Kilimanjaro: 4 Routes 1 Mountain

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All our Kilimanjaro treks conform to porter standars KPAK

Kilimanjaro routes: 4 Routes 1 Mountain

Kilimonjaro

Gilman’s Point, approaching the summit of Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro is an inactive volcano in North Eastern Tanzania. It is the highest mountain in Africa and often called “The most beautiful mountain on earth”. Steamy lowland forest, heather uplands, rocky upper slopes and the snowy summit – 4 seasons in one week.

Here are the four best Kilimanjaro routes, carefully selected to offer you a variety of challenges and scenic experiences.

See our related article on The best season to climb Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro “pub facts”

Height: 5,895m (19,340ft). The highest free standing mountain in the world (that means it’s not part of a longer mountain range.)

Distance from Equator: 205 miles south of the equator.

Number of habitats traversed: 5 – rainforest, heath, moorland, alpine desert, glaciers.

First to climb: German geographer Hans Meyer & Austrian Ludwig Purtscheller (1889)

Number of people attempting to reach the summit each year: approx 25,000

Machame Route 6 or 7 days

Pros: direct route; great flora, fauna and geology

Cons: Can be busy and hard if you opt for the 6 day trek

Baranco camp

Baranco camp

The Machame route, otherwise known as the “Whiskey Route” is popular and undeniably a beautiful route to the summit. This is a tent-only Kilimanjaro routes and addresses the dilemma of acclimatisation well because you climb high and sleep low. Can be quite busy and is one of the most popular routes. Success rate is high although at times it can be steep and rather tough….especially the 6 day version. The 7 day option spends the extra night in the Karanga Valley and splits up an 8 hour day into two shorter days.

Summary:

Day Location Altitude Trek Time Board
Day 1: Arrive Moshi BB
Day 2: Machame Camp 3,100m 5 Hours FB
Day 3: Shira Camp 3,840m 4 Hours FB
Day 4: Barranco Camp 3,950m 6 Hours FB
Day 5: Barafu Camp 4,630m 8 Hours FB
Day 6: Summit day 5,895m* 11 Hours FB
Day 7: Final descent 1,829m 4 Hours B

* 5,895 is the altitude of Uhuru Peak. We camp at Mweka Camp at 3,110m.

Machame route

GUANANTEED Machame Trek Dates

Climb ref Start 2020
End 2020
STT KG142 9 Jan 17 Jan
STT KG147 8 Feb 16 Feb
STT KG142 7 Mar 15 Feb
STT KG157 19 Jun 27 Jun
STT KG164 5 Aug 13 Aug
STT KG175 20 Sep 28 Sep
STT KG179 17 Oct 25 Oct
STT KG181 5 Dec 13 Dec

Umbwe 6 days

Summit

The summit

Pros: You’ll have the trail to yourself on the first day

Cons: First day is rather difficult!
The Umbwe route is one of the lesser-used routes because it begins with a rather steep ascent and in places the trail can be difficult to follow. However this ensures trekker-traffic is kept at a minimum and the route can be an enjoyable option if you prefer your wilderness empty of other climbing groups. The views from the Umbwe trail are some of the most spectacular on the mountain especially on day 2 when the vistas across the heather fields are breathtaking.

Day Location Altitude Trek Time Board
Day 1: Arrive Moshi BB
Day 2: Umbwe cave 2,800m 5 Hours FB
Day 3: Barranco Camp 3,900m 4 Hours FB
Day 4: Karanga 4,200m 4 Hours FB
Day 5: Barafu Camp 4,630m 4 Hours FB
Day 6: Summit day 5,895m* 11 Hours FB
Day 7: Final descent 1,829m 4 Hours B

* 5,895 is the altitude of Uhuru Peak. We camp at Mweka Camp at 3,110m.

 

Umbwe route

Lemosho Route 8 days

Pros: Best option for scenery, acclimatisation, low trekker-traffic and overall enjoyment.

Cons: A long option and thus is a little bit more expensive.

This is Venture Co’s recommended route because the acclimatization is so good and steady [in fact, our success rate on this route is 100%! All those who set out on this route, summit.]

The longest and least-used Kilimajaro route to the summit. Lemosho is perfect for those looking for a quieter trail and a more peaceful atmosphere. It also appeals to those climbing Kilimanjaro for the second (or subsequent) time. The variety of habitats on this route is outstanding and there is the potential of seeing big game on the lower reaches. Due to this you’ll be accompanied by an armed game scout for the first day. With the 7 day option we trek from Mkubwa to Shira 2 and do not stay at Shira 1 (not recommended).

Day Location Altitude Trek Time Board
Day 1: Arrive Moshi BB
Day 2: Mkubwa 2,750m 3 Hours FB
Day 3: Shira 1 3,500m 5 Hours FB
Day 4: Shira 2 3,850m 2 Hours FB
Day 5: Baranco 3,860m 6 Hours FB
Day 6: Karanga 4,200m 4 Hours FB
Day 7: Barafu 4,600m 4 Hours FB
Day 8: Summit Day 5895m* 11 Hours FB
Day 9 Descent 1829m 4 Hours B

* 5,895 is the altitude of Uhuru Peak. We camp at Mweka Camp at 3,110m.

Lemosho route

GUANANTEED Lemosho Trek Dates

Climb ref Start 2020
End 2020
STT KG 144 17 Jan 26 Jan
STT KG 149 21 Feb 1 Mar
STT OG 102 3 Mar 11 Feb
STT KG 159 3 Jul 12 Jul
STT KG 166 14 Aug 23 Aug
STT KG 171 2 Sep 11 Sep
STT KG 177 3 Oct 12 Oct
STT KG 183 12 Dec 21 Dec

Rongai Route 6 days

Rayson the guide

Rayson the guide – a star!

Pros: Little traffic on the ascent

Cons: Miss out on the Western side of the mountain, which is it’s best face.

The Rongai route approaches the mountain from the North, near the Kenyan border, offering a different Kilimanjaro perspective. This remote and least-frequented Kilimanjaro route is straight forward and offers several variations. You begin just south of the Kenyan/Tanzanian border and trek through attractive traditional farmland and delightful forest. It used to be possible to sleep in caves on nights 3 and 4 but this is no longer permitted due to some irresponsible behaviour from some trekkers in years gone by; you make camp just outside. You’ll meet few climbers during the first 4 days.

Day Location Altitude Trek Time Board
Day 1: Arrive Moshi BB
Day 2: Simba camp 2,880m 4 Hours FB
Day 3: 2nd  Cave 3,450m 4 Hours FB
Day 4: 3rd  Cave 3,870m 4 Hours FB
Day 5: Kibo 4,750m 5 Hours FB
Day 6: Summit Day 5,895m* 11 Hours FB
Day 7: Descent 1,700m 3 Hours B

* 5,895 is the altitude of Uhuru Peak. We camp at Mweka Camp at 3,110m.

Rongai route

Footnote: you may have heard about the Marangu route, the “Coca Cola” route, which is a 5-day option. In our opinion this is an inadvisable manner to treat Kilimanjaro because you gain altitude far too fast and have insufficient time to acclimatize. We do not recommend it and do not organise this route.

See our related article on The best season to climb Kilimanjaro

Loo with a view 1

Loo with a view

https://vimeo.com/246957758/0e08138a6b