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Which is the best Kilimanjaro Route

Which is the best Kilimanjaro Route

Towering 5895 metres above the surrounding landscape, Kilimanjaro – or ‘Kili’ – is the highest freestanding mountain in the world. As one of the famed Seven Summits, setting out to climb Kilimanjaro has all the makings of a great bucket list adventure. But did you know that there is more than one route to Uhuru Peak? Though summit day is the climax for most trekkers, there are so many other unforgettable highlights along the way – so selecting the best route for you is important!

Selecting a route is a tough choice for most. To find the best Kilimanjaro route for you, considerations should be taken for the route’s scenery, difficulty, foot traffic and its altitude acclimatization characteristics, as depicted in the table below. Ultimate Kilimanjaro® has assigned overall ratings to each route.

Kilimanjaro Climbing Routes

Kilimanjaro Lemosho Route

The Lemosho Route is often considered the most beautiful of all the trekking trails up Mount Kilimanjaro. It is one of the newer routes on the mountain and shares a portion of the same path as Machame route, although it holds a few advantages over that route that definitely make worth considering, particularly for travelers who have some extra time.

Machame route

Kilimanjaro Machame Route

The Machame route on Kilimanjaro is a seven day camping route which allows for excellent acclimatisation and particularly diverse scenery. Each day on this route presents quite a distinct ecosystem to experience, which is one reason it is so popular. The Machame route could be done in six days by missing out Karanga Valley and going straight to Barafu.

Kilimanjaro Marangu Route

The Marangu Route is the oldest and most well established trekking route on Mount Kilimanjaro, and it remains extremely popular, despite a wide variety of other options becoming available. This path provides trekkers with the classic Kilimanjaro climbing experience, offering sweeping views and a wonderful hiking adventure all the way to the summit of Uhuru Peak.

Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit

This route avoids the crowds on the southern routes and over 9 days, you have a fantastic journey and a great chance of summiting successfully. The climb begins at Londorossi Gate, at an altitude of 2360 metres, with an approach far to the west of the mountain. It follows the Lemosho route, passing through majestic rainforest where some of the region’s most unique wildlife can often be seen.

Kilimanjaro Rongai Route

The Rongai route is the only route that approaches Kilimanjaro from the north, close to the Kenyan border. Though gaining popularity amongst climbers, this route still experiences low crowds. Rongai has a more gradual slope than the mountain’s other routes. Rongai is a moderately difficult route, and is highly recommended, especially for those with less backpacking experience. Descent is made via the Marangu route.

Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route

The Umbwe Route used to be the steepest, shortest and most direct route to Uhuru Peak. Traditionally the route utilised the steep Western Breach and Arrow’s Glacier path to the summit; however, due to a tragic rock-fall in 2006 that claimed the lives of three trekkers the approach via the Western Breach was closed. It reopened in December 2007 but due to its difficulty and safety risks, most travel operators do not offer this route as an option.

What are the best Kilimanjaro routes?

LEMOSHO ROUTE – Highly Recommended

The  Lemosho Route begins on the west side of the mountain and is normally an eight day trip but can also be seven days. 

It merges with the Machame Route on the Shira Plateau which is the second camp, and is popular because the initial ascent through the forest is easier and it adds an extra vital day of acclimatisation if you choose the 8 day option.

Lemosho is a relatively new route and it was designed to absorb some of the busier paths on the other two main routes of Machame and Marangu.The extra day and the slightly easier gradient through the forest makes it a slightly better option for acclimatisation.

Top lemosho route Iteneraries - Highly recommended

MACHAME ROUTE – Highly Recommended

As the only route that approaches the mountain from the north, the Rongai Route is quite  different from the others. You will begin your trip from close to the Kenyan border, and journey through areas of wilderness before joining the Marangu Route at Kibo Camp which is at the base of the summit massif. The descent is then on the Marangu Route so this is almost a complete north-south traverse of Kilimanjaro.

The north side experiences lower precipitation, being in the rain shadow, so this trail is ideal for the rainy season as it is more sheltered. It is a much quieter route than the others, mainly because the extra time it takes to reach the gate at the start, so for many people this is their preferred route.

Top Machame route Iteneraries - Highly recommended

Kilimanjaro Routes FAQ

65% Being one of the most popular mountains in the world, roughly 50,000 trekkers every year try to reach the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro. According to research published by the Climb Kilimanjaro Guide, the average summit success rate across all climbers and routes is 65%.

YES! Kilimanjaro is an achievement many hikers, athletes, and nature lovers have set their eyes on. But towering 19,341 feet, with a nearly 50% fail rate, reaching the peak takes a hefty amount of work against significant odds. Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is absolutely worth it.

There are seven established routes that lead to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. They are: Lemosho, Machame, Marangu, Rongai, Northern Circuit, Shira and Umbwe

The number of miles to hike Mount Kilimanjaro varies according to the route you pick. Umbwe is the shortest route, but also the steepest. It measures 23 miles (37 kilometers). The longest route is the Northern Circuit, coming in at 56 miles (90 kilometers).

YES! As we mentioned before, Kilimanjaro is suitable for beginners; they do very well. The best advice is for everyone to arrive in great shape. Don’t underestimate the climb because you know someone did it who you believe was not fit.

Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano located in Tanzania, Africa. It is famous for being the highest mountain in Africa and is one of the ‘Seven Summits’ of the World. See the fact file below for more information on Mount Kilimanjaro: Mount Kilimanjaro is 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) high.

NO! Kilimanjaro is a volcanic massif in northeastern Tanzania, near the Kenya border. It lies about 100 miles (160 km) east of the East African Rift System and about 140 miles (225 km) south of Nairobi, Kenya.

At the summit, Uhuru Point, the night time temperatures can range between 20 and -20 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 to -29 degrees Celsius). Due to Mount Kilimanjaro’s great height, the mountain creates it’s own weather.

Prepare for the altitude of Mount Kilimanjaro by training on a regular basis at least 8 weeks before beginning your climb. Physical exercise is important, and a routine should be at least 4 times a week, and include aerobic exercises, strength training and hiking.

Quick Answer: Taking a Bus from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro
  1. #1. Book the Nairobi to Kilmanjaro Shuttle.
  2. #2. Take a matatu or local taxi to either the Silverprings Hotel or the Heron Portico Hotel.
  3. #3. This bus will take you to Arusha, Tanzania.
  4. #4. Change buses and get off in the town of Moshi.
  5. #5. Take a local taxi to Kilimanjaro.

BONUS! 3 Tips to Climb Kilimanjaro & Successfully Acclimatise

>> Drink Lots We recommend a fluid intake of 4-5 litres a day. This improves circulation and most other bodily functions. That’s why we include lots of soup, hot drinks and fresh fruit in our menu, plus you’ll need to drink 3 litres of water per day too!

>> Walk Slowly For good acclimatisation it is vital to place as little strain as possible on your body whilst it’s trying to adapt to the reducing oxygen supply. Your breathing rate whilst walking should be similar to when you’re walking down the street at home.

>> Walk High, Sleep Low A well-planned itinerary that includes afternoon walks to a higher level than where sleeping overnight. All the above itineraries for Kilimanjaro climbs have this, although some include more acclimatisation walks than others.

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