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The Machame route is a budget-friendly climb with standard amenities, yet a popular and aesthetically beautiful route to the Roof of Africa

Trip Information

Kilimanjaro: The Machame Route

Southern Circuit Route: 4 Days Pre & Post-Climb Stay & 7 Days in Mountain

The Machame route, also known as the “Whiskey” route, is a popular route among many climbers and scenically very beautiful and varied. It is less expensive than others and compared to shorter routes like Marangu or Rongai, the hiking days on Machame are longer and the walks are steeper. It approaches from the southwest, joins with other routes like Western Approach, Umbwe, Lemosho during the last few days of the trek and descends using the popular Mweka route. It provides great rewards for climbers with views of the expansive Shira Plateau, an optional scramble up the Lava Tower, a traverse of the Great Barranco Wall, and a hike underneath Kilimanjaro’s Southern Ice fields.

It is considered somewhat difficult for some with the night time summit bid, and better suited for those with some hill-walking, hiking or backpacking experience who will enjoy this trek immensely.

Climbers sleep in supplied tents at designated campsites, and eat meals either outdoors or inside a large dining tent. Wanderlust local chefs prepares all meals and sets up the tents every night.

The minimum number of days generally required for this route is six days. However, with extra 3 days spent in our base lodge in Arusha allows ample time to relax, get accustomed to the African climate and recuperate well from international travel. Also included is a pre-climb acclimatization warm up hike in Mt Meru a day prior to the start of the Kilimanjaro climb, and this hike greatly benefits those traveling from lower altitudes, to be followed by a total of seven days spent to reach your ultimate goal of standing on top of Kilimanjaro. The perfect combination for a successful adventure.

Key Benefits & Highlights
  • 3 nights pre-climb accommodation in Arusha (1,400m) allows ample time to recuperate, get adjusted to the climate, local food and in general a good preparation for the adventure.
  • A jump start to acclimatize your bodies with an included ” Warm up” day hike up to 2500 m on Mt Meru at Arusha National Park with a good chance of seeing wildlife in the park.
  • No less than 7-days spent in the mountain
  • The day prior to the strenuous summit bid – a shorter hike day and additional acclimatization time
  • Ideal for climbers with a budget and looking to save
  • Popular route with opportunities to interact with fellow trekkers, tour groups on the route and in camp sites
  • Take part in community projects of Wanderlust Adventures in Arusha – meet students and teachers at a tribal school to donate desks and chairs (Included with your trip and made ready by local carpenters before your arrival. Donations come with your name and hometown engraved, leaving you with wonderful memories of a Tanzanian adventure!) and a visit to an orphanage for abandoned infant babies. See Responsible Tourism

Understanding The Eco System

According to NOVA of PBS Television, the most-watched prime time science series, ecologically, Africa’s tallest peak is aptly referred to a world in miniature. On what other mountain can you journey from dry fields and farms into steaming jungles, then up through exotic heaths and moorlands to an alpine desert and finally a glaciated summit? Each of Kilimanjaro’s distinct ecological zones has its own climate and a coterie of flora and fauna. Beginning with the band of rain forest that girdles the mountain’s base starting at about 6,000 feet, this microcosmic Gaia gets gradually drier, cooler, and more inhospitable to plants, animals, and people as one ascends to the sparkling summit at 5895 meters?

To get a sense of what distinguishes each climatic zone, see the diagram below. By the end, if nothing else, you’ll know what kinds of preparation you need (and clothes to bring!) for an ascent of Kilimanjaro.

Kilimanjaro

Best Time to Climb

Mount Kilimanjaro’s location being so close to the equator, it does not have the extremes of winter or summer weather, but rather a combination of dry, cold and rainy seasons. Therefore, the best time to climb Kilimanjaro is considered to be the warmest and driest months. The safety is the primary concern when the weather plays foul as the risks associated with trekking this mountain in bad weather increases significantly. The effects of rain, mud, snow, ice and cold can be very strenuous on the physical body. Conversely, the chances of a successful adventure with an ultimate summit goal also increases significantly with better weather. One should not however ignore the fact that this mountain gets crowded with more foot traffic when going is good in these periods.

It is possible to climb Kilimanjaro any time of the year, however it is best to climb when there is low to medium possibility of precipitation. The warmer and drier seasons are from the beginning of December through the beginning of March, and then from late June through the end of October. These are considered to be the best times to climb in terms of weather, and correspondingly are the busiest months (high season).

From January through mid-March are the warmest, with clear skies in the mornings and evenings. During the day, clouds may appear along with brief showers. The long rainy season spans from the end of March to early June. We do not run trips during April and May. It can be very wet, and visibility may be low due to heavy clouds. The crowds are gone, however. From mid June to the end of October, the mountain is generally a bit colder, but also drier with mostly clear days. Another month of rain spans from the beginning of November to the beginning of December during this time we opt not to run any climbing trips.

Generally, the rains are unpredictable and may come early or extend beyond their typical time frames indicated. It is possible to experience mostly dry weather conditions during the rainy season, just as it is possible to have heavy rain during the dry season.

When-to-climb-Kili Prefer a longer time in the mountain and a less crowded climbing route?

Explore the other popular climbing routes operated by Wanderlust – Western Approach Route and the Grand Traverse.

Recommended Reading List Book-image-for-Recommended-Reading

Wanderlust Adventures in partnership with Longitude, a specialty mail-order book service has created a comprehensive collection of recommended reading materials for Kilimanjaro & Tanzania.

Kilimanjaro: The Machame Route

Southern Circuit Route: 4 Days Pre & Post-Climb Stay & 7 Days in Mountain

Day 1: Kilimanjaro Airport – Arusha, Tanzania

Late evening arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport outside Arusha, where we are met by the Wanderlust Trip Leader and drive about 45 minutes to our lodge in Arusha. We head direct to enjoy a late dinner and a relaxing shower before settling in for the night. Hotel: Ilboru Safari Lodge, Arusha. (3 nights)

Day 2: Arusha – Wanderlust Community Projects

After breakfast, we spend a relative easy and relaxing day today. We will take time to visit two community proje cts of Wanderlust. First is a visit to the local village school and kindergarten in Olmuringiringa village under the care of Arusha Children’s Trust, a local charity we support. We meet the children,volunteers and teachers to learn about the project, watch a tribal cultural show with music and dances and participate in a ceremony where each group member will hand over a pre-ordered wooden desk and bench specially built using local materials and labour. They come with your name and hometown stenciled! Lunch in town. (Own account).

On our return to the lodge, we stop to show you another Wanderlust’s favorite support projects, The Neema House, a rescue center for orphaned, abandoned, and at-risk babies in Arusha, Tanzania, an initiative of Michael and Dorris Fortson, former US missionaries with a long history of service in Tanzania. A portion of Wanderlust’s profits from this adventure are used to support both NGO’s by way of essential needs and materials.

Relax by the pool and beautifully manicured gardens at the lodge. In the evening, meet our local head guide for a briefing and gear check-up to prepare you for the challenging days ahead. You will separate your Kili gear from your safari items (your safari baggage is left in the luggage room at the lodge). A welcome dinner at the hotel.

Day 3: Mt Meru Acclimatization Hike -Arusha National Park

Our full day hike takes us into the lush cedar and podocarpus forests of Mount Meru, set within Arusha National Park. The hike is a great way to acclimatize to the altitude and we’ll also have a good chance of seeing the unique black-and-white colobus monkeys of the park and perhaps bush-buck or giraffe along with a host of avian life. Our hike also offers impressive views of the dramatic ash cone of Mt. Meru’s summit. On our hike, we will reach an altitude of 2500m approximately, which would allow our bodies a sufficient test and adjustment for the longer and higher altitude hikes in the days ahead. Enjoy a picnic lunch during the hike. Return to the lodge for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 4: Arusha – Machame Gate(1840m)- Machame Camp(3000m)

We travel from our lodge by vehicles for about 90 minutes to the Machame gate and then the trail head, winding through local villages, coffee fields and small forests of ferns and flowers. After registering with the park service, we meet our guides and porter team who are an integral part of our Tanzania journey and become friends and provide insight into their culture and society. Picnic lunch and begin your trek on narrow trails, taking a slower pace up steep inclines as you hear “jambo-jambo” from the many porters that accompany groups on this popular trail. Enjoy the beautiful vegetation and unique wildlife of Kilimanjaro’s rainforests. Set camp for the night at Machame Camp. Total of 5-7 hours hiking/ Elevation gained: 1000 metres

Day 5: Machame Camp(3000m) – Shira 2(3810m)

Leave the Machame Hut, cross a small valley and begin our ascent. Vegetation gets sparser as you ascend into the heath. These moor lands are littered with two species of alien-looking giant groundsel, Senecios and Lobelia towering over the rocky plateau make for unforgettable sights! Halfway up the trail we meet a river gorge and ascend across the Shira Plateau to our night`camp. Overnight: Shira 2 Camp. Total of 4-5 hours hiking/ Elevation gained: 960 metres

Day 6: Shira 2(3810m) via Lava Tower(4600m) to Barranco Camp(3976m)

Today our hike takes us upto 4600m in altitude while crossing a ridge and stunning views of the African plains far below. We set up our lunch stop at the famous Lava Tower, also known as the Sharks Tooth and admire the glacier ice of the Western Breach Wall. The famous Breach Wall, the largest ice and rock face in Africa is another challenging climbing route up Kili, known as ‘The Icicle’, was first climbed in the early 1970’s by Reinhold Messner. Those with energy in the tanks, it is a good to opt for a brief scramble up the nearby Lava Tower, a 600ft elevation gain to help get your bodies further acclimatized.

This is definitely the toughest day so far. It is normally around this point (4600m), where for the first time, some climbers will start experiencing symptoms of breathlessness, irritability and headaches.

After lunch, we continue downhill, following the climb high-sleep low concept by dropping in elevation to our overnight campsite at Great Barranco at 3976m. Enjoy expansive views of the Barranco Valley from the camp located at the base of the Great Barranco Wall, a very imposing sight at first. Overnight at Barranco Camp. Total of 7-8 hours hiking/ Elevation gained: From 200 up to 790 metres

Day 7: Barranco Camp(3976m) – Karanga Valley(3995m)

After spending a night along side the Great Barranco Wall, we make your way up this awesome looking obstacle, with a scramble up invigorating switchbacks, which in the end usually turns out to be easier than anticipated. Topping out just below the Heim Glacier, the view is truly breathtaking and you will now appreciate just how beautiful the traverse of Kilimanjaro really is. Then continue hiking on another series of ridges and valleys on a relatively short day to our riverside camp for the evening at Karanga Valley. Karanga valley has the last water source on the route, as there is no stream water available at Barafu, our final camp before the summit bid. Overnight at Karanga Valley Camp. Total of 4-5 hours hiking/ Elevation gained: 100 metres approx

Day 8: Karanga(3995m) – Barafu Camp(4600m)

From the Karanga River we climb uphill to our high camp at Barafu. As we wind through, the landscape starts to resemble the lunar-like surface littered with volcanic boulders. Keep an eye out for towering lava formations, remnants of Kili’s fiery past. We enter a high desert plateau, looking south we view the desert plains as the pinnacles of Mawenzi Peak tower before us. Barafu is the Swahili word for “ice” and it is a bleak, crowded and inhospitable place to spend this night. Totally exposed to the ever-present gales, the tents are pitched on a narrow, stony, and dangerous ridge. Your guide will emphasis highly to ensure that you familiarize yourself with the terrain before dark to avoid any accidents.

Our goal, the Uhuru peak is now a further 1300m higher and you will commence with your ascent tonight. Prepare your equipment, hiking poles and thermal clothing. This should include the replacement of your headlamp and camera batteries and make sure you have a spare set available as well. To prevent freezing it will be wise to carry your water in a thermal flask. Go to bed at round about 1900 and try to get some precious rest and sleep. Overnight at Barafu Camp. Total of 4-5 hours hiking/ Elevation gained: 605 metres approx

Day 9: Barafu(4600m) – Uhuru Summit(5895m) – Mweka Camp(3100m)

Summit day! Awake around 2330, dressed up wearing headlamps, after some tea and biscuits, we shuffle into the night heading north easterly direction and ascend though heavy scree towards our first goal, Stella Point on the crater rim. For many climbers, this 6-hour climb to Stella point is mentally and physically the most challenging on the route. At Stella Point (5739m) you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see (weather permitting). From Stella Point you will normally encounter snow all the way on your 2-hour ascent to Uhuru Peak. From here we view the Bismarck Towers, rock pinnacles along the rim and the hanging Rebman Glaciers. Celebrate your success with a few quick summit pictures before trekking much of the way back down the mountain.

The trek to Barafu camp from the summit takes about 3 hours. Here you will have a well earned but short rest, perhaps a quick lunch, collect the rest of your gear, before heading down to Mweka hut for the night. Ascend: Total of 6-8 hours hiking to Uhuru peak / Elevation gained: 1300 metres approx. Descend: Total of 4-7 hours hiking to Mweka camp, Elevation loss: 2800m

Day 10: Mweka Camp(3100m) – Mweka Gate(1640m) – Arusha

We leave camp early for our last downhill hike, a descent of about 1500m that is steep in places and can be muddy if wet (once again, trekking poles will help with support). Arriving at Mweka Gate, we’ll have a celebratory lunch at the trail head and receive our climb diplomas to celebrate our success!

We relax for a bit, reflecting on the last nine days, then say goodbye to our porters, “sign off ” the mountain, and drive to our accommodation in Arusha. We have a well-deserved hot shower, optional massage, and enjoy a hot dinner. Hotel: Ilboru Safari Lodge, Arusha

Day 11: Arusha – Kilimanjaro Airport – Home or Safari Extension

Breakfast at the lodge. Those trip members not joining the safari extension will be transferred to the airport in the evening to depart on homeward-bound flights, while safari extension participants, will be picked by our safari crew after breakfast.

Add a Safari – Optional Extensions

Looking to continue your adventure in Tanzania? Add a safari extension to one of Tanzania’s many stunning national parks and more. Learn more about our 5-Day Wildlife Highlights Safari or 7-Day Classic Safari extension.

Kilimanjaro: The Machame Route

Southern Circuit Route: 4 Days Pre & Post-Climb Stay & 7 Days in Mountain

Wanderlust Mountain Camps, Kilimanjaro

Wanderlust Adventures travelers are provided with the high standard of comforts in our Kili mountain camps, considering the climb is a serious undertaking in high altitude under different weather conditions. On all our Kili climbing expeditions, We use sturdy 3-person Mountain Hardwear Trango tents, which we offer just for two people each, to give more room and enough living space for two people.

Ilboru Safari Lodge, Arusha, Tanzania

Nestled on the lower slopes of majestic Mt Meru, the legendary Ilboru Safari Lodge has been welcoming mountain climbers and safari travellers to northern Tanzania for decades.

Kilimanjaro: The Machame Route

Southern Circuit Route: 4 Days Pre & Post-Climb Stay & 7 Days in Mountain

Sam Kisonga

Born in the Southern highlands of Tanzania, Sam is an exceptional Kilimanjaro mountain leader; calmly assured, pragmatic and in control. He is a professionally trained and a certified Kilimanjaro guide and attended numerous courses and training on wilderness first aid.


Said Makacha

Said is a friendly and enormously experienced mountain guide with more than 16 years of experience in guiding clients on Kilimanjaro. Having started his guiding career leading climbers up the tough Western Breach route, he now enjoys leading Wanderlust's clients on all three routes the company promotes.


Rob Chekwaze

Rob, a native Tanzanian, certified Wilderness First Responder, a keen naturalist and a climbing guide with over 10 years experience climbing on Kilimanjaro and leading Tanzania Safaris in which he possess a vast knowledge of the guiding business. Rob is based in Arusha, Tanzania and heads Wanderlust’s Kilimanjaro climbing and safari operations.


Susan McLoughlin

Susie is an adventurer with a wild heart! A marathon runner, cross country skier, a mother and a travel personality clearly on the move! A resident of Campbell River community in the Vancouver Island BC, Susie is a passionate wilderness traveler with experience in the remote continents of Antarctica and the Artic.


Gareth Wood

Gareth Wood, the mountaineer cum polar explorer is arguably the most accomplished South Pole adventurer alive. In 1986, Gareth and team members, Robert Swan and Roger Mear, trekked 900 miles on foot, over some of the most forbidding terrain on Earth, to reach the South Pole. They became the first in history to accomplish such a journey without support - no dog teams, food caches, air support, or radio communications. Surviving on a strict high-fat ration including salami, butter, biscuits and hot chocolate, the team successfully reached the pole in 70 days - navigating with a simple compass and sextant.


Meagan McGrath

In 2007 and at the age of 29, Toronto-born adventurer Meagan McGrath became the youngest Canadian Woman to climb the Seven Summits and to achieve both versions of this mountaineering challenge (Carstenz Pyramid version & Kosciusko version). She continues to pursue her dream to climb the highest peaks in the world.


Priyantha Amarasinghe

Pri, as he is affectionately known among his clients and peers was born and raised in Sri Lanka, where he began his career as a guide lecturer conducting tours in Sri Lanka before embarking on an extended 35 year career in adventure travel working in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

Kilimanjaro: The Machame Route

Southern Circuit Route: 4 Days Pre & Post-Climb Stay & 7 Days in Mountain

Ganesapandian April 26th test 1111

admin February 22nd the trip was wonderful, we will recommend to friends

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    Kilimanjaro: The Machame Route

    Southern Circuit Route: 4 Days Pre & Post-Climb Stay & 7 Days in Mountain

    Start Date

    End Date

    06-Jun-2016

    16-Jun-2016

    11-Jul-2016

    21-Jul-2016

    15-Aug-2016

    25-Aug-2016

    04-Oct-2016

    14-Oct-2016

    23-Dec-2016

    02-Jan-2017

    21-Jan-2017

    31-Jan-2017

    18-Feb-2017

    28-Feb-2017


    Western-Approach-Dep-dates-schedule
    TOUR PRICE: Machame-Route-Pricing TOUR PRICE INCLUDES:
    • One day guided hike to Mt Meru National Park for acclimatization
    • All transfers to and from the Kilimanjaro airport, your hotel and to and from the park gates before and after the climb
    • Visits to Wanderlust supported community projects – Arusha Children’s Trust and Neema House with individual donations
    • All KINAPA park fees, camping/hut fees and mandatory rescue fee
    • All meals, snacks and soft drinks while on the mountain
    • Purified boiled water for drinking
    • Four nights accommodation in Arusha in a deluxe Lodge on half board basis (3 nights pre-climb and 1 night post-climb)
    • Camping equipment, 2- person Mountain hard ware tents,
    • Private iglo style mess tent with portable lighting, chairs, tables
    • Private portable toilet tent on the climb
    • All relevant safety, emergency rescue and precautions and procedures with equipment (See below)
    • KPAP and KINAPA approved professional mountain staff and guides with Wilderness First Responder(WFR) and first-aid certification
    • Certified gourmet chef and porters with their accommodation, meals and above the accepted standards of wages
    • Flying Doctor’s Membership premium for the duration of your climb and safari (Only applies to cover air emergency evacuation. We highly recommend that you purchase additional comprehensive travel/medical insurance coverage before leaving home to cover any medical treatment in the event of an emergency).
    • Accompanying Canadian expedition leader with successful Kilimanjaro summit resume is included for groups of over 8 persons and above. The smaller groups 1-7 participants will be led by one of our Tanzania based mountain leaders with more than 250 Kilimanjaro summits under their belt.
    NOT INCLUDED:

    Kilimanjaro: The Machame Route

    Southern Circuit Route: 4 Days Pre & Post-Climb Stay & 7 Days in Mountain

    Kilimanjaro - The Imax Documentary by David Breashears - Part 1of 3

    An adventure of the human spirit that follows five trekkers/climbers and a local Chagga guide to the top of Kilimanjaro, the largest free-standing mountain in the world. Along their journey of courage and endurance, this diverse group of trekkers encounter strange landscapes and endure harsh conditions as they travel through five climate zones ranging from the lower rainforest reaches of Kilimanjaro to the summit’s Arctic glaciers, all the while learning about the formation of the African continent and the Great Rift Valley.


    Kilimanjaro - The Imax Documentary by David Breashears - Part 2 of 3

    An adventure of the human spirit that follows five trekkers/climbers and a local Chagga guide to the top of Kilimanjaro, the largest free-standing mountain in the world. Along their journey of courage and endurance, this diverse group of trekkers encounter strange landscapes and endure harsh conditions as they travel through five climate zones ranging from the lower rainforest reaches of Kilimanjaro to the summit’s Arctic glaciers, all the while learning about the formation of the African continent and the Great Rift Valley.


    Kilimanjaro - The Imax Documentary by David Breashears - Part 3 of 3

    An adventure of the human spirit that follows five trekkers/climbers and a local Chagga guide to the top of Kilimanjaro, the largest free-standing mountain in the world. Along their journey of courage and endurance, this diverse group of trekkers encounter strange landscapes and endure harsh conditions as they travel through five climate zones ranging from the lower rainforest reaches of Kilimanjaro to the summit’s Arctic glaciers, all the while learning about the formation of the African continent and the Great Rift Valley.

    1-tour-image