MACHAME – THE MOST POPULAR ROUTE ON KILIMANJARO
Welcome to Machame.com.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in climbing Kilimanjaro on the Machame Route. You’re in good company. Of the seven main routes used to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the Machame route is the most popular path. It is the route of choice for many people because it provides impressive views and a variety of habitats. About 50% of all climbers, and most seasoned climbers, choose the Machame route. It is also one of the cheaper routes due to its easy access and shorter itinerary.
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 success rate is significantly higher when using the seven day route.
The trek begins at Machame Gate, located in the southern base of mountain, which is just a short drive from Moshi or Arusha.
The hike starts within Kilimanjaro’s lush, fertile, montane rainforest. As you might expect, the lower slopes receive a quite a bit of precipitation. The trail may be steep and slippery, so trekking poles are advised. As the route heads toward the Shira Plateau, the trees disappear and are replaced by low brush in the heather zone. Then the route climbs high to the volcanic plug, Lava Tower, before dropping and circling below the South Icefield. This circular pathway from Barranco to Karanga to Barafu is known as the southern circuit. As it traverses halfway around the mountain, climber’s are exposed to great vistas.
The long, strenuous approach to the summit is made from the east through endless switchbacks up increasingly loose gravel until we reach the crater rim at a mark known as Stella Point. Then the route is relatively flat for another hour to Uhuru Peak – the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. The quick descent follows the Mweka trail.
The Machame Route is approximately 62 km/ 37 miles from gate to gate. It is designed for physically fit people with some hiking experience, but plenty of first time trekker use the route as well and do just fine. It is rated as one of Kilimanjaro’s better routes and thus is recommended. It is certainly a better choice than the typical tourtist’s route – Marangu.
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.
Machame Route Variations:
Here is a short video showing some of the amazing scenery on the Machame Route.
Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa. It stands an impressive 19,341 feet tall over the Tanzanian plains. Mount Kilimanjaro is also the tallest free standing mountain in the world, meaning it is not part of a mountain range (such as Mount Everest and the Himalayans).
Many people climb Kilimanjaro every year. The activity is not just for hard core backpackers and experienced mountaineers. Everyday people, including accountants, engineers, food servers and teachers, successfully reach the top. Children as young as 6 years old and seniors as old as 82 years old have done it. Experts agree that anyone who is in average physical shape can climb Kilimanjaro, which is why the mountain is so popular amongst the general adventure seeking population. No technical mountaineering ability is required.
There are six major routes on Mount Kilimanjaro. Each is well maintained, and each route has different pros and cons. Foot traffic on the routes is regulated by the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority. It is required to have a guide while trekking on Kilimanjaro, and there is no shortage of guide operators who can take you to the summit.
The weather on the mountain varies widely depending on the elevation and season. It can be extremely cold near the summit, so warm, windbreaking clothing is a necessity. Heavy rain is also possible at any time, so quality waterproof gear is mandatory. All climbers should be well equipped.
The best time to climb Kilimanjaro is during the dry season. January, February, July, August, September, October are the best months to go. The rainy season occurs during the months of March, April, May, June, November and December.