“Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb but I had this champ feelings once I was in the summit 5895m” (Nick George, Local Climber via Rongai Route Oct 2015).
Rising from the savannah of East Africa to the staggering height of 5895m, not only is Kilimanjaro the highest mountain in Africa but it is also the tallest free-standing mountain on earth. Conquering its unmistakable snow capped peak has been the dream of keen trekkers as well as seasoned mountaineers for decades.
And rightly so, as Mount Kilimanjaro showcases some truly unique features. Its lower slopes are dense with lush forest yet the mountain is surrounded by vast expanses of dry Savannah; its caldera is covered with ice yet this dormant volcano is situated near the Equator. There is no doubt that the views from its top are the greatest reward of all: from Kilimanjaro’s summit it is possible to observe the curvature of the planet and on a clear day the views stretch as far as the plains of the Masai Mara.
However, Kilimanjaro has much more to offer than just its awe inspiring views: embarking to an expedition to the roof of Africa is the equivalent of travelling on a trip from the Equator to the Arctic as the landscape varies from bushland to tropical forest, from moorland to heath and alpine desert.
The Kilimanjaro climb might be one of the toughest trekking challenges in the world – but we believe you can conquer it! We have several specialist treks to its summit, using the two most beautiful and quietest trekking routes – Lemosho and Rongai. Our Kilimanjaro climb includes a generous amount of acclimatisation time, giving you the best possible chance of reaching the summit at Uhuru Peak
As the popularity of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro continues to increase, potential climbers are often uncertain as to which route to take. There are seven major routes used to climb Kilimanjaro. Each route has its own advantages and disadvantages. When selecting the route, make sure it is the appropriate route for your desires, physical ability, aptitude and comfort level.
The Machame route is probably the most popular route these days and is also called “the whiskey route”. This route is steeper than the Marangu and Rongai routes and physically more demanding and for that reason better suited for the more determined and fitter climber,
Highly recommended for scenic value,great for acclimatization with lots of walk high, sleep low opportunities,Challenging trek with stunning scenery through 5 diverse climatic zones,Good opportunity to split pre-summit day climb to leave climbers rested before summiting, Very popular trail,Fully catered camping only
Marangu Route(“Coca Cola”)
Known as the “Coca-Cola” route, the Marangu route is a classic trek on Mount Kilimanjaro. It is the oldest, most well established route. Many favor the Marangu route because it is considered to be the easiest path on the mountain, given its gradual slope. It is also the only route which offers sleeping huts in dormitory style accommodations.
The minimum days required for this route is five, although the probability of successfully reaching the top in that time period is quite low. Spending an extra acclimatization day on the mountain is highly recommended when climbing Klimanjaro using the Marangu route.
However, despite its immense popularity, we avoid leading climbs on the Marangu route. The route has the least scenic variety of all the routes because the ascent and descent are done on the same path and it is the most crowded route for that reason. Marangu is favored only during the rainy season, where the hut accommodations are preferred over wet ground, or for those who only have five days to climb Kilimanjaro. (which we do not recommend anyhow).
The Lemosho route is one of the newer routes on Mount Kilimanjaro. The route begins in the west and rather than simply intersecting Shira Plateau (like Machame), Lemosho crosses it from Shira Ridge to Shira Camp. Climbers encounter low traffic until the route joins the Machame route. Afterwards, Lemosho follows the same route through Lava Tower, Barranco and Barafu, known as the southern circuit.
The minimum number of days required for this route is six days, although eight days is ideal.
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.
The Rongai route is the only route that approaches Kilimanjaro from the north, close to the Kenyan border. Though gaining popularity amongst climbers, Rongai has low traffic. It is the preferred route for those looking for an alternative to the crowded Marangu route, for those who would like a more remote hike, and for those who are climbing during the rainy season (the north side receives less precipitation).
The minimum number of days required for this route is six days, and seven days are recommended.
Although the scenery is not as varied as the western routes, Rongai makes up for this by passing through true wilderness areas for days before joining the Marangu route at Kibo camp. This route descends down the Marangu route. Rongai is a moderately difficult route, and is highly recommended, especially for those with less backpacking experience
The Umbwe route is a short, steep and direct route. It is considered to be very difficult and is the most challenging way up Mount Kilimanjaro. Due to the quick ascent, Umbwe does not provide the necessary stages for altitude acclimatization. Although the traffic on this route is very low, the chances of success are also low.
The route is offered at a minimum of six days, though seven days is recommended when attempting this route.
The Umbwe route should only be attempted by those who are very strong hikers and are confident in their ability to acclimatize. However, overall, the Umbwe route is not recommended and we discourage its usage for our clients.
Things to Consider when Choosing a Kilimanjaro Route
To choose the best Kilimanjaro route for you, there are plenty of variables to be mindful of.
- Climber Condition: Who is climbing? The whole group’s abilities must be factored into choosing a route. Are there novices in your group? Are there people who have never been to high altitudes? Pick a route that best fits everyone.
- What: What limitations surround your climb? Are you bound by a budget? Or the number of days on your trip? There are cheaper and more expensive routes, and shorter and longer itineraries. Get an idea of how much money and how many days people are willing to spend on the mountain.
- How: How do you see your trek? Do you want the most challenging route or a less strenuous one? Kilimanjaro can bring out a lot of discomfort and suffering. Some people don’t want to be pushed too hard. These answers will affect which route is for you.
- Where: Where do you want to begin your climb? The routes start from all sides of the mountain. Where you begin affects cost, scenery and scenic variety. For instance, the western routes are more scenic because they cover more of the mountain.
- Why: Why are you climbing? Is it very important to summit? Then choose a route with a high success rate. Do you want to take the best photos? Then pick a scenic route. Do you just want to be there? Then choose a quick, inexpensive route.
- Time : When are you climbing? If you are climbing during the dry season, great. But if you are climbing during the rainy season or the shoulder seasons, then the route you select can play into the climb’s difficulty. Climbs around holidays and full moons are especially crowded