Located just 200 miles south of the equator in Tanzania, Kilimanjaro is the highest free-standing mountain in the world and the highest mountain on the African continent. Rising to 5895m above sea level and roughly 4900m above it’s base Kilimanjaro is iconic and rightly deserves its place on many people’s bucket list.
Climbing Kilimanjaro is truly memorable, not only does it provide you with awesome views from the roof of Africa, the journey to get there is also truly special, taking you through various climatic zones from lush green rainforest on the lower slopes up through alpine desert and into the arctic towards the summit.
The mountain itself is actually a dormant stratovolcano with three separate cones or summits; Mawenzi, Shira and the highest, Kibo. Making an ascent of Kilimanjaro doesn’t require any technical skills and there are seven main trekking routes to the summit.
Lemosho Route. The best route to the summit, in our opinion, is the Lemosho Route. Starting down in the rainforest, this route crosses the Shira Plateau and climbs the awesome Barranco Wall. Taking 8 days in total it gives provides the best chance of acclimatisation. Read more about our 8-day Lemosho Route.
Machame Route. Often referred to as the Whiskey route, this 7-day route also crosses the Shira Plateau and climbs the Barranco Wall. Read more about our 7-day Machame Route.
Rongai Route. The Rongai route is the only route that climbs Kili from the north. It feels remote and wild and is a great choice if you want to avoid the crowds. Read more about our 6-day Rongai Route.
Marangu Route. Also known as the Coca-Cola route. This is the only route on Kilimanjaro where you don’t need to sleep in a tent as there are a series of small huts at the end of each day’s trek. Considered by many to be the easiest way to the summit.
Shira Route. Starting at 3600m the Shira Route joins the Lemosho at the end of the second day and then follows it to the summit. The starting height doesn’t help with acclimatisation and as such we do not recommend this route.
Umbwe Route. This is the shortest and most direct route to the summit. It is steep and difficult and due to it’s profile this route does not lend itself to good acclimatisation. It is a very quiet route with a very low success rate.
Northern Circuit. A relatively new route, the Northern Circuit starts as per the Lemosho before heading around the northern flanks of Kili and finishing up the Rongai route. A good option and much quieter than the Lemosho and Machame routes.
The best time to trek to the summit of Kilimanjaro is in one of the two dry seasons. June through to October and December through to February are the main trekking seasons with the first tending to be dry and cooler than the latter. Our favourite month for climbing Kilimanjaro is June, the weather is generally good and its just before the peak season begins so tends to be quieter.