Mount Kilimanjaro Trekking

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. Reaching 5,895 meters at Uhuru Peak (19,340 ft.), it towers above the surrounding plains that include famous sites like the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater. Uhuru Peak sits on the rim of the extinct volcano’s crater and promises some of the most spectacular views you can comprehend.

Located in northern Tanzania, Kilimanjaro sits practically on the Equator and enjoys a relatively consistent year-round climate. Tanzanians, while quite poor by standard economic measures, live a rich life in harmony with our surrounding environment, which includes mountains, oceans, and some of the most stunning wildlife on the planet. We are also incredibly friendly – expect a warm welcome!

Kilimanjaro is a great climb for all adventurers. It’s easy to get to with daily flights from Europe and the US. It does not require technical training. And it’s very affordable to climb (around USD2,000 for a week-long climb). The name “Kilimanjaro” is derived from Swahili, loosely translated to mean ‘mountain of greatness’ (though no exact definition exists). Please find more about Kilimanjaro routes below.

Machame, nicknamed the ‘Whiskey’ route, is by far the most popular route and probably the most beautiful route to start your ascent to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Located on the southern side of the mountain in lush, fertile rainforest, you will head towards Shira Plateau and then circle along the southern circuit halfway around Kilimanjaro; from here you will have great views from all angles. Although this is considered one of the better routes for acclimatization, as you will have a steady altitude increase every day, it is also one of the more challenging choices, due to hiking steeper routes for longer distances.

It is recommended that this route is done in no less than 6 days/5 nights but for better altitude acclimatization it is often done in 7 days/6 nights. You will approach the summit from the east and make your descent along the Mweka trail. Due to hiking high and sleeping low, the Machame route has one of the highest summit success rates of all the Kilimanjaro routes.

Also known as the ‘Coca Cola’ route due to the tea huts where Coke can be bought along the way. The Marangu route is the oldest of the routes and has one of the most established trails. Considered one of the easier routes, it is still challenging with a short, beautiful but steep and demanding trek to Uhuru Peak (5895m). It is one of the most heavily used routes and in the rainy season can be very well trodden and muddy in some places. This is not the most technical route to climb and there are no tough scrambles or rocky steps to negotiate until the final summit night. The trail heading to Gillman’s Point must be followed ‘pole pole’ (slowly in Kiswahili) and in a zigzag trail due to the steep ascent to the summit. The ascent and descent are done on the same path and due to this can become very crowded and has the least scenic variety. It is the only route with sleeping huts (preferred in rainy seasons) offering dormitory accommodation. The Marangu route can get fully booked in the high season; it is therefore advisable to book this route in advance.

Approaching Kilimanjaro from the north side (the only route starting on this side of the mountain), close to the Kenyan border, Rongai offers views of Masai land where wildlife including Buffalo, Elephant and Monkeys can be spotted, along with East Africa’s stunning birdlife. The Rongai route, although becoming an increasingly popular route, is still the quietest option.

Due to the long drive taken to get to the gate on day one it‘s the least frequently used route. Considered a moderately difficult route, it has excellent success rates. This is the best choice especially during rainy seasons as the north side receives less precipitation, letting you make your ascent in drier more pleasant conditions. You will make a gentle ascent through several different climate zones and make your descent on the south side along the Marangu route, so you get the best of both sides of the mountain.

Lemosho route is one of the longest and most scenic routes of Mount Kilimanjaro. It is one of the best routes for acclimatization due to the length of the climb; it also has a high success rate of climbers making it to the Rooftop of Africa. It is our favorite route due to a great balance of low traffic and scenic views. The route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the west, beginning with a long drive from Moshi to Londorossi Gate. From there, the first two days are spent trekking through rainforest to Shira Ridge.

This route offers variety as it meets up with 2 of the other routes on the mountain. The first is Shira route, now a drive able road used for emergency vehicles, the Lemosho route passes this road and crosses the Shira Plateau on the way to the summit. On the forth day it meets up with the Machame route around Lava Tower, the hike goes down to Barranco valley and we ascend to the Great Barranco wall. Lemosho is considered one of the most beautiful routes Mount Kilimanjaro has to offer, there may even be opportunities to spot some wildlife in the forest zone and Shira Plateau, if you’re lucky. The descent is made via the Mweka route. It’s a good acclimatization route and offers a better chance at summiting as you take more days at a slower pace.

The Umbwe route is considered to be the most difficult route due to its relatively extreme nature. Umbwe route starts off from the east of the mountain. It goes through a very steep terrain! For that reason, there are generally less people than all the other routes – This route gains around 1,000 meter for the first two days and thus, not that friendly for altitude mountain sickness and thus, we wouldn’t recommend it for newbies. However, the trail joins the famous Machame and Lemosho route at Barranco Camp and proceed to the summit via Barafu and Stella Point.

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