Mount Kilimanjaro routes
There are several Mount Kilimanjaro routes by which to reach Kibo, or Uhuru Peak, the highest summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, namely, Marangu, Rongai, Lemosho, Shira, Umbwe and Machame. Being one of the most popular mountains in the world, roughly 50,000 trekkers every year try to reach the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro.
The Machame Route and Umbwe Route depart from the south-west side of the mountain, and then use the Southern Circuit via Barafu and Stella Point to approach Uhuru Peak. Similarly, Shira Route and Lemosho Route also use the Southern Circuit to approach the summit and the Mweka route to descend; however both routes begin on the far west side off the mountain.
Marangu Route begins in the south-east and approaches Uhuru peak via Gilman’s Point. It is the only route on Kilimanjaro that has hut accommodation for the entire climb and uses the same trail to ascend and descend.
Rongai Route starts from the North-East and passes through the Saddle situated between Kibo and Mawenzi Peak to approach the summit via Gilman’s Point. The Rongai route descends via the Marangu Route.
The newest and longest route is the Northern Circuit which uses the same starting point as Lemosho but veers north before Lava Tower, circling around the north of the mountain and approaching Uhuru Peak via Gilman’s Point.
The Western Breach is a difficult trail that was closed due to a tragic rock-fall in 2006 that killed three trekkers. The route has subsequently re-opened but is seldom used as it offers poor acclimatization, is steep and remains rather unsafe for inexperienced trekkers.
Trekkers who use the Western Breach usually approach from the Umbwe Route up to Lava Tower, before taking a steep ascent past Arrow’s Glacier and up the Western Breach to Crater Camp and Uhuru Peak. The Western Breach can also be approached using the Machame, Shira and Lemosho Route. Descent is usually via the Mweka Route.
The first is via the southern slopes of Kibo, up to Stella Point and then west around the crater rim to Uhuru Peak. This approach is used by trekkers on the Lemosho, Shira, Machame and Umbwe Routes.
The second assault passage approaches from the Eastern side of Kibo, up to Gilman’s Point and then west around the crater rim to Uhuru Peak. Trekkers on the Rongai and Marangu Route, and Northern Circuit use this passage to the summit.
Thirdly, trekkers can use the more technically challenging approach to the summit via the Western Breach.
Mount Kilimanjaro routes Summary
|Newest route on Kilimanjaro. Very low traffic due to very long time on the mountain, traverses nearly the entire mountain including the north side. Long route with great views.||9||90 kilometres (56 mi)|
|Lemosho||Long access drive, remote, less frequented, beautiful forests, scenic traverse to Barafu, camping. Excellent for acclimatization.||8 (-1)||56 kilometres (35 mi)|
|Machame||Second most popular route. Beautiful forest, very good for acclimatization, scenic traverse to Barafu.||7 (-1)||49 kilometres (30 mi)|
|Marangu||Very popular(crowded). Gentle gradients and long sections up to 4700m (2.9 mi). Beautiful forests and moorlands, comfortable but basic huts. The 6 day variant provides good time for acclimatization.||6 (-1)||64 kilometres (40 mi)|
|Rongai||Long access drive, remote, less frequented, some fine, wild, least scenic, camping. Good for acclimatization.||5-6||65 kilometres (40 mi)|
|Umbwe||Shortest and steepest route, very physically taxing and requires serious endurance. Beautiful forest, spectacular ridge, bad for acclimatization, scenic traverse to Barafu, camping.Dangerous route.||6 (-1)||37 kilometres (23 mi)|
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