KIAfrika adventure will explain the differences between the routes and help you decide which is the best for you. As the popularity of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro con‐tinues to increase, potential climbers are often uncer‐tain as to which route to take. There are seven major routes used to climb Kilimanjaro. Each route has its own advantages and disadvantages. When selecting the route, make sure it is the appropriate route for your
desires, physical ability, aptitude and comfort level.


To choose the best Kilimanjaro route for you, there are plenty of variables to be mindful of:

Who is climbing? The whole group’s abilities must be factored into choosing a route. Are there novices in your group? Are there people who have never been to
high altitudes? Pick a route that best fits everyone.

What limitations surround your climb? Are you bound by a budget? Or the number of days on your trip? There are cheaper and more expensive routes, and shorter and longer itineraries. Get an idea of how much money and how many days people are willing to spend on the mountain.

How do you see your trek? Do you want the most challenging route or a less strenuous one? Kilimanjaro can bring out a lot of discomfort and suffering. Some
people don’t want to be pushed too hard. These answers will affect which route is for you.

Where do you want to begin your climb? The routes start from all sides of the mountain. Where you begin affects cost, scenery and scenic variety. For instance,
the western routes are more scenic because they cover more of the mountain.

Why are you climbing? Is it very important to summit? Then choose a route with a high success rate. Do you want to take the best photos? Then pick a scenic
route. Do you just want to be there? Then choose a quick, inexpensive route.

When are you climbing? If you are climbing during the dry season, great. But if you are climbing during the rainy season or the shoulder seasons, then the route you select can play into the climb’s difficulty. Climbs around holidays and full moons are especially crowded.

Below are brief descriptions of the climbing routes on Mount Kilimanjaro.
Cost: $ = low, $$ = mid, $$$ = high, $$$$ = very high
Difficulty: ^ = low, ^^ = mid, ^^^ = high, ^^^^ = very high

Marangu (“Coca Cola”) Route; Known as the “Coca-Cola”route, the Marangu route is a classic trek on Mount Kilimanjaro. It is the oldest, most well
established route. Many favor the Marangu route because it is considered to be the easiest path on the mountain, given its gradual slope. It is also the
only route which offers sleeping huts in dormitory style accommodation. The minimum days required for this route is five, although the probability of
successfully reaching the top in that time period is not very high. Spending an extra acclimatization day on the mountain is highly recommended when climbing Kilimanjaro using the Marangu route.

However, despite its immense popularity, we avoid leading climbs on the Marangu route. The route has the least scenic variety of all the routes because the ascent and descent are done on the same path and it is the most crowded route for that reason. Marangu is favoured mostly during the rainy season, where the hut accommodations are preferred over wet ground, or for those who only have five days to climb Kilimanjaro.
Popular tourist route, approaches from southeast, easy, gentle gradients, beautiful rain forest section and moorlands, comfortable but basic hut shelter, poor acclimatization profile, descent on same trail.
72 km
5-6 days.
– We are charging Marangu route 6 days climb 1650 USD per person
– We are charging Marangu route 5 days climb 1500 USD per person

Known as the “Whiskey” route, the Machame route is now the most popular route on the mountain.
Compared with Marangu, the days on Machame are longer and the walks are steeper. The Machame route is considered a difficult route, and is better suited for more adventurous folks and those with some hiking or backpacking experience. The route begins from the south, then heads east, traversing underneath
Kilimanjaro’s southern ice field before summiting. The minimum number of days required for this route is six days, although seven days is recommended. The Machame route is scenically beautiful and varied.
However, due to the heavy crowds, it loses some of its splendor. It is very famous route, scenic and it has beautiful panoramic views with all the endemic and amazing plants that can only be found on Mount Kilimanjaro and no where else in the world. Most of our clients choose the Machame route. Most popular route, approaches from south, very scenic route with southern traverse, difficult route but very good for acclimatization, camping.
62 km
6-7 days.
– We are charging Machame route seven days climb 2000 USD per person
– We are charging Machame route six days climb 1900 USD per person

The Lemosho route is one of the newer routes on Mount Kilimanjaro. The route begins in the west and
rather than simply intersecting Shira Plateau (like Machame), Lemosho crosses it from Shira Ridge to Shira Camp. Climbers encounter low traffic until
the route joins the Machame route. Afterwards, Lemosho follows the same route through Lava Tower, Barranco and Barafu, known as the southern circuit. The minimum number of days required for this route is six days, although eight days is ideal. Lemosho is considered the most beautiful route on Kilimanjaro and boasts panoramic vistas on various sides of the mountain. It is our favourite route because it offers a great balance of low traffic, scenic views and a high summit success rate. Thus, Lemosho comes highly
Long access drive to trailhead, approaches from west, remote, less frequented, beautiful heath section, very scenic with southern traverse, camping, difficult route but excellent for acclimatization, camping.
70 km
7-8 days.
– We are charging Lemosho route eight days climb 2100 USD per person
– We are charging Lemosho route seven days climb 1950 USD per person

The Shira route is another path that approaches Kilimanjaro from the west, and it is nearly identical to the Lemosho route. In fact, Shira was the original route and Lemosho is the improved variation. While Lemosho starts at Londorossi Gate and treks through the rain forest to Shira 1 Camp, the Shira route bypasses this walk by using a vehicle to transport climbers to Shira Gate, located near the Shira Ridge.
On the first day on the mountain, climbers begin their hike from 11,800 feet (3,600 m) and spend their first night at the same elevation at Simba Camp. Then, the route merges with Lemosho and follows the southern circuit route. Although Shira is a varied and beautiful route, Lemosho is recommended over Shira due to the high altitude of Shira’s starting point. It is possible that climbers will experience altitude related symptoms on the first day due to failed acclimatization. Climbers using Shira should be confident of their ability to acclimatize.

Almost same as Lemosho, approaches from west, long access drive to trailhead, trail starts at 11,800 ft, remote, less frequented, beautiful heath section, very scenic with southern traverse, camping, difficult route but excellent for acclimatization if ok at 11,800 ft, camping.
56 km
8 days.
– We are charging Shira route eight days climb 2100 USD per person

The Rongai route is the only route that approaches Kilimanjaro from the north, close to the Kenyan border.
Though gaining popularity amongst climbers, Rongai has low traffic. It is the preferred route for those looking for an alternative to the crowded Marangu route, for those who would like a more remote hike, and for those who are climbing during the rainy season (the north side receives less precipitation). The minimum number of days required for this route is six days, and seven days are recommended. Although the scenery is not as varied as the western routes, Rongai makes up for this by passing through true wilderness areas for days before joining the Marangu route at
Kibo camp. This route descends down the Marangu route. Rongai is a moderately difficult route, and is highly recommended, especially for those with less backpacking experience.
Long access drive to trailhead, approaches from north, remote, less frequented, easy, gentle gradients, beautiful alpine desert section, good alternative to Marangu, camping, fair acclimatization profile, camping.
73 km
6-7 days.
– We are charging Rongai route seven days climb 1950 USD per person
– We are charging Rongai route six days climb 1800 USD per person

The routes have starting points located on multiple sides of the mountain.
The routes vary distance and accordingly so do the completion times.
There are relatively easy trails, difficult routes, and even dangerous ones.
Certain routes are favorable for altitude acclimatisation due to their route profile.
There are routes that are better when climbing during the rainy season.
One route offers hut accommodations while the rest are camping routes.
Machame is the most popular route on the mountain, with an estimated 45% of all climbers using this route.
Next is the Marangu route, with an estimated 40% of all climbers opting for this route. Lemosho and Rongai see far less use, but are the preferred routes for the more reputable (expensive) Kilimanjaro outfitters, and are thus growing in popularity. Shira, Umbwe and Northern Circuit barely have any foot traffic. Picking the wrong route can mean a unnecessarily difficult trek, a failed summit, or becoming ill and/ or injured. So it is important to compare the different elements that makes each route unique.

To put it very simply, there are longer routes, meaning the number of days you spend on the trek, which are more expensive, but there is a higher chance of reaching the top, thanks to better acclimatization. Of course, shorter routes are cheaper and are suitable for those who want to save time, money, or have experience with alpine hiking and already know how their body responds to high altitudes. The question of which route is easier and which is harder is not the right answer. None of the routes are easy. We also recommend everyone to come to Tanzania at least 2 to 3 days before the start of the ascent.

We are all tired after a long flight and it is advisable to give the body time to regenerate and acclimatize before climbing to Kilimanjaro for several days.

You can choose one of 6 routes for the ascent: Marangu , Machame , Lemosho , Shira , Rongai or Umbwe . There are also 2 circuits, northern and southern, which are the most time and money consuming and are used by very few people. If you choose Marangu or Rongai, you will descend through the Marangu gate, the remaining routes end at the Mweka gate.

The most popular route is currently Machame(Whiskey route) and just behind it Marangu (Coca cola route).


1). All national park fees.
2). Rescue fees.
3). Camping/Hut fees.
4). Good salary for the crew.
5). All meals and water on the mountain.
6). A nice and comfortable mattress.
7). Tents {guest personal tent, mess tent for our guests to have their meals, kitchen tent as cooking place and to store our food, as well as shelter tent        for the crew use}.
8). Transport in general (from your arrival to your departure as well as from the hotel to the mountain and back).
9). Hotel staying in Moshi with bed and breakfast for 2 nights. One night before the climb and one night after the climb.
10). Professional and experienced Mountain Guides, amazing chef and trustee porters.
11). Portable chemical toilet (for camping routes).
12). Emergency Oxygen.
13). Pulse oxymeter to measure our clients heart beat and oxygen level.

1). Flights
2). Visas
3). Travel Insurance
4). Personal drinks and snacks
5). Tips for the climbing team
6). Lunch and dinner at the hotel plus extra days at the hotel
7). Personal equipment
8). Sleeping bags
Note that:
Our rates are very fair and reasonable as they contain almost all the important accommodations and services while travelling with us which is good and will make you comfortable too






Does an extra day help acclimatization?

Most guidebooks recommend that climbers spend an extra day during the Marangu route climb especially. This is very much a personal decision, but our statistics do not indicate any greater success rate amongst 6 day Marangu route climbers over 5 day climbers. More important for success is the overall approach to the climb, right from the start. That said, many people like an extra day spent on the ascent because it makes the whole climb more relaxed and gives an opportunity to go on some pleasant walks on the slopes of Mawenzi.

I’ve heard many horror stories about Kilimanjaro. How do I know that it’s safe to climb with you?

Our company has been sending people up Kilimanjaro , and we have enormous experience. We arrange climbs for around 50 climbers every year, and a number of us involved in the running of the mountain regularly so that our experience of conditions is always very recent. Our guides (numbering over 20 at the moment) only work for us, so we can be sure that our standards are consistent. In particular, you will not find yourself being harassed for tips by your crew during your climb.

If there is a problem on the mountain what are the rescue procedures?

The national park operates a rescue service, and the ranger stations at the huts and campsites around the mountain are linked to each other and to the park headquarters by radio. In the vast majority of emergency cases, the problem is altitude related and the solution is immediate descent to a lower altitude. Our mountain crew are all experienced at dealing with such cases and can bring climbers down to safe altitudes very quickly and without park assistance if it is not immediately available.

Is it possible to rent mountain equipment from the moshi?

We have a large stock of clothing, tents and sleeping bags. This is primarily for the free use of our fully equipped climbers but we also make equipment available for hire to hard way climbers where possible. In all cases, we encourage climbers to bring as much of their own warm clothing as possible. In particular, climbers should avoid having to hire or borrow boots.

I read in the Lonely Planet that the success rate on Kilimanjaro is less than thirty percent. Is this true and if so is there any reason for me to climb it knowing I won’t make it to the top?

Many people climb Kilimanjaro without knowing what they are letting themselves in for. Consequently they may be inadequately clothed and fed, and they therefore have a miserable and unsuccessful time. We make sure that you are properly informed and equipped, and our success rate to the crater rim is 87%. Our success rate to Uhuru peak is 70%. It should be noted that our climbers come from a very broad range of ages and abilities. However, we always stress that the main reason to climb Kilimanjaro (or any other mountain) is to have a safe and enjoyable time. Reaching the summit is a bonus, but should never be seen as the sole aim of the climb.

How cold does it get on Kilimanjaro?

The temperature at the top of the mountain can vary widely. Sometimes it is only a degree or two below freezing, but visitors should be prepared for the possibility of temperatures as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius, perhaps in conjunction with a wind.

Can children climb Kilimanjaro?

The national park rules stipulate that the minimum age for climbing above 3000 metres is 10 years. This is because altitude sickness can affect children very quickly and dangerously.

What should I know about altitude sickness?

There are different types of altitude sickness. “Mild acute mountain sickness” is very common, and is not as frightening as its name suggests. The symptoms are headaches, nausea and vomiting, though not everyone suffers from all the symptoms. Normally, symptoms fade after a few hours, but if they do not a climber may need to turn back, since the condition cannot be allowed to develop. Any enjoyment to be had from the climb will have disappeared by now anyway. A much more serious type of altitude sickness is called oedema. This is a build-up of fluid in the body, and when the fluid collects in the lungs or the brain a serious condition develops which requires immediate action in the form of descent to a lower altitude, where recovery is usually miraculously fast. To acclimatise properly, a climber should not climb more than around 300 metres per day,but all ascents on Kilimanjaro are very much faster than that. The secret, therefore, is to make each day’s ascent as slow as possible.
During your pre-climb briefing, we describe altitude sickness to you in detail, and advise you how to cope with it. The most important thing is not to fear it, but to respect it and to know how to deal with it. Our guides have seen every condition that the mountain produces, and they will always know how to deal with problems.

What is an anorak and what is a balaclava?

An anorak is a weatherproof jacket, such as Gore-tex and a balaclava is a woollen sock that fits over the head with slits for only the eyes and mouth.

How is cooking done on the mountain?

We use gas stoves also, especially for larger climbing parties.

Why are tents used on the Machame route although there appear to be huts on that route?

Although there are one or two metal shelters at each of the Machame route camps (and these shelters were referred to as “huts” by the Kilimanjaro Mountain Club which built them long ago), they are now used by national park rangers. Both you and your crew sleep in tents.

I’ve heard that many Kilimanjaro operators don’t care if their crew sleep out in the open. Do you provide tents for guides and porters on camping routes?

Yes, we do.

Do you pay wages to your guides and porters? I’ve heard that the only reward they get is the tip at the end of the climb, which is why so many climbers get hassled for tips.

Yes, we do pay them wages, and we pay well above the levels recommended by Kilimanjaro National Park. We also pay guides and porters immediately after each climb. We also provide our crews with food, fuel, and essential warm and waterproof clothing. Our crews all know that tips from climbers are discretionary. And even if you do want to give a tip, we always ask you not to do it on the mountain but back at the hotel or office|tour operator & chief guides after the climb is over. There, everything is relaxed and open.

How much should I tip my mountain guides and porters?

First of all, it is customary on Kilimanjaro to give a tip to guides and porters if pleased with the service they have given, although we stress that tipping is always discretionary. Climbers are advised to budget around $100 to $200 for this purpose – the larger the climbing party, the less each climber generally needs to contribute for tips. In particular, we urge climbers to give a tip to each crew member, and not just to give all the money to the guide and tell him to deal with it.  This can be unfair both to guide and crew. More guidance is given about mountain tipping in pre-climb briefings.

Do your guides speak English?

All of our guides speak sufficient English to be able to deal with emergency matters like altitude sickness.  None of them speak English so fluently that one could have a complex discussion regarding politics, for instance, but a number can chat fairly fluently about normal everyday topics.  There are other guides on the mountain who can speak really very good English, and posters to websites have sometimes compared our guides with these others.  The difference lies in attitude and experience.  We have always valued our guides more for the way they can deal with emergencies, and for how they can observe and gently encourage climbers to do their best than for how charming and chatty they are – indeed one climber commented to us about how put off she was by the “in your face” attitude, as she put it, of some of the other guides she had observed on the mountain. Where a good command of English on the guide’s part is very important to a climber, we allocate a guide who is more proficient in the language.

Why is the Marangu route called the “Coca Cola” route?  Is it really dirty and overcrowded?

There has been a lot of negative press about Marangu.  In our view, and we arrange treks on all the routes, it is very unfair.  This is the only route that uses huts rather than tents and some years ago there was a serious problem with overcrowding in the huts.  In those years the Machame route was much less frequented. But we think the main reason that operators (mostly from Arusha) – speak against the Marangu and boost the Machame is that the booking system for Marangu is demanding of operators’ time.  There is no booking system for Machame (nor the other camping routes).  You just show up at the Machame gate the first morning of the trek.  No one ever knows how many people will be on the trail until the gate closes for that day.  There is a daily quota of only about 70 climbers allowed to start on the Marangu route on any day (this is why booking is not always easy). There are many days in the season when there are many more climbers on the Machame route than on the Marangu. This is not in any way to denigrate the very beautiful Machame route.  But these are things to bear in mind when hearing the Marangu route described as the tourist, easy or Coca Cola route and the Machame as the scenic or the whisky route!  It is true that you will hear many people who have climbed Machame say that it is better than Marangu, and this is conveyed to many of the guide book writers.  But remember that the overwhelming majority of climbers only ever climb one route.  The chances are that the climbers who say this have never been on the Marangu route and are simply repeating what they have been told or have read.

How is the Marangu route different from the Machame route?

Physically, the Marangu and Machame routes are rather different.  The main force of Kibo’s volcanic activity occurred out towards the west (the Machame side) and so Machame is steeper – especially in the first day and a half – and more rugged than Marangu.  It is often considered more scenic because the views of Kibo are more impressive than from the south-east (the Marangu approach), but many consider the vegetation on day 2 of the Marangu route to be more attractive than anything seen on the western side.  As always with mountains, every route has its advantages and drawbacks.  The difficulty grading has Marangu as a 1, and Machame a 1+, so there’s not a great deal in it.

Your prices seem higher than others we’ve been able to find. Why is that?

The cheaper operators often cut costs in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Not paying their crew properly.  KIAfrica adventure is one of a handful of companies paying top rates to guides and porters.   We also provide food, fuel and essential warm and waterproof clothing to our crews, and they are not charged for that.
  • Overloading porters to cut down on numbers.
  • Not providing a sufficient number of guides to accompany a group to the summit.
  • Not providing sufficient tents for their guides and porters to sleep in on the mountain, forcing them all to cram together in tents.
  • Charging you extra for any equipment or clothing you lack and which you need to borrow.
  • Providing sub-standard or insufficient food and equipment.
  • Being unlicensed to conduct mountain climbs, and being part of the underground economy.
  • Cheating the national park by not paying the full amount of park entrance and camping fees.

There are operators in Arusha and Moshi who engage in some or all of the practices mentioned above.  We work hard to run what we think is a quality operation, giving value for money.

If you would like to arrange your climb or if you have any questions, please contact us.

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