Mount Kilimanjaro Short Briefing

Mount Kilimanjaro Routes Short Briefing

Standing at a staggering 5,895MT, Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. Conquering this iconic peak is a feature on many keen adventurer’s bucket list, but there are several Kilimanjaro Trails to consider before you start planning your trek, to make sure you have the best chance of reaching the summit.
We recommend the Machame and Lemosho trails, and our preference is the Lemosho, which is considered by many to be the best and most beautiful trail to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Here, we give details of all six options, including Machame and Lemosho, so you can make an informed decision as to which trail is best for your Kilimanjaro climb.

You’ll likely only climb Kilimanjaro once, so you may as well do it ‘right’. The best way to do this is choosing a trek which allows enough acclimatization time to reach the summit safely. The single most important factor on whether you reach the summit or not depend on the number of days you take. The park minimum is 5-days – that’s 3.5 days to the summit. Only about 50% of those on 5-day climbs reach the summit. Of the roughly 1,000 climbers we take up the mountain each year, we average eight days. We regularly run seven and ten day treks which include the experience of camping next to the glacier at Crater Camp. The results are dramatic when comparing the ratio of summit success rates to the number of days on the mountain.

The average Kilimanjaro summit success rates are:

  • 5 days: 65%
  • 6 days: 75%
  • 7 days: just over 80%
  • 8 days: 90%
  • 9/10 days+: over 95%.

It makes a significant impact on summit success rates to take extra days.


There are 6 established routes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro – Marangu, Machame, Lemosho, Rongai, Northern Circuit and Umbwe. For people who have never been to the high altitude before, we do recommend choosing 7-10 days itinerary. Some routes have only 6 days climbing maximum and plus two days in the hotel prior and after the climb.

The main features of each route are the following:

Lemosho offers high-altitude landing at 3500, which provides a gradual ascend and thus, proper acclimatization.

Machame or whisky route starts at 1600-meter point goes through the rainforest and merges Lemosho on day 3. Thus, the difference between these two options is in the first two days and Machame is more physically demanding correspondingly.

Marangu or coca cola route is the only route that provides huts for overnight. Although the most popular itinerary is a 5-day climb, we usually advise adding one more day at Horombo to acclimatize better (6 days climbing maximum).

Rongai and Umbwe. An approach from the dry northeast (Kenya side), up to the flanks of Mawenzi (the most easterly of Kilimanjaro’s three volcanoes) then on into the great expanse of the barren saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo, and finally up to the summit via the Marangu Route. From 5+ days, but best done in 6 or 7 days. The descent route on Rongai is the Marangu Route, which makes for a longer last day than other camping routes. These are quite physically demanding though.

Northern Circuit (8, 9 or 10 days climbing + plus the night inside the crater is possible) is Kilimanjaro’s newest route. The route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the rainforest on the western slopes of Shira Plateau and passes through the northern part of the Kilimanjaro massif to end up on the eastern slope.

The cost for the climb depends on the chosen route, the number of participants in an individual group. The cost for the group climb will be fixed regardless of the number of climbers in the group.

Now you know a little bit more about Kilimanjaro climbing. Should you have any questions Baraka Trails Adventure team are always happy to help you!