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Kilimanjaro Routes Map

There are several routes by which to reach Kibo, or Uhuru Peak; the highest summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Seven of the established routes include Marangu route, Machame route, Lemosho route, Shira route, Rongai route, Umbwe route and the Northern Circuit route; the newest route on Kilimanjaro.

When choosing a Kilimanjaro climbing route, one should consider the time for acclimatisation, level of adventure, human traffic, diversity of scenery and wildlife, and physical difficulty. The illustration below summaries a combination of clients experience with the opinion of guides who have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.

Route Duration Difficulty Scenery/Wildlife Human Traffic
Marangu 5-6 days Low Average High
Rongai 6-7 days Low Good Low
Machame 6-7 days Medium Excellent High
Shira 6-7 days Medium Excellent Medium
Lemosho 7-8 days Medium Excellent Medium
Umbwe 5-6 days High Good Low

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MARANGU ROUTE: Duration: 5 or 6 days.

The Marangu route is the oldest of Kilimanjaro climb routes. In terms of walking, Marangu route is considered to be the easiest. However, it is the worst for acclimatisation and as result has the lowest success rate. Accommodation along the route is in the form of dormitory style huts. The minimum number of days required for this route is five days.

The main itinerary difference between the Marangu 5 day and 6 day routes is the additional acclimatisation day at Horombo Hut.

Itinerary: Marangu Route - 5 Days | Marangu Route - 6 Days

Advantages:

  • The Marangu route is the shortest and a cheap route
  • Accommodation is in permanent huts therefore no camping equipment is needed. Each hut has two rooms for 4 people each

Disadvantages:

  • Very high traffic
  • Very low success rate due to less time to acclimatize
  • Less scenic due to ascent and descent on same route
Day Start Altitude Finish Altitude Time Distance
1 Marangu Gate 1970 Mandara Hut 2700 4-5 8
2 Mandara Hut 2700 Horombo Hut 3720 6-7 12
3 Horombo Hut 3720 ~Mawenzi  4330 2-3 5
~Mawenzi  4330 Horombo Hut 3720 1-2 5
4 Horombo Hut 3720 Kibo Hut 4703 6-8 10
5 Kibo Hut 4703 Uhuru Peak 5895 6-8 6
Uhuru Peak 5895 Horombo Hut 3720 4-5 16
6 Horombo Hut 3720 Marangu Gate 1970 5-7 20

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RONGAI ROUTE: Duration: 6 or 7 days

The Rongai route is the easiest route up Kilimanjaro; it is the only route that approaches Kilimanjaro from its north eastern side. This less frequented route retains a sense of unspoilt wilderness as you pass through alpine meadows and giant vegetation.

Rongai route is considered to be the best route for people who are looking for a decent quality experience and are perhaps not absolutely confident about their fitness. The minimum number of days required for this route is six days (an additional acclimatisation day is highly recommended on this route).

The main itinerary difference between the Rongai 6 day and 7 day routes is the additional acclimatisation day at Mawenzi Tarn.

Itinerary: Rongai Route - 6 Days

Advantages:

  • Offers a true wilderness experience on the early stages of the climb
  • Rongai is the only higher quality, lower traffic 6 or 7 days route
  • Generally considered to be the easiest of the quality routes on the mountain
  • Approaches Kilimanjaro from its driest side hence the best chance of good weather
  • Ascent Kilimanjaro from the north and descent on the southern Marangu Route, allowing you to trek right over Kilimanjaro

Disadvantages:

  • Very tough final summit night from the North
  • Rongai has less acclimatisation opportunities and is  less scenic and flat
  • The Rongai route has a high cost due to the additional travel to reach the starting point
Day Start Altitude Finish Altitude Time Distance
1 Rongai Gate 1950 First Cave 2626 4-5 7
2 First Cave 2626 Kikelewa Camp 3600 6-7 12
3 Kikelewa Camp 3600 Mawenzi Tarn 4330 3-4 6
4 Mawenzi Tarn 4330 Kibo Huts 4703 5-6 9
5 Kibo Huts 4703 Uhuru Peak 5895 6-8 6
Uhuru Peak 5895 Horombo Huts 3720 4-5 16
6 Horombo Huts 3720 Marangu Gate 1970 5-7 20

{tab Machame}

MACHAME ROUTE: Duration: 6 or 7 days

Currently the most popular Kilimanjaro trail for those looking for a challenge, Machame route, also referred to as the “Whisky route” is one of the most scenic and beautiful Kilimanjaro routes. Though considered more challenging than the Marangu route, Machame route has a higher success rate because of the much better acclimatisation it offers.

The main itinerary difference between the Machame 6 day and 7 day routes is the additional acclimatisation day at Karanga valley.

Itinerary: Machame Route - 6 Days

Route: Machame, 6 Tage

Advantages:

  • Highly recommended with the best success rate
  • It’s one of the most scenic and beautiful Kilimanjaro routes
  • Great for acclimatisation with lots of walk high, sleep low opportunities
  • The Machame route is of a relatively low cost than most Kilimanjaro climb routes
  • Good opportunity to split pre-summit day climb to leave climbers rested before summiting

Disadvantage:

  • High level of difficulty
  • Very popular trail, therefore can be busy
Day Start Altitude Finish Altitude Time Distance
1 Machame Gate 1800 Machame Camp 3020 5-7 11
2 Machame Camp 3020 Shira Camp 3840 4-6 5
3 Shira Camp 3840 ~Lava Tower 4630 4-5
~Lava Tower 4630 Barranco 3950 2-3 3
4 Barranco 3950 Barafu 4645 7-8 9
5 Barafu 4645 Uhuru Peak 5895 7-8 5
Uhuru Peak 5895 Mweka Camp 3090 6-8 12
6 Mweka Camp 3090 Mweka gate 1640 4-5 10

{tab Shira}

SHIRA ROUTE: Duration: 6 or 7 days

The Shira route is another path that approaches Kilimanjaro from the west, and it is nearly identical to the Lemosho route. We highly recommend the Lemosho route over the Shira route due to the high altitude of Shira's starting point

The main itinerary difference between the Shira 6 day and 7 day routes is the additional acclimatisation day at Barranco Camp.

Itinerary: Shira Route - 6 Days

Advantages:

  • Less traffic in the early days
  • The Shira route is varied and beautiful

Disadvantages:

  • The Shira route is of a higher cost.
  • Possibility of a heavy traffic in the later days when it meets the Machame trail
  • Low success rate due to Shira higher start point compared to Lemosho.
  • Starting the trek at over 3,000m above sea level, the Shira route is a challenge for the mind, body and soul due to poor acclimatisation.
Day Start Altitude Finish Altitude Time Distance
1 Shira Gate 3600 Shira 2 Camp 3840 4-5 10
2 Shira 2 Camp 3840 ~Lava Tower 4630 4-5 7
~Lava Tower 4630 Barranco Camp 3950 2-3 3
3 Barranco Camp 3950 Karanga Camp 4023 4-5 5
4 Karanga Camp 4023 Barafu Camp 4645 4-5 4
5 Barafu Camp 4645 Uhuru Peak 5895 7-8 5
Uhuru Peak 5895 Mweka Camp 3090 6-8 12
6 Mweka Camp 3090 Mweka Gate 1640 4-5 10

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LEMOSHO ROUTE: Duration: 7 or 8 days

The Lemosho route is one of the newer routes on Mount Kilimanjaro. The route approaches Kilimanjaro from the west,and is undoubtedly best for scenery. After day 3 it merges with the Machame route and like Machame it has a good success rate.

The main itinerary difference between the Lemosho 7 day and 8 day routes is the additional acclimatisation day at Shira Camp 2 / Barranco Camp / Karanga Camp.

Itinerary: Lemosho Route - 8 Days

Advantages:

  • Lemosho has a high success rate
  • Lemosho route has several days built in to help you acclimatize
  • Climbers encounter low traffic until the route joins the Machame route
  • Considered by many to be the most beautiful Kilimanjaro route

Disadvantages:

  • The Lemosho route is a high cost route
  • The Lemosho route has a higher difficulty level
  • Possibility of high traffic when it meets the machame and Shira trail
Day Start  Altitude Finish Altitude Time Distance
1 Londorossi 2250 Mti Mkubwa 2821 3-4 6
2 Mti Mkubwa 2821 Shira 1 camp 3500 5-6 8
3 Shira 1 Camp 3500 Shira 2 Camp 3840 3-4 10
4 Shira 2 Camp 3840 ~Lava Tower 4630 4-5 7
~Lava Tower 4630 Barranco 3950 2-3 3
5 Barranco Camp 3950 Karanga Camp 4023 4-5 5
6 Karanga Camp 4023 Barafu Camp 4645 4-5 4
Barafu Camp 4645 Uhuru Peak 5895 7-8 5
Uhuru Peak 5895 Mweka Camp 3090 6-8 12
8 Mweka Camp 3090 Mweka Gate 1640 4-5 10

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UMBWE ROUTE: Duration: 6 or 7 days

The Umbwe route is a classic 6 day route and is by far the most difficult one offered on Kilimanjaro; it is the shortest and steepest of the routes but has a low success rate. Basically it goes directly up the mountain meeting the Machame route at Barranco camp after two days and following the Machame route from there to the summit. The Umbwe route is not recommended and we discourage its usage for our clients.

Advantages:

  • Only used for rescues
  • Very remote and quiet due to Less traffic

Disadvantages:

  • Very high difficulty rate
  • Steep, short route with lower success rate
  • Poor acclimatisation due to rapid ascent hence Low success rate

Note:We do NOT organise trips using Umbwe Route

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