Climb Kilimanjaro - Choose the Best Route for You

Exploring the rocky Kilimanjaro landscape | Kyle Super
Exploring the rocky Kilimanjaro landscape | Kyle Super

Towering 5895 metres above the surrounding landscape, Kilimanjaro – or 'Kili' – is the highest freestanding mountain in the world. As one of the famed Seven Summits, setting out to climb Kilimanjaro has all the makings of a great bucket list adventure.

But did you know that there is more than one route to Uhuru Peak? Though summit day is the climax for most trekkers, there are so many other unforgettable highlights along the way - so selecting the best route for you is important!

We've put together a handy guide to the five best routes to Kili so that you can make the most of your time on the mountain.

1. The Lemosho Route

The spectacular Lemosho Route

The Lemosho Route is arguably one of the most beautiful Kilimanjaro routes, offering a well-paced itinerary for those who want a little more time to reach the summit.

It is a perfect route for acclimatisation, which is reflected in our higher summit success rate, as we start a little lower at Lemosho Gate and have our first night at Big Tree camp.

Via this way, you'll take a more gradual ascent than Rongai and will experience the incredible sunrise over Mawenzi before pushing to the summit of Uhuru Peak.

Similar to the Lemosho route is the Shira Route, which also approaches from the lush western side of the mountain but avoids some of the busier campsites and trails. The trip offers extra time for acclimatisation, so it's good for those who have a little more time and want to give themselves the best chance of reaching Uhuru Peak. Enquire about joining a private group on the Shira Route here

More about our 10-day Climb Kilimanjaro - the Lemosho Route →

2. The Rongai Route

Incredible landscape of Mt Kilimanjaro |  <i>Peter Brooke</i>

A faster climb, the Rongai Route is for those who are short on time or would like to test their physical and mental limits. As it ascends much faster than other routes, Rongai requires a high level of fitness and an ability to acclimatise quickly. 

This route will see you climb Kilimanjaro from the northeast across stark rocky landscapes, enjoying spectacular views across the Kenya plains. You then go down the southern slopes to finish at Marangu.

If you're looking for a challenging route, this is the way to go!

More about our 8-day Climb Kilimanjaro - Rongai Route →

3. The Northern Circuit

Exploring around Barranco Wall |  <i>Kyle Super</i>

The remote Northern Circuit is the newest route on Kilimanjaro and is popular with trekking enthusiasts who want to avoid the crowds and experience the remote wilderness. The Northern Circuit almost completely circumnavigates Kili, offering ample time for acclimatisation and combining the best vistas of Rongai and Shira.

If you're looking for the most comprehensive Kilimanjaro experience without the crowds, the Northern Circuit is your best bet.

More about our 11-day Climb Kilimanjaro - Remote Northern Circuit →

4.  The Machame Route

Camp set up on Kilimanjaro |  <i>Charles Duncombe</i>

The Machame Route to climb Kilimanjaro is one of the most famous options and can therefore get quite busy. It is a pretty tough option to summit Uhuru Peak with long day walks and still includes good acclimatisation opportunities. 

Our trip does break up the last part to Barafu Camp in two days so that you can do your summit attempt well-rested.

More about our 9-day Climb Kilimanjaro - Machame Route →


BONUS TIPS: How to best climb Kilimanjaro & successfully acclimatise

→ Drink Lots: We recommend a fluid intake of 4-5 litres a day. This improves circulation and most other bodily functions. That's why we include lots of soup, hot drinks and fresh fruit on our menu, plus you'll need to drink 3 litres of water per day too!

→ Walk Slowly: For good acclimatisation, it is vital to place as little strain as possible on your body whilst it's trying to adapt to the reducing oxygen supply. Your breathing rate whilst walking should be similar to when you're walking down the street at home.

→ Walk High, Sleep Low: A well-planned itinerary that includes afternoon walks to a higher level than where sleeping overnight. All the above itineraries for Kilimanjaro climbs have this, although some include more acclimatisation walks than others.

Kilimanjaro, mountains, Tanzania

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