There are six established routes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro – Marangu, Machame, Lemosho, Shira, Rongai and Umbwe. The Marangu, Machame, and Umbwe routes all approach from the south of the mountain. The Lemosho and Shira routes approach from the west. The Rongai route approaches from the north near Kenya. All routes except Marangu and Rongai descend via Mweka.
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro via The Machame Route
The Machame route, also known as the Whisky Route is one of the most scenic and recommended routes on Kilimanjaro. This popular route with paths through magnificent forests to gain a ridge leading through the moorland zones to the Shira Plateau. It then traverses beneath the glaciated precipices of the Southern Ice fields to join the Barafu Route to the summit. Because it can be done over longer periods and the incline is more manageable it has a much higher success rate of summit.
Duration: 6 or 7 days
levation: 1811m/5942ft to 3021m/9911ft
Altitude gained: 1210m
Departing from Moshi a 45-minute drive will take you through the Village of Machame to the Kilimanjaro National Park Gate. We will patiently wait for our permits to be issued while watching the hustle and bustle of operations as many crews prepare for the journey ahead Enjoy the beautiful rainforest scenery and windy trails while your guide tells you about the local flora and fauna and natural wildlife. At these lower elevations, the trail can be muddy and quite slippery. We highly recommend gaiters and trekking poles here.
Elevation: 3021m/9911ft to 3839m/12,595ft
Altitude gained: 818m
After a good nights sleep and a hearty breakfast, we emerge from the rain forest and continue on an ascending path, crossing the valley along a steep rocky ridge. The route now turns west onto a river gorge until we arrive at the Shira campsite. Temperatures begin to drop.
Elevation: 3839m/12,595ft to 3986m/13,077ft
Altitude gained: 147m
Although you end the day around the same elevation as when you began, this day is very important for acclimatization. From Shira Plateau we continue east up a ridge, passing the junction towards the Kibo peak before we then continue, South East towards the Lava Tower, called the “Shark’s Tooth” (elev. 4650m/15,250ft). Shortly after the tower, we come to a second junction, which leads to the Arrow Glacier. We then continue to descend to overnight at Barranco Camp.
Elevation: 3986m/13,077ft to 4034m/13,235ft to 4662m/15,295ft
Altitude gained: 676m
After breakfast, we continue on a steep ridge up to the adventurous Barranco Wall to the Karanga Valley and the junction, which connects, with the Mweka Trail. This is one of the most impressive days to see the power, agility, and strength of your crew zip over this wall with what appears such ease. We continue up toward Barafu Camp, and once reached you have now completed the South Circuit, which offers a variety of breathtaking views of the summit from many different angles. An early dinner and rest as we prepare for summit night. Overnight at Barafu Camp.
Elevation: 4662m/15,295ft to 5895m/19,341ft
Altitude gained: 1233m
Descent to 3106m/10,190ft
Altitude lost: 2789m
Excitement is building as morning comes with an early start between midnight and 2 a.m. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek.
We continue our way to the summit between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers trying to stay warm and focused on the amazing sense of accomplishment that lies ahead. With a switchback motion in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. You will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise during your short rest here. Faster hikers may view the sunrise from the summit. From here on your remaining 1 hour ascent to Uhuru Peak, you are likely to encounter snow all the way.
Congratulations, one step at a time you have now reached Uhuru Peak the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the entire continent of Africa!
After photos, celebrations and maybe a few tears of joy we take a few moments to enjoy this incredible accomplishment. We begin our steep descent down to Mweka Camp, stopping at Barafu for lunch and a very brief rest. We strongly recommend gaiters and trekking poles for uncooperative loose gravel and volcano ash terrain. Well-deserved rest awaits you to enjoy your last evening on the mountain. Overnight Mweka Camp.
Elevation: 3106m/10,190ft to 1633m/5358ft
Altitude lost: 1473m
After breakfast and a heartfelt ceremony of appreciation and team bonding with your crew, it’s time to say goodbye. We continue the descent down to the Mweka Park Gate to receive your summit certificates. As the weather is drastically warmer, the terrain is wet, muddy and steep and we highly recommend Gaiters and trekking poles.
From the gate, a vehicle will meet you at Mweka village to drive you back to your hotel in Moshi (about 30 minutes). Enjoy a long overdue hot shower, dinner and celebrations!!