There are six established routes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro – Marangu, Machame, Lemosho, Shira, Rongai and Umbwe.
The Marangu, Machame, and Umbwe routes all approach from the south of the mountain (Mweka is used only for descent). The Lemosho and Shira routes approach from the west. The Rongai route approaches from the north. Click on the image below for details.
Please contact us for a quotation for any of the routes described below. Discounts can be negotiated for larger group bookings.
Marangu (5/6 days)
The Marangu Route is the oldest and traditionally the most popular trail, and the one that comes closest to the trail Hans Meyer took in making the first successful assault on the summit. Also known as the ‘Coca-Cola’ route it is the easiest ascent of Kilimanjaro, although any ascent can be challenging. Climbs can be done over 5 to 6 days. The trail starts and finishes at Marangu Gate. It is the only trail where trekkers sleep in dormitory huts rather than tented accommodation. The trail crosses The Saddle, a high-altitude, semi-desert that separates Mawenzi from the main summit, Kibo. From the summit, glaciers, screes, cliffs, afro-alpine moorland and forests lead down to Marangu gate again on the final day.
Machame (6 days)
A popular route following steep paths through magnificent forests to gain a ridge leading through the moorland zones to the Shira Plateau. It then traverses beneath the glaciated precipices of the south face of Kibo providing superb views of the Southern Icefields. An extra day can be added to the itinerary, spent either on the Shira Plateau, where you can walk to the Shira Needles, or camping in the Karanga Valley. The final ascent is made at midnight from the Barafu Hut. The Mweka Route is used for the descent. The Machame Route now vies with the Marangu Route as the most popular trail. Machame is also regarded by many guides as the most enjoyable, though it is longer and, according to most, more arduous. For this reason, it is also known as the “WHISKY ROUTE”. Despite this, the success rate on the Machame Route is higher than on the Marangu Route, possibly because the Machame is a day longer at six days and five nights.
Rongai (7 days)
The Rongai route is the only trail to approach Kibo from the Kenyan side of the mountain. The Rongai route is considered more scenic than the Marangu route, easier than the Machame route and has a high summit success rate. The Rongai route is also one of the quietest routes as it does not converge with any other route until it joins the Marangu for the ascent on the summit. Descent is again via the Marangu route on the southeast side of the mountain. This route is typically completed in 7 days, allowing for good acclimatisation.
Lemosho (7/8 days)
The Lemosho Route starts below Shira Ridge providing walkers with both a walk in the pristine forest of west Kilimanjaro at the start of the trek and more time to acclimatize. The Lemosho Route also includes a crossing of the Shira Plateau which precedes an assault on the summit via the western breach trail, Barranco, Karanga Valley and Barafu to Stella Point. The usual descent route is the Mweka trail. This is an unspoilt, remote, little-used and beautiful way up to the Shira Plateau providing opportunity to see the rare colobus monkey and other wildlife in the early days of the trek. Because it is little used this route is great for honeymooners!
Umbwe route (6 days)
The Umbwe Route is considered the hardest route on the mountain. The route is very steep until it reaches Barranco at 3,984m where it intersects the Machame Route. Due to this rapid ascent headaches and mild nausea are relatively commonly on the Umbwe Route, even below 4,000m. The route to the summit is usually via Barafu. Because of the challenges presented by this route it is usually recommended only for experienced climbers and preferably those who have had a chance to acclimatise, possibly on Meru, prior to commencing the climb.