Of the seven main routes used to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the Machame route is the most popular route. It is the route of choice for many people because it provides impressive views and a variety of habitats. About 50% of all climbers, and most seasoned climbers, choose the Machame route.
The Machame route is also known as the Whiskey route, given its reputation for being a tough climb, in contrast to the easier Marangu route, which is known as the Coca Cola route. Unlike the gradual incline and hut accomodations found on the Marangu Route, the climbers on Machame hike steeper trails, for longer distances, and sleeping in tents.
The Machame Route climb can be done in a minimum of six days (five nights) on the mountain. However, it is most often tackled over seven days (six nights), for a better altitude acclimatization schedule. The trek begins at Machame Gate, located in the southern base of mountain, within its lush, fertile rainforest. The route heads toward the Shira Plateau, before circling along the southern circuit halfway around the mountain, exposing the climber to great views from all angles. The approach to the summit is made from the east, and the descent follows the Mweka trail.
The Machame Route is approximately 62 km/ 37 miles from gate to gate. It is designed for physically fit people with some hiking experience. The table below depicts a variation of the 7 day Machame climb with starting and finishing points, altitude, distance and hiking time. This is considered to be the ideal Machame route variation.