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Machame Route – A Comprehensive Guide to Kilimanjaro’s Path

There are seven routes used for summiting the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, and these include Machame Route, Lemosho Route, Northern Circuit Route, Rongai Route, Marangu Route, Shira Route, and Umbwe Route. Each route offers a thrilling experience and differs from the others in terms of scenery, difficulty, and the number of days used to reach the summit.

Mount Kilimanjaro is considered the easiest to climb among the Seven Summits, but the main challenge faced by many trekkers attempting to reach the summit is altitude sickness, which can affect anyone, no matter their age, sex, or how physically fit they may be.

Machame Route

There are several routes established for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, including Machame Route, Lemosho Route, Northern Circuit, Rongai Route, Marangu Route, and Umbwe Route.

Machame Route, also known as the Whisky Route, is one of the hardest routes to use for trekking Mount Kilimanjaro because it requires some physical fitness and technical experience. Although some first-timers have also successfully used this route to the summit, it is nicknamed the Whisky Route because of how challenging it is compared to the Marangu Route, also known as the Coca-Cola Route.

The Machame Route trek starts from the southern part of the mountain at Machame Gate, passing through Machame Camp, Shira 2 Camp, Lava Camp, Barranco Camp, Karanga Camp, Barafu Camp, Uhuru Peak, Mweka Camp, and finally to Mweka Gate. Machame Route is famous for its outstanding views, mountaineering challenge, and good acclimatization. Thirty-five percent of trekkers to Mount Kilimanjaro use the Machame Route.

The trek starts from a lush green montane forest, spreading out to the Shira Plateau where you find the heather zone, climbing high to the Lava Tower, then dropping and circling below the South Ice Field.

Trekkers using the Machame Route are advised to use trekking poles, as this trail can sometimes be steep. Machame Route can be considered difficult compared to other routes, but the summit success rate is 70% to 80% when done over seven days.

Trekkers using Machame Route take between 6 to 7 days for the overall hike and descent. It is advised to use the seven-day route, which will help you acclimatize better and have a higher success rate. The elevation gain on Machame Route is 16,000 to 17,000 ft. The route is approximately 62 kilometers from gate to gate.

The advantage of the Machame Route is that it gains and loses altitude throughout the trip, and the up and down movement should help you acclimatize better, meaning you need to be in good physical shape to use this trail compared to other trails where the ascent is gradual. Using the Machame Route trail is beneficial for your body because you climb high and sleep low, and this helps the body produce more red blood cells to carry oxygen.

The Machame Route provides visitors with stunning views of Kilimanjaro, including several features like the Lava Tower, beautiful valleys and ridges, Shira Plateau, the Southern Ice Field, and much more, making it the most scenic route among other routes in Kilimanjaro.

For trekkers who don’t like crowds, then the Machame Route is not for you because many people choose it for climbing the mountain.

The price for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro using the Machame Route will range from time to time, but you’re likely to spend around $2,000 to $6,000. The amount is determined by the tour operator you choose, the number of your group, and the duration of the trip.


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