Kilimanjaro Hike Route: Hike to Uhuru Peak

Kilimanjaro Hike Route

Choosing a Kilimanjaro hike route, which will satisfy your personal requirements as well as contribute towards your eventual summit success, is important. Factors which should be carefully considered includes:

  1. All the route comparison in terms of an authentic wilderness experience.
  2. Route distances and trekking costs for each route.
  3. The Kilimanjaro routes success rates and best possible summit prospects.
  4. The possibility of additional days for safer extended acclimatization on each trekking route.

Below follows a brief summarized comparison of all the current Kilimanjaro routes.

Kilimanjaro Hike Route 1: The Marangu Route

Marangu route is one of the most popular routes leading to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Many hikers believe that the Marangu route is the easiest route to Uhuru peak. As it is the only route which can be hiked in 5 days (making it the cheapest option). It is also the only route offering accommodation on the mountain, in A-frame huts.
It is, a well-known fact, that the 5 day Marangu route has one of the lowest summit success rates. If you choose the Marangu route, we strongly recommend hiking the route over 6 days, to increase your chance to reach the summit successfully. This is the only route, which provides comfortable communal sleeping huts. Equipped with solar lighting, bunk beds, and mattresses at every overnight site. There are also cold showers and flushing toilets at Mandara hut and Horombo Hut

Kilimanjaro Hike Route 2:  The Machame route

It is our most popular and successful route leading to the summit of Kilimanjaro. Hikers sleep in tents which are carried up the mountain by porters. The Machame route is a very scenic route. It takes 6 days tp complete it. We, however, strongly recommend hiking the route in 7 days, allowing for more time to acclimatize. The key to the success of the Machame route is its topography. Allowing hikers to climb high and sleep low, helping towards better acclimatization.

 Kilimanjaro Hike Route 3:  The Umbwe route

On the first night, you will sleep at the Umbwe Cave Camp. You can visit two or more caves on this route, the following day. The Umbwe route is one of the shortest routes to the Southern Glaciers and the Western Breach. It is probably one of the most scenic, non-technical routes on Kilimanjaro. There are, however, higher risks involved when attempting to summit via the Western Breach / Arrow Glacier and overnight at the Arrow Glacier camp. It includes:

  • Safety on the Western Breach – nobody can guarantee your absolute safety, as the area is unstable and rock falls may occur at any time.
  • During a normal summit of Kilimanjaro we will sleep at Barafu camp (4 600m) or Kibo Hut (4 650m) before attempting the summit. By sleeping at Arrow Glacier camp (4 850m) the risks for severe altitude sickness are considerably higher.

Kilimanjaro Hike Route 4: The Shira Route

It is one of the most scenic and most fascinating areas on Kilimanjaro. Depending on the weather conditions. You can take a drive with a 4WD vehicles, to within a 1/2 hours walk of Shira Hut (4000m). Even this drive is very spectacular and offers some magnificent views of Mt Meru and the Great Rift Valley. Game is often sighted and the road features some striking vegetation changes ranging from forest, grassland, heath to moorland. The fast ascend by vehicle to about 4000m will require additional acclimatization, after which it will be possible to ascend to Uhuru Peak either via the Western Breach or via the Barafu Hut.

Kilimanjaro Hike Route 5: The Lemosho Route

 Very beautiful and unspoilt route and sightings of wild game in the forest section is possible. The Lemosho route is one of the quieter routes up Kilimanjaro, this advantage, however, disappears when the route combines with the Machame route on the 3rd day of the hike.

For those seeking a quiet route away from the crowds, the route is a superior option to the Rongai route. Unlike the Rongai the Lemosho route has the same excellent pro-acclimatization features of the Machame route, which it joins just before reaching Lava Tower.

We do not recommend hiking the Lemosho route during the rainy season as the start point of the Lemosho Route is particularly inaccessible during the wet season. 

Kilimanjaro Hike Route 6: The Rongai route

ascents Kilimanjaro from the north-eastern side of the mountain, along the border between Tanzania and Kenya. This route retains a sense of unspoilt wilderness and offers a different perspective on Kilimanjaro by approaching it from the north. The Rongai route’s premier advantage is that it is one of the quietest routes on the mountain.

This article was written by Frazier Kyjo

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Feature Photo credit: takashi muramatsu on Visual Hunt / CC BY-ND


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