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Kilimanjaro Hiking Routes – Complete list & Highlights

Mount Kilimanjaro is situated in Kilimanjaro National Park located in Tanzania, South of the Kenyan border. Mt. Kilimanjaro is the highest point in Africa and is a top destination for adventure travelers with different levels of experience when it comes to climbing mountains.

From the highly experienced to the first timers. Yes, a traveler with no experience can also ascend to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Uhuru peak sitting at 5,895 meters above sea level.

There are 7 established routes on Mt. Kilimanjaro that can take you to the summit of Uhuru. With varying sceneries, length, crowds, difficulty levels, success rates and acclimatization possibilities, it is up to you to choose which route to take you from the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro to the roof of the African continent.

Kilimanjaro climbing routes

1. Machame Route

  • The most popular climbing route
  • Begins from the South
  • Known as the “Whiskey” route
  • 62km long
  • Scenically beautiful with great panoramic views
  • It is a difficult route recommended for the adventurous and experienced travelers / hikers
  • High crowds
  • Fully catered camping
  • Duration of the climb is 6-7 days

Read more about the Machame Route

2. Lemosho Route

  • The most beautiful route on Kilimanjaro
  • Begins from the West
  • 70km long
  • High summit success rate
  • It has low traffic, so it is recommended for people who wish to stay away from crowds
  • Averagely difficulty
  • Fully catered camping only
  • Duration of the climb is 7-8 days.

Read more about the Lemosho Route

3. Northern Circuit Route

  • One of the most beautiful routes with breathtaking vistas
  • Begins from the West and then wraps around the rarely visited North side
  • 98km long making it the longest route on Kilimanjaro
  • Has the highest summit success rate
  • Newest route on Kilimanjaro
  • It has low traffic and less popular because it is quite expensive
  • Considered the easiest route because of its high acclimatization abilities therefore recommended for beginners
  • Duration of the climb is 8-9 days

Read more about the Northern circuit route

4. Marangu Route

  • Most popular and oldest route on Kilimanjaro
  • Known as the “Coca-Cola” route
  • Only route that offers hut accommodation on Kilimanjaro making it the most established route
  • Begins from the South
  • 72km long
  • Lowest summit success rate because it has a steep ascent and always trekked by less experienced hikers
  • Poor acclimatization abilities
  • Most crowded route
  • Least scenic because mainly because you ascend n descend on the same route
  • Duration of climb is 5-6 days

Read more about the Marangu Route

5. Shira Route

  • One of the oldest routes on the mountain
  • Very steep elevation on day 1 thus recommended to experienced climbers
  • Begins from the West
  • 56km long
  • Good summit success rate
  • Scenic route
  • Low traffic-less crowded
  • Similar to Lemosho route with the only difference being the starting point and elevation.
  • Duration of climb is 7-8 days

Read more about the Shira Route

6. Rongai Route

  • The only route that ascends Kilimanjaro from the North
  • Moderately difficult making it a good pick for the less experienced climbers
  • Less crowded as it is not so popular
  • 73km long
  • Best route to use during the wet season
  • Offers the clearest views of Kilimanjaro summit during the climb
  • Gives the climbers a wilderness experience
  • Duration of climb is 6-7 days

Read more about the Rongai Route

7. Umbwe Route

  • Most demanding and difficult route
  • Has the most scenic views
  • Begins from the South
  • Has little traffic of hikers
  • 53km long making it the shortest route
  • Recommended for the experienced climbers
  • Lower summit success rates
  • Very steep ascent
  • Fully catered camping
  • Duration of climb is 6-7 days

Read more about the Umbwe Route

Making a choice for which route to use to climb to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro is as important as preparing yourself physically and mentally, training your body for acclimatization and packing the right clothing and equipment for an enjoyable, safe, successful and rewarding ascent of the tallest mountain in Africa.

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