Climbing Kilimanjaro is the best possible adventure you would ever have. Explore our itineraries and information about climbing Kilimanjaro.
Did you know Mount Kilimanjaro is the World’s highest free standing mountain and the Highest Mountain in Africa measuring 5,895m, that is, 19,341ft? It is also known for attracting all kinds of travelers, a climber or not, as long as you love challenging yourself, you can reach its summit.
Oltumure Tours offers you all information you would need to know about climbing Kilimanjaro. This is to enable you pick the best route/ package for yourself considering all possible factors. Learn more about Mount Kilimanjaro for general knowledge. Note you can combine the climb with another tour in Tanzania or choose to have a period of relaxation in one of our islands, for instance, Zanzibar Island after the climb.
Kilimanjaro routes | In a nutshell
Marangu or Machame Routes – recommended for a beginner
Lemosho or Machame Route – Recommended for a climber looking for scenic views
Marangu Route- This is the shortest and easiest route. It’s also the cheapest of all.
Northern Circuit – This is the longest route of them all.
Machame or Lemosho Routes – These two are very moderate. Suitable for any climber
Rongai Route – Recommended for a climber who wish to climb during the rainy season
Umbwe Route – This is the best route for a climber who is out to challenge themselves. It’s the toughest
Machame Route – It’s the most popular. You are guaranteed of company up
8 days Lemosho or 9 days Northern Circuit Routes – These are the routes that have recorded the highest success rates.
Kilimanjaro routes | pros and cons
There are a total of seven climbing routes to the Kilimanjaro Summit, Uhuru Peak. Each of these has its advantages and disadvantages. The routes also vary in the experience they offer to climbers, for example, scenery, length, climate, difficulty, terrain, accommodation, traffic among other factors.
Having a long experience with all of the 7 routes, we find it advisable to narrow down your options to the following 3 routes: Marangu, Machame and Lemosho. Learn more about them below:
This is one of the easiest routes up Kilimanjaro. Although it gives you limited acclimatization time, it is the shortest. One of the reasons as to why some climbers prefer Marangu Route is the availability of a ‘dormitory,’ hut accommodation. This saves you from spending night in tents. On the other hand, it could be a turn off for those who would like some more privacy. The success rate to the summit on this route is lower as compared to the following two.
Dubbed ‘Coca Cola Route,’ Marangu happens to be the only route where climbers use the same trail up and down. It could therefore be the cheapest but the traffic gets quite high especially, during the peak seasons. It also offers you limited adventure in terms of scenery as all you see is a section of the mountain.
From the Coca Cola Route, we take you to the ‘Whiskey Route’ – the popular Machame Route. The trail is a gradual ascent which offers your body enough time to acclimatize. This increases the climber’s success rate making it the highest among the three.
On this route, the climber enjoys breathtaking views of the beauty of nature as the trail takes you around the mountain all the way to the top. The climb can take either 6 or 7 days; however, taking the 7-day trail increases your chances of getting to the summit more.
Here you enjoy a green walk through rain forest and a great moment on Shira Plateau. Like Marangu, this route also gets busy in Peak season due to its ease of access. The route is also cheaper than most others since the trail follows a shorter route.
This is where the beauty of nature is not only seen, but also felt. Unlike other routes, a climb on Lemosho Route starts on the western side of the mountain. The route is somehow secluded, a factor that makes the traffic quite low. It’s basically a very beautiful route also offering you a chance to have an experience on the Shira Plateau. It joins Machame Route at some point of the journey and you get an opportunity to go up the Lava Tower.
This route is longer than the above two – it gives climbers some good time to acclimatize. It is however the most expensive of the three routes detailed here but it’s wholly worth it. Chances of success on this trail are quite high. You need 7 or 8 days to get to the summit on Lemosho Route.
Best time for climbing Kilimanjaro
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a leisure you can embark on any time of the year. There are however some periods of the year that would be more suitable than other depending on the climber. Your goal and objective will determine when you would prefer to go up this mountain. For example, there are seasons when rainfall is high and other times when there is moderate or no rains at all.
The temperatures get quite low during some months and the presence of snow can also get somehow overwhelming. As a person, what do you prefer? Much traffic, clear visibility, cool weather and such will guide your choice of which month to do your climb.
Basing it on our experience of many years, we would advise you based on two main seasons. These are what we would call the most popular climbing periods – the period between June and October and the season between December and March. They are both dry periods with December – March being the warmest season. During this season, you get to climb under very clear skies. The chances of having snow on the climb trails are again very minimal. In particular, February is the best time for a climb; the temperatures are high and hence, very minimal chances of rains.
Climbing Kilimanjaro between June and October is also popular. The temperatures are however low on the mountain making it cold. This season is also busy with high traffic of tourists.
Climbing is quite unfavourable during the rainy seasons. This is because the trails get very wet and slippery. Visibility is also quite hazy at such times making climbing very difficult and risky. We do not recommend such seasons for you unless you are an experienced climber or you are a top notch adventurer.
How to prepare to climb Kilimanjaro
On an average day, climbing Kilimanjaro means you walking for 6 to 7 hours. Now if you multiply that with the number of days you will take to get to the summit and back down, it is clear that you need some structured preparation for the adventure. The change of altitude, nature of ascent and the varying temperatures call for a lot of adjustments for your body.
Getting to the summit is doable; you only need to be fit for it. To increase your chances of conquering this mountain, you need to do a number of things. These include: having the right gear, doing some hiking practices few months before the actual climb and doing aerobics to train your body to utilize oxygen effectively.
Top tips on preparation:
To manage climbing Kilimanjaro, you need to train your body strenuous and heavy exercises. Do some pre-hiking a few months to the climb time. It is good to start your training with short walks, and then increase your walking hours with time. To get your body in a hiking shape, engage in one or two full day hiking. As days get close, do more; note that it’s more helpful to do longer distance at a slow pace than short distance at a high pace.
2. Simulate the conditions
Have the climbing gear early enough so as to use the same during pre-hikes. Identify some hills or a mountain and set off to climb up and down the same to get your body adjust to different altitudes. Ensure you have your daypack well-equipped, not forgetting to carry some water.
Also ensure you try to hike in rains, in cold weather and also during warm weather to get your body set to adjust to different weather conditions.
3. Eat healthy
How and what you eat will tell what chances you have to reach the Kilimanjaro summit. Do not forget the role of drinks in this business. During the actual climb, we will ensure you are served with nutritious meals that offer you the much energy to get to Uhuru Peak. However, this healthy eating ought not to wait until you are up on Mount Kilimanjaro – ensure you do so starting a few months to your expedition so that your body is well-fit for the challenge. Take a lot of water to keep your body well hydrated, at least 3 litres a day.
5. Have a professional guide
An experienced professional guide is a pivotal part of your expedition. Your chances of reaching the summit are highly dependent on your guide. The person will not only offer you the best tips on how to increase your chances to get to the top, he will also encourage and motivate you up the mountain.
Oltumure has selected topnotch guides for you so you need not worry about this tip. We also ensure that your oxygen saturation and pulse rate are checked daily to keep you safe in the varying altitudes and weather conditions.
Ensure you go through the information provided about different routes so as to pick the most suitable for you.
Having followed the four tips above, we assure you success to the highest point of Mount Kilimanjaro. See you at the summit!
What are the Costs for Climbing Kilimanjaro?
Climbing Kilimanjaro will vary in expense depending on the route one takes. Our climbing itineraries give you the different costs for different packages- check them out. However, it is good to note that climbing Kilimanjaro will cost you more than the itinerary you choose quotes. This is because of the prior costs and some other costs that you will incur during the journey and stay in Tanzania.
Some of these additional costs are:
- Buying the right climbing gear, for instance, backpack, sleeping bag, hiking boots, headlamp, walking poles, special wear among others.
- Travel insurance to cover you during the climb. We also advise you to have trip cancellation insurance.
- Tipping token for the guides and porters. These people put in a lot of effort for just a little pay. Tipping is like a custom on Kilimanjaro; it’s an appreciation that goes many miles in helping a family somewhere. Though it is a standard practice, you are at liberty to tip the much you can. We can however give you a hint in case you’d like to know more.