Kilimanjaro’s Machame Route has grown in popularity in recent years, so much so, that it is now one of the most populous trails on Africa’s highest mountain.
While it is possible to climb the Machame Route in just 6 days, it is strongly recommended that you go for the 7-day option, which allows extra time for acclimatisation, and includes an overnight stay at Karanga Camp so that you are fit and ready for summit night.
Like all routes on Kilimanjaro, the Machame Route has a list of Pros and Cons that every traveller should consider before booking their private Kilimanjaro expedition. Here’s a list of Machame Route Pros and Cons based on our own experiences on the mountain:
Pros of Climbing Kilimanjaro along the Machame Route:
The Machame Route, otherwise referred to as the Whiskey Route, is one of the most scenic trails on the mountain. You will pass through no less than 5 different eco-systems on our 7-day expedition, so you have different scenery to look forward to every day.
The Machame Route is a camping route, so if you don’t like the idea of sharing huts with strangers, this is a much better option than the Marangu Route (Coca-Cola Route).
When you hike the Machame Route on a 7-day expedition, you will ‘hike high and sleep low’ so that your body can acclimatise slowly to the altitude. This lowers the risk of altitude sickness and gives you a much better chance of reaching the summit.
If you book your private Machame route expedition with Kilimanjaro Company, you may have the opportunity to stay at Kosovo Camp on summit night. A special use camp limited to just a few companies, it is much less crowded than Barafu Camp, and as is 200m higher, your summit night will be shorter.
The Machame Route is a great all-rounder in terms of success rate and value for money, so it’s a good choice for first-time climbers.
Cons of Climbing Kilimanjaro’s Machame Route:
The Machame Route is, undoubtedly, one of the busiest routes on Kilimanjaro today, and as such, you can expect to share your experience with many other climbers. This is not necessarily a bad thing as you can make great friends along the way, but if you are looking for a peaceful climb, it may not be the ideal choice for you.
It is said that, ‘all roads lead to Rome’, and while this is not exactly true on Mount Kilimanjaro, the Machame Route joins up with the Lemosho Route, the Shira Route and the Umbwe Route at Barranco Camp, and so it can begin to feel a little crowded from here to the summit, especially if you book during peak travel periods.
Due to the lush vegetation on the Machame Route, it can get very wet and muddy during the rainy season… but that said, you’re going to get wet and muddy on any route if you choose to climb at that time of year!
While all routes on Kilimanjaro come with a list of pros and cons, they are all truly spectacular, and providing you are prepared mentally and physically, there’s no reason why your trip to the Roof of Africa shouldn’t be successful!