Kilimanjaro Trekking Routes


Which is the best route to climb mount Kilimanjaro

Before climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, it’s best to know that there are seven well-established routes that you can choose for your trekking adventure. But, which is the best route to scale Mount Kilimanjaro? The answer to this question depends on your experience, fitness, and the views you want to see. If you’re an inexperienced climber, the best route for you is the Marangu route. It’s the easiest route and only takes five days to trek. However, if you’re an adventurous person and want to see the best views in Kilimanjaro, the Machame route will suit you best!


There are seven established routes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro – Marangu, Machame, Lemosho, Shira, Rongai, Northern Circuit and Umbwe. The Marangu, Machame, and Umbwe routes all approach from the south of the mountain (Mweka is used only for descent). The Lemosho, Shira and Northern Circuit routes approach from the west. The Rongai route approaches from the north. The illustrations below depict a three-dimensional view of Kilimanjaro’s climbing routes and a close up of the approaches to the summit.

Picking the best course for your Kilimanjaro climb can be daunting, as you have to consider several factors, such as:

  • Route’s scenery
  • Route’s difficulty
  • Traffic on Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Altitude acclimatization points

Thus, we made this guide to help you come up with the best route possible for your Kilimanjaro climb.


Machame Route

Machame route, also known as the whiskey route is the most famous route in Kilimanjaro due to its scenic landscapes. However, this mountain trail is challenging due to its steep hills and difficult path. Thus, this route is ideal for more adventurous types of people or those who have experience in hiking, backpacking, or dealing with high altitudes. However, if you’re hell-bound to try this route, make sure that you’re physically fit to tread on this trail.

  • Scenic landscapes
  • Good acclimatization
  • High success rates
  • Challenging trails
  • Crowded
Marangu Route

The Marangu ‘Coca Cola’ route is the oldest, most well-established path on Kilimanjaro. Many trekkers prefer this route as this is the most straightforward course on the mountain due to its gradual slope. In addition, it’s also the only track that offers sleeping huts in dormitory-style accommodations. Using this route will only take you five days to complete your climb.

However, the success rate of this route is pretty low due to acclimatization. Using a longer route will help your body acclimatize better to the mountain’s environmental conditions. The route’s short time frame makes the acclimatization more difficult. This trail approaches from the southeast and is less picturesque compared to other tracks as it has the same ascent and descent route.

  • It’ll take five to six days to climb
  • The easiest and most established path out of the seven Kilimanjaro routes
  • The only route that offers sleeping huts
  • cheapest route
  • low success rate
  • need to have a better acclimatization
  • less scenic
  • Most crowded route
Lemosho Route

Choosing the Lemosho route for your trek can provide you with the most spectacular path on Kilimanjaro. This route will grant you scenic views on different sides of the famous mountain.

This is one of the newer routes in Kilimanjaro and one of the most recommended due to its beautiful scenery, high success rates, and low crowds. This route advances Mount Kilimanjaro from the west, commencing from Arusha to the Londorossi Gate.

From the Londorossi Gate, you’ll spend the first two days trekking the rain forest to Shira Ridge. This path traverses the Shira Plateau from west to east, having only a few crowds until route intersection on the Machame trail near the Lava Tower.

The route then crosses underneath the Southern Ice Field of Kilimanjaro on a trail known as the Southern Circuit. Then, descend through the Mweka route.

  • has the most spectacular panoramas
  • better acclimatization opportunities
  • higher success rates
  • low crowds
  • Longer trek days
  • more expensive than shorter routes
Rongai Route

The Rongai route is the only route that approaches Kilimanjaro from the north, close to the Kenyan border. Though gaining popularity amongst climbers, this route still experiences low crowds. Rongai has a more gradual slope than the mountain’s other routes. It is the preferred route for those looking for an alternative to the popular Marangu route, for those who would like a more remote hike, and for those who are climbing during the rainy season (the north side receives less precipitation). Rongai is a moderately difficult route, and is highly recommended, especially for those with less backpacking experience.

Although the scenery is not as varied as the western routes, Rongai makes up for this by passing through true wilderness areas for nearly the entire way. Descent is made via the Marangu route.

  • Low crowds
  • Gradual slope
  • Highly recommended for newbie trekkers
  • Less rain expected on the trek
  • Not varied scenery
Umbwe Route

The Umbwe route is deemed the most challenging track on Mount Kilimanjaro. Due to the fast ascent to high altitude, this route does not present the required steps for acclimatization.

Though the traffic of this trail is quite low, the success rate is also low. This route is very challenging to climb and is ideal only for those who can acclimatize to the altitude quickly.

  • Low traffic
  • Fast ascent
  • Difficult trail
Northern Circuit Route

The Northern Circuit route is one of the best routes on Kilimanjaro, offering nearly 360 degrees of beautiful scenery including the quiet, rarely visited northern slopes. As the longest route on Kilimanjaro, the Northern Circuit also has the most acclimatization time and the highest summit success rate. Thus, the Northern Circuit route is highly recommended.

The route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the west, beginning with a long drive from Moshi to Londorossi Gate. From there, the first two days are spent trekking through the rainforest to Shira Ridge, before crossing the Shira Plateau. The route then heads north and circles clockwise from Moir Hut to Buffalo Camp to School Hut, before summiting from the east. Descend is made via the Mweka route.

  • Better acclimatization
  • Scenic views
  • Highest success rates
  • Very low traffic
  • Highly Recommended
  • Difficult trail
  • Long climbing days
  • More expensive than other short routes

Our favorite out of all routes, considering the scenery, difficulty, and traffic, is a combination of the Lemosho route and the Machame route. The Lemosho route takes around 8 days to trek while the Machame route takes around 7. These routes offer some of the best views of the mountain with less traffic and good acclimatization opportunities. If you need help planning your route, safari or any itineraries for your adventure in Tanzania, contact our team of experts will assist you every step of the way.

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