Which Is The Best Route To Climb Kilimanjaro?

There are seven established Kilimanjaro climbing routes which they tend to differ only in their length, scenery and cost. They also have different hardest stages and different success rates. Choosing a Kilimanjaro trekking route is one of the most vital decisions you have to consider.

 The seven Kilimanjaro best trekking routes tend to vary not only in the cost, length and scenery but also each route has its own advantage and disadvantage. They are the marangu, Umbwe route, Shira, Lemosho, northern circuit, Rongai and the Machame route. Though some of the operator will make the comprehensive statements that a certain route is good or bad.

There is a condition when each route has advantages. When choosing the Kilimanjaro route you have to make sure that it is the best and correct route for your desires, comfort level and physical ability. The routes are also characterized with difficulty stages and different success rates. Selecting a Kilimanjaro hiking route is one of the vital decision you have to consider before deciding to book for your tour.

Though there is no any single best route for trekking Kilimanjaro, the popularity of this free standing mountain in Africa continuous to increase. Potential hikers are sometimes uncertain as to which route to choose.

Choosing the right Kilimanjaro route for your climb is an important decision.

One of them, the Western Breach route, is a challenging and dangerous route and not used much which leaves only two. The routes to climb Kilimanjaro approach the mountain from different sides and they vary considerably in length, difficulty, traffic levels and other aspects.

Sometimes it can be confused to most people that there are eight routes for trekking Kilimanjaro as there are six main routes in ascending and two routes in descending. But you have to not that one of the ascending routes can also be used in descending. Therefore there are only seven routes for trekking Kilimanjaro Mountain. Most of these trails meet and share the same way up over the last days of climbing. As an outcome there are only three dedicated routes from the base of Kibo, the main peak to Kilimanjaro crater rim

One of the routes, starts from the western breach, is said to be the challengeable and risk and not used much which leaves two. The routes to trek Kilimanjaro approach the mountain from various sides and they differ considerably in difficultness, traffic levels, length, scenery and many aspects.

Best Climbing Routes – Which is the Best Route for You?

Considering the best route of trekking Kilimanjaro can be best for you but there are some the other factors like physical and mental stamina, fitness, the budget cost, the time of the year and personal first choice. Hence taking the best Kilimanjaro route for your consideration should be taken for routes scenery, difficultness, foot traffic and the rate of acclimatization. There is no any best route as the climbers failed in all routes. There are seven routes of trekking Kilimanjaro but before let us look at individual climbing routes of Kilimanjaro and who are suitable for:

  • The Shira Route: this one propels you to some severe height on the first day.
  • The Lemosho Route: hands down the most attractive Kilimanjaro hike route, but luxurious.
  • The Umbwe Route: the most problematic and challenging route on Kilimanjaro, but the most remarkable.
  • The Marangu Route: this is the only Kilimanjaro hike route that provides hut accommodation.
  • The Machame Route: the best known ascending route up Kilimanjaro.
  • The Rongai Route: the easiest route on trekking Kilimanjaro.

In a summary below you will get an overview of those seven Kilimanjaro trekking routes. The routes have been discussed detailed on the way the Kilimanjaro routes compered in respect of the difficultness, sceneries, price and success rate.


Advantages and Disadvantages of the Different Kilimanjaro Climb Routes

Marangu Route


The marangu route has been the popular route for trekking Kilimanjaro for many years. But now it has been delegated to number 2 by the Machame route. You can find for Kilimanjaro route packages from various safari companies which provide the best services at an affordable cost for travellers. Using the marangu route you can summit the peak of Kilimanjaro only in 5 days’ time.  It is also considered to be the simplest way on reaching the top of Kilimanjaro.

Duration: 5 days, the acclimatization day can be added to make it 6 days.

  • Lowest success rate.
  • There is high traffic.
  • Camping is prohibited
  •  Little cost.
  • Huts accommodation, camping equipment are not needed.
  • Apparently the simplest route.

Machame Route


This is one among the route which is characterized by the attractive scenery features on the way up to Kilimanjaro. After the budget operators discover it, the Machame route quickly becomes the most popular kili climb route. This is the popular route now used by many climbers every year to hike Kilimanjaro. It is also regarded to be the dangerous one to trek Kilimanjaro but it has the highest success rate than the rest of the routes. It will take you 6-7 days to find your final destination via Machame trail.

Durations: 6 or 7 days

  • Higher success rate
  • Higher level of striving.
  • High traffic.
  •  Moderately little cost.
  • Many types of scenery.


Rongai Route


This is said to be the simplest way up Kilimanjaro.it has the reputation of a remote wildness trails. It is also the only route to approach Kilimanjaro starting from the north. This route is somehow costly than the other routes which takes six days to accomplish the trip. It is also has the highest success rate like the other Kilimanjaro routes. If you want to see adventures throughout Kilimanjaro trip we recommend you choose Rongai trail.

Duration of trekking: six to seven days.

  • Ascent and descent are on differing borders, you see both sides of Kilimanjaro and You descend via the Marangu route
  •  Very expensive due to extra travel to reach other side.
  •  The simplest Kilimanjaro route.
  • One of the softer routes on Kilimanjaro.
  • Approaches the mountain from the dried out side and the best chances of good weather.


Shira Route


This is another best route on Kilimanjaro which approaches the mountain from the west side. Shira trails are very challenging especially for the people who have a problem with high elevations. But it tends to resemble with that of Lemosho in distance and height. The route is a bit higher in budget than the other Kilimanjaro routes.

Hiking duration: 6-8 days

  • Very expensive.
  • Advanced striving level.
  • Less traffic on the first days.
  • Plenty scenic.
  • Join the Machame trail


Lemosho Route

This is the best route it is best known and safety route ever to reach the top in 8 days of time. The trekking rate through this route is also higher like the other Kilimanjaro routes. This route is significantly fewer issues like adopting the low oxygen level while travelling and so on. Accessibility of emergence evacuation, flying doctors crew and extra advantage to consider this route for Kilimanjaro trek safely. You can carry your luggage and other things easily throughout the trip since it has safe up and downs. Long and expensive but remote and beautiful approaches Kilimanjaro via Shira plateau.

Duration of trekking: 7-8 days

  •  Very expensive.
  • Higher difficulty level.
  • Join the Machame and Shira trail.
  •  Have very attractive scenery features.
  • Little number of trekkers during the first days.
  • Provide enough of time for acclimatization.


Umbwe Route


This is the climbing route famous for its steepness, direct and rough compared to the other routes. The route is highly recommended only for the people who have experience in mountain trekking. The number of people is increasing not to reach the top of Kilimanjaro via this route. It is the route which has the steepest terrain of a big S.

The route is not used much, but it can be used by trekkers with mountain climbing experience and those who have already well exposed to the highest altitude. The duration of climbing is 5-6 days.

Mweka Route

This is most of the time used for descending. You can follow it if you are trekking Kilimanjaro via Machame route, Shira, Lemosho or Umbwe route.

As prohibited as all this may sound, there are probable variations, some of the routes have substitute ways for some sections, you can join different parts of various routes and climbs can be elongated to include a night in the crater. But this is recommended for experienced and well acclimatized trekkers. The camp is absolutely high.

Hypothetically you can also walk around the base of Kibo, but if you want to experience something different from the provided standards of Kilimanjaro routes you are obliged to find an agency to organize it for you, also you will need a special permit from KINAPA.

In summary…

Selecting the incorrect Kilimanjaro route could mean the difference between having an excellent, enjoyable experience and successful summit against a disturbing, depressed trek and a unsuccessful effort. We have successfully guided climbers on each route.


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