Routes on Kilimanjaro – Which one is right for you?

kilimanjaro-routesThere are seven official routes on Kilimanjaro. In this short article we describe each and provide recommendations on those routes which are best suited for acclimatisation and hence have high summit success rates.

You can find more information on Kilimanjaro routes here:

Kilimanjaro Routes

Machame Route

The Machame route departs from the South-west side of the mountain, at about 1,800m. The route follows a 6 or 7-day trail via the southern circuit to the summit of Kilimanjaro. Today the Machame route is one of the most popular routes as it has high summit success rates. The seven day route is most sort after for it’s good acclimatisation profile. The route includes a good climb high, sleep low profile at Lava Tower and a technical scramble up the Great Barranco Wall. We recommend this route!

Lemosho Route

The Lemosho route starts from the far west side of Kilimanjaro, where the trail is relatively wild and quiet. The route for the first two days is not busy at all. On day the Lemosho converges with the Machame and then follows the southern circuit via Lava Tower, Barranco, Karanga and Barafu to the summit of Kilimanjaro. Again, we recommend this route!

Shira Route

The Shira Route begins north of the Lemosho trailhead, at nearly 2,800m altitude. The route was the originally western approach but has now been nearly totally supersede by the Lemosho. Because it has such a high start point we do not recommend the Shira route. Many trekkers on this route suffer from early symptoms of altitude sickness.

Rongai Route

The Rongai route is the only trail that begins from the north of Kilimanjaro, near the Kenyan border. The route is great for the rainy season (Apr, May) as the north side of Kilimanjaro receives less rain and is hence dryer. The begining portion is flatter, but the summit assault passage via Gilman’s Point is relatively steep and tough going. We think the 7-day version of this route is a good option and recommend it.

Umbwe Route

The most direct route up Kilimanjaro, departing from the south side of the mountain. A tough little route as it doesn’t provide much time for acclimatisation. Best used in conjunction with the Western Breach assault passage by experienced trekkers.

Marangu Route

This is the only route on Kilimanjaro with hut accommodation and the same ascent and descent profile. It is best used by novice trekkers, although the 5-day option has very low summit success rates. We recommend the 6-day option only.

Northern Circuit

The Northern Circuit is the newest and longest route on Kilimanjaro. Beginning on the Lemosho trail, the route veers north on day 4 around the northern circuit of Kilimanjaro. A long and very wild route that is perfect for the experienced trekker.

Click the link for more information on how and when to climb kilimanjaro.

You can also find out how to get to Kilimanjaro here.

Kilimanjaro Equipment List

kilimanjaro-packing-listSo you are planning to trek Kilimanjaro, that’s awesome!

There are four climatic zones on Kili so you will require a bunch of warm clothes, a high-quality set of water-resistant, decent mountaineering boots plus some pieces of equipment.

A full list of the equipment desired for mountaineering Mount Kilimanjaro is listed below.

Here is my Kilimanjaro equipment list. For more details see this article here.


TREKKING BOOTS: Strong, water-resistant, well broken in and good enough to bear your ankle. It’s a good idea to wear them on plane in case your luggage gets misplaced.

SOCKS: Three thermal pairs of socks are critical. A number of wear thin pair below a thick pair, wash the thin pair at night and hook them to their pack to dried out the next day.

Bottom Half

TREKKING TROUSERS: Don’t go for cotton or jeans. Fleece lined trousers are a first-rate of pick.

THERMAL UNDERWEAR: One pair of synthetic long john bottoms plus 1 or 2 tops.

Top Half

T-SHIRTS/SHIRTS: Don’t go for cotton except synthetic preferably with wicking properties.

SHELL JACKET: Non-compulsory if you carry enough fleeces but still useful.

DOWN JACKET: By means of sufficient fleeces and a high-quality rainproof jacket for additional insulation on the summit nighttime a down jacket is not desirable however if you have got the finances it’s well worth it.

GLOVES: Fleece-lined is first-class, mittens over a thin thermal pair is most excellent although not necessary. A thinner pair for round camp is also a good idea.

SUNGLASSES: U.V. protection from sun

Other Equipment

SLEEPING BAG: three -season or two-season with liner. Closed cell sleeping carpet offers.

DUFFLE BAG: The porters will bear this. The porters will carry it on their heads as well as it will make their work harder.

DAY PACK: Always make sure you are much comfortable on foot extended distances with it.

TRAVEL BAG: For your gear, you do not desire on Kilimanjaro . reserved secure in anticipation of your come back from Kilimanjaro tour

WATER PURIFICATION TABLETS: Iodine is most excellent however first attempt it at your own home .Flavored powder might be helps. We always boil all water on the mountain although enhanced safe than sorry.

PERSONAL HYGIENE ITEMS: Take a small Towel, toothbrush, toothpaste; wipes as well as alcohol-based hand antiseptic are helpful. Soap & hot water is supplies every day.

PERSONAL MEDICAL KIT: Antiseptic cream, plasters, knee supports, moleskin or compeed, Ibruprofen, Aspirin, Paracetamol etc, Imodium, re-hydrating powder, throat sweets and creepy-crawly insect repellent might be very useful.

READING MATERIAL: For the lengthy evenings in camp which you want to spent with your reading.

AUDIO VISUAL EQUIPMENT: Take a good camera that has a panoramic function. The best adventure camera is the GoPro. Have a look at this article to see why:

Here are some recommended retailers and review sites for Kilimanjaro gear.


North Face

Kilimanjaro Packing List

Insurance to trek Kilimanjaro

kilimanjaro-insuranceIf you are planning to trek Kilimanjaro there are a number of things you need to get ready before departing for Tanzania.

For example, you will need a yellow fever vaccination. After the vaccination you will be provide with a yellow card which you need to present when arriving in Tanzania. You will also need to think about the risks of malaria and might want to take malaria tablets if you are planning to do a safari or visit Zanzibar. Note: there are no mosquitoes above 1,800 meters so you can probably get away without taking malaria tablets if you only plan to trek Kilimanjaro – just be careful on either side of the climb and wear insect repellent.

The one thing that many trekkers forget to organise though is Kilimanjaro Travel Insurance. Here are some key considerations but you can find a detailed article on this page – insurance for climbing Kilimanjaro, it also includes an insurance calculator.

The most important factor that you need to consider when buying travel insurance for Kilimanjaro is that you are covered for high altitude trekking. Your insurance needs to cover you for trekking up to 6,000 meters. If it doesn’t include high altitude then it will not be of any use if something goes wrong high up on the mountain. And many things can go wrong, the most common issue is complications associated with acute mountain sickness. Your insurance should cover emergency evacuation and medical costs in the country.

Other considerations you should look at include:

Theft: you will be carrying valuable items like expensive clothing, sleeping bag, trekking polls and cameras. As you are in a developing country, the risk of theft is high. Moreover the risk of lost or damaged baggage during your flight can be detrimental to your summit success chances. Make sure your insurance covers theft

Cancellation, delay and financial default: Things often go wrong when one travels – flights are sometimes cancelled or delayed and tour operators can go bust. Makes sure your insurance covers you for any of these eventualities.

For more detailed information on travel insurance check out this Wiki article and have a really good frequently asked questions section here.

You can use the calculator on this page to get a Kilimanjaro travel insurance quote: see

All the best for your Kilimanjaro trek!

What are the routes to climb Kilimanjaro?

mount-kilimanjaro-routesYou’ll find six Kilimanjaro tracks – Machame, Umbwe, Marangu, Rongai, Shira and Lemosho – that one can use as their preferred option to climb Kilimanjaro. The Mweka route is needed for decent only.

The Machame, Umbwe and Marangu route depart on the southern side of Mount Kilimanjaro. Machame is the most famous and arguably one of the most scenic routes in the South. It is also popular since it gives hikers the opportunity to trek high and sleep low – this is a most effective way to acclimatize to altitude and prepare the body for the summit.

The Rongai route from the North and Marangu route from the South are also well liked as climbers get to stay in little huts. The Rongai route is flatter on the lower reaches and usually takes longer to go up, but doesn’t give hikers the opportunity to trek high and sleep low.

Below I have highlighted a few of the key features on all of the Kilimanjaro Routes.

You can find useful information here:

Machame Option

  • Highly recommended for scenic worth, with medium achievement rate. Not proposed for first-time hikers
  • Most technically difficult route available which doesn’t require a permit. This is because of the steep trek up Barranco Wall on the fourth day Day 4
  • Just the thing for acclimatization with plenty of walk high, rest low opportunities
  • Invigorating trek with breath-taking scenery through 5 different climatic zones
  • Good opportunity to split pre-summit morning climb to abandon climbers rested before summiting
  • Very well-liked trail, therefore could be busy
  • Only camping with tents

Marangu Option

  • Often referred to as the ‘Coca-Cola’ route due to older days when the soda was once available for purchase along the route
  • Often selected by unprepared, inexperienced trekkers because of the reputation as the simplest and easiest route. Ironically this means that it has a low success rate
  • Is the shortest route up the mountain after the Umbwe, but less time climbing means less time to acclimatize, therefore success rate is low
  • Dormitory hut design accommodation
  • Less scenic caused by ascent and descent on same route

Lemosho Route

  • Recommended. Good success rate for most climbers. Great for acclimatization as many climb high, sleep low opportunities
  • Remote and also spectacular dramatic gorges and views of west Kilimanjaro. Great photo opportunities
  • Converges with the Machame Route on the morning of day four at the Barranco Wall
  • Experience Kilimanjaro’s different climatic fauna and flora as you climb higher
  • Catered camping in tents only

Shira Route

  • Shira Route is the same as Lemosho, except the Shira Option has a higher start point and therefore poorer acclimatisation and low success rate

Rongai Option

  • Only northern method to Kilimanjaro
  • Least scenic route
  • Offers an accurate wilderness experience for the early stages with the climb
  • Very tough final summit night in the North
  • Least acclimatisation options
  • Less scenic and also flat on the lower reaches – then very steep on the summit night
  • Usually dry and therefore good for hikers planning to climb during the rainy season
  • Camping in tents

Umbwe Route

  • Steep, brief route with poor success rate
  • Poor acclimatization caused by rapid ascent
  • Very remote and peaceful
  • Fully catered camping only

Check out this site for more information on Kilimanjaro Routes