If you have decided to climb Kilimanjaro in 2016 – Congratulations! You are one of some 50,000 adventurers who will tackle Africa’s highest mountain this year, but sadly, not everyone will make it to Uhuru Peak at 5,895m, and if you want to give yourself the best chance, it’s all about choosing the right route.
There are 7 different routes on Mount Kilimanjaro, namely Marangu (Coca-Cola), Machame (Whisky), Umbwe, Lemosho, Rongai, Shira, and the Northern Circuit. The most popular route on Kilimanjaro remains the Marangu, quite simply because it is the shortest and least expensive route, but it has the lowest success rate of all, and if your aim is to climb all the way to the top of Kili, it might not be your best option.
The Umbwe Route is considered to be the most challenging ascent to Uhuru Peak and is therefore only recommended for experienced climbers. The Rongai Route is considered to be the easiest of all, and so this is a good choice for those with limited experience.
Both the Shira and Northern Circuit Routes are still relatively ‘new’ and as such, they don’t see much traffic. If you are looking for a peaceful journey to the roof of Africa, these could be the routes for you, but they are not offered by all operators, and so you may have to do some research if you are to find your perfect tour along these routes.
This just leaves us the Machame Route and the Lemosho Route. The Machame is one of the most scenic routes on Kilimanjaro, and as a result, it had become a popular choice for international travellers. Available as a 6 or 7-day expedition (go for 7 days – you’ll be glad you did on Summit day!), it has a high success rate, and the scenery is simply breath-taking.
The Lemosho Route is fast becoming one of Kilimanjaro’s most popular routes as adventurers understand that the more time they spend on the mountain, the higher their chances are of reaching the summit. The Lemosho Route is available as an 8 or 9-day expedition, both of which join up with the Machame Route at the Gran Barranco Canyon, and follow the same trail to Karanga Camp and Barafu Camp before heading for the peak.
All Kilimanjaro Routes are worth climbing, but if you are serious about reaching the summit, you need to read up on each route and decided which is right for your level of physical fitness. While we all have a budget, you shouldn’t be guided by cheap climbs as they usually end up in disappointment, and a couple of hundred dollars could make all the difference between a successful expedition, and a complete failure that leaves you feeling dreadful and making your way down the mountain before you’ve reached your goal.