Kilimanjaro Trekking Routes

KILIMANJARO TREKKING TIPS

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!

SELECTING KILIMANJARO CLIMBING ROUTES

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.

KILIMANJARO CLIMBING ROUTES - INFORMATION

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.

PROS IN USING THE MACHAME ‘WHISKEY’ ROUTE
  • Scenic landscapes
  • Good acclimatization
  • High success rates
CONS IN USING THE MACHAME ROUTE
  • 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.

PROS IN USING THE MARANGU 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
CONS IN USING THE MARANGU 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.

PROS IN USING THE LEMOSHO ROUTE
  • has the most spectacular panoramas
  • better acclimatization opportunities
  • higher success rates
  • low crowds
CONS IN USING THE LEMOSHO ROUTE
  • 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.

PROS IN USING THE RONGAI ROUTE
  • Low crowds
  • Gradual slope
  • Highly recommended for newbie trekkers
  • Less rain expected on the trek
CONS IN USING THE RONGAI ROUTE
  • 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.

PROS IN USING THE UMBWE ROUTE
  • Low traffic
CONS IN USING THE UMBWE ROUTE
  • 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.

PROS IN USING THE NORTHERN CIRCUIT
  • Better acclimatization
  • Scenic views
  • Highest success rates
  • Very low traffic
  • Highly Recommended
CONS IN USING THE NORTHERN ROUTE
  • 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.

Words From Our Happy Clients

Alessio Pelella
Alessio Pelella
2024-01-21
Verified
Unforgettable and wonderful safari experience in North Tanzania With my girlfriend we experienced a wonderful private safari for 6 days in the north part of Tanzania. The organisation was very good and Ibrahim was pretty quick to adjust our plans, to communicate and to give special recommendations. Our personal guide Haji demonstrated a lot of experience, patience and teaching skills. He always was looking for the best scenes to spot while respecting the nature. We felt very comfortable with him. The big 5 were nice to see, but they are not the core of the safari. Every day we experienced new unique habitats and unexpected events that surprised us. The several birds species that we spotted with pretty patience, were the ice on the cake. The accommodations and service were excellent for all the trip, especially in the Serengeti National Park. Finally this nature and cultural experience will be always unforgettable and it has been above our best expectations. Afrishare safari operator is defenitely recommended.
Alexandros K
Alexandros K
2023-12-05
Verified
Safari and Sansibar We traveled in September for a 10-day Safari tour and Sansibar with Afrishare. Our experience was the greatest! The communication with Ibrahim was very easy, supportive and quick. He answers immedietely to any questions regardless what time it is. Ibrahim was helpful in making a new travel plan adapted to our needs and wishes. We were very happy with our acommodation and felt always secure. Our tourguides were great and we developed a beauatiful releationship to them. In Tansania we spent 10 beautiful day with Moses, who is really the best we could ever ask for. He was very kind, friendly, communicative, motivated to share his knowledge and describe things and he contributed to see the BIG FIVE. Actually he found the most beautiful spots to enjoy the wildness. He knew the locations around and was always informed about the planned schedule, additionally he was very flexible to new ideas and motivated to show us the real tansanian way of life. Overall we were very happy and lucky to do this exotic trip with Afrishare, and recommend it heartwarmly. Asante sana for this beautiful expirience!
Mette T
Mette T
2023-11-01
Verified
Amazing 4 day Safari We had an amazing 4 day/3 night Safari tour with Afrishare. Ibrahim was highly responsive and supportive to all our questions and special request during the planning and coordination, which was quite last minute. Everything was planned (including multiple last minute multiple changes) perfectly according to our requests. Okuli our tourguide was amazing! From the very beginning, he picked us up on time, waiting for us outside the airport. During the tour he was extremely helpful, accomodating, friendly and communicative and was very knowledgable and had answers to all our questions. He always went out of his way to give us the best experiences and sightings and accomodated our needs. He always would inquire about our preferences for the itiniary and timeschedule and we were always well informed of the agenda. He was very well planned each day and punctual and always gave us the option to decide what we wanted to see and when we wanted to stop for breaks. He had impressive driving skills and navigating around in the parks went smoothly. He knew his way around very well and always knew the drive durations which made the time planning very smooth, according to plan, and very relaxed. Even for the last day he was extremely helpful and flexible to change the initial plan for the day on the evening before. On the last day he picked us up well on time and delivered us safely to the airport. Overall an amazing trip and Okuli was the best!
Diego R
Diego R
2023-09-25
Verified
Just incredible We did a 5 day safari trip plus a one day Kilimanjaro trekking and we cannot be happier, the experience was simply amazing and Ibrahim and its team organised it perfectly. It has been even more than expected; food was ok, accomodations were perfect, car was great. I strongly reccomend travelling with them!
David J
David J
2023-09-17
Verified
Amazing Kili Hike and Serengeti safari We had an amazing holiday with Afrishare - a combination of a 7 day Kilimajaro hike for myself and my 16 year old son, and then a 4 day safari in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro crater for the whole family after my wife and other son had flown out to join us. In all of it Afrishare organised everything perfectly, from the fundamentals of the hike and the safari through to all the interconnecting transfers. We made the decision to go with a local Tanzanian company rather than some big international tour operator, and do not regret that decision at all. Right from day one, Ibrahim and team were very responsive (do they ever sleep?!) answering my endless questions and tweaking the itinerary so it was exactly as we wanted. They then delivered. The Kili hike was the 7 day Machame route. The team taking us up were great, had all the required kit, and looked after us well. It was hard going but we made it to the summit and have amazing memories and sense of achievement. The safari in the Serengeti was amazing - we saw the big 5, including 46 lions in 2-3 days, and a cheetah and cubs a few metres away. Through it all our guide Kazi, was fantastic - really knowledgeable about the animals and conservation more widely, also good fun (which is important when you have 4 full days together!). I would definitely recommend Afrishare.
Laura S
Laura S
2023-08-08
Verified
Very happy with our safari experience and our guide Fredy! I found Afrishare on SafariBookings.com and it had a lot of good reviews so I decided to contact them via email since there were so many safari options to choose from. Ibrahim answered really fast and was very welcoming. At first I didn't know how many days we (me and my boyfriend) should book and which parks to visit but Ibrahim helped us a lot. We decided to go to Tarangire and Ngorongoro for 2-day private safari trip. We arrived to Arusha one day before and contacted our driver to give directions for pickup. Our guide Fredy arrived on time and was super nice. On the way to Tarangire Fredy informed us about everything we should know beforehand. We were a little worried how many (if any) animals we would see but Fredy calmed us down. A few minutes into exploring Tarangire we already encountered some zebras and impalas! Fredy told us interesting facts about every animal we saw. At the end of the day we had already seen elephants, giraffes, lions, a leopard(!!) and many others. We stayed the night at Ngare Lodge. It was very peaceful and nice. The second day started super early. Fredy told us that we should arrive early at Ngorongoro for best safari experience. And he was right! It took some time to drive up the rim and then into the crater but waking up at 5 am was totally worth it! He navigated the crater like a pro and knew exactly where the animals would be at that time of the day. After 2 days of safari we saw all Big5 and many more. After lunch we headed back and visited some local souvenir places. Fredy dropped us off at our hotel in Arusha. It was a short trip but totally worth the price! Thank you again, Fredy!
Charilena G
Charilena G
2023-08-04
Verified
Perfect everything was very organized. The drivers were very kind and helpful.the camp tent it was safe and clear
Jay K
Jay K
2023-07-01
Verified
MOSES is GOD Our first time safari experience with afrishare was fabulous. We were 4 and had 5 days safari tour including Tarangire, Serengeti and Ngorongo. It was such a great time that we couldn’t forget for the rest of our lives! Ibrahim was communicative responded quickly to our requests. Actually that was the main reason why we chose afrishare. Plus, all accommodation reservations were secure and the administrative procedures during the trip went smoothly. And I can’t forget to mention MOSES!! This guy was REALLY an expert. He was very supportive to make us to have the most comfortable time possible, and communicated with the other guides in every way to ensure that we didn't miss a single animal, while allocating the time efficiently. I think his long time experience in arranging the safari helped us to make all the schedule effective. His sense humor and good personality also made our trip enjoyable. I’d like to wrap up this short post with some pics. Thanks again to afrishare & MOSES the GOD!!! We really appreciate all of your effort during the trip. MOSES is afrishare. MOSES is Tanzania!!! ????????????
Cindy F
Cindy F
2023-06-23
Verified
Luxury Safari to Ngorongori, Serengeti, Tarangire National Parks We are on our last day of this Luxury Safari with AfriShare Treking and Safari, what a great trip! Excellent accommodations and our tour guide Mosses was 10 stars. He was so friendly and knowledgeable about every park we went to and every animal we saw!!! He located all the Big 5 and many more birds and animals, excellent time!!! When we return we will definitely book again through AfriShare as Ibrahim did a great job for us as well. Will also request Mosses as he was the best!!!!
PatrickPratt
PatrickPratt
2023-06-22
Verified
Everything we wanted and more! Our safari with Afrishare was nothing short of spectacular. I have done safaris in six other countries previously, and this one quickly rose to the top of my list. From customizing our itinerary to the bargain pricing, it was easy to choose. But we got so much out of it than we bargained for - comfortable accommodations, a top-notch guide (Rama!), and tons of animals (big 5 plus others). This was the first time for my sister and nephew to go on safari and I wanted to make sure they had the best experience possible - Afrishare delivered more than I could have asked for. So grateful for the kind, dedicated and professional staff at Afrishare for making it happen. Highly recommend booking with Afrishare for an exquisite experience. Thank you so much!

HI TALK TO US

We’re Most Trusted Local Tour Operator in Tanzania

KILIMANJARO TREKKING TOUR PACKAGES