With the summit reaching 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) above sea level, the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest freestanding mountain in the world and Africa's highest peak. To climb Kilimanjaro and watch the sunrise spread it's golden light across the savannah below is an experience and personal accomplishment second to none.
Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the "seven summits" and is the only one that does not require technical gear. Climbing Kilimanjaro is like walking from the equator to the North Pole in a week, providing dramatic changes in vegetation and animal life day by day. Its high altitudes have created habitat for strange and unique life forms found only on a few other peaks on the planet. While it doesn't boast the technical challenges of its counterparts like K2 or Everest, we recommend you do your research and choose a route best suited for you. There are seven official routes on Kilimanjaro. We've highlighted some of the key features of each route below.
Machame - 7 days
With it's varied scenery, high summit success rates and 7-day itinerary, this has become one of the most popular routes on the mountain.
Lemosho - 8 days
Enjoy Kilimanjaro's most scenic route crossing six distinctive ecological zones and taking in unparall views of the gorges on your way to the summit.
Northern Circuit - 9 days
Kilimanjaro's newest route boasts the highest summit success rates as well as access to the remote northern side of Kilimanjaro, a new favorite.
Marangu - 6 days
This itinerary starts at Marangu gate and is a straight climb up to the summit. Unlike every other route, this route offers accommodation in huts.
This route is highly recommended for it's stunning scenery as you pass through four diverse climate zones
It has a medium to high success rate, especially if you choose the seven-day itinerary.
The route has become very popular over the past few years which means it can get busy, especially at Barranco where climbers join up with trekkers from the Lemosho, Shira and Umbwe routes
The Machame route only offers fully catered camping
This is a beautiful route that departs from the West side of Mount Kilimanjaro
It can be completed on a seven or eight day itinerary and offers lots of opportunities to properly acclimatize. Because of it’s versatile route profile it is a highly recommended Kilimanjaro route that has relatively high summit success rates
The starting point is relatively remote providing trekkers with a rather untouched and wild start to their Kilimanjaro adventure. Spotting large wildlife, like antelope, buffalo and even elephants is unusual but not impossible
Lemosho is fully catered camping only
The Marangu route was Nicknamed the ‘Coca-Cola’ route as Coke used to be bought along the way in tea huts
It has the reputation for being the “easiest” route, however it also has a relatively low success rate possibly due to less time for acclimatization
This is the only route that offers dormitory style accommodation in huts for the entire climb. Huts have basic amenities including a mattress.
The Marangu route ascent and descent on same trail
This is the only northern starting point up Kilimanjaro. The northern side of Kilimanjaro tends to be drier than it's southern counterpart making this a good option in the rainy season
Like Lemosho, it is possible to see large wildlife
While this view, because of it's drier climate, tends to be less lush it does tend to offer clear view of Kilimanjaro
This route is flatter the first few days but does not offer a climb high, sleep low opportunity like most other routes
This route descends via Marangu, meaning the trek is fully catered camping until the final night at Horombo Hut
This is Kilimanjaro's newest route, following Lemosho's trail at the beginning before heading around the North side of the mountain, offering a quiet climb
The Northern Circuit route is the longest route on Kilimanjaro and has one of the highest summit success rates due to many climb high, sleep low opportunities and ample time to acclimate.
This route can be completed in eight or nine days