Climbing Kilimanjaro is not a simple art of going up and heading back down again. There are a number of route options to choose from. Considerations such as climate, scenery, difficulty and foot traffic ultimately play a large role in the route a climber decides to take. Find the route that works best for you to start planning your ideal Kilimanjaro experience:
Duration: 7 or 8 days
This 70km route will take most climbers at least 7 or 8 days to complete. It is considered by many as the most beautiful route up Kilimanjaro and has also become popular due to the low foot traffic, high summit success rate and incredible panoramic views. This route is highly to the recommended beginners or anyone else who want to take his / tip up the mountain.
Duration: 6 or 7 days
Most climbers will take a minimum of 6 days to complete Kilimanjaro on this route. It is considered fairly difficult and is well suited to the more adventurous and those with hiking experience. Nicknamed the ‘Tusker route’, it is the most popular route with our guests thanks to its challenging conditions and spectacular views of the summit. With an extra day at Karanga valley camp, climbers can increase their chances of a successful ascend.
Duration: 5 or 6 days
Perhaps the oldest but also the easiest route up Kilimanjaro, the Marangu route follows a gradual slope up the mountain. The route can be completed in 5 days we recommend the 6-day option to allow for better acclimatization. The route is 69km in length and is nicknamed the ‘Coca Cola route’ being the most classic trek up the mountain. It is the only route climbers stay in the mountain cabins. In that case, it is the most preferred during the rainy season. It ascends and descends down same way.
Duration: 6 – 8 days
This 70km route approaches from the north, very close to the Kenyan border. It is a route gaining attraction and a recommended option for those wishing to stay away from the crowds. It takes a minimum of 6 days to complete this route which is regarded as moderately steep and difficult. It is a great option for those with little hiking experience. It is also a popular option during the rainy season.
Duration: 7 days
This route is identical to the Lemosho route and approaches Kilimanjaro from the west. It takes around 7 days to complete and climbers using this route need to be confident with their ability to acclimatize, given the high starting point. It is a varied and beautiful route and crosses the incredible Shira Plateau before later joining the Machame route.
Duration: 5 – 6 days
Short and steep, the Umbwe route is not often used and classified as the most demanding on the mountain. Due to the route not providing much time for acclimatization, the success rate is not as high as on the other routes. Nicknamed ‘whiskey route’ this climb takes a minimum of 5 days and is 51 km in length.
Regarded as one of the best routes up Kilimanjaro, the Northern route is also among the newest. It is one of the longest routes available, which allows for more climbing time and is great for acclimatisation. This means it has one of the highest success rates for reaching the summit. The route offers incredible varied scenery and, generally, a low number of visitors.
Many climbers enjoy the southern part of this circuit only, where they can then leave the circuit from a number of points. It contours the base of the Kibo Crater and allows climbers to then choose a route to the summit.
You can use the following info as a link:
NB: The Northern Circuit is one of the longest and best routes on Kilimanjaro, with nearly 360 degrees of stunning scenery in terms of landscape; including the calm, seldom frequented northern slopes. It is the longest route on Kilimanjaro, with the longest acclimatization period and the greatest summit success rate.
Kilimanjaro is approached from the west, with a brief drive from Moshi, the closest town to Mount Kilimanjaro to Londorossi Gate. The first two days of the walk are spent traveling through the jungle to Shira Ridge before reaching the Shira Plateau. The trail then proceeds north, circumnavigating the mountain clockwise from Moir Hut to Povu Camp to School Hut, finally summiting from the east. The Mweka path is taken to descend.
Northern Circuit Highlights
- The “Grand Traverse” of Kilimanjaro from west to east.
- It is by far the quietest and remote route taking you away from the crowds
- Allows climbers to “walk high, sleep low” enabling better acclimatization
- An excellent route to climb Kilimanjaro with a high success rate
About the Northern Circuit Route
This newly introduced Northern Circuit route deserves its billing as the “grand traverse” of Kilimanjaro from west to east. It is by far the quietest and remote route taking you on a circumnavigation of Kilimanjaro far away from the crowds. It results to a very high summit success rate due to its longer days in which helps to improve acclimatization.
The trek starts at 2360m on the far west of Kilimanjaro. It traverses through the rainforest, where the wild game may be seen, continuing up to Shira Ridge, Kilimanjaro’s third summit. From here you will ascend and cross the expansive Shira Plateau with fantastic views of Shira Cathedral. It then turns north and works around the remote northern slopes of Kilimanjaro overlooking Kenya and the famous Amboseli National Park.
The descent is the Mweka trail, making the trek a more interesting climb. Most climbers who are fit and well-acclimatized take 9 days to do it.
Day 1: Arrive at Kilimanjaro Airport. Stay at Park View inn Hotel in Moshi on bed and breakfast basis.
45 mins drive from the airport.
Day 2: Londorossi Gate to Mti Mkubwa
Elevation (m): 2360m to 2895m,
Distance: 6 km,
Time: 3-4 hours,
Habitat: Montane forest.
Pickup from the hotel at 9am and we set off for the Londorossi Gate. After registering for the climb and the porters had assembled all the equipment and supplies that we need, we will then begin our climb through the forest to Mti Mkubwa, our first camp at 2895m.
Day 2: Mti Mkubwa to Shira 1
Elevation (m): 2895m to 3500m,
Distance: 8 km,
Time: 5-6 hours,
Today’s trek will take us to Shira Plateau, (the caldera left by the collapse of Kilimanjaro’s third volcanic crater). Tonight’s campsite is Shira 1 camp, and it will be significantly colder here than the previous night.
Day 3: Shira 1 to Shira 2
Elevation (m): 3500m to 3810m,
Distance: 7 km,
Time: 3-4 hours,
Today we will visit the summit of Shira Cathedral, a huge buttress of rock surrounded by steep spires and pinnacles. There is a tangible sense of wilderness here, especially when the afternoon mists roll in.
Day 4: Shira 2 to Moir Hut
Elevation (m): 3810m to 4200m,
Distance: 14 km,
Time: 6-7 hours, Semi-desert.
Having enjoyed our breakfast, we leave Shira 2. We briefly join climbers on the Machame route before we turn north and make our way on a lesser-used trail to Moir Hut campsite, where we will camp below the Lent Hills.
Day 5: Moir Hut to Pofu Camp
Elevation (m): 4200m to 4000m,
Distance: 12 km, Time: 7-8 hours,
We will start the day with a steep climb out of Moir Valley and take a short detour to reach the summit of Lent Hills. After admiring the views we return to the trail and head eastwards around the northern edge of the mountain. The final section of today’s walk undulates as we cross several valleys until reaching Pofu Camp.
Day 6: Pofu Camp to Third Cave
Elevation (m): 4020m to 3960m,
Distance: 7 km,
Time: 6 hours,
After breakfast, we leave Pofu Camp and continue around the northern edge of the mountain, with views of the Kenyan side becoming closer and closer. We will cross more small valleys as the trail heads eastwards through a landscape that has increasingly sparse vegetation to reach Third Cave Camp.
Day 7: Third Cave Camp to School Hut
Elevation (m): 3960m to 4790,
Distance: 6 km,
Time: 5 hours,
Habitat: Alpine desert
After taking the breakfast, we will make a steady ascent to reach the saddle. (This is a lunar landscape between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi). From here we continue upwards to reach School Hut in the early afternoon. The remainder of the day is spent resting and preparing for summit day.
Day 8: School Hut to Summit to Mweka Camp
Elevation (m): 4790m to 5895m to 5730m,
Distance: 14 km,
Time: 10-11 hours,
Habitat: Stone scree and moorland
Summit Day! We wake up at 11:30pm. After some tea and snacks, we will set off at 12:00am on a tough zigzag trail taking us to the rim of the crater at Gillman’s Point. We can catch the sunrise here. We will thereafter trek around the crater rim to Uhuru Peak, close to the glaciers that still exist at the summit of Kilimanjaro.
We will take some minutes for a few summit photos before the descent down to the Mweka Hut camp site. We will stop at Barafu camp for blunch. We will enjoy our last dinner in Kilimanjaro and sleep erly after the day exertions.
Day 9: Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate
Elevation (m): 3100m to 1800m,
Distance: 8 km,
Time: approx 3-4 hours,
Habitat: Montane Forest.
Our last day on the mountain starts with a descent down to the Mweka Park Gate where summit certificates are issued. After bidding farewell to the supporting team, we drive to Park View in hotel for a much awaited hot shower.
End of the tour!