6 Days Machame Route Introduction
The 6 days Machame Route is the standard climbing itinerary variation of the Machame route with the minimum time taken. However, it is adequate time for the fit and well-acclimatized climbers. The Machame route is known as the “Whiskey” route and is now very popular as it offers excellent acclimatization, with good opportunities to “walk high, sleep low”, and as a result has a high summit success rate.
It starts with an interesting and steep approach from the southwest, ascending up to Shira Plateau where it joins both the Lemosho and Londorossi (Shira) routes to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. It passes through five diverse climatic zones with some of the most beautiful views on Kilimanjaro, from the expansive Shira Plateau to Lava Tower, the Great Barranco Wall, and Kilimanjaro’s Southern Icefield.
The only accommodation option on Machame Route is sleeping in tents at designated campsites. The team’s cook will prepare all meals which are eaten in a large dining tent.
The minimum time taken to climb Kilimanjaro via this route is 6 days, and this is adequate time for the fit and well-acclimatized climbers. However, most climbers tend to add an extra day to improve acclimatization and increase their chances to the summit – Uhuru Peak, 5895m.
The 6 Days Machame Route Summary Description
- Difficulty Level: Moderate
- Duration: 6 days/5 nights
- Accommodation: In a camping tent on a 2-inch thick foam mattress and a pillow. NOTE. Remember to bring with you a sleeping bag or ask us to arrange it for you at a low charge, please!
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner are served and eaten in a mess tent with a table and chairs.
- Shared Toilet huts. We can arrange a private Portable flush toilet with a toilet tent for you at an extra charge on request.
The 6 Days Machame Route Detailed Itinerary
Day 1: Machame Gate – Machame Hut Camp
- Altitudes: 1,800m to 3,000m; 1,200m ascent
- Distance: 11km
- Hiking time: 5 – 6 hours
- Habitat: Montane Forest
After breakfast, drive from your hotel/lodge in Arusha or Moshi town to Machame Gate. On arrival here, you will sign in at the park office and make the final preparations for starting the climb. The porters ascend a lot quicker than the hikers. So, make sure that you have with you the day pack with all the items you will need to use on today’s hiking.
You are now leaving the Park gate and ascend on a ridge trail through the rain forest covered with mist and dripping with beards of moss. It is also in this mountain zone where most of Kilimanjaro’s animals and birds are found. Some of the animals are Blue monkeys, Black and White Colobus, Vervet monkeys, Bushbuck, Duiker, Suni, etc. Some of the birds are Hartlaub’s Turaco, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Trumpeter Hornbill, etc.
Keeping on the winding trail up the ridge it will finally take you to Machame Hut Camp. If weather condition permits, you will see the Kibo peak dome to the east and Mount Meru peak floating on the clouds to the west from here. Time for rest, dinner, and overnight.
Day 2: Machame Hut Camp – Shira Cave Camp
- Altitude: 3,000m to 3,840m; 840m ascent
- Distance: 9km, Trekking time: 4 – 5 hours
- Habitat: Moorland
Today is a shorter day that begins by climbing up a steep ridge to reach a small semicircular cliff known as Picnic Rock. There are excellent views of Kibo and the jagged rim of Shira Plateau from here, and it is a good rest point too!
The trail continues less steeply to reach the Shira Cave Camp on the Shira Plateau, which has some of the most stunning views of Kilimanjaro. You are now close to the huge volcanic cone of Kibo, and the spectacular rock formations of Shira Plateau. Looking to the west, you will see Mount Meru floating on the clouds.
It is time now to rest and enjoy a cup of hot drink/s! A variety of drinks – tea, coffee, drinking chocolate – biscuits, and popcorn/peanuts) are served for you on arrival at the camp, and later followed by dinner and overnight later in the evening.
Day 3: Shira Cave Camp – Lava Tower – Barranco Hut Camp
- Altitude: 3,840m – 4,600m – 3,950m,
- Distance: 12 km,
- Hiking time: 6 – 7 hours,
- Habitat: Semi-desert,
- Altitude (Shira – Lava Tower): 760m ascent; Lava Tower – Barranco: 650m descent
This is a very important day for acclimatization and will help your body prepare for summit day. This will be our toughest day so far and you may start to feel the symptoms of altitude.
Our ascend today will take us to Lava Tower at 4600m and stop there for our lunch and climb up (optional) the Lava Tower rock for acclimatization. Following this, we descend to spend the overnight at Barranco campsite. This offers great photographic opportunities for the Western Breach and Breach Wall.
The camp is situated in a valley below the Breach and the Great Barranco wall, nicknamed as “Breakfast Wall”, which will provide you with a memorable sunset while you wait for enjoying a cup of hot drink/s – tea/coffee/drinking chocolate – biscuits, and popcorn/peanuts) on arrival at the camp, and followed by dinner & overnight later in the evening.
Day 4: Barranco Hut Camp – Barafu Hut Camp
- Altitudes: 3,950m – 4,600m; 650m ascent
- Distance: 13km
- Trekking time: 6 – 7 hours
- Habitat: Alpine Desert
Today starts with a short, but fun, scramble, up to the top of the Great Barranco Wall (4,230m). We then traverse over an undulating trail on the southeastern flank of Kibo, with superb vistas of the Southern ice-fields (Glaciers) of the Heim. The terrain changes to scree, with pockets of lush vegetation in sheltered hollows, and there is only a short distance to our camp at Karanga (3930m.), the last water point on the approach to Barafu, in a narrow valley.
Climbing out of the Karanga Valley, our trail ascends over the scree in the alpine desert zone to Barafu Camp, 4600m. Enjoy enjoying a cup of hot drink/s – tea/coffee/drinking chocolate – biscuits, and popcorn/peanuts) on arrival at the camp while waiting for an early dinner and sleep in preparation for the midnight summit assault.
Day 5: Barafu Hut Camp – Summit – Millennium Hut Camp
- Altitudes : 4600m – 5895m; 1,295m ascent, and a descent to 3,797m
- Distance: 7km ascent / 10km descent,
- Hiking time: 6 – 8 hours ascent / 5 – 6 hours descent,
- Habitat: Stone scree / ice-capped summit /Alpine desert
- Altitudes (Barafu Hut – Summit): 1,295m ascent; Summit – Millennium Hut Camp: 2,098m descent
Rise up around midnight with some quick tea and biscuits, we will start our ascent at about 00:01 a.m. with a slow but steady pace through heavy scree towards Stella Point (5,756m), on the crater rim. This is the most mentally and physically challenging part of the trek. We will stop here for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see (if weather permits). Those who are still feeling strong can make the 1 ½ – 2 hour round trip from here, along the crater rim, passing close to the stunning Rebmann glacier and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area of Uhuru Peak (5,895m), the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the African continent.
After the summit exploration and the photo celebration, the descent to Barafu is surprisingly fast, and after some refreshment, we continue to descend to Millennium Camp (3797m) for our last night in the mountain. This is to be the toughest day that most trekkers have ever experienced. Later in the evening, we will enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.
Day 6: Millennium Hut Camp ( 3,897m) – Mweka Gate (1,800m)
- Altitudes: 3,897m – 1,800m; 1,997m descent
- Distance covered: 12 km
- Trekking time: 5 – 6 hours
- Habitat: Montane Forest
Early morning after breakfast, you will proceed with a descent down across the Alpine moorland to passing Mweka Hut on the way to Mweka Gate; a descent of about 6 hours. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and T-shirts will be suitable (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy).
Once at the Mweka Gate, you will sign out and followed by summit certificates representation. Here, you will be handed a Silver Certificate for having reached Stella Point (5,756m), or a Gold Certificate for Uhuru Peak (5,895m).
After a short session of jubilation and farewell to your crew (guides, cook/s, and porters); and tipping of course, and having lunch you will take a waiting car and be transferred back to Arusha town where you will check-in at your hotel/lodge for a welcome shower, dinner and overnight.
Services Included in 6 Days Machame Route
- Transfer from Kilimanjaro Airport (JRO) to Arusha or Moshi
- Transfers to and from Kilimanjaro entrance gate
- All national park gate fees for visitors and also for the supportive mountain crew (entrance, camping, rescue)
- Certified, experienced, English-speaking guides
- Guides, Porters and Cook salaries
- All meals on the mountain (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
- Mountain equipment and gear – tents, Sleeping Mats, mess tent, table and chairs
- Fuel for cooking, cooking, and eating utensils
- Filtered water throughout the trek
- All government taxes including 18% VAT
Services Excluded to 6 Days Machame Route
- A sleeping bag
- Kilimanjaro Airport (JRO) drop off
- International flights
- Travel insurance
- Visa fee
- Tips for mountain crew (guides, porters, and cook)
- Laundry Services
- All items of a personal nature
- A portable flush toilet with a toilet tent is subjected to extra cost.
Trekking Gear for 6 Days Machame Route Hiking
For the Head
Wool Hat, Balaclava, Sunglasses, glacier glasses better, Sunscreen (SPF 25+), Lip Balm (SPF 25+), Sun Hat, Bandana
Clothes (No Cotton)
Synthetic base layer (2) , Wool or synthetic layer (2), Wool or fleece sweater, Wind/Water-proof jacket, Convertible hiking pants, Underwear, Water-Proof Pants, Synthetic or wool pants for layering, Gloves or mittens, Glove Liner, Lycra tights.
For the Feet
Thin sock liners (2), Wool hiking socks (6), Good- broken-in hiking boots, Gaiters (knee lengthy is better), Tennis shoes or sandals (for camp)
Zero degree sleeping bag, sleeping bag liner (optional), Inflatable pillow (optional)
Day pack (no larger than 2,200cu), Water bladder 100oz/3ltr, Rain cover for pack, Headlamp, Extra batteries, Energy bars/gels
Toiletries, Small first aid kit, Small towel, Diamox for altitude sickness, Wet wipes, Bug Spray, Malaria pills, Flashlight/torch, Batteries, Cash for tipping