Mount Kilimanjaro

This is the highest point in Africa 5,895m high above the sea level. Mount Kilimanjaro is well known as the tallest mountain in Africa as well as the highest free standing mountain in the world. It is located, about 330km away from the equator in Kilimanjaro National Park. Thousands of people from all over the world try to conquer it every year.

CLIMBING ROUTES

Mount Kilimanjaro has six different trekking routes, some are easy than others. Selecting the right route for you will contribute to your summit success. Most routes take 7 days this is recommended in order to acclimatise and prevent altitude sickness.

MARANGU ROUTES

The Marangu route is also known as the “Tourist route” and the “Coca-Cola route.” This is because Marangu is the most popular route on the mountain. It is the only route that offers sleeping huts, along the way

Marangu is considered the easiest route. It’s ascension profile is very gradual and steady, allowing for painless trekking most of the way. However, due to its reputation as an easy route, Marangu is often selected by unprepared, inexperienced climbers, therefore it only has a summit success rate of 35%!

The trek begins in the south-east area of the mountain at Marangu gate. The route takes five days minimum to complete, although six days is more practical and recommended. The sleeping huts along the route are structures with a dining hall and bunk beds, equipped with mattresses and pillows. The descent follows the same path back down the mountain.

Scenically, Marangu is not a the best choice although, it is the best trail for rainforest

RONGAI ROUTE

The Rongai route is the only route that approaches Kilimanjaro from the north, near the Kenyan border. Rongai’s ascent profile is very similar to that of Marangu and is one of Kilimanjaro’s easier routes. The climb to the top is gradual and steady. However, unlike Marangu, this route is less crowded and passes through remote wilderness areas. It is probably the only route where seeing wildlife in the first few days is possible.

The route takes six days minimum to complete, although seven days is recommended. The descent is down Mweka, on the south-east side of the mountain. Scenically, Rongai route is beautiful because it travels through unspoiled rainforest and remote wilderness area. Rongai is ideal for those who are not confident in their ability to hike over steeper paths, those who want to avoid traffic, and those who want to enjoy a quieter hike.

SHIRA ROUTE

The Shira route is a difficult route that begins in the west, at Shira gate. What is unique about Shira is that the first section of the trail is not hiked, but rather driven. Therefore, climbers will miss out on hiking through the rainforest. The hike starts at 11,500 feet, at Simba camp. This is a sizeable altitude gain for someone who slept at Moshi or Arusha the previous night. Complications from altitude can occur due to failed acclimatization.

The route takes six days minimum to complete, seven is recommended. The descent is down Mweka, in the south-east. Scenically, Shira is beautiful because it crosses the spectacular Shira plateau, and then combines with the Machame route to share its viewpoints around the southern circuit. Shira has low traffic until it combines with Machame.

LEMOSHO ROUTE

The Lemosho route is a newer route that approaches the summit from the west. It is a difficult and long route, but one that is favoured due to its smaller crowds, scenic variety and high success rates.

Lemosho trekkers have a longer distance to cover in the rainforest than other routes, and as a result climbers do not exit the rainforest until the end of day two. This schedule means that the Lemosho route is a longer route, usually taking seven to eight days to complete.

Though considered a difficult route, the added days on the lower slopes of the mountain make this the best route for altitude acclimatization. The descent is down Mweka, in the south-east. Scenically, Lemosho is considered the most varied and most beautiful because it begins in the rainforest, crosses the spectacular shira plateau, and then combines with the Machame route to share its viewpoints around the southern circuit.

MACHAME ROUTE

The Machame route is known as the “Whiskey route,” is a more difficult route, and does not have sleeping huts for accommodation. Machame is the second most popular route on the mountain.

The trek begins in the south-west area of the mountain at Machame gate. The route takes six days minimum to complete, seven is recommended. The descent follows Mweka trail on the south-east side of the mountain. Because of the ascent in the west and descent down the north, Machame offers great vistas of Kilimanjaro.

Machame is ideal for those who want a more difficult climb, and are confident in their ability to hike over extended periods of time on sometimes steep terrain.

UMBWE ROUTE

The Umbwe route is the least used, least crowded route on the mountain. It is also the most difficult route on the mountain. Umbwe is a steep, constant, straight climb to the top. Umbwe is mostly avoided because the ascent profile does not give climbers much time to adjust to the altitude and summit success rate is very low. The route takes six days minimum to complete, although seven days is recommended. The descent is down Mweka, on the south-east side of the mountain. The Umbwe is ideal for those who want a challenging climb, and are very confident in their ability trek over consistently steep slopes.

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