The Machame route, also known as the "Whiskey" route, is the most popular and beautiful route to the top of Mt Kilimanjaro. Machame’s draw is in its scenic beauty. However, the trail is considered difficult, steep and challenging, particularly due to its shorter itinerary. Therefore, this route is better suited for more adventurous folks or those with some high altitude, hiking or backpacking experience. The route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the south, beginning with a short drive from Moshi to Machame Gate.
The path leads hikers through the rain forest to Shira Plateau. Here, many of Kilimanjaro’s routes converge. The climb begins in the lush rainforest and follows a path that offers occasional views of Mt Meru, Shira Ridge as well the main summit of Mt Kilimanjaro – Kibo. Then the route turns east and traverses underneath Kilimanjaro's Southern Ice Field on a path known as the Southern Circuit before summiting from Barafu.
Descent is made via the Mweka route. The six-day variation combines days four and five, going from Barranco Camp to Barafu Camp without staying at Karanga. The Machame route contains more steep passages and higher altitudes than the Marangu and the Rongai route and is slightly more demanding.
Day 0: Kilimanjaro Airport – Moshi/ Arusha
Day 1: Moshi/ Arusha – Machame gate – Machame camp
Day 2: Machame camp – Shira 2 camp
Day 3: Shira 2 camp – Lava tower – Barranco camp
Day 4: Barranco camp – Karanga – Barafu camp
Day 5: Barafu camp – Uhuru Peak (summit point) – back to Barafu camp then to Mweka camp
Day 6: Mweka camp – Mweka gate – Back to Moshi
The drive from Moshi to the Mount Kilimanjaro National Park Gate takes about 50 minutes. The journey passes 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.