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Kilimanjaro Machame Route

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Kilimanjaro Machame Route
is a 5 or 6 night trail which approaches the mountain from the southwest.

Not so many years ago this was one of our favoured trails on the mountain, a tough five night trek of good scenic variety which can have an additional night inserted at Karanga Valley on the fourth night in order to aid acclimatisation.

But during 2005 traffic on Machame increased massively as budget operators suddenly switched in droves from the even more commercial Marangu Route.

Later that year we shifted the bulk of our shorter treks from Machame to Rongai Route as we felt that we could no longer offer a sufficiently high quality experience under such high traffic conditions. This has remained the case.

These days we only operate treks on this route exceedingly rarely, usually out of season for military personnel or others with very specific reasons.


Variants ...


Machame 5A ... non-technical five nights standard route

Night 1 : Machame Hut
Night 2 : Shira Cave
Night 3 : Barranco Valley
Night 4 : Barafu
Night 5 : Millennium

This is the standard five night Machame trek offered by lower quality operators. The main downsides are the amount of traffic which is likely to be encountered throughout and the poor altitude acclimatisation, passing through Lava Tower on day three being likely to cause a good deal of adverse symptoms, significantly reducing the chances of summit success.

For a good quality shorter trek it is necessary to switch to the Rongai Route on the northeast side of the mountain, usually the five night Rongai 5p trek.


Machame 6A ... non-technical six nights standard route

Night 1 : Machame Hut
Night 2 : Shira Cave
Night 3 : Barranco Valley
Night 4 : Karanga Valley
Night 5 : Barafu
Night 6 : Millennium

The usual way to extend the Machame trek for improved altitude acclimatisation is to add a night at Karanga Valley, which certainly helps on the summit attempt, but does nothing to reduce the risks back on day three. It also does very little to alleviate the traffic issues.

The best alternatives on this western side of the mountain are the seven night Shira 7Bp trek or the five night Rongai 5p trek.


Machame 7B ... non-technical seven nights with traffic avoidance

Night 1 : Machame Hut
Night 2 : Shira Cave
Night 3 : Moir Hut
Night 4 : Lava Tower
Night 5 : Karanga Valley
Night 6 : Barafu
Night 7 : Millennium

The Machame trek is significantly improved in this seven night version, which now provides some excellent acclimatisation at Moir Hut on the third night. It also deploys a traffic avoidance technique by staying at Lava Tower rather than Barranco Valley, which should see you avoiding the crowds for a total of three whole days in the middle section. But having gone this far to improve the trek, it makes a lot more sense to switch completely to higher quality Shira or Lemosho routes.

The best alternative on this western side of the mountain is the seven night Shira 7Bp trek. For a good quality shorter option it is necessary to switch to the five night Rongai 5p trek.
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