Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain on the African continent and the highest free-standing mountain in the world. Known as the “Roof of Africa”, it is 5,895 metres high with people travelling from all over the world to conquer her.
Mount Kilimanjaro offers six trekking routes and they vary in difficultly, length, price, scenery and summit success. There is no single best Mount Kilimanjaro route to climb. Which route is best for you will depend on several factors and it is important to consider your physical ability, level of fitness, aptitude and comfort level when selecting your route as this will contribute to your overall summit success.
We are proud to have a current summit rate of 100% on Mount Kilimanjaro and we look forward to challenging you and taking you on the adventure of a lifetime.
OVERVIEW OF MOUNT KILIMANJARO ROUTES:
The Marangu route is one of the most popular routes up Kilimanjaro as it is the least expensive, is considered the least strenuous and offers basic hut style accommodation.
Since this route can be trekked in 5 days many people believe it is the easiest route but this is not the case as it offers poor acclimatisation which is why we recommend adding an additional day to your itinerary, making this a 6 day trek. The Marangu route also has a low success rate as it is often chosen by inexperienced and unprepared trekkers.
The Marangu route is also the only route that uses the same path up and down the mountain, which contributes to it being the most crowded route on Kilimanjaro. It offers a comfortable walking path with a very steady, gradual slope however lacks diverse scenery compared to other routes.
In saying that, Marangu still offers a spectacular experience with good views along the way and is an ideal route for those who are budget conscious and want hut style accommodation.
The Machame route is our most popular route on Kilimanjaro. More strenuous than the Marangu route, the trail is steeper and involves many ups and downs, crossing a succession of valleys and ridges and climbers must be able to ascend the Barranco Wall and content a steep incline up Kibo which are both physically demanding and may be an issue for those with a fear of heights. Trekkers choose this route for its good acclimatisation, extraordinary views and high summit rate.
The scenery is spectacular; the Shira Plateau, Lava Tower and the Barranco Wall. You begin your trek from the West, circle Kibo from the Southern side and then descend on the Mweka route in the South-East. This is why the Machame route is one of the most scenic routes on Kilimanjaro and offers great value for money.
The Rongai route is the only route that approaches Kilimanjaro from the North, near the Kenyan border and offers trekkers an unspoilt wilderness experience due it its remote location. The descent is in the south-east via the Marangu route so you will experience both sides of the mountain. It is possible to see large animals such as antelope, elephant and buffalo within the first few days however is not as scenically varied as the Machame, Lemosho and Shira routes.
Rongai offers a gradual climb and rises very steadily, there are no steep ups and downs. It is an ideal route for those who are not confident in their ability to hike over steeper paths and want to enjoy a quieter route with less traffic. It is also a good option for those climbing during the wet season as the north side of the mountain receives less precipitation.
Due the location of its starting point. The Rongai route is one of the more expensive climbing routes.
The Shira route is a difficult route that begins in the west and joins the Machame route after avoiding the heaviest of traffic and the descent is on the Mweka route in the South-East. Shira is unique as the first section of the trail is not hiked, but driven, therefore climbers will miss out on hiking up one of Kilimanjaro’s ecological zones, the rain forest. A vehicle transports climbers to the Shira gate, located at 3,505m, where the hike begins to Simba Camp. This is a sizable altitude gain and complications from altitude can occur due to failed acclimatisation. Due to the additional transportation costs, Shira is one of the more expensive routes on the mountain.
The Shira route offers beautiful scenery as your cross the spectacular Shira Plateau and then join the Machame route where you can experience its viewpoints around the southern circuit. Shira is ideal for those who are experienced and confident in their ability to acclimatise to altitude and to walk over steeper paths and difficult terrain.
The Lemosho route is the newest route on Kilimanjaro. It also approaches Kilimanjaro from the West and then joins the Machame route and the descent is on the Mweka route in the South-East. It is a difficult and long route but is popular due its scenic variety, high success rate and limited traffic.
A vehicle transports climbers to the gate where the trail begins in the rainforest. Trekkers on the Lemosho route have a longer distance to walk in the rainforest ecosystem than other routes and climbers do not exit the rainforest until the end of day 2. They also have a good chance of seeing wildlife. The additional days on the lower slopes of the mountain make this the best route for acclimatisation. Due to the additional transportation costs and longer itinerary, Lemosho is one of the most expensive routes on the mountain.
Scenically, Lemosho is considered the most varied and most beautiful route because it begins in the rainforest, crosses the spectacular Shira Plateau, and then combines with the Machame route to share its viewpoints around the southern circuit.
The Lemosho route is ideal for those who are confident in their ability to trek over steeper paths for extended periods in difficult terrain on a lesser used route, who want a superb wildlife experience and who place a premium on proper altitude acclimatisation.
The Umbwe route is the least used and least crowded route on the mountain and is the most difficult. It is a steep, demanding and consistent climb, straight to the top.
Umbwe joins the Machame route near the Barranco Camp on the second night while other routes reach the camp on the third or fourth night. On the first day, parts of the trail are so steep they can only be negotiated because tree roots provide something similar to steps, they also serve as handle bars to pull yourself up where needed. The descent is on the Mweka route in the South-East.
Umbwe is not as scenically varied as other routes and does not give climbers time to acclimatise. It is ideal for those who are experienced in high altitude treks only and overall, we do not recommend it for the majority of our clients.
We are proud to have a current summit success rate of 100% on Mount Kilimanjaro and our team of Mountain Guides, Chefs and Porters are some of the most experienced on the mountain and look forward of taking you to the “Roof of Africa”