Best Kilimanjaro Climbing Routes

For most of the ardent adventure seekers trooping into Tanzania every year, climbing Kilimanjaro is the highlight of their trip. Despite its intimidating size and height that earns Kili the tag of “Roof of Africa” , it is one of the biggest draws in Africa and coveted for the transformative experience it ushers and of course that ultimate recognition of being part of that exclusive club, ‘who came, who saw and  succeeded’ in entering their names in the list of successful climbers whose name is etched in immortality in a small book stored in a wooden box at the top of Kilimanjaro

One of the reasons for its popularity is the non-technical nature of the climb which doesn’t require any special skills or equipment. It is not beyond a normal person with decent fitness levels. That has made Kilimanjaro the mountain of choice for charity climbs, first-time hikers, and celebrity adventures. Adding to the aura is the choice of different routes; each offering a different experience.

Slow is easy , slow is smooth, slow is smart and successful!

But remember Kilimanjaro is a marathon and not a sprint. Longer treks have higher success rates as they allow for acclimatization and rest. Shorter routes are tough have lower success rates. Here’s our selection of routes for that enriched trekking experience.

Acknowledged as the most scenic route a trek through the Lemosho route takes you through lush forests, stunning lavas, alpine deserts en route to the ice-capped peak of mighty Kilimanjaro. The challenging route has a very high success rate provided you opt for the longer duration trek and don’t decide to rush it. The route is less trafficked and descent is through Mweka route.

The extremely scenic but physically demanding Machame route is a favourite of adventurous hikers. The rapid ascent makes it a hard trek, so we suggest choosing the longer duration trail for better experience and results. Known as “Whiskey Route” for the level of difficulty it poses, it has become crowded in recent past with its growing popularity. As one of the oldest routes it attracts a lot of traffic. The descent is through Mweka Route.

The Coca Cola route or the Marangu route is the oldest and most established of all the routes. Considered the easiest trek of all the routes it certainly isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. Ascent and descent are on the same trail and offers very little for sceneries. Acclimatization is a serious concern as the gradual slopes and direct path coupled with limited days on the trek expose you the hardships of altitude sickness. But it’s the cheapest route and the huts on the trails provide for decent accommodation

If you are strapped of time and budget, then Rongai Route is the most ideal. A favourite among trekkers, it is a less trafficked route and is the classic trek off the beaten track. Approaching the mountain from the north the route gives you a different take off the mountain and the lack of scenery is mitigated by the descent from the southern Marangu side which offers a newer setting to soak in. Rongai is a moderately difficult route, and the even and gentle character of the trail makes it ideal for those with less backpacking experience.