Kilimanjaro climbing routes
The different routes which are used during climbing experiences on Mount Kilimanjaro include the following;
- Marangu route
Marangu route is the only route on Mount Kilimanjaro which offers hut accommodation for trekkers.
Many tourists use the Marangu route during their hiking experiences on Mount Kilimanjaro and it is also the most crowded route. Using the Marangu route takes about 5 to 6 days of climbing the mountain.
The same path is used for descend and also ascent along the Marangu route on Mount Kilimanjaro. The price for hiking on the mountain using this route is less compared to other hiking routes on Kilimanjaro.
The Marangu route also requires fewer days of climbing on Mount Kilimanjaro and this route starts from Marangu gate to Mandara hut on the 1st day. The second day of hiking on the mountain starts from Mandara hut to Horombo hut and the next day’s hiking is from Horombo hut to Kibo hut, from Kibo hut to the summit and then returning or descending to Horombo hut. On the last day of hiking, the trekkers begin from Horombo hut to Marangu gate.
The different places for lodging during hikes along the Marangu route include Horombo hut (3720 meters), Mandara hut (2700 meters) and Kibo hut (4700 meters).
- Machame route
Another route which is used for climbing on Mount Kilimanjaro is Machame route which is known for being a scenic route.
It takes about 6 days to 7 days to climb on Mount Kilimanjaro along the Machame route. The route begins from Machame gate to Machame camp (2835 meters), Machame camp to Shira 2 camp (3850 meters), Shira 2 camp to Lava tower (4600 meters) and then to Barranco camp, Barranco camp to Karanga camp to Barafu, Barafu camp to Uhuru peak and back to Mweka camp and back to Mweka gate.
The Machame route is steeper and the walks are longer along this route which begins from the southern part of Mount Kilimanjaro. There are also many tourists who use this route to climb the mountain.
The cost for hiking on Mount Kilimanjaro is a bit high compared to climbing using the Marangu route.
- Lemosho route
Lemosho route starts on the western part of Mount Kilimanjaro and is among the best routes for acclimatization.
Hiking on Mount Kilimanjaro using the Lemosho route takes about 7 days and this route also joins the Machame route at some point of the hike and also the Mweka route during descend from the mountain.
Wildlife species can also be spotted during hikes on Mount Kilimanjaro using the Lemosho route. Lemosho route starts from Londrossi gate to Mti Mkubwa, from Mti Mkubwa to Shira 1 camp, Shira 1 camp to Moir hut, Moir hut to Lava tower and then to Burranco camp, Burranco camp to Karanga camp, Karanga camp to Barafu camp, Barafu camp to Uhuru peak to Mweka camp and then to Mweka gate.
- Rongai route
Rongai route is found on the north eastern side of Mount Kilimanjaro near the Kenyan border.
This route joins the Marangu route at some point during descend and it takes about 7 to 8 days to hike on Mount Kilimanjaro using the Rongai route. The route is also not very scenic and passes through wilderness.
Hiking on Rongai route starts from Rongai gate to the Rongai 1st cave, from Rongai cave to Kikelewa camp, from Kikelewa camp to Mawenzi tarn, from Mawenzi tarn to Kibo hut, from Kibo hut to Uhuru peak then to Horombo hut, from Horombo hut to Marangu gate.
Wildlife species can also be seen during hiking experiences along the Rongai route on Mount Kilimanjaro.
- Shira route
Shira route starts from the western part of Mount Kilimanjaro and the beginning of the hike starts with driving before hiking the mountain.
When descending on Mount Kilimanjaro, trekkers using the Shira route descend from Mweka route. The Shira route also joins the Machame route at a point and is also considered among the difficult routes for hiking on Kilimanjaro.
Hiking using the Shira route starts from Shira gate to Shira 2 camp, Shira 2 camp to Lava tower to Barranco camp, from Barranco camp to Karanga camp, from Karanga camp to Barafu camp, from Barafu camp to Uhuru peak to Mweka camp, from Mweka camp to Mweka gate.
It takes about 6 to 7 days to hike on Mount Kilimanjaro using the Shira route.
- Umbwe route
Umbwe route is the steepest route used for hiking on Mount Kilimanjaro and is also considered a direct route to Uhuru peak.
It also takes about 6 to 7 days of hiking on Mount Kilimanjaro using the Umbwe route. This route also joins the Machame route and follows the southern circuit route to the summit and the Mweka route for descending.
The Umbwe route is also considered the most difficult route for hiking on Mount Kilimanjaro and is also a less crowded route for hiking with little time for acclimatization. The route starts from Umbwe gate to Umbwe camp, from Umbwe camp to Barranco camp, from Barranco camp to Barafu camp, from Barafu camp to Uhuru peak to Mweka camp and from Mweka camp to Mweka gate.
- The northern route
Hiking on Mount Kilimanjaro is also done along the northern route which is considered the longest route on the mountain.
Descend from Mount Kilimanjaro for hikers using the northern route is via the Mweka and this route is also scenic. It takes about 9 days of hiking on the northern route which is also among the newest routes on the mountain.
The northern route starts from Londrossi gate and also passes through the Lemosho route and then to Shira plateau. The route is considered to be among the best routes for climbing on Mount Kilimanjaro.
A few number of trekkers use the northern circuit route during their hikes on Mount Kilimanjaro.