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)
After breakfast, we depart from our hotel at approximately 8:30 AM for the Machame village with box Lunch where you begin the trek. From the park entrance gate (Machame), you will walk for about two to three hours trek through a dense forest of fig and rubber trees, begonia flowers, and other tropical vegetation. A stop for lunch will be made halfway to this evening's campsite. As you continue your ascent, you will find that the tropical forest has given way to tall grasses and giant heather. You will be walking on a ridge, to the left of which is the Semira stream, and on the right, the Weru. Depending on the pace of the climbers, arrival at Machame Camp is usually between 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM. Your camp is set up near some old metals huts, which were once used for shelter.This initial stage of the climb is tranquil and relatively easy. There is no point in rushing to get to the camp, as there is little to do there. Guides tend to recommend a slow ascent, even at this point, for gradual acclimatisation. Do not try to keep up with your porters, who will usually bound ahead. Instead, take time to admire the beauty of the afro mountain forest.
Dinner and Overnight Machame Camp (FB)
On this and subsequent mornings, wake-up call is at around 6:00 AM. You will be greeted with a steaming cup of tea or coffee, and weather permitting, by a fabulous view of Uhuru peak. Today's trek takes you up a steep track through a savannah of tall grasses, volcanic rock, and bearded heather. You will encounter giant groundsels as you hike through a ghostly landscape of volcanic lava, caves, and foamy streams.
Lunch will be taken just below the Shira Plateau, about three to four hours from Shira Camp. The hike to the next campsite takes approximately six hours and you should arrive between 2:00 PM and 3:00 PM. Most climbers tend to pace themselves, walking slowly and resting about every half-hour. On arrival in camp, there is time to relax and even so for an acclimatisation hike with your guides before dinner.
Dinner and Overnight at Shira camp. (FB)
The entire Shira Plateau greets you this morning with sweeping vistas across to Meru and the Shira Needles. A steady walk takes you up to the pass at Lava Tower (15,000 ft), where you stop to have lunch. Crossing the Bastain stream, you will begin to descend towards Barranco Camp. The descent takes you along an immense canyon called the Great Barranco. Along the way, you will see numerous waterfalls, which are fed, by streams coming from the mountain, converging here to form the Umbwe River. Your camp is set at almost the same altitude as the night before. Today is a full day trek and you will feel very tired. Arrival at camp is between 4:30PM and 5:30PM.
Dinner and overnight at Baranco camp (FB)
This morning you begin your hike to Karanga Camp, which is on the same altitude as Barranco Camp. You will encounter a bit of a climb at Barranco wall and spend the rest of the trek climbing up and down the slopes of the mountain most of the way to camp. The climbing is not considered difficult and you should arrive in time for lunch (approximately 1:00PM) having trekked for about four – five hours. In the afternoon you have the opportunity to hike in the Karanga Valley where giant senecios and lobelia grow; however, you are well advised to rest as much as you possibly can to prepare you for the climb ahead. (4600m)
Dinner and overnight at Karanga Camp
The scenic climb to Barafu is mostly on a moraine and lava ridge with a view of Mawenzi peak towering majestically to the right, and overhead, Kibo peak seemingly just out of reach. The alpine desert terrain encountered at this point is mostly a mineral environment with few lichens and mosses. Lunch is taken in camp and in the afternoon there is a summit clothing check. Climbers who choose to ascend the peak will go to bed very early this night, as the next day is the longest one.
Dinner and overnight at Barafu camp (FB)
You will be awakened at midnight and after a light breakfast, start climbing at around 12 midnight. It is at this stage that the climb becomes much more difficult. Climbers should carry as little as possible on this portion of the climb. Temperatures will range from -4° to 5° Fahrenheit. You will climb for about six hours before reaching the edge of the crater, Stella points. Another hour of climbing brings you to the summit. Uhuru stands at 19,340 feet and is the highest point on the continent of Africa. The track around the edge of the crater is rocky and often icy. Concentrate on your feet, and follow your guide very closely for this portion of the journey.
The descent is no easier than the ascent. You will reach Barafu camp after about three hours (around 11:30 AM). Climbers will be given the opportunity to rest and have some refreshments before continuing on to Mweka Camp for the night. Arriving into camp at around 5:00PM, you will have trekked a total of thirteen to seventeen hours today.
Dinner and overnight at Mweka camp
On the final day of the journey, climbers descend from Mweka camp to the base. The descent to the gate will take approximately 5 hours and climbers usually arrive before noon. Upon arrival at the gate climbers will be rewarded with certificates attesting their success at climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. After finishing your climb you will be taken Keys hotel where you will have hot shower, lunch and relax
Overnight at Keys hotel. BB)