Climbing Kilimanjaro is absolutely an experience of a life time! Check out our best Kilimanjaro itineraries and all you need to know about climbing Kilimanjaro.
The mighty Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa (5,895 m, 19, 341 ft) and the world’s highest free-standing mountain. Since you don’t need to be an experienced climber to reach its summit, Kilimanjaro is a popular destination for travellers who like to challenge themselves.
The Tanzania Specialist offers Climbing Kilimanjaro itineraries for all the different Kilimanjaro Routes. The main question is which route should you choose? Read all you want to know about Mount Kilimanjaro including the best routes to climb Kilimanjaro. Of course you can combine your climb with a spectacular Tanzania Safari or a relax beach holiday on Zanzibar Island.
Kilimanjaro routes in short
Are you a beginner in climbing Kilimanjaro? – Choose the Marangu – or Machame
Are you looking for the scenic route? – Lemosho or Machame
Are you looking for the shortest, cheapest and easiest route? – Marangu
Are you looking for the longest route? – Northern circuit
Are you looking for the moderate route? – Machame or Lemosho
Are you looking to trek in rainy season? – Rongai
Are you looking for the most difficult route? – Umbwe
Are you looking for the most popular route? – Machame
Are you looking for the route with higher success rates? – 8 days Lemosho or 9 days Northern circuit
Kilimanjaro routes: pros and cons
There are seven different Kilimanjaro climbing routes to choose from, each with their pros and cons. They all vary in length, difficulty, scenery, traffic, accommodation and other aspects. Based on our experience we advise you to choose one of the 3 most popular routes: Machame Route, Maranga Route or Lemosho route. Below you can read all the pros and cons about these 3 routes. For information about the other routes, check Mount Kilimanjaro.
This “Whiskey Route” is one the most popular climbing routes, with a high success rate. The route has a gradual ascend which gives your body more time to adjust to the height. Since the trail circles around the mountain, it offers spectacular views and a wide variety of landscapes. Walk through green rainforest to the amazing Shira Plateau. The last ascent to the crater rim at Stella Point is probably the most challenging part of this route since it is very steep. The Machame Route can be done in 6 or 7 days if you are fit. However, the success rate of climbers using the 7 day route is much higher. It offers you the change to climb high and sleep low, which is the key to a proper acclimatisation. The Machame Route is also less expensive than most others, due to its shorter route and easy access. The disadvantage is that this route can be quite busy, especially during the peak season.
This route, nicknamed the “Coca-Cola” route, has a reputation of being one of the easiest paths on the mountain. It certainly is the shortest Kilimanjaro route, however it gives your body less time to acclimatize properly since you only climb up and not down. The chances of reaching the summit on this route are much lower. Some climbers prefer this route because of the hut accommodation (dormitory), in contrary to camping in tents. Unfortunately this also means less privacy. It may be the cheapest one to reach the top of the Kilimanjaro, but also the only route that uses the same trail up and down. This makes the Marangu Route busy during the peak season, but also one of the least scenic since you only see a part of the mountain.
The Lemosho Route is a beautiful and unique route, known for its breathtaking views. In contrary to other routes, it starts on the western side of the Kilimanjaro. Therefore the Leomosho Route is less crowded with climbers and much more secluded. The trail is unspoiled and a beautiful way up to the Shira Plateau. After a few days the lemosho Route joins the Machame Route at Lava Tower. You can do this route in 7 or 8 days if you are fit. Although Memosho is a more expensive route – longer trail and extra transport to other side of the mountain – it’s definitely worth it. It gives climbers plenty of time to acclimatize properly, the views are spectacular and the success rates to reach the summit are high. This is one of the most beautiful and complete routes to climb Kilimanjaro.
Best time for climbing Kilimanjaro
You can climb Kilimanjaro any time of the year. Yet during some months there is more rainfall, snow and the temperatures are lower. The best time to climb the mountain depends also on your preferences: you like less busy trails, better visibility or both?
The two main climbing seasons are the dry months from December to March and from June to October. The warmest months are from December to March. During these months the skies are clearer and there is less chance of snow on the trail. February is the best month since the temperature is high and the changes of rainfall low. From June to October it is also a good time for climbing Kilimanjaro, however the temperatures at the mountain are a bit colder and the trails are busier.
During the rainy seasons it can be wet, slippery and the visibility may be limited. Most climbers avoid these seasons, although some experienced climbers and adventurous people prefer this time. Mainly due to the lack of crowds, peace and quietness.
How to prepare for climbing Kilimanjaro
During an average climbing day you will walk 6-7 hours per day. It is a real challenge due to the altitude, rate of ascent and different temperatures. If you are healthy and fit it is absolutely within reach. However, there are many things you can do to increase your chances to reach the summit and to make sure you enjoy the trek. Apart from buying good gear it is important to start practise hiking a few months before your departure. But also running and aerobic exercise learns you to use oxygen very effectively. Check the top-4 preparation tips for climbing Kilimanjaro.
Climbing Kilimanjaro costs
The costs for climbing Kilimanjaro depend on the route you choose. Check the itineraries for the different routes to see the costs. But the total costs for climbing Kilimanjaro are more than just the climbing package (itinerary).
Costs that you should also budget for:
- Buying the right equipment, like walking poles, hiking boots, daypack, proper clothing, sleeping bag, headlamp etc.
- Travel insurance for climbing Kilimanjaro. Trip cancellation insurance is advisable. You can also choose an additional flying doctors insurance.
- Tipping guides and porters: the porters and guides work very hard for little money. Tipping on Kilimanjaro is standard on Kilimanjaro and helps them a lot and also their families they support. Of course it is up to you to decide how much you tip at the end of your trip. If you like advise on how much to give, just contact us.
Climbing Kilimanjaro reviews
“Climbing Kilimanjaro was so beautiful and the guides were very professional and helpful. We were pleasantly surprised how good the food was they prepared; delicious breakfast with eggs, bread, sausages, pancakes and fresh fruit. Eating breakfast while during the sunrise was great! The breathtaking views and reaching the summit was an incredible and memorable experience.”
Connie & Jaap.
“My wife and I climb the Kilimanjaro on the Machame Route. We prepared ourselves properly with physical training. During the climb we only had to carry a light backpack with water and snacks, the porters carried our heavy backpacks. They were so friendly. We expected very simple meals, but we had delicious dinners. After a tough day walking, the meals taste so good. To conquer the roof of Africa is amazing and truly breathtaking! ”
Gijs & Cinamon.