Adventure Safaris In Africa

7 Established Routes for The Best Experience Hiking Kilimanjaro

Rongai Route
Written by Abraham Odhiambo

Thinking about hiking in Africa Kilimanjaro? Well, Mount Kilimanjaro is always ready for you hence it’s good to have that unstoppable hunger for reaching the very top.

Kilimanjaro is one of the Seven Summits and climbing it is not a walk in the park for tourists. The mountain has been making the lives of climbers extremely difficult for the last 130 years. But with the right preparations, the best tips and having your questions answered, you can fulfill your dreams by making it to the highest summit in Africa.

Mount Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro Mountain aerial view during scenic flight. Photo/ ABC7 New York.

Life is already shot and climbing Kilimanjaro could be a once in a lifetime adventure. Are you ready for hiking in Africa Kilimanjaro? Here are seven established routes which lead to the summit – Uhuru Peak.

1. Lemosho Route 

Lemosho route is the most beautiful Kilimanjaro route and it’s less-crowded despite being very popular. It crosses the entire Shira Plateau from west to east in a pleasant, relatively flat hike. The route starts at the Londorossi Gate and wanders its way up one of the remote sections of the Kili.

2. The Northern Circuit

The Northern Circuit is the easiest Kilimanjaro route in our opinion; hence it’s the best for beginners hiking the tallest mountain in Africa. This route starts on the west but then wraps around the north of the mountain. If you’re looking for beautiful scenery, plenty of solitude, the potential to spot wildlife and a healthy challenge, the Northern Circuit is the route for you.

3. Machame Route 

Machame route, also known as the ‘Whiskey’ route, is the most beautiful Kilimanjaro route. The route, which goes to the western slope, is very popular for offering stunning views, plenty of time to acclimate and a reasonable challenge.

Camping is allowed on Machame route, which means trekkers sleep in tents during the hike. According to source, approximately 35% of climbers use Machame route when hiking in Africa Kilimanjaro.

4. Marangu Route 

The Marangu route, also known as the ‘Coca-Cola Route’, is the most well-established trekking route on Mount Kilimanjaro. It is the only route to Africa’s highest summit that has hut accommodation for trekkers.

This route provides climbers with wonderful hiking adventures, sweeping views and the classic Kilimanjaro climbing experience. One of the most interesting aspects of Marangu route is that it is the only route up Kili that doesn’t allow camping. Trekkers end up sleeping in permanent huts instead of sleeping in tents.

5. Umbwe Route 

The Umbwe is the shortest, darkest, quietest and steepest Mount Kilimanjaro route. The route, which goes up the mountain slope, is the trail for trekkers looking for a true climbing challenge.

The Umbwe is best for experienced mountain trekkers who are looking for a challenge considering it features several exposed ridges that are not for the faint-hearted. The success rate of this route is lower than some of the other routes due to its direct approach and steep.

6. Rongai Route

Rongai Route

Hiking in Africa Kilimanjaro. Photo/

The Rongai is the only route that approaches the summit from the north. The route, which retains a sense of unspoiled wilderness, ascends Mount Kilimanjaro from the northeastern side of the mountain, along the border of Kenya and Tanzania. It is the least visited of all the trails on Mount Kilimanjaro due to its remote nature.

7. Shira Route 

The Shira route, which is one of the older routes, boasts the highest starting elevation of all the routes to Mount Kilimanjaro’s peak. It is very similar to Lemosho and the only differences between them is the trail walked on first couple of days, and the fact that the starting point of the Shira is higher.

How Hard is it to Hike Kilimanjaro?

Kilimanjaro is a fair difficult mountain to climb. With more than 50% of the climbers suffering from mountain sickness, Kilimanjaro is an extreme altitude mountain trek. You’ll need to prepare well before attempting to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

Can a Beginner Climb Kilimanjaro? 

Yes. For the best Mount Kilimanjaro climbing experience as a beginner, you should be fully aware of what awaits you and the requirements to prepare yourself for this hiking challenge in Africa.

How Long Does it Take to Hike Kilimanjaro? 

It takes five to nine days in order to reach the Mount Kilimanjaro Summit and then descend to the finishing point.

How Much Does it Cost to Hike Kilimanjaro? 

The cost of climbing Kili varies from cheap, budget operators to large Western travel agents selling outsourced climbs at an inflated price. The average cost of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is $2000 to $6000.

About the author

Abraham Odhiambo

Abraham Odhiambo is a writer with interests in nature, travel, African safari and sports. I'm pursuing a bachelor's degree in Media and Communication at Egerton University.

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