Are you climbing Kilimanjaro but don’t know which route to use?

 

The popularity of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro continues to increase day after day, potential climbers are often uncertain as to which route to take. We will explain to you the differences between the routes and help you decide which the best is for you.

There are seven major routes used to climb Kilimanjaro, but for us recommend only 4 route because of hiking risk and successful rate. They are:
• Marangu Route (aka Coca-Cola Route or Tourist Route)
• Machame Route (aka Whiskey Route)
• Rongai Route
• Lemosho Route

There are two routes used for descent. They are:
• Mweka Route
• Marangu Route
Remember the Climbers are not allowed to choose which route to use when coming down from the mountain.

What to Consider when Choosing a Kilimanjaro Route.

To choose the best Kilimanjaro route for you, there are plenty of variables to be mindful of. Take some time and consider these questions.

Who: Who is climbing? The whole group’s abilities must be factored into choosing a route. Are there novice hikers in your group? What about children or older people? Are there people who have never been to high altitude? Pick a route that the members of your party can realistically succeed on.

What: What limitations surround your climb? Are you bound by a budget or the number of days on your trip? There are cheaper routes and there are more expensive routes. There are short itineraries and long itineraries. Get an idea of how much money and how many days people are willing to spend on the mountain and adjust accordingly. Booking a trip and then not having enough money to prepare is a bad thing. So is arriving in Tanzania from a long flight and immediately starting a climb without taking a rest first.

How: How do you perceive your trek? Do you want a more strenuous route or a less strenuous one? Do you want to have more downtime at camp so you can socialize with the group or would you rather spend more time on the trail? Climbing Kilimanjaro can bring about a lot of discomfort and suffering given the physical nature. Some people don’t want to be pushed too hard while some crave the challenge. The answers to these questions will determine which route is for you.

Where: Where do you want to begin your climb? The routes up Kilimanjaro start from all sides of the mountain. Where you begin will affect the cost. It will also affect the scenery and scenic variety you experience. For instance, the western routes are more scenic because they cover more of the mountain.

Why: Why are you climbing? Is it very important to summit? Then choose a route with a high success rate. Do you want to take the best photos? Then pick a scenic route. Do you want to get away from people? Then choose a less traveled route. Do you just want to be there? Then choose a quicker, less expensive route.

When: When are you climbing? Climbs around holidays and full moons are especially crowded. The weather (and the number of people on the mountain) will change drastically between the high and low seasons. If you are climbing during the dry season, then all routes are open and doable. But if you are climbing during the rainy season or the shoulder seasons, then some routes might be impassable due to washed out roads or trails. Some routes receive less rain. The route you select can play into the climb’s overall difficulty.

Our Routes Overview

Machame Route

Most popular route, approaches from south, very scenic route with southern traverse, difficult route but very good for acclimatization, camping.
Distance: 662km
Days: 6 or 7

Lemosho Route

Long access drive to trailhead, approaches from west, remote, less frequented, beautiful heath section, very scenic with southern traverse, camping, difficult route but excellent for acclimatization, camping
Distance: 70km
Days: 7 or 8

Marangu Route

Popular tourist route, approaches from southeast, easy, gentle gradients, beautiful rain forest section and moorlands, comfortable but basic hut shelter, poor acclimatization profile, descent on same trail
Distance: 72km
Days: 5 or 6

Rongai Route

Long access drive to trailhead, approaches from north, remote, less frequented, easy, gentle gradients, beautiful alpine desert section, good alternative to Marangu, camping, fair acclimatization profile, camping
Distance: 73km
Days: 6 or 7

Remember

• Choose a longer route. You have more time to acclimatize if you are unsure of your ability. Adding a day or two can increase your odds of success.

• Climb during one of the dry seasons. The best times are December – February and July – October. Nice weather makes the climb easier in many ways.

• Find a solid guide service. Their guides are better trained to deal with altitude sickness and other emergencies on the mountain. Your life is priceless, and certainly worth more than saving a few hundred dollars. Additionally, the good operators will serve better food and have better equipment – both of which keep you healthier and stronger on the mountain.

• Take training seriously. The summit and immediate long descent is very tough. Do not underestimate how tiring it is to come from 19,340 feet to 9,000 feet.

• Bring the right gear. You need apparel that will keep you warm and dry. You also need well broken in, comfortable boots. You will be spending a lot of time in them. Take care of your feet too.

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