Climb Mount Kilimanjaro | Machame – Lemosho – Marangu
Climb Mount Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano in Tanzania. It has three volcanic cones: Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira. It is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest single free-standing mountain in the world: 5,895 metres above sea level and about 4,900 metres above its plateau base. Heading to Mount Kilimanjaro is overwhelmingly the most popular hiking attraction in Tanzania, with many people opting to climb the peak and add a safari on to the end of the trip. There are seven different routes to the summit of the peak – Lemosho, Lemosho Western-Breach, Machame, Marangu, Mweka, Rongai, Shira, and Umbwe – all of which take between 5 and 10 days.
Of these, the Marangu is considered the easiest and is the most popular. Aside from Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru, in Arusha National Park, is another popular hiking option. At 4,556 meters (14,947 feet), Meru is the fifth highest peak in Africa and second tallest in Tanzania. It is frequently used as an acclimatization hike for those heading to Kilimanjaro. The peak is not technically difficult to climb and only takes three days. However, there is considerable elevation gain, so it is best to be in good physical condition before attempting to do so.
Kilimanjaro routes - Which is the best 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kilimanjaro Knowledge Base
Lemosho is considered the most beautiful route on Kilimanjaro and grants panoramic vistas on various sides of the mountain
Technically speaking, Kilimanjaro is also relatively safe compared to other mountains of similar altitude and the risks are aslolow compared to others.
The average cost to climb Kilimanjaro is $2000 to $6000, the price varies from cheap, budget operators to large Western travel agents.
Kilimanjaro is the fourth most topographically prominent peak on Earth. The first people known to have reached the summit were Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller, in 1889. It is part of Kilimanjaro National Park and is a major climbing destination. Because of its shrinking glaciers and disappearing ice fields, it has been the subject of many scientific studies.
Mount Kilimanjaro Map
Mount Kilimanjaro Map Explained
Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest free standing mountain in the world, rising 5,882 metres or 19,298 ft from it/s base. It is a volcano with three volcanic cones, Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. Kibo’s highest peak (Uhuru Peak) rises 5,895 metres or 19,341 ft above sea level.
Mount Kilimanjaro is a member of the famous “Seven Summits“, the highest peaks on each of the seven continents. Just 200 miles (325 Km) from the equator, Kilimanjaro’s glistening peak of snow and ice looms high above the African Great Rift Valley.
Kilimanjaro is composed of three volcanic cones: Kibo The highest point being Uhuru or Kaiser Spitze – (19,340 feet), Mawenzi Looks like Mt. Doom of Mordor – also known as Hans Meyer Peak – (16,893 feet ) and Shira – the oldest of the three is actually not particularly noticeable as a volcanic cone because it collapsed and was filled in by Kibo’s lava flows, creating the stunning Shira Plateau.
Top Kilimanjaro Routes Compared
Mount Kilimanjaro FAQ
Climbing Kilimanjaro most days are not very hard because the trails are not steep it’s mostly dealing with the altitude, however the summit night is extremely difficulty as this is the coldest, windiest section of your adventure.
The average cost to climb Kilimanjaro is $2000 to $6000, the price varies from cheap, budget operators to large Western travel agents selling outsourced climbs at an inflated price. There are various, unavoidable fixed costs to any tour operator and if a climb seems too cheap, you’ve got to ask yourself why.
Kilimanjaro’s altitude is a significant challenge, but climbers do not need supplemental oxygen to climb Kilimanjaro or reach the summit. To reach to the summit you use the acclimatization method of walking slowly “pole pole” climb high, sleep low.
The Machame route is considered one of the less difficult routes on Kilimanjaro as it’s longer itinerary allows for better acclimatization. However, hikers will still need to ascend the Barranco Wall and climb steeply on summit night. No technical climbing is required but a good level of fitness is highly recommended.
The entire climb up and down is approximately 62 km/ 37 miles from gate to gate. The height gain from the gate to the summit is 4157 metres, which is ascended over six days of around 5-7 days walking each day.
The Marangu Route (also known as the ‘Coca Cola Route’) is the oldest and most established route on Kilimanjaro and used to be the most popular. It’s considered to be the easiest way up in terms of gradient and terrain. It is also the only route on the mountain that has huts to sleep in.
One of the best route to Kilimanjaro, why? The longer distance and the opportunity to ‘walk high, sleep low’ offer much better acclimatisation and as a result a very high success rate. The Machame route is a good seven day hike for those who have not trekked much at high altitudes, with an effective extra day’s acclimatisation, giving a better success rate.
Lemosho route; why? Lemosho is considered the most beautiful route on Kilimanjaro and grants panoramic vistas on various sides of the mountain. It is our favorite route because it offers a great balance of low traffic, scenic views and a high summit success rate. Thus, Lemosho comes highly recommended. Most of our clients use Lemosho.
Compared to other routes, Lemosho is one of the least busy, even during the hot season. The remote location of the trailhead, more expensive price tag and the popularity of Marangu and Machame routes are the reasons why only 2-3% of all Kilimanjaro climbers choose it. Also, it is one of the newest routes on Kilimanjaro, which few people know about. Its popularity, however, is increasing every year.
here are several notable differences between the two routes.
Firstly, Machame route is the second most popular route on Kilimanjaro. It can be somewhat crowded in August-September and January-February. In contrast, Lemosho is still less visited, and will suit those who prefer more reclusive hiking.
Secondly, on Machame you will be going through the rainforest on the first day of your hike. On Lemosho this experience is available only on an 8-day climb, while 7 and 6-day variations start straight in the moorland zone.
Thirdly, Machame route climb is available in six and seven-day options. The first one is very physically taxing and features one of the worst acclimatization transitions of all. On the contrary, the shortest trek on Lemosho – six-day – provides good acclimatization possibility even for beginners.
Finally, because Machame trailhead is located on the southern face of Kilimanjaro, close to Moshi, the prices for Machame trek are usually less expensive than the Lemosho route.
Machame and Lemosho converge on Barranco camp, from where all hikers head for Karanga and Barafu summit camp via the same trail.
The Lemosho route is 71 km/43 miles long. It is one of the longest routes on Kilimanjaro, surpassed by Northern Circuit (97 km/60 miles) only.
For the majority of trekkers the ideal time to hike Kilimanjaro in general and Lemosho in particular, is in July-September and January-early March, when the chances of rain are minimal.
You should not, however, unconditionally cross out the rainy season – the periods in between the dry and the rainy season feature (March, June and end of December) have relatively good weather (most of the days are sunny) and much less climbers than usual.
Rainy season climbs have some advantages of their own:
- Few other hikers on the trek
- Lush green vegetation around – the landscapes are truly unique!
- The peak of Kilimanjaro is snow-capped, giving you a chance to make one-of-a-kind pictures.
Together with Lemosho and Rongai, Northern circuit is among the least visited.
Both Lemosho and Northern Circuit start on the western part of Kilimanjaro and follow almost the same itinerary on the first days.
At Lava Tower area the two routes split – while Lemosho trekkers will keep trekking to Barranco Camp on the southern side of Kilimanjaro, Northern Circuit trekkers will go to the seldom-visited northern parts of the Mountain.
Both routes provide excellent scenic value, yet Barranco and other high-elevation camps of Lemosho may be busy in August-September and January-February. The whole Northern Circuit, however, is always desolate, making it ideal for those who like reclusive experiences.
Northern Circuit is almost 20 km longer than Lemosho and is available in eight and nine-day (with crater camping) variations. It is also the most expensive of all routes.
More about Tanzania Travel Guide:
Planning your trip? Whether you’re looking for things to do in Tanzania such as events and attractions, key traveller information to make your Tanzania visit run smoothly or are planning where to stay in Mwanza, you’ll find everything you need for your Tanzania holiday on Our Website. Tanzania Travel guide has the information about latest events not to miss while you visit Tanzania – there’s always something going on, so don’t miss out on the latest exhibitions, shows and more on your trip Tanzania
Discover the best day trips from Dar-es-salaam or other Tanzania’s Cities. If you’re here as a family, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Tanzania with kids and find suitable accommodation such as Tanzania holiday apartments. Whether you’re looking for the best weekend breaks in Tanzania or planning a longer holiday in, you can be sure you’ll find all the information you need.
Tanzania Travel Guide| Climb Kilimanjaro and Meru | Beach Holidays in Zanzibar | Mwanza Travel Guide |Dar-es-salaam Travel Guide |Dodoma Travel Guide | Tanga Travel Guide | Mbeya Travel Guide | Arusha Travel Guide | Tanzania Safari and Tours | Africa Safari Forums | African Safari Questions and answers