world exp

Machame Route – One Of Kilimanjaro’s Most Popular Routes To The Summit

  • Updated: December 11, 2019
machame-route-header

This page provides a comprehensive and impartial guide to climbing Kilimanjaro via the Machame Route.

Please note: We are not a tour operator, but we can put you in touch with our recommended partner, see details below.

This article contains affiliate links. It won't cost you extra, but if you buy something using our links, it might help us keep the site alive!

Get a Kilimanjaro Trek Quote

We do not sell tours, we simply provide impartial advice. If you would like an exact quote from our recommended partner click Get a Quote.

Machame Route Overview

The Machame Route is one of the most popular routes for those seeking to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro. According to statistics from Kilimanjaro National Park, about 50% of Kilimanjaro hikers choose to take the Machame route. Offering great views of the surrounding landscape, the Machame Route is indeed a great choice for one's first visit to this beautiful mountain.

The Machame Route is a fairly difficult hike which includes an ascent up the steep Barranco Wall on day four and a further ascent up the side of Kibo on summit night. That said, the route doesn’t require any technical skills and is often trekked by recreational hikers with little mountaineering experience.

Covering a total of approximately 62 kilometres of trail, hikers can choose to traverse the Machame Route in either six or seven days. Both options include an acclimatisation day, during which hikers climb high and sleep low in preparation for the summit push.

Machame Route - Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Can be completed on a 6 or 7 day route variation. The latter has better summit success!
  • Good Walk High, Sleep Low profile which aids acclimatisation
  • Excellent summit success rates. On the 7-day variation summit success rates are about 90%

Cons

  • One of the busiest routes on Kilimanjaro

Machame Route Map

This map illustrates the Machame Route. Starting in the South-west, the route heads up to Shira Camp. Here it joins up with the Lemosho Route

On day 3 climbers ascend to Lava Tower and then back down to Barranco Camp.  The summit push starts at Barafu and the descent is via the Mweka trail.

Machame Altitude Profile

The schematic diagram shows the altitude profile for the Machame Route. You can see how on day 3 you get the chance to ascend high to Lava Tower and then descend to sleep at Barranco. This is profile makes the Machame good for acclimatisation.

Machame-altitude

Get a Kilimanjaro Trek Quote

We do not sell tours, we simply provide impartial advice. If you would like an exact quote from our recommended partner click Get a Quote.

Machame Typical Itinerary

The Machame route can be completed in 6 or 7 days. Below is a detailed itinerary for the Machame Route (six-day version). Click each day to read more.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Machame Route Variations

The Machame Route is also operated as a seven-day trek. For the seven-day version, trekkers spend the night at Karanga Camp (3,960 meters), gaining another valuable opportunity for acclimatization before their push up to Barafu Camp (4,680 meters) and the subsequent summit attempt, beginning at midnight after the noontime arrival to Barafu Camp.

Video Overview

A beautiful video overview of the seven-day Machame Route by Jared Kohn, offering all the sights and sounds you might encounter on the mountain.

Get a Kilimanjaro Trek Quote

We do not sell tours, we simply provide impartial advice. If you would like an exact quote from our recommended partner click Get a Quote.

Recommended Guidebook

mount-kilimanjaro-guide

Mount Kilimanjaro: Trekkers Guide to the Summit

Mount Kilimanjaro: Trekkers Guide to the Summit is a practical and super insightful guidebook that has been used by 1000s of climbers as an authoritative resource to prepare for Mount Kilimanjaro.

The book is available on Amazon Kindle or an eBook version can be downloaded here.


Preparing for Machame Route to Kilimanajaro

1.

When is the best time to trek Machame?

July-September is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro, as the weather is most stable during this period and encountering rain is less likely. That said, since it is close to the equator it is possible to climb the mountain at any time of the year. April and May is the rainy season so this period is best avoided. 

2.

How much does the Machame cost?

The costs of trekking on the Machame Route will vary based on a few factors, such as what season you choose to hike, whether you choose the six or seven-day option, or whether you choose to use a Western guiding company or communicate directly with a local guiding company. Here are the major costs to consider when planning to undertake the Machame Route:


  • Visa, Vaccinations, Insurance etc: ~$300-$500
  • Equipment (buying and hiring): ~$200-$300
  • Flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport/Dar es Salaam/Nairobi: ~$800
  • Tour Agency: About $1,500 for a very cheap local agency (not recommended) to ~$3,500 for an expensive Western agency. You could do an independent trek for ~$1,500 employing a local guide (only recommended for experienced high altitude trekkers).
  • Tips: ~$200-$300
  • Misc (additional food, unplanned travel / hotels etc): $200

Total Costs: $3,200 – $5,100

3.

Are permits required for the Machame hike?

A permit is required to climb Kilimanjaro. Furthermore, all trekkers must be accompanied by a guide and porters. If you are joining an organised tour, these will be arranged for you. Otherwise, speak to your hotel in Moshi or Arusha and they should be able to help you find a guide and obtain the necessary permit to climb Kilimanjaro.

4.

How difficult is Machame trail?

The Machame Route, while being very popular, is considered one of the more difficult treks up Kilimanjaro. You will be trekking for 4-7 hours a day for about a week, gaining elevation every day. It's a good idea to work on your aerobic fitness before taking on the trek. That said, hikers of all ages regularly reach the summit via the Machame Route, and the success rate is generally considered to be above 90% on the seven day variation.

5.

Is altitude sickness a risk on Machame Route?

The Machame Route is designed to allow hikers some time for acclimatization before the summit push. That said, altitude sickness is a serious concern and trekkers should be informed of the risks, symptoms and warning signs before they go.

If you are particularly concerned about altitude sickness, the seven-day Machame Route is probably your best chance to reach the summit as it allows ample time for acclimatization.


Therefore, it is important to have a solid understanding of the risks associated with high altitude trekking and how the body acclimatises to high altitude. See our detailed article on Altitude Sickness and Acclimatisation.

6.

What gear do I need for the Machame trail? (Packing List)

Trekking Mount Kilimanjaro requires a number of essential pieces of trekking clothing and equipment. You will be exposed to a range of altitudes where temperatures fluctuate dramatically between night and day.


To help you plan and prepare for your trek we have written a detailed gear list.


For more packing lists see our Resources page, as well as detailed gear reviews.

7.

What kind of insurance do I need for the Machame trek?

Trekking to the summit of Kilimanjaro carries with it certain inherent risks. Chief among these is the risk of altitude sickness. It's a good idea to look into travel insurance before your journey. Make sure your insurance covers trekking up to 6,000 meters, which does not come standard in most travel insurance packages.


Check out World Nomads for a quick calculation of the cost of travel insurance for your trip.

Explore More Kilimanjaro Routes

Found this helpful? Please help us - Share it!

You may also like...


Leave a Comment: