Despite being longer and more arduous than the Marangu and Rongai trails, the Machame route has emerged in recent years as a popular choice for trekkers. The 40 kilometre trail passes through cloud forests and moorland zones to the glaciated precipices of Kibo’s south face. Unlike the Marangu and Rongai routes, trekkers descend via the Mweka route – a steep but scenic path through dry mountain desert and lowland forest.
This five-day climb is the most popular and direct of the Kilimanjaro routes, passing through vast grasslands, giant cacti fields and alpine meadows set against dramatic mountain peaks. It’s also the only route where camping is not needed, with trekkers sleeping in huts dotted along the way. The 35 kilometre uphill walk is well maintained and the views from the summit are striking. As the Marangu route is shorter, the period to acclimatise is also shortened and this has an impact on the trail's overall success rate.