and downs, crossing a succession of valleys and ridges. But that's why it is also one day longer than Marangu.
Still, for people who have never done any longer hikes in their life it is demanding and tiring.
There is also the Barranco Wall to cross, a very steep, one and a half hour climb that will require you to occasionally use your hands for balance. , and you have to camp all the way.
As for scenery, the Machame route is absolutely spectacular: the Shira Plateau, the Lava Tower, the Barranco Wall... You start from the west, circle Kibo on the southern side, and then descend on the Mweka route in the south east... The variety is hard to beat. Machame is considered the most scenic Kilimanjaro climbing route.
For that reason the Machame route has become the most popular climb route on Kilimanjaro. The advantage of this is that prices have dropped and you can find many budget operators on it. The disadvantage is that the Machame route is very crowded.
If you are confident in you ability to hike in difficult terrain for days in a row, if you like camping and nature, but money is very tight, then Machame may be the Kilimanjaro climb route of choice for you. You will have to put up with the crowds...
Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro airport you will be met by our representative and taken to the hotel for dinner & overnight.
Dinner and overnight at Keys Hotel (BB)
Drive to Machame village. The climb begins at the end of the tarmac road. Walk through the shamba and through the forest to the Machame camp (3000m) about 6 hours.
The Machame Route is approximately 62 km/ 37 miles from gate to gate. It is designed for physically fit people with some hiking experience. The table below depicts a variation of the 7 day Machame climb with starting and finishing points, altitude, distance and hiking time. This is considered to be the ideal Machame route variation.
Dinner and Overnight Machame Camp (FB)
Cross the valley and continue along the steep ridge going on to rock ridges and through heather. The route turns west into a river gorge, reaching Shira camp (3800m).
Dinner and Overnight at Shira camp. (FB)
Continue east towards Kibo passing the junction, then east towards the Lava Tower. Shortly after this, you climb down to Baranco camp (3940m).
Dinner and overnight at Baranco camp (FB)
From Baranco a steep rocky climb, Baranco walls, then ups and downs until you come to Karanga Valley and then on to Barafu camp. (4600m)
Dinner and overnight at Barafu camp (FB)
Very early start for the summit, first to Stella Point and then to Uhuru Peak (5895m). The descent is by the Mweka route - Uhuru - Barafu - Mweka camp and will take bout 6 hours. The route is steep but picturesque.
Dinner and overnight at Mweka camp
Mweka Hut to Mweka Gate will take about 3 hours. Drive to Key's Hotel for hot showers, Dinner and a warm bed.
Overnight at Keys hotel. BB)