Machame Route up Kilimanjaro

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Machame Route

Year Round Ascents

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Kilimanjaro by the Machame Route
8 days Grade B/C  Fully Porter Supported
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A popular route following steep 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 south face of Kibo providing superb views of the Southern Icefields. An extra day could be added to the itinerary, spent either on the Shira Plateau, where you could walk to the Shira Needles, or camping in the Karanga Valley.

The final ascent is made very early in the morning from the Barafu Hut. The Mweka Route is used for the descent. 

Accommodation on the mountain is in tents; you will need a sleeping bag and but a sleeping mat is provided. The porters will pitch the tent for you but are welcome help if you wish.

This is a strenuous walking trip but within the limits of a fit individual used to walking in mountain areas. Ski sticks or walking poles are useful when ascending the scree to the summit.


  1. Arrive at the Springlands Hotel (B&B).
  2. Drive to Machame village. The climb begins at the end of the tarmac road. Walk through shambas then forest to the Machame hut (3000m, about 6 hours).
  3. Continue along the steep ridge going on to rock ridges and through heather. The route turns west into a river gorge, reaching Shira hut at 3800m, 5 hours.
  4. Continue east towards Kibo passing the junction, then east towards the Lava Tower. Shortly after this, you descend to Barranco hut (3940m, 4 hours).
  5. A short scramble to the top of the Great Barranco and then a traverse over scree and ridges to the Karanga Valley (4000m, 3 hours), beneath the icefalls of the Heim, Kersten and Decken Glaciers. After climbing out of the Karanga Valley the trail ascends a ridge to the Barafu Hut, a bleak location with little vegetation at 4600m, (3 hours walking). Video
  6. An early start for the ascent to the rim of the Kibo Crater between the Rebmann and Ratzel Glaciers, (4 hours); the last section before the rim can sometimes be snow-covered and an ice-axe or ski stick is useful for balance. From here a further hour leads to Uhuru Peak, from where there are often fine views of Meru to the west and the jagged peak of Mawenzi to the east. Descend to the Barafu Hut for a rest and lunch before continuing on down to camp at Mweka Hut in the giant heather zone on the forest edge. Those with energy on the summit may wish to descend to the Reutsh Crater and visit the dramatic ice pinnacles of the Eastern Icefields. Video
  7. A 3-4 hour descent through beautiful forest brings you to the Park gate and your waiting transport. Drive back to the hotel.
  8. Depart hotel after breakfast. Transfer to airport or continue on an extension.

Western Breach Variation: Umbwe Route then Uhuru Point by the Western Breach
This is a really steep, hard but short route to the summit from Arrow Glacier Camp which is itself reached in about 4 hours from the Barranco Hut. From December to February crampons and ice axes may be needed. Some prefer to start from the slightly more comfortable but lower Lava Tower camp - this adds just over an hour to the ascent.

The programme is available all the year round.

Included in the cost :
All park fees, guides, porters, cook, all meals on the mountain and breakfast at the hotel.

Not included in the cost:
Tips, airport transfers, extra drinks and additional meals at the hotel.

See also hotel details and facilities, safari extensions, Zanzibar extensions, weather.

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Kilimanjaro from Barranco
Mweka Forest
Descending the Mweka Route

Machame Picture Gallery

Kilimanjaro Trek area

Route Map
route diagram
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ALW 14/05/13