The Machame route is also known as the Whiskey route, given its reputation for being a tough climb, in contrast to the easier Marangu route, which is known as the Coca Cola route. Unlike the gradual incline and hut accomodations found on the Marangu Route, the climbers on Machame hike steeper trails, for longer distances, while sleeping in tents.
The Machame Route climb can be done in a minimum of six days (five nights) on the mountain. However, it is most often tackled over seven days (six nights), for a better altitude acclimatization schedule. The trek begins at Machame Gate, located in the southern base of mountain, within its lush, fertile rainforest. The route heads toward the Shira Plateau, before circling along the southern circuit halfway around the mountain, exposing the climber to great views from all angles. The approach to the summit is made from the east, and the descent follows the Mweka trail.
Day By Day Itinerary
The first part of the 11km trail from Machame gate at 1800m to Machame camp follows a gravel road and is very easy to walk. It is a gradual ascend and not very steep. You cross the rain forest and on the way you might see Black and White Colobus and Blue Monkeys. After a short lunch break the trail gets steeper and the forest gets thinner. If the weather conditions allow it, you will get a nice view of your ultimate destination, Kibo Peak, at the end of the day.
The way from Machame camp to Shira camp is only 5km long, but quite steep at the beginning. It leads through the moorland zone of the mountain. There are several viewpoints with a nice view of mount Meru, the forest you walked through on day 1, Shira and Kibo peaks.
After reaching the camp you can optionally take a short walk of about 45 minutes to 1 hour for acclimatization and a nice view of the sunset.
The way from Shira Cave to Baranco camp is 10km long and will take 6-7 hours, including lunch. At the beginning it will be a gradual walk to the junction point where we meet people from the Western routes. Join them and walk straight to Lava Tower (4600m), a 150m high volcanic lava plug that juts out of the side of mountain. The lunch will be at lava tower rest for few minutes then descend down to Baranco camp.
From Baranco camp to Karanga camp it takes 3 – 5 hours and distance is 6km and you will cross Breakfast or Baranco Wall, which is 300m high. The peak of the wall is at 4200m. This part is challenging because the trail is narrow and the number of hikers, porters and guides is large. In some parts you have to use your hands for climbing. You will cross the famous places called Kissing Rock. Shorty before Karanga Camp you will cross the Karanga Valley at 3930m which is the last point where porters can fetch water.
It will only take 3 to 4 hours to the cover distance of 4km from Karanga to Barafu Camp. It is gradual steep walk and (pole pole) slow walking is recommended for acclimatization. You will be in the alpine desert and at the left side you can see the Kibo Peak and few meters before Barafu you will cross the section occupied with Sedimentary rocks. Barafu camp is the dry camp but our team will carry water from Karanga valley.
The descend via Mweka route starts at Barafu camp via Millennium Camp 3797m. The way is steep, and it just takes only 2-3 hours to cover the 4km to Millennium Camp. You will pass from the alpine desert to the moorland zone.
From Millennium Camp to Mweka camp 3100m is also a steep walk which takes 2 – 3 hours for 3.5km. You will cross the moorland to the forest zone and on the way you will see Protea Kilimandscharica and Red Hot Poker and various other species of flowers and plants.
Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate: It is a long and steep downhill walk of about 10km which takes about 4-5 hour. The rain forest floor is wet and slippery, requiring careful and slow walking. You are again in the rain forest where you will see various species of flowers like Impatiens Kilimanjari and different trees species and also if your lucky you might see Blue Monkey and Black and White Colobus Monkeys.7 Days Machame Route
At the Mweka Gate:
Once you reach Mweka Gate you have to sign out in Kilimanjaro national park log book, our guide will collect certificate for those who made successful climb to Stella Point and Uhuru Point. Then we will drive you via Mweka village to your Hotel in Arusha for long shower and Kilimanjaro beer.
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