Known as the Whiskey route, the Machame route is now the most popular route on the mountain. Compared with Marangu, the days on Machame are longer and the walks are steeper. The Machame route is considered a difficult route, and is better suited for more adventurous folks and those with some hiking or backpacking experience.
The route begins from the south, then heads east, traversing underneath Kilimanjaro’s southern ice field before summiting. The minimum number of days required for this route is six days, although seven days is recommended.
The Machame route is scenically beautiful and varied. However, due to the heavy crowds, it loses some of its spendor.
For those who only have six days to climb Kilimanjaro, the Machame route is the best choice because of its acclimatization profile. Compared to other six day routes, the Machame route exposes the climber to higher elevations quicker (day three) which kickstarts the body’s adaptation to altitude. However, this route requires that a person be in good shape to be able to tackle the challenging elevation gains and losses.
The six day Machame variation is a difficult route. In particular, day four combined with day five makes for a very hard schedule. Day four is a full day of hiking from Barranco to Barafu. Then after dinner and a partial night’s sleep, the very long and strenuous summit day begins around midnight. The 6 day Machame route requires 19-24 hours of demanding walking, at extremely high elevation, with only 4-6 hours of sleep.