Kilimanjaro – Which Route?

If you have finally decided to make your lifelong dream become a reality by climbing Kilimanjaro, the next step is to decide which route you are going to take, what company you are going to climb with, and when you are going to attempt to summit Africa’s highest mountain.

There are six established routes on Mount Kilimanjaro, namely Marangu, Machame/Mweka, Lemosho, Shira, Rongai and Umbwe, and here we give you a very brief overview of each to help you get some ideas:

The Marangu route, also known as the “Coca-Cola” route, remains the classic trek on Kilimanjaro due to the dormitory style accommodations are relatively easy path.  The cheapest option, it allows you to climb Kili in just 5 days, but traffic is high and due to the quick ascent, altitude sickness can become a problem.

Known as the Whisky Route, the Machame trail is usually climbed over 7 days (6 day climbs are possible), and while you sleep in tents rather than huts, the gradual ascent helps with acclimatization and the chances of reaching the summit are good.

Considered the most beautiful route on Kilimanjaro, the Lemosho route begins in the west and crosses from Shira Ridge to Shira Camp.  This trail joins with the Machame route at Lava Tower and follows the same circuit to Uhuru Peak.  The minimum amount of days for Lemosho is six, although eight is recommended.

The Shira trail is almost identical to the Lemosho route but it starts off at a higher altitude. The hike begins at 3,600metres (11,800ft), and then eventually merges with the Lemosho/Machame trails. This route appeals to those who are confident they will acclimatise quickly.

Rongai route is the only route that approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the north, very close to the Kenyan Border.  While some consider it to be less scenic than the other routes, there is less mountain traffic so it appeals to those looking for a remote hiking experience.

Professional and experienced hikers will appreciate the Umbwe route.  Short, steep and considered the most challenging way up Mount Kilimanjaro, this route is not for everyone and does not allow much time for acclimatisation.  Offered over six or seven-day tours, this might be the perfect choice for your second mission to conquer the Roof of Africa!



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