There are in total seven Kilimanjaro Climbing Routes that you can make use of for Climbing Kilimanjaro. Each of them has their unique identity as well as pros and cons. Landing on which route to take for your hiking adventure depends upon certain considerations.
This includes aspects such as your mountain climbing experience, acclimatization considerations, and what you’d like to experience overall. This post will shed light on the major Mount Kilimanjaro Climbing Routes so that you can decide which one is suitable for your climb.
Also referred to as the tourist or Coca-Cola Route, because of its popularity and the fact that Coca-Cola used to be sold in the huts along the trail. This is one of the easiest Kilimanjaro Climbing Routes, following a steady and gradual terrain until the last night when the incline increases significantly.
Hence, if you don’t want to camp for a whole week on Kilimanjaro, then going for the Marangu Route is the best choice.
Distance: 70 km/ 5-6 Days
The Mt Kilimanjaro Machame Route is widely regarded to be the most beautiful with scenic surroundings and a rich varied terrain. Thus, it comes as no surprise that it is a very popular Kilimanjaro Route. Some figures show that over 20,000 people climb Kilimanjaro via the Machame Route.
Note – There’s also a 6-day itinerary for the Machame Route though it’s not advised for first-time climbers due to the reduced amount of time for acclimatisation.
Distance: 61 km/6-7 Days
The Kilimanjaro Lemosho Route is often labelled as the Kilimanjaro Climbing Route possessing the most variety. One of the most unique things about this route is that it offers the experience of Climbing Kilimanjaro across the Shira Plateau, one of the largest high-altitude plateaus on the globe.
Most climbers complete the Lemosho Route in seven days, though if the need comes the trek can be extended by one day to give you a little longer to acclimatise.
Distance: 67 km/7-8 Days
The Rongai Route on Kilimanjaro is essentially one long hike with a very gentle slope and a low difficulty level. It’s the only Kilimanjaro Route that approaches the mountain from the south and is less frequently climbed. Only around 4,000 people use this route to climb Kilimanjaro each year.
Key Note – The Rongai Route is similar to the Marangu Route in that any climb high sleep low opportunities are absent. Thus, it is advised to choose the seven-day itinerary than the six-day one. This is because it will give you a vital extra day to get accustomed to the increasing altitude.
Distance – 74 km/ 6-7 Days
The Shira Route is kind of similar to the Lemosho Route except that its starting point is much higher. To reach the starting point of the trail, you will have to endure a lengthy drive that lasts about half a day. Plus, you’ll also sleep up at 3,500 metres on the very first night too.
Distance – 58 km/6-7 Days
Now that we’ve gone over each of the major Kilimanjaro Climbing Routes, let’s have a refresher and see the different characteristics of each route again.
|Marangu||Moderate||Forests, Moorlands, Rocky Paths||High||5-6 Days||Comfortable Huts, Scenic Views|
|Machame||Challenging||Rainforests, Shira Plateau||High||6-7 Days||Varied Landscapes|
|Lemosho||Moderate||Rainforests, Shira Plateau||Medium||7-8 Days||Remote and less crowded, Diverse Flora|
|Rongai||Moderate||Rugged Terrains, Alpine Desert||Medium||6-7 Days||Offers Panoramic Views, Wildlife Sightings|
|Shira||Challenging||Rainforests, Shira Plateau||Low||6-7 Days||Great Acclimatisation, Diverse Landscapes|
The best Kilimanjaro Climbing Routes serve as stepping stones of ascension, leading adventurers to the pinnacle of Africa’s highest peak. From the picturesque Machame Route to the challenging Lemosho Route, each trail has its set of rewards. Kilimanjaro’s routes are waiting to test your courage and reward you with some distinctive vistas.
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