HomeKilimanjaro Climbing Routes

Kilimanjaro Climbing Routes

Before setting out to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro, it’s crucial to acquaint yourself with its seven established hiking routes, each offering unique challenges and experiences. The Marangu, Machame, and Umbwe routes approach from the south, with Marangu known for its gradual slope and hut accommodations, Machame for its scenic beauty, and Umbwe for its steep ascent, appealing to seasoned adventurers.

Conversely, the Lemosho, Shira, and Northern Circuit routes approach from the west, providing longer and more gradual ascents, stunning vistas, and ample acclimatization opportunities. The Rongai route, the sole approach from the north, offers a quieter and remote trekking experience. Illustrated below are three-dimensional depictions of these routes, showcasing their varied approaches to the summit. Whether seeking adventure, solitude, or panoramic views, each route promises a remarkable journey to the pinnacle of Africa’s highest peak.

SELECTING KILIMANJARO CLIMBING ROUTES

Mount Kilimanjaro offers seven established routes for climbers: Marangu, Machame, Lemosho, Shira, Rongai, Northern Circuit, and Umbwe. Each route presents a unique approach to the summit, with the Marangu, Machame, and Umbwe routes approaching from the south, and the Lemosho, Shira, and Northern Circuit routes coming from the west. The Rongai route is the only one that approaches from the north. Mweka route is exclusively used for descent.

Choosing the ideal route for your Kilimanjaro climb can be challenging. You need to consider several factors, including:

  • Scenery of the route
  • Difficulty level
  • Traffic on the mountain
  • Altitude acclimatization points

To help you decide, we’ve created this guide to assist you in selecting the best possible route for your Kilimanjaro adventure.

Which is the best route to climb mount Kilimanjaro

One of the most common inquiries we receive is, “Which is the best route to climb Kilimanjaro?” The answer largely depends on your preferences and priorities. Here are our top picks:

Highest Success Rate and Overall Best Route: For those prioritizing summit success, the Lemosho and Machame routes, both taken over 7 or 8 days, stand out. Offering excellent acclimatization and a comparatively easier summit night, these routes lead the pack in terms of summit attainment, making them our top recommendations for climbing Kilimanjaro.

Most Scenic Route: If breathtaking views are what you seek, the Lemosho route, which approaches from the West, is unparalleled. Boasting spectacular vistas in all directions, it’s a clear winner in terms of scenic beauty.

Quietest Route: For those desiring solitude away from the crowds, the Rongai route is the ideal choice. While it offers a quieter trekking experience, it’s worth noting that the success rate is comparatively lower.

Most Challenging Route: If you crave adventure and seek a truly unique wilderness experience, the crater camp option stands out as the best route to climb Kilimanjaro. With less than 1% of climbers opting for this route, those who undertake it rave about its unparalleled thrill and adventure.

Each route presents its own set of challenges and rewards, catering to different aspirations and preferences. Whether you prioritize summit success, breathtaking scenery, solitude, or adventure, there’s a perfect route awaiting your Kilimanjaro climb.

What is the easiest route to climb Kilimanjaro?

The main challenge on Mount Kilimanjaro is not the steep slopes or long daily hikes, but the altitude. So, itineraries that offer the best acclimatization profiles might be considered the “easiest”. Perhaps, we can again highlight Lemosho 7-8, Rongai 7, with Machame 7 and Northern Circuit following close.

Lemosho route 7-day itinerary is the most accessible route on Mount Kilimanjaro for several reasons. Beginning at an elevation of 3500 meters, it eliminates the need for ascending to that altitude during the trek. Short initial daily hikes prevent overexertion, so your body can focus on adapting to the altitude. All overnight stays are at 3500 meters or above, also facilitating better acclimatization. Additionally, the route from the Barafu Camp to the summit is the shortest, saving approximately an hour in travel time.

The Northern Circuit offers great acclimatization due to more days spent on the mountain, but it is more suitable for hikers who are prepared for longer treks every day. For beginners, the above-mentioned Lemosho, Rongai and Machame might be easier options with a higher chance of summitting. If you feel that you need extra time for rest and acclimatization, it’s possible to add an extra acclimatization day at any of the camps to your itinerary.

Which Kilimanjaro route has the highest summit success rate?

According to Awe safari statistics, 7 and 8-day Lemosho routes have the highest summit success rate at about 98%. The vast majority of climbers who embark on a hike via those Lemosho itineraries make it to the top. Wondering why it’s the case? The answer is simple: great acclimatization profile, many opportunities for “climb high, sleep low”, and enough time at the altitude to gradually adjust. However, most itineraries that last 7 days or longer on the mountain also have great summit success rates.

Important note: summit success rates vary from operator to operator. A budget tour company might have amateur guides and poor equipment, undermining your chances of safely reaching Uhuru Peak. They often claim to have 95%+ summit success rates, while in reality, it is way lower.

On the other hand, a reputable operator will go above and beyond to make sure you get the best chances of summiting and enjoy every detail of the experience. At Awe Safari, we stand by our commitment to excellence, with proven success rates of up to 98% on routes like Lemosho 7 and 8.

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Elisa M
Elisa M
2024-04-06
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Great Tour Company me and my girl friend went on 7days safari with Awe Safari, to Tarangire, Ngorongoro crater and Serengeti national park, Ray and his Company (Awe Safari) was wonderful and he was also funny Guide and knowledgeable, we had a great time and enjoyable trip, we saw all the animals that we expected to see, Ray went out of his way to make sure that everything is clear and well done, we'll go back again for wildebeest to Zebras Migration in Serengeti national park, I highly recommend this great company for both Kilimanjaro trekking and wildlife Safari, cheers and see you again
Cecilia C
Cecilia C
2024-04-02
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Excellent Safari with Raymond! We went on a safari with Raymond and had a truly amazing time! Raymon was so kind, funny, and knowledgeable. We learned so much and saw so many animals - all of the big 5 while with him! We always felt safe and had a wonderful time. We still think so fondly of our time with Raymond!! Thank you!
Gregg Yan
Gregg Yan
2024-04-01
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Excellent Value for Money Ray Shirima knows where the animals are. He'll get you to them safely. His tours are A-Grade and well worth your time and treasure.
Linda G
Linda G
2023-08-25
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Ray is an amazing guide! Me, my boyfriend and some friends went on a 4-days safari trip. It was one of the best days in my life! The owner Ray is an amazing guide. I highly recommend this company! /Linda from Sweden
VIRGINIA O
VIRGINIA O
2023-02-12
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A fabulous Safari! We went on a 6 day safari with Ray in Jan 2023. Ray is a very friendly young man with a great sense of humour. He is an experienced and knowledgeable guide with a keen eye for spotting elusive wildlife; he is a skilllful driver. He made every effort to make sure we were comfortable and had plenty of time to view and take pictures of the animals. He was accompanied by a chef, Victor, who prepared delicious Tanzanian meals, including a hot lunch. We certainly recommend Ray and Awe Safaris. Virginia O'Brien and Bob Audet
Ivan R
Ivan R
2022-03-15
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Almost there... Almost there... words, words I will never forget. Kili was my dream and after those words, I overcame it with the help of AWE Safari. it was hard and at the same time mental rest from the worries of everyday life. For the rest of my life I will remember that experience and thank Peter, Ino, Majka and of course Ray for organizing and finishing my dream to the end.
kitty_knows
kitty_knows
2021-08-14
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Inside knowledge pays off when you travel this far We did the 5-day camping tour including Tarangire, Serengeti and Ngorongoro. It took us ages to find the operator we wanted to go with. Firstly, because this kind of activity is expensive in Tanzania (the National Parks take a huge chunk of money), secondly because there are so many fake and frankly strange reviews that give little info and, thirdly because the Covid pandemic meant a wildly reduced offering. It is very difficult to imagine what you will really experience on a safari when you have never done one before and all the offers look similar. A lot of operators don’t have proper websites, which is a worry when you try to book. Here is what we luckily found out: Unless you have very specific needs regarding accommodation, tent and foods, the experience of the guide makes the difference between amazing experience, value for money and “ok”. With Ray we had a once-in-lifetime!!! And I will come back to Tansania to have a safari with him again, and I will continue to recommend him to friends and colleagues. The trick on a safari is to know where to go and when to have the best chance of seeing an animal before all the other guides find it. Inevitably, most of the cars in each park will converge on a spot. But if you have a guide like Ray you will have five or ten minutes to yourself before that happens. And this is what sets apart an experienced guide from a novice. The novice (or perhaps the lazy guides) can follow the other cars and their clients will end up seeing the same animals. But no money in the world can weigh up observing a heard of elephants or a mother lioness with her cubs in total calm with nobody else around. No chatter, no screaming children, no posing for pictures just watching. I must stress that this is also dependent on luck. And you will need a lot of it. You never know what you see on any given day. We saw absolutely everything Serengeti had to give. It was just nice. To close my review I will say that a good guide is kind to his clients, kind to all the other workers and kind to the animals. Ray is all of this. So big thumbs up. And hope to be back in Tansania soon!!!
Lone Asif
Lone Asif
2020-12-11
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Lifetime experience We had an amazing trip with Raymond Ray is a wonderful guy he knows everything .Everything was good like Car ' food ' camp ' and also price was affordable Ray is good speaking guide and also very helpful We had a great time with him .Ray is a very knowledgeable about the animals and environment and very good finding the animals .. You don't need to search more just do it with Raymond , you won't regret I highly recommend Raymond for everyone Will sure come again Best regards Lone Asif
Aytekin Bal
Aytekin Bal
2020-11-25
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Raymond is the right one... We had a great experience with Raymond. He is more than a guide… You become like friends in short time.. You dont need to search more. Just do it with Raymond, you won't regret...
Peoscar
Peoscar
2020-11-21
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Highly recommended Back in November of 2017 me, my wife and a friend couple was in Tanzania and had the pleasure of meeting Ray. He was our tour guide through a 4 day safari that can only be described as amazing! I'm really thrilled to hear that he has opened his own company!!! I would recommend his services to anyone. Top of the line; both in terms of professionalism and friendliness!