There 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: http://www.kandooadventures.com/information/africa/climb-kilimanjaro/kilimanjaro-routes/
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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