Which is the best route to climb Kilimanjaro?


There are main six Mount Kilimanjaro climbing routes. These routes vary not only in length, cost and scenery; they also have different difficulty levels and different success rates. Selecting a Kilimanjaro climb route is one of the most important decisions you have to make. There is no single best Mt. Kilimanjaro climb route. Which route up Kilimanjaro is the best for you depends on several factors. The time and money you have available, previous experience and fitness, the time of the year, personal preference.


Below are the Pros and Cons of different Kilimanjaro Routes

Marangu route:

  • This route is also known as the “Coca-Cola” route.
  • The only Kilimanjaro climb route that offers hut accommodation
  • The route is popular for its comfort while undertaking this classic trek.
  • Regarded as the least difficult of routes, Marangu is the most popular route on Kilimanjaro.
  • Gentle slope; It has a gentle slope for the first several days, prior to the tough summit attempt from Kibo Hut.

Lemosho route:

  • Considered one of the most beautiful routes, the eight days trek itinerary allows for maximum time for acclimatization.
  • Improved chances of reaching the summit & allows time to enjoy variety of scenery in the different climatic zones.
  • The most beautiful Kilimanjaro climb route, but expensive
  • High Success Rate 98%
  • Allows climbers to traverse through various ecosystems, including rainforest, heath, and alpine desert.
  • Provides a higher chance of encountering wildlife, such as monkeys, antelopes, and elephants.
  • The route joins with the Machame route on the Shira Plateau and follows a similar path to the summit.

Umbwe route:

  • Known as the most challenging and steepest route on Mount Kilimanjaro, it is recommended for experienced climbers.
  • Gets very muddy especially during the rainy season.
  • Offers a direct ascent with a shorter duration, usually completed in 6 to 7 days.
  • Provides a more secluded and less crowded experience compared to other routes.
  • Begins with a steep climb through dense rainforest, providing a unique and adventurous start.
  • Offers breathtaking views of the Western Breach and the Barranco Wall.
  • The route joins with the Machame Route at Barranco Camp and follows a similar path to the summit.
  • Requires good physical fitness and high altitude hiking experience due to its demanding nature.

Machame route:

  • The most popular climbing route up Kilimanjaro
  • It has the richest forested area on the mountain.
  • Offers diverse landscapes, including rainforest, moorland, and alpine desert.
  • It provides ample time for acclimatization, increasing the chances of a successful summit.
  • The route offers stunning views of the Shira Plateau and the Western Breach.
  • Lush and beautiful, but also gets very muddy during the wet season

Rongai route: 

  • The Rongai route is a more gradual ascent and is therefore preferred by those with little or no backpacking experience.
  • The easiest route on Kilimanjaro, it is great with kids and for relatively older folks
  • Less traffic
  • Known for its remote and less crowded nature, it offers a more tranquil climbing experience.
  • Starts from the northern side of the mountain, providing different perspectives and views.
  • Passes through beautiful landscapes, including moorland and alpine desert.
  • Offers stunning views of the Mawenzi Peak, the second-highest peak of Kilimanjaro.
  • Highly recommended during rainy season as this route receives the least amount of rain due to its position on the mountain.

The Northern Circuit route:

  • This is one of the best routes on Kilimanjaro, offering high 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.
  • Most expensive of all the routes because of extra days on the mountain
  • Provides a panoramic view of the mountain by encircling the entire massif.
  • Offers a gradual and less steep climb, increasing chances of summit success.
  • The route traverses through diverse landscapes, including rainforest, alpine desert, and glaciers.