Mount Kilimanjaro is a safe place to take a hike, although there have been some deaths almost every year. There are several causes of these deaths, and in this article, we are going to look at what could cause death on Mount Kilimanjaro and how to avoid them.

Mount Kilimanjaro experiences two seasons, the dry and wet seasons, and has unique zones as you go higher, including the rainforest zone, the low alpine zone, the high alpine zone, and the glacial zone. The weather keeps changing with a zone change, so it is better if you are ready for the drastic changes.

What causes Kilimanjaro deaths?

The main cause of death on Mount Kilimanjaro is altitude sickness, although there are other illnesses like heart attacks. We always advise our clients to ask their doctors, especially if they have underlying health issues, before attempting to get to the summit to avoid deaths. Altitude sickness, on the other hand, is when the body fails to adjust to the ever-reducing levels of oxygen as you go higher. Some medications can be used to reduce the symptoms, but in case they become severe, the guides have the right to evacuate you before the situation worsens.

How many people have died while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro?

Almost every mountain in the world has deaths, and the documented deaths along Mount Kilimanjaro are approximately 3 to 10 from over 300,000 people who attempt to climb to the summit. Unlike other mountains, especially Mount Everest, where it is hard to evacuate people, it is very easy to evacuate hikers by helicopter on Mount Kilimanjaro, reducing deaths, and that is also why you won’t find any dead bodies along the mountain.

It is not easy to tell the exact number since some deaths are not documented, especially for the locals, but just continue keeping safe, and you will enjoy one of the best views when you get to the Uhuru peak.

How to stay safe while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro?

Mount Kilimanjaro Evacuation AmbulanceOccupation hazards happen everywhere in the world, and the same applies to Mount Kilimanjaro. Some of how you can avoid tragic moments like death include the following:

Drink lots of water to keep hydrated while on the mountain. Forget about going to the toilet all the time because keeping hydrated is key to staying alive since you keep changing zones with the altitude, and it also helps in preventing altitude sickness.

Your hike guides and the whole mountain crew are always on alert to make sure that you are safe, so in case you start feeling sick, we advise that you inform them immediately for a solution.

The higher you go, the cooler it becomes, and that is why you need to pack warm clothes to avoid hypothermia. The warm clothes also extend to the mountain crew, including porters and guides, so make sure that you use a reputable company that cares about the needs of their staff.

Take each step one at a time, and just like the guides usually tell hikers, “pole-pole,” meaning slowly, slowly. When you walk slowly, you give your body a better chance to acclimatize to the low levels of oxygen and the high altitude.

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In conclusion, even though there are deaths on the mountain, they do not happen every day, and the only way you can avoid this is by staying safe. Do not let a few statistics deter you from getting to the highest point on the African continent as long as you keep safe and follow all the rules given by the guides.

This is an extremely hard question to answer because every person has their own opinions, but in this article, we are going to look at some of the reasons why you should visit Tanzania and get to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. The moment you set foot on the mountain, you go through the five climatic zones. Arrival at most camps is always before sunset, and you get to enjoy warm meals prepared by trained cooks, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner because you will be starving after the hike. The first two days are almost similar with a slight change in zones, and the best day, known as the summit day, is brutal but still worth it.

Trekking through the different zones of Kilimanjaro

One of the attractions as you climb Mount Kilimanjaro is the beautiful scenery that keeps changing as you go higher. Hikers go through the rainforest, which is the first zone on the mountain, through the moorlands and Alpine Desert to the Arctic, the last zone that marks the topmost part of the mountain. Every zone on Kilimanjaro comes with its unique characteristics, making the journey an entertaining discovery throughout your hike.

The rainforest zone has thick, tall trees that are home to numerous wildlife species, including black and white colobus monkeys. The Kilimanjaro hiking trails through the rainforest are muddy and slippery, and we advocate for the use of gaiters and trekking poles.

The moorland is the next zone after going through the thick rainforests, and it will take you through the shrubs and the giant senecios, which can only be found in East Africa. You start to notice the vegetation becoming sparse when you get to the moorlands.

The next zone is the Alpine desert, where all life forms, including animals and plants, disappear and you are faced with a harsh landscape.

The Arctic zone is the last one found at the summit. You get to witness the sunrise from a strategic point at the peak and also stand at the highest point on the African continent.

Taking a photo at Uhuru Peak

The Uhuru Peak point is marked by a wooden sign, and taking a photo to mark the successful climb is necessary. It is a memorable snap that captures your resilience in climbing through the different zonal changes and making it to the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and in Africa.

The Seven Summit Challenge

Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the seven summits (the seven summits are the tallest mountains on each of the continents). There is a thrill one gets from scaling the seven summits, and the good news is that you can still climb Mount Kilimanjaro even when you do not have any experience.

The legendary glaciers

Mount Kilimanjaro has two famous glaciers near the summit, and they have been around for over 11,000 years, although they are currently reducing in size, and it is believed that they will keep on shrinking with time. The two glaciers known as the Ratzel and Rebmann glaciers offer warmth from the cold for hikers trekking to the summit, and by putting a climb to Kilimanjaro on your to-do list, you will be among the people to see the glaciers before they completely melt.

Exploring Africa

Mt Kilimanjaro is located in Tanzania, and you can combine a Kilimanjaro climb with other safari destinations both within Tanzania and in the rest of Africa. Some of the destinations you get to check out include Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, and Kilimanjaro National Park, among others.

Kili climb is not an easy climb but if we are as you get to face a lot of challenges like headaches, shortness of breath, nausea, and tiredness at the end of the day when you are at the highest point of the mountain (Uhuru peak), all these will be worth it and some can be avoided like the nausea and shortness of breath, all you need to do is take easy and slow paced steps (note there is no rush in getting to the peak).

We find the uniqueness of Mount Kilimanjaro an experience that everyone should get, and to answer the question of whether Kilimanjaro is worth the climb, yes, we certainly believe that it is worth the climb.

Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa, with Uhuru being the highest point on the African continent, and this has made it one of the top bucket list destinations for many tourists. A Kilimanjaro climb is not an easy fit, regardless of the hiking route you are using, but with the right preparation and team, you can still make it to the summit. seven routes can be used to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, with each of these having its advantages and disadvantages.

So, Which is the best route to climb Kilimanjaro? Choosing the best Kilimanjaro route to use depends on several factors, like what you would like to experience while hiking, your level of preparedness, prior climbing experience, the acclimatization process, the cost of the hike, and your accommodation. Below is a list and breakdown of each of the hiking routes.

Factors that determine which route is best for you on Mount KIlimanjaro. 

Which is the most scenic route on Mount Kilimanjaro?

Answer: Lemosho Route is the most scenic. The route starts from the west, is the most scenic route among all the routes since it offers spectacular views of the mountain from different directions. 

If you want the highest chance of summiting Uhuru peak, the best route to climb Kilimanjaro is the Lemosho route and Machame route for 7 or 8 days. These give excellent acclimatization and an easier summit night.

Most challenging route?
Answer: Staying at the crater camp is the best option if you are looking at the most challenging route because almost 1% of the hikers make it to the summit, and you need special permission to use this route.

Which is the quietest route? The Rongai route is the quietest route on Mount Kilimanjaro, and it is the only route that approaches the mountain from the north.

The most popular route on Kilimanjaro?

Answer: It is Machame is the most popular Kilimanjaro route.

Which is shortest route to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?
Answer: It is Umbwe is the shortest, hardest, and steepest route on Kilimanjaro.

Which route on Kilimanjaro has the best Accommodation? 
Answer: It is Marangu, which is the only route that offers hut accommodation.

Which route on Kilimanjaro has the Acclimatization?

Answer:  Machame, Lemosho, and the Northern Circuit offer the best acclimatization to hikers.

Marangu Route: 70 km

Which is the best route to climb KilimanjaroThis is commonly known as the Coca-Cola route (because Coca-Cola soda used to be sold in all the dormitory huts along the route) or the tourist route due to its popularity among tourists because many believe that it is the easiest route on Mount Kilimanjaro. The Marangu route is the oldest and the only route on the mountain that has dormitory-style huts, unlike others where only camping can be carried out.

At a distance of 70km, the Marangu route can be hiked in five or six days with a steady and gradual climb. The beauty of using the Marangu route is that hikers can get to the summit in a short period and have good accommodations.

The downsides of using the Marangu route include not being more scenic since you have to use the same route for the ascent and descent, being always crowded, especially during the peak season, not offering proper acclimatization, causing altitude sickness symptoms, and having a low success rate.

If you are not a fan of camping throughout the week and do not mind crowds, then the Marangu route is the best option for you.

Rongai route: 74 km

Starting from the north of Mount Kilimanjaro, Rongai is the easiest route on the mountain and the most preferred to use during the wet season since it receives little or no rainfall. It is one of the shorter hikes up Mount Kilimanjaro because it ascends much faster compared to other routes. It still has low traffic, although it is gaining popularity with hikers who would wish to hike in a remote and quiet environment away from the busy and more crowded routes.

Rongai’s scenery is not as varied as the routes in the west, but it makes up for it as it goes through the wilderness, giving hikers a chance to spot a few wild animals. It is a moderately difficult hike taking a minimum of either six or seven days (we highly recommend seven days), and it is recommended for hikers with less hiking experience. The Rongai route does not offer proper acclimatization as it does not usually follow the climb-high and sleep-low pattern, comes with a fully catered camping experience, and has an extremely tough hike on summit day.

Umbwe route: 48 km

The Umbwe Route is the shortest hike on Mount Kilimanjaro and, at the same time, the most difficult hike, which should only be attempted by hikers who have enough experience with altitude hiking and are confident. Umbwe is a steep climb and does not offer proper stages of acclimatization, which makes the summit success rate very low. It is a rarely used hike that can be hiked in five or seven days, comes with low traffic, and we usually discourage hikers from using this route.

Lemosho route: 67 km

The Lemosho route is one of the most recently introduced routes on Mount Kilimanjaro and is almost similar to the Shira route since it was introduced to make a better starting point for hikers who were using the Shira route, which starts at a high altitude. The Lemosho route starts from the west, crossing the Shira ridge to Shira camp, and for the first few days, hikers encounter traffic and only start meeting other hikers when they join the Machame route.

This is considered to be the most beautiful Kilimanjaro route, where hikers get panoramic views of the mountain from different angles. It is a highly recommended route that has a high success rate, a good and proper acclimatization process with the climb high and sleeps low process, great scenery, and low traffic.

Northern circuit: 88 km

The Northern Circuit is a highly recommended route for all hikers, has the highest success rate, and is the longest route on Mount Kilimanjaro with an 88-kilometer distance. This is the most recently introduced route approaching the mountain from the west, and the hike follows the Lemosho route at the start (first two days), but unlike Lemosho, which follows the southern side, the northern circuit branches and follows the rarely used and hiked northern slopes.

The Northern Circuit can be hiked in eight or nine days, offering hikers good acclimatization with the climb-high and sleep-low process. The route has a low number of hikers, and the beautiful scenery makes it one of the best routes to use for a Kilimanjaro hike.

Shira route: 58 km

Also approaching Mount Kilimanjaro from the west, the Shira route was the original route before the introduction of the Lemosho route to improve the starting point of the hike and add variation. Shira is a more varied route as compared to the Lemosho route; however, we recommend the Lemosho route over the Shira route because the former offers better acclimatization and hikers start getting altitude sickness symptoms right from the first day of the hike, which starts at around 3600m above sea level.

Shira Route can be hiked in six or seven days, but we highly recommend the seven days for proper acclimatization. And although there are fewer people on the Shira route as compared to the Machame trail, Shira is still more expensive.

Machame route: 61 km

Also known as the Whiskey Routes, Machame is one of the most popular routes on Mount Kilimanjaro, more difficult than the Marangu route, and one that we highly recommend. It is a hiking route that is best suited for adventurous hikers and those who have prior experience with steeper mountain climbs. The route is good for acclimatization because you get to climb high and sleep low, you get to take on the Barranco Wall, and it is the route that will take you to the highest point on the African continent.

The Machame Route starts from the south, with the hike continuing to the east through the different zones before summit day. It offers beautiful scenery; the minimum number of days it can be hiked is 6 and 7, with the 7 days being highly recommended. Due to the heavy traffic experienced on the Machame route, especially during the dry season, the route becomes too crowded, losing some of its splendor.

Whichever route you decide to use, make sure that you are mentally and physically prepared for the hike. To have a successful climb, you should have the right hiking gear, hike slowly, and acclimatize to avoid altitude sickness.

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and with the large crowds attempting the climb every year, it is best to note that this is not just a walk in the park and you need to be well prepared for the climb. Things that you need to know about Mount Kilimanjaro before climbing include the following.

Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain (free-standing) in the world. It is 5,895 meters high and as with most mountains that are part of other mighty ranges, Kilimanjaro is an isolated mountain which allows you to see it from an extremely far away distance.

It is a cod place! Know how the internet and people keep on saying that Africa is hot, well when you get to Mount Kilimanjaro, the cold that hits you is different because the moment that you get there and start elevation, the temperature keeps on dropping automatically. During the day, the sun is up and it is a bit warm as compared to the nights and that is why we advise tourists to carry both warm and light clothes for the hike.

Over 2500 people attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro per year and only two thirds are successful. One of the main reasons why many people fail to get to the summit is because of the altitude sickness that forces them to descend. Note that altitude sickness is real and extremely dangerous, meaning that it needs to be taken care of with immediate effect. What to know Kilimanjaro climbing

Mount Kilimanjaro is not an extinct volcano but a stratovolcano, which means that the mountain is filled with rock, ash, and lava. A volcano is considered dormant if it has not erupted in over 100,000 years, and the same applies to Kibo. The last eruption on Mount Kilimanjaro was about 360,000 years ago, and climbers who take the two-hour trip around the ash pit from the crater camp get to experience the smell of sulphur when around the ash pit.

Kilimanjaro has three extinct volcanic cones: Shira (about 3962 meters high), Kibo (5895 meters), and Mawenzi (5149 meters).

The first attempt at climbing Mount Kilimanjaro was made in 1889 by Hans Mayer, a German geologist, Kinyala Yohani Lauwo, the local guide, and an Australian named Ludwig Purtscheller. The first attempt, however, was not successful because they encountered lots of snow and ice walls, which forced them to descend. Meyer tried a second time but was still not successful after being captured by the locals who were rebelling against the Germans during the Abushiri Revolt. The third successful attempt was in the year 1889, and this time Meyer attempted with the help of two local tribe leaders, a local guide, a cook, and nine porters who reached the summit from the southern side of the crater via the current Marangu route.

Any person, regardless of their age, can climb Mount Kilimanjaro, as the different old people aged 86 years in 2015 (Angela Vorobeva), 88 years in 2007 (Fred Distelhorst at the Uhuru peak), and 89 years in 2017 (Anne Lorimor) have shown. The National Park Authority has set a minimum age of 10 years for hikers up Kilimanjaro. Coaltan Tanner has so far been the youngest hiker on Kilimanjaro since his parents made a special request and obtained permission.

Mount Kilimanjaro has seven official routes that can be used to reach the summit, and climbers can use any of these routes. Note that some of these routes are not favourable, and you need to check our website about the best routes for hiking Mount Kilimanjaro. The southern routes include Umbwe, Machame, and Marangu; the northern routes include Rongai; and the western routes include the Northern Circuit, which starts from the west and circles around the North; and the Lemosho and Shira routes.

All the main routes on Mount Kilimanjaro end up at the main base camps where the summit attempt begins. There are three main routes to the summit, and these are the Western Breach, which is the most technical from the west, Stella Point from the south, and Gillman’s Point from the south (this is the most used route).

Mount Kilimanjaro has five major zones, and this is due to the fact that it lies along the equator. The journey up the mountain is like taking a walk from the equator to the North Pole. The different zones along Mount Kilimanjaro include the rainforest zone, low alpine zone, high alpine zone, and glacial zone.

Book through a local tour company to get an authentic and great experience while hiking. The Tanzanian government clearly stipulates that you must be able to hire a local guide to be able to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Locally registered companies know the ins and outs of the mountain and the best routes to use, and for an additional cost, you can take an exclusive safari to the different national parks in Tanzania.

Make sure that you do not limit your budget when it comes to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. The fact is that you will not find a trip below $1000, but it can go as high as $3000 or more. The fee usually includes transport, food, and accommodation, excluding personal purchases and international flights. And as you plan for the climb, please do not forget to tip the porters. Bring between $400 and $500 in cash (it is better if it is in Tanzanian shillings), as the wages paid help the porters support their families.

With a good mountain guide, you will be able to achieve acclimatization as long as you take it slowly. Hikers respond differently to altitude, with some facing severe sickness as their bodies find difficulty adjusting to the pressure. You will often hear guides say “pole-pole” which is loosely translated as “slowly-slowly (this is to make sure that you achieve acclimatization at your own pace without falling sick).

Is Mount Kilimanjaro climbing safe? Read more about how safe Mt Kilimanjaro is.

Do not forget your gear; carry all the necessary medications and a first aid kit; and if possible, pay for an optional bathroom that will be located outside your tent.