The Machame route, commonly referred to as the “Whiskey route”, is one of the most popular routes on Kilimanjaro routes. Despite being a challenging climb compared to the Marangu route, the Machame route has one of the highest summit success rates landscape which allows climbers to “trek high and sleep low” hence making it a more favorable route for acclimatization.
Final Gear Checklist
One of the important prerequisites of a successful summit attempt is being properly equipped. Ensure that you are well equipped – print the Checklist below and mark it off, it will be an essential part of your preparation for the climb. Please remember to limit the weight of your duffel bag and its content, to be carried by the porters on the climb, to 15 kg (32 lbs.) or less. Extra luggage, including clean clothes to wear after your climb, can be left at the hotel in Moshi. Please feel free to contact us should you have any further questions regarding the checklist. We also provide a complete and quality rental service on all the equipment required on the mountain, as a sensible alternative to purchasing. Please click Gear Rental for more information.
Please note: This checklist is only a guideline. A comprehensive checklist will be send to you as soon as your hike is confirmed.
Make sure you have everything you need to help you successfully summit the Roof of Africa.
HIGH ALTITUDE GEAR:
MEDICAL AND FIRST AID SUPPLIES:
DAY 01: ARUSHA (1400M) – MACHAME GATE (1828M) – MACHAME CAMP (3020M)
Hiking time: 7 hours
Distance: Approximately 10.8 km
Habitat: Montane forest
Your day starts early with breakfast, followed by a 45-minute drive from Moshi (910m) to the Machame Gate (1828m). The guides and porters prepare and pack the supplies and your equipment at the gate. After check in formality at the gate office, you start your ascent and enter the rain forest almost immediately. There is a strong possibility of rain in the forest but always the rain patterns are erratic, which will transform the trail into a very soggy, muddy and slippery so you can hardly maintain your balance. Such experience is worth recollecting forever in life. You will have a welcome lunch stop when you have nearly a half of your journey eventually reach the Machame camp (3020m) in the late afternoon.
Your porters (arriving at the camp site long before you) to put everything in place prior to your arrival will have erected your tent on arrival. In the evening the porters will bring a small bowl of washing water to your tent and the cook will prepare dinner, before you retire to your tent for the night. Night temperatures can sometime drop to the freezing point at this campsite. Dinner and overnight stay at the camp.
DAY 02: MACHAME CAMP (3020M) – SHIRA CAMP (3847M)
Hiking time: 6 hours
Distance: Approximately 5.2 km
You rise with the sun at Machame camp and after breakfast you will climb an hour or so to the top of the forest and then for 2 hours at a gentler gradient through the moorland zone. After a short lunch and rest, you continue up a rocky ridge onto the Shira plateau. By now you will be able to see in an easterly direction, the Western Breach with its stunning glaciers. You are now due west of Kibo and after a short hike you will reach the Shira campsite at 3 847m. The porters will once again supply you with a small bowl of washing water before serving dinner. The night at this exposed camp will even be colder than the previous night extremely colder, with temperatures dropping to well below freezing point.
DAY 03: SHIRA CAMP (3847M) TO LAVA TOWER (4642M) TO BARRANCO CAMP (3984M)
Hiking time: 7 hours
Distance: Approximately 10.7 km
The route now turns east into a semi desert and rocky landscape surrounding Lava Tower, where you reach an altitude of 4642m after about a 5 hour trek. Lunch is served at a designated area. This is definitely the toughest day so far. It is normally around this point, where for the first time, some climbers will start experiencing symptoms of breathlessness, irritability and headaches. After lunch you descent again by almost 658m to the Barranco camping area. After reaching the high altitude of 4600m at Lava Tower, the true acclimatization benefit of this day becomes clear. This descent to Barranco camp takes about 2 hours and offers great opportunities to take some beautiful photographs of the Western Breach and Breach Wall. The camp is situated in a valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall, which should provide you with a memorable sunset while you wait for your dinner to be prepared at the camp. Dinner and overnight stay.
DAY 04: BARRANCO CAMP (3984M) – BARAFU CAMP (4681M)
Hiking time: 8 hours
Distance: Approximately 9.4 km
Habitat: Alpine desert
After spending a night at the great Barranco Wall (a very imposing sight at first), you make your way up this awesome looking obstacle, which in the end usually turns out to be easier than anticipated. Topping out just below the Heim Glacier, you will now appreciate just how beautiful Mount Kilimanjaro really is. The route then heads down through the Karanga Valley over intervening ridges and valleys, and then joins up with the Mweka route. This is the preferred route down from the summit, so remember it. Turn left up the ridge and after another hour or so, you should reach Barafu Hut.
The last water stop on the route is the Karranga Valley, as there is no water available at Barafu camp. Barafu is the Swahili word for “ice” and it is a bleak and inhospitable camping area to spend the night. Totally exposed to the ever-present gales, the tents are pitched on a narrow, stony, and dangerous ridge. Make sure that you familiarise yourself with the terrain before dark to avoid any accidents.
The summit is now a further 1214m higher and you will commence with your final ascent attempt, the same night. Prepare your equipment, hiking poles and thermal clothing for your summit attempt. 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 19h00 and try to get some precious rest and sleep.
DAY 05: – SUMMIT DAY BARAFU CAMP (4681M)-UHURU PEAK (5895M)-MWEKA (3090M)
Hiking time: 7 to 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak, 6 to 8 hours to descend to Mweka Camp
Distance: Approximately 4.5 km ascent and 10.8 km descent
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
You will wake up around 23h20, and after breakfast you shuffle off into the night. You will head in a north-westerly direction and ascend through heavy scream towards Stella Point on the crater rim. For many climbers the 6-hour walk to Stella point is mentally and physically the most challenging on the route. You will stop at Stella Point (5739m) 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 proceed with normally encounter snow all the way on your 2-hour ascent to Uhuru Peak. The time you will spend on the summit will depend on the weather conditions. Do not stop here for too long, as it will be extremely difficult to get going again due to cold and fatigue. Enjoy your accomplishment and a day to remember for the rest of your life! The walk back to Barafu from the summit, takes about 3 hours. Here you will have a well earned but short rest and collect the rest of your gear, before heading down to Mweka hut (3090m). The navigation along this route is not difficult and will take you down the rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually into the forest. The camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon so prepare for the sudden change of weather. Dinner and washing water will be prepared.
DAY 06: MWEKA CAMP (3090M) – MWEKA GATE (1641M)
Hiking time: 4 to 6 hours
Distance: Approximately 8.5 km
After a hearty breakfast, it is a short 4 to 6 hour and scenic hike back on the undulating mountain terrain to the Park gate. Some hikers do experience knee problems as a result of long treck which could make the descend longer than planned. It is strongly recommended not to pay your porters any tips until you and all your gear have reached the gate safely. At Mweka gate you will be issued with certificates of achievement. From the Mweka Gate you will continue down into the Mweka village, normally a muddy 3 km (1 hour) hike. In the Mweka village you will be served a delicious hot lunch!! After lunch you drive back to Moshi for a long overdue hot shower, dinner and celebrations!!
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