Review of the various Mount Kilimanjaro climbing routes

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When you are climbing a mountain, it’s not about choosing the route that will get you there fast, rather, it’s about choosing the route that will give you the best mountain-climbing experience ever.

Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, is one of the most renowned tourist attractions worldwide. A trip here will give you a complete view of the wildlife and nature, but only if you use the best route. The following is a review of Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro climbing routes:

Major routes

There are 7 established routes for climbing Kilimanjaro. The routes start off alone from way below but they later join up as you approach the peak. They are:

  • Lemosho Route
  • The Northern Circuit
  • Machame Route
  • Rongai Route
  • Marangu Route
  • Shira Route
  • Umbwe Route

Lemosho Route

The recommended days for getting to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro using this route is 8 days. It can be described as a medium traffic, tough route with exceptional scenery. It is a good route to take if you want a body wrangling experience sure to sweat it all out.

Approaching from the west, Lemosho route crosses Shira Plateau right from Shira ridge to Shira camp. Climbers will encounter low traffic before reaching the Lemosho-Machame route intersection. This route is a favorite for many people due to the low traffic, breathtaking views, and high chances of reaching the summit.

The Northern Circuit

Also approaching from the West, the Northern circuit follows Lemosho route at the beginning. The northern circuit, however, avoids the southern traverse to follow the serene, virgin Northern slopes. It is the longest route in terms of the distance traveled.

The long distance is a good thing because it’s perfect for acclimatization. Acclimatization gives the users just what they need to push for the summit. If you are new to climbing, this route could be the better option as you can get acclimatized.  

Machame route

Also known as the whiskey route, Machame Route is the most popular route for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. The route is characterized by good scenery, a tough terrain and high traffic. This is just what you need for a socializing-laden hiking experience.   

Rongai Route

This is the only route that approaches the mountain from the North. It is close to the Kenyan border, so it’s perfect if you want to feel the breeze of two African countries. This route is perfect for first-time climbers.

Marangu Route

Also known as the Coca-Cola route, Marangu route is the oldest route and the easiest because of its gradual slope. You will come across hut accommodations, so it’s perfect for rainy weather. Low summit success rates and the crowd make it a poor choice.

Shira Route

This route is almost identical to Lemosho route. Lemosho route is, however, recommended due to the quick accessibility of the starting point by vehicle.

Umbwe Route

Umbwe route is described as a direct route. This is due to its shortness and steepness. It’s a tough route and is only a go-for for experienced hikers.

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