Machame Route, otherwise known as the “whiskey route” is one of the most popular routes to summit Mount Kilimanjaro since it has existed on the mountain for many years. According to official Kilimanjaro national park statistics, the Machame Route is so popular that 50% of climbers use this route to summit Kilimanjaro. It is also definitely one of our favorites alongside the Lemosho Route which is very scenic. Below are some of the reasons why you will fall in love with this route.

  1. Machame Route has one of the highest summit success rates that could easily reach a high 90%. To achieve a high summit success rate, the 7 day Machame Route tour itinerary is recommended.
  2. This route is an amazing acclimatization route as it applies the “walk high, sleep low” principle very well.
  3. The Marangu route rewards climbers with amazing scenery as you traverse vegetation and climatic zones of every kind on your way up the mountain.
  4. The route also gives you the ultimate opportunity to conquer and climb the Great Barranco Wall.
  5. The Machame Route will give you a great chance of reaching the Uhuru peak Summit.

Plan your climb on the Machame route

  • Difficulty rating: Challenging
  • Height: The Machame route leads to the Uhuru Peak summit of Mount Kilimanjaro at a staggering height of 5,895 meters (19,341 feet)
  • Trail conditions: On your way to the summit via the Machame Route, you will trek through a variety of vegetation zones namely: dense vegetation zones, rocky zones, and loose gravel trails. The Machame route is very scenic, rewarding climbers with panoramic views of the mountain and a variety of amazing landscapes
  • Climbing requirements:  Make sure you have all the required mountain gear and equipment as are no technical climbing requirements on this route

Tranquil Kilimanjaro offers Machame route as a seven-day itinerary for Kilimanjaro group tours or as a six-day Mount Kilimanjaro private climb. The six-day itinerary combines the fourth and the fifth days, approaching Barranco Camp to Barafu Camp without staying at Karanga Camp which is an added acclimatization day for the seven-day itinerary.

Book Now

Read our reviews from the popular whiskey route on Kilimanjaro.

  • To avoid getting blister while on the Machame Route, make sure you try out your hiking boots and if possible add more insoles to make them more comfortable.
  • Water is very vital on the mountain, always stay hydrated and carry a reusable and refillable water bottle to keep Kilimanjaro green and to minimize altitude sickness by staying hydrated.
  • To familiarize yourself with the Machame Route’s camping environment, try out a few camping experiences in your local area to get used to camping facilities and conditions.
  • Prepare a Machame Route packing list for mount Kilimanjaro and double-check to make sure you have all the necessary Kilimanjaro climbing gear and equipment.
  • Enjoy the views on the Machame route’s scenic view and take it slow, it is also part of your mountain climbing adventure.

Typical 7 day Machame route itinerary

  1. Duration: To complete the full Machame Route trail, it will take 6 or seven days. In case you would prefer to shorten your trekking tour via the Machame Route, it is possible to skip the night spent in the Karanga Valley at the Barafu Camp.
  2. Location: The Machame route begins in the southern part of the mountain at the Machame Gate which is only a short 45-minute drive away from Moshi town.

Click here to view the full 7 Day Machame Route itinerary

Machame Route Map & Location

The Machame route trail leads to the summit of  Mount Kilimanjaro from the southern side of the mountain, beginning with a short and scenic drive from Moshi town or Arusha City to the Machame Gate. The route runs across the rain forest towards the extensive Shira Plateau.

The route itself offers stunning views and is very scenic with the advantage of boasting a great summit success rate.

Machame route map

Best way to climb Kilimanjaro via Machame Route

To help achieve our summit goal, and have an attractive trail to ourselves, we avoid the high traffic and crowding on the route by waking up ahead of the other climbers, very early in the morning. We also send some porters from your Tranquil Kilimanjaro team ahead of you so that they arrive at the next campsites earlier than the others plying that route in order to make sure that you get the best spot for camping and also making sure that your tent is ready before you arrive from your trek. By the time you arrive, you will find hot coffee/tea and snacks waiting for you.

Machame Route 6 & 7 Day Tours

Frequently Asked Questions

The Machame route might be popular and flocked with climbers but there is a very good reason why it was nicknamed the whiskey route. It is not a walkover route as it is also a challenge.

What makes the Machame Route difficult is the steep slope on the route’s trail which is best conquered by experienced hikers or novice climbers with great fitness form, as typical days will feature a solid 6-8 hour trek with daily ascents of 900m (2,953 ft.) to 1,000m (3,281 ft.), trekking at the high altitudes cloaking over 3,500m (11, 483 ft.)

You need to be both physically and mentally fit to conquer high altitudes in sometimes harsh weather conditions, hiking form many tiring days over difficult terrain.

First-time climbers are always worried about conquering the dread great Barranco Wall, the truth of the matter is, it is doable, many climbers have done it and porters do it week in the week our with heavy luggage on their back. The difficult part on the Barranco Wall is the step around the wall’s rock outcrop that is a very brief scramble that is not really demanding or tricky – Tranquil Kilimanjaro guides will be there to guide you all the way.

The Machame Route was nicknamed the whiskey route because it has been viewed for long as tough. It is indeed tough as compared to the Marangu Route that follows a gentler slope but it is the most popular route for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

Machame Route offers very beautiful views and a variety of sceneries as you traverse different vegetation and climatic zones of Mount Kilimanjaro.

The trail begins at the base of the rainforest zone proceeding to the low alpine zone of grasslands and moorlands. The route continues to the desert-like alpine zone before reaching the glacial zone in high altitudes. Among the highlighted attractions and places you will encounter along the way include the Shira Plateau, Barranco Wall and Lava Tower.

The exact Machame Route distance from the Machame gate to the Uhuru Summit and back to the descent gate is 62km or 37 miles.

To climb Mount Kilimanjaro via the Machame Route you will be required to have permits and entry fees to the Kilimanjaro park and mountain. Fortunately, these entrance fees for Machame Route are included in your all-inclusive Machame Route tour.

To climb the Machame Route, you have to be fit especially if you aim to reach the Uhuru peak summit. This can be achieved by planning carefully and exercising regularly. Adding an extra day to your itinerary minimize altitude sickness is highly recommended.

In order to get to the Machame gate for you, Machame Route trek you will have to get in Tanzania’s airport like the Kilimanjaro international Airport assuming you are flying in from the UK, the US, Australia or Canada and other parts of the world. You will be picked up at the airport by the official tranquil Kilimanjaro staff to your hotel and the day after to begin your Machame Route hike at the Machame Gate.

Tranquil Kilimanjaro may supply some of the gear and equipment you need. However, there are a few essentials you will need for your own use during your Machame Route trek that includes waterproof clothing, a headlamp, sunglasses, appropriate mountain climbing boots, medication, a non-disposable water bottle. You can see the full mountain gear and equipment for your Machame Route trek here.

The best time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro via the Machame route is between the months of January–March, and June–October. You can climb Kilimanjaro’s Machame Route all year round but the wetter and colder months April, May, and November least favourable, Tranquil Kilimanjaro recommends that you carry waterproof mountain gear and equipment.

Take part in any training activity that will boost your fitness to face the Machame Route. Train more is you want to summit and the whole route and climbing experience will be more enjoyable.

Also, make sure you go through your Machame route climbing gear and equipment to make sure you do not miss anything. You can ask the tranquil Kilimanjaro support team in case of anything.

The Machame route can be completed within 6 or 7 days. Tranquil Kilimanjaro recommends the 7 days Machame Route itinerary. The reason being, the 7 days Machame route tour includes an extra acclimatization day to minimize the effects of altitude sickness hence increasing the chances of reaching the summit. The Machame route 7 days tour also gives you two easier days before you attempt the dreaded summit night. That extra day is very important and useful.

The Machame route has a good record of summit success rate that reaches between 80% up to an impressive 90% summit success rate especially on the 7 day Machame route tour that allows an extra day for acclimatization.

The Machame route is undoubtedly one of the busiest routes which many climbers choosing this route because it is very attractive and obviously a high success rate that does not demand many technicalities from climbers.

Machame Route Distance

The total distance covered by the Machame route from the Machame gate to Uhuru peak Summit then back to the exit gate is approximately 62 km or 38.5 miles.

About the Machame route

Machame route trails start from the Southwestern side of Mount Kilimanjaro.

It is popular among mountain climbers with most of them choosing the 7 day Machame Route tour which offers great summit success.

The route goes up the mountain passing through the rainforest zone towards Shira Camp crossing southwards towards Barranco camp through Lava Tower.

From Barafu camp you will climb up the Great Barranco Wall before reaching the base camp located at Barafu.

Barafu is probably the last camp before you summit to Uhuru Peak via Stella Point then afterward descending the mountain via a different course, the Mweka Route that is the popular route used for descent.

Machame Route Accommodation

Accommodation on Machame Route is in the form of tents. Camping is the preferred mode of accommodation as climbers sleep in pitched tents at various campsites that act as stopovers for overnight stays where they have meals either outdoors, or, in a large dining tent. Tranquil Kilimanjaro staff or mountain crew will prepare all meals and set up the tents, while porters will always carry the tents for you.

Summiting and Descending via Machame Route

Approaching Mount Kilimanjaro from the south towards the Shira Plateau then turning east to cross beneath the Southern ice field via the Southern Circuit trail towards Barafu.  It is here at Barafu camp that you begin your summit night towards UHURU Peak.

To go down and descend the mountain after summiting via the Machame Route,  you take a different course from the trail that you used to go up the mountain as the descent is made via Mweka Route.

Machame Route Reviews

Below are some of the Machame Route reviews and testimonials from our happy clients on their climb in Tanzania.

We went on a 7 days Machame route – Mount Kilimanjaro hike. We had an amazing team led by their leader Victor. The porters were always in a jovial mood, encouraging us in difficult times up the Mountain and singing whenever we stopped for a break. The food was ok for mountain climbing and the success of reaching Uhuru peak was even better and more rewarding. After descending we took a day off to relax then started a 4 day safari which was also amazing. Our guide David was great. He was very helpful and answered all our questions professionally and was able to get us to see each animal we wanted to see very up close. Avery friendly guide with tons of knowledge. Our highlight of the safari was seeing a cheetah hunt down a dik dik after a chase. Tanzania was a great choice for the trip thanks to Tranquil Journeys.

Lukas Schweiger –  Munich, Germany

Why is Machame nicknamed “Whiskey” Route?

There is no good reason why the Machame Route is nicknamed the whiskey route other than the fact that since the Marangu Route is nicknamed the “Coca-Cola” route, then the Machame since it is tougher by comparison then it should bear a matching nickname. So the name is purely by comparison and far-fetched humor amongst climbers.