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.
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.
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.
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.