There are seven routes used to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, and our favorite include the Rongai Route, Marangu Route, Crater Camp Routes, Machame Route, Umbwe Route, Shira Route, and Lemosho Route. The most frequently asked question is which of the above routes is best for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, and the answer to this depends on what you exactly want to achieve on your climb. Lemosho and Machame have the highest success rate, Rongai is the quietest route to climb, the crater camp route is the most challenging with a percentage of less than 1%, and the most scenic route is Lemosho.

The Lemosho Route

The Lemosho Route is a remote and spectacular route that allows the hikers to sleep low and walk high during the climb. It has tented camping and a high success rate but doesn’t offer good acclimatization. The rates along this route range from $2500 and more, depending on the type of accommodation and other factors. The maximum number of days you can stay is six, but we recommend booking at least eight. The route is highly recommended, has the most beautiful views, and has a high success rate.

Umbwe Route

The Umbwe Route is the least popular of all the routes on Mount kilimanjaro. It is a route that is considered the most difficult and the shortest itinerary has the worst success rates or summiting Uhuru Peak.

With a cost as low as $2590, this route has fully catered camps, is extremely remote, is too steep, and has a very low success rate as compared to the rest of the routes. It has a rapid ascent and is quiet and very remote, especially for the first two days of the ascent. It is considered to be the most challenging and difficult route up Mount Kilimanjaro and does not offer altitude acclimatization. It will take 6 days if you plan on attempting this route, which is highly recommended for strong hikers who have previous experience, but if it can be avoided, we advise our clients not to use the Umbwe route.

The Machame Route

Also known as the “whiskey route,” The Machame Route is the most commonly used route by hikers. It is considered a difficult hike best suited for daring hikers. You need to have at least backpacking experience, and although it has beautiful scenery, it loses its beauty, especially if you are not a fan of large crowds.

Mount Kilimanjaro Climbing Routes

The Rongai Route

Rongai Route is found along the Kenyan border and is the only route that approaches the mountain from the Northern Part of Mount Kilimanjaro. It requires a maximum of about 6 days, although seven days are recommended; it receives less traffic as compared to other routes; and it is highly recommended to tourists that have less hiking and backpacking experience. However, if you are looking for scenery, this is not the right route for you.

The Northern Circuit Route

The Northern Circuit Route is the newest trail introduced to scale up Mount Kilimanjaro, with a nine-day climb. It approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the western part, starting from Lemosho. It has the longest hike, the highest success rate, a low number of hikers, and is considered to be the best route for acclimatization and beautiful scenery.

Shira Route

The Shira Route, also located in the western part of Mount Kilimanjaro, was the original route before the Lemosho route was improvised. A safari vehicle is always on hand to take you to the Shira gate, which is located near the Shira Ridge. The hike begins at 3600 m, and while the route is recommended, the Lemosho route is much preferred due to Shira’s high starting altitude.

The Marangu Route

The Marangu Route, also known as the Coca-Cola Route, is the oldest and most established route on Mount Kilimanjaro. The route is always crowded due to the fact that the ascent and descent are done along the same route, and despite its popularity, we can only recommend this route during the rainy season because of the dormitory-like sleeping huts that are preferred due to the wet ground. It is an easy hike route, and the recommended number of days is five; however, it is safe to say that The Marangu Route would be a poor choice to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

What to consider when choosing your best Kilimanjaro Route

Selecting a route is one of the toughest choices that you will have to make, and in order to find the best route for you, you will need to ask a few questions and take into account the popularity, difficulty, pros and cons, and scenery. Some of the few things that you need to ask yourself when choosing a hike route include the following:

Is it all about the scenery?

If you are looking at scenery, some hike routes are better than others, and you should take that into consideration when choosing a trek route. For example, the Northern Circuit and Rongai Route have great views of both the northern and southern slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, offering hikers the perfect treat of beautiful scenery. The route also has very lovely scenery as compared to the Marangu route, which limits scenery viewing because you use the same route for ascending and descending. So if you are looking for scenery, we advise that you avoid the Marangu route.

How much are you willing to spend on a hike?

If you are planning on enjoying your Kilimanjaro safari, then the best thing to do is invest and not put a price on the adventure. Shorter treks are obviously less expensive, but they may jeopardize one’s chances of summiting, and the disadvantage of using shorter routes is that you get to walk for longer hours per day, causing hikers to become exhausted. The longer treks, on the other hand, are much more fun because hikers get to experience summiting, but note that they are always expensive since you have to pay for the extra days spent on the hike.

When do you want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

Mountain Kilimanjaro can be climbed all year round because it is never closed, but there are better months than others, and the best ones are the drier months that make it easier to reach the summit. However, if you choose to take the climb during the wet season, please, please consider avoiding the other routes and use the Rongai route. This is because Rongai Route generally receives less or minimal rainfall throughout the year. During the drier months of the year one can choose any hiking trail, while considering the other factors that matters when choosing a route for climbing Kilimanjaro Mountain.

Do you have prior trekking experience?

This is an important question that needs to be asked, and your experience will determine which routes you use. If this is your first time hiking high altitudes, or climbing mountains, we suggest that you avoid extremely steep routes like the Umbwe route and other difficult routes.  Especially if you want to have a good experience hiking up Mount Kilimanjaro.

Do you want to have a good acclimatization experience?

This is one of the best questions that need to be asked and considered when choosing your best trekking route. The best routes for climbing Kilimanjaro, should  offer acclimatization. This gives you opportunities for climbing high and at a slow rate if you are not a seasoned hiker, and they offer a low sleeping position that helps hikers easily adjust to the ever-increasing altitude.