7 Day Machame Route with Karanga Valley Acclimatization
Arusha * Kilimanjaro (Machame | Mweka)
Private Departures with your own choice to add pre- & post-trek accommodation
The Machame Route (also known as the Whiskey Route) is the second most popular route to Kibo. It is a beautifully scenic route passing through rain forests before entering the dry area of Shira Plateau. The route then takes you through the Barranco area with its senecios (mountain cactus) and “Breakfast Wall” followed by the exquisite Karanga Valley with its water streams and finally on to the rocky and inhospitable Barafu; last stop before you make your midnight dash for the top of Kibo
Day 1 Arusha – Machame
Hike: 8.2 km | 1840m-3022m | 5-6 hours
From Arusha drive to the Machame Park gate, then a gentle climb up through the original montane forest, carpeted with unique “busy lizzie” flowers, begonias and ferns. First camp amongst the giant heather at 3,000m. Ascent of 1,182m and 5-6 hours walking.
MACHAME CAMP | Lunch, Dinner
Day 2 Machame — Shira
Hike: 5 km | 3022m-3830m | 5-6 hours
Emerge from the giant heather zone and hike through fine open moorland to camp by the Shira Cave at 3,840m. There may be herds of eland up here (& occasional lion!) and there are fascinating geological features in the old volcanic caldera which can be viewed during a half hour optional walk in the afternoon. Ascent 808m and 5-6 hours walking.
SHIRA CAMP | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 Shira — Barranco
Hike: 10.4 km | 3830m-3900m | 7-8 hours
From Shira, climb towards the main peak Kibo, with the western glaciers clearly visible across the rugged high-altitude desert of volcanic rocks and boulders. Skirting around its base and under the imposing Western Breach, descend into the sheltered Barranco Valley for mid-way camp at 3,900m. 7-8 hours walking and only 70m total ascent – but having climbed higher and dropping back down assists acclimatisation.
BARRANCO CAMP | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 Barranco — Karanga
Hike: 5.1km | 3900m-4100m | 3-4 hours
Up the steep Barranco Wall with some sections of very easy scrambling and drop down again to the Karanga Valley. This is a short walking day, around 3 hours, and again you climb about 300m but drop back down again to around 4,100m. There’s an optional further acclimatisation hike in afternoon up onto the scree below the glaciers.
KARANGA VALLEY CAMP | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 Karanga — Barafu
Hike: 3.5km | 4100m-4330m | 3-4 hours
Up to a new camp about 100m above Barafu Hut perched high on a rocky bluff at 4,330m. Fantastic views across to Mawenzi peak, and a bit less to climb tomorrow morning! This is another short walking day, about 4 hours with a 230m height gain, and time for a good rest in the afternoon immediately before the hard summit day.
BARAFU CAMP | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 Barafu — Summit — Mweka
Hike: 17.4 km | 4330m-5895m-3075m | 13-15 hours
A bracing 1am start to climb the steep frozen scree. This is unavoidable on any route but we aim to reach Stella Point on the crater rim for sunrise – another 40 mins and you’re at the highest point on the continent, usually in warm sunshine. We return on the Mweka descent route. Walking time 7 hours and 1,300m ascent to the summit, 6-8 hours and 2,800m descent to our camp in a clearing amongst the giant heather at Mweka. This is a long and hard day – you’ll feel tired but absolutely ecstatic after you’ve done it.
MWEKA CAMP | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 Mweka — Arusha
Hike: 8.8km | 3075m-1645m | 3-4 hours
A 4-5 hours descent through the forest to Mweka Gate to collect our certificates and meet our vehicle. Return to Arusha, arriving early to mid afternoon.