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Which are the best routes to climb Kilimanjaro

The main thing we consider when choosing which routes to recommend is the summit succcess rate. Customers consistently tell us that getting to the top is their number one priority. Based on this, we recommend the Machame, Lemosho,  Northern Circuit and Rongai routes. Customers who have climbed one of these routes over 7 or more days have had a 97% summit success rate. And if you want the stats to prove that we can provide them. 

A map shjowing these routes is below.

 

kili new map Large

 

There are some big differences between these routes so there is still a real choice. These are our top tips for making the choice

  • For a really good chance of success, good scenery and a reasonable budget check out the Machame route over 7 days
  • For great scenery, a quieter start and a more relaxed daily schedule,  the 8 day Lemosho route is a great choice
  • For a quieter route that is ideal in the rainier months of the year then have a look at the Rongai Route
  • For those who have the time and money, the Northern Circuit over 9 days should be the choice

There is more information on each route below. And you can find everything about a route in detail by clicking on More info.

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Machame Route

Machame Route

| 9 Days
Prices from £2049 Prices from $2565 Prices from

If you have just 9 days and want to have the best chances of getting to the top, then the Machame route is the one for you. Starting to the south-west of Kilimanjaro it circuits south before climbing to Uhuru Peak via Stella Point. With good acclimatisation and varied and interesting scenery every day it is a great choice for the novice climber.


Lemosho Route

Lemosho Route

| 10 Days
Prices from £2299 Prices from $2865 Prices from

Approaching from the west, the Lemosho route is one of our highly recommended routes. The first three days of the ascent are quiet and relatively untravelled. Then on day four it joins the busy Machame route. A wonderful route in terms of scenery, it offers unequalled views over the Shira plateau. The success rate for this route is comparable to the Machame route.


Rongai Route

Rongai Route

| 9 Days
Prices from £2149 Prices from $2695 Prices from

The Rongai route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the north east, near the border of Kenya and Tanzania. Its main attraction is that it is very quiet and traverses virtually untouched wilderness. Ascent is via the scree path to Gilman’s Point with a traverse round the rim to Uhuru Peak. Descent is along the Marangu route.


Northern Circuit

Northern Circuit

| 11 Days
Prices from £2699 Prices from $3295 Prices from

The Northern Circuit route is the newest officially approved route up Mount Kilimanjaro. It takes you around its quieter, more remote northern slope. This is an extended nine day climb which offers excellent acclimatisation time. It provides views of the rugged and highly varied countryside on all sides of the great mountain. And has a great success rate.


Machame Route

Machame Route

| 9 days

If you have just 9 days and want to have the best chance of going home and saying "I climbed Kilimanjaro" the Machame route is the one for you. Starting to the south-west of Kilimanjaro it circuits south before climbing to Uhuru Peak via Stella Point. With excellent acclimatisation and varied and interesting scenery every day it is a great choice for the novice climber.


Machame climb and safari

Machame climb and safari

| 11 Days
Prices from £2899 Prices from $3649 Prices from

Experience everything Tanzania has to offer on this 11 day adventure packed combination; climb Africa's highest mountain, Kilimanjaro, followed by game viewing in three of Tanzania’s best safari parks: Ngorongoro is home to over 25,000 animals, Tarangire has the highest elephant population in the World and Lake Manyara boasts a huge colony of baboons and also tree climbing lions.


Lemosho climb and safari

Lemosho climb and safari

| 13 Days
Prices from £3499 Prices from $4429 Prices from

Experience the best Tanzania has to offer with this climb via the quieter Lemosho route with a Tanzania safari. Visits Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. A great opportunity to see the Big 5 - lion, elephant, buffalo, rhinoceros and leopard!


Marangu Route

Marangu Route

| 8 days

The Marangu route is the oldest, most well-established route and the only one that has hut accommodation. According KINAPA Park HQ, it suffers from the lowest success rate (42%) as too many trekkers try to do it in only 5 days and fail because of poor acclimatisation. For this reason we only offer this route on a 6-day itinerary.


Crater Camp

Crater Camp

| 10 days

Crater Camp is not a route but a challenging option you can add onto any of our climbs over 7 days. Crater Camp itself is right in the heart of Kilimanjaro's crater. You can almost guarantee that come sunset you will be the only people on the mountain. A real 'get away from the crowds' option for the expert Kandooer.


Mount Meru

Mount Meru

| 5 days

Climbers often forget Mount Meru because it is so close to Kilimanjaro. But it has plenty to offer those looking for a challenging climb. It is a dormant volcano that last erupted in 1910. And i Tanzania's second highest mountain at 4562 metres (14,979 ft) . It can be climbed in 3-4 days.


Other factors to consider

 Without complicating our basic recommendations too much there are a few other things you should think about

What is the experience of your group as a whole?  You need to carefully assess the fitness and experience of everyone in your group. Nothing will put a damper on your summit success more effectively than having friends with you who didn't make it. If you have weaker walkers in your group the 8 day climbs are best.

Are you limited by the number of days you can take? Ideally you need at least 7 days to climb and with travel days this means a 9 day trip. If you haven't got this time, we would recommend the  6day Machame route  but the success rate will be lower

Is your budget a restriction? Partly because of the number of days and partly because of the cost of getting to the start of a route there is considerable variation in costs. The 8 day Lemosho and the Rongai routes are more expensive for these reasons.  Don't though be tempted to reduce the chance of success to save money. The most expensive trip to climb Kilimanjaro is one where you don't summit.

How challenging do you want to make the climb? For most climbers getting to the summit is a big enough challenge but we do operate Kilimanjaro routes that are even more challenging, like the Crater Camp options. Think carefully about just how tough you want to make your climb.

How important is the scenery? With routes starting from different locations the views and scenery are very different. Kilimanjaro makes its own rain shadow over the North of the mountain. This means it is dry to climb but also means there is not much plant or animal wildlife.   The most varied scenery is on the South and West of the mountain but this is also the wettest.

What is the motivation for climbing? Of course everyone wants to summit.  If you are climbing in a group for charity or doing the climb as a team-building event though , summitting has to be your number one priority

When do you want to do your climb? THe choice of route is always a balance between how attractive a route is and how busy it will be. This means  the time of year is also a major factor. Even the most popular routes are quiet in the two rainy seasons and the Rongai route is much drier all year round

If you are unsure which route to climb Kilimanjaro will be best for you, ring and talk to one of our consultants who have climbed Kilimanjaro themselves.

Speak with an expert Start planning your next adventure by contacting one of our team.
Sarah BW

Sarah Orson

Adventure Travel Consultant

Phone: +44 (0) 1283 499980

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Rachael Bode

Adventure Travel Consultant

Phone: + 44 (0) 1283 499982

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Sharon King

Adventure Travel Consultant

Phone: +44 (0) 1283 499981

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