Kilimanjaro Climbing Route

There are several routes by which to reach Kibo, or Uhuru Peak, the highest summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, namely, Marangu, Rongai, Lemosho, Shira, Umbwe and Machame. Being one of the most popular mountains in the world, roughly 30,000 trekkers every year try to reach the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro. According to research published by the Climb Kilimanjaro Guide, the average summit success rate across all climbers and routes is 65%. However, summit success rate heavily depends upon what route is climbed as routes vary considerably in terms of acclimatization profile and duration

Climbing Routes


Highly recommended for scenic value,
Great for acclimatization with lots of walk high, sleep low opportunities,
Challenging trek with stunning scenery through 5 diverse climatic zones,
Good opportunity to split pre-summit day climb to leave climbers rested before summiting,
Very popular trail,
Fully catered camping only,
it takes 6–7 days for climbing,
The Machame route is probably the most popular route these days and is also called "the whiskey route". This route is steeper than the Marangu and Rongai routes and physically more demanding and for that reason better suited for the more determined and fitter climbers

Bellow is the itenararies of Machame route


Nicknamed the "Coca-Cola" route due to the older days when Coke used to be bought along the way in tea huts
Often selected by unprepared, inexperienced climbers because of its reputation for being the "easiest" route, attributing to the lower success rate
The shortest and cheapest route, but less time to acclimatize, therefore lower success rate
Dormitory style accommodation in huts
Less scenic due to ascent and descent on same route

Bellow is the itenararies of Marangu route

Shira / Lemosho

High summit success rate. Good for acclimatization, especially on the longer itineraries
Remote and spectacular, dramatic gorges and views of west Kilimanjaro
Converges with Machame on day 4 at Baranco
Shira offers higher start point compared to Lemosho and poorer acclimatisation
Fully catered camping only
The Lemosho route approaches Kilimanjaro from the west. Rather than simply intersecting Shira Plateau (like Machame), Lemosho crosses it from Shira Ridge to Shira 2 Camp, in a pleasant hike. Climbers encounter low traffic until the route joins the Machame route. Afterwards, Lemosho follows the same route through Lava Tower, Barranco and Barafu, known as the southern circuit. There are several options to complete the trek over (7, 8, or 9 days) based on your experience.

Bellow is the itenararies of Shira / Lemosho route


Only northern approach to Kilimanjaro
Offers a true wilderness experience on the early stages of the climb
Very tough final summit night from the north
Less acclimatisation opportunities
Less scenic and flat than other routes
Although the scenery is not as varied as the western routes, Rongai makes up for this by passing through true wilderness areas for days before joining the Marangu route at Kibo camp. Rongai is a moderately difficult route, and is highly recommended, especially for those with less backpacking experience. There a different options to complete the climb in 5, 6, or 7 days. (Route Options)

Bellow is the itenararies of Rongai route


Steep, short route with lower success rate
Poor acclimatization because of rapid ascent
Very remote and quiet
Fully catered camping only
Of all the routes, Umbwe is by far the most scenic albeit steeper route up the mountain. The Rongai is the easiest camping route and the Marangu is also easy, but accommodation is in huts. As a result, this route tends to be very busy and ascent and descent routes are the same. Although the Rongai route is a flatter walk, it offers less opportunities for acclimatisation. The Machame and Lemosho routes both allow better opportunities to "walk high and sleep low", which is critical to avoiding altitude sickness.

Bellow is the itenararies of Umbwe route

Northern Circuit

Longest route up Kilimanjaro - good for acclimatization
Only route to traverse all of the Northern Slopes on a circumnavigation of the mountain
Beautiful scenery from the western approach
Fully catered camping only
The Northern Circuit is the newest route up Kilimanjaro and also the longest. The Northern Circuit takes a minimum of 8 days to complete but most operators offer the 9 day option. Because of its length, the Northern Circuit has the highest summit success rate. The route follows the same as the Lemosho Route for the first two days and then veers off to circle around the quieter northern slopes to the east side of the mountain. There a number of route variations, but generally the Northern Circuit approaches the summit via Gilman’s Point before descending on the same route as the Machame and Lemosho

Bellow is the itenararies of Northern Circuit route