Kilimanjaro Routes to the Summit - Uhuru Peak

The routes to climb Kilimanjaro approach the mountain from different sides and they vary considerably in length, difficulty, traffic levels and other aspects.

There are seven establishedroutes by which to reach Kibo, or Uhuru Peak, the highest summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, namely, Lemosho, Marangu, Shira, Umbwe, Northern Circuit, Machame and Rongai.

The Rongai, Lemosho, and Machame routes are camping routes that take longer and are considered more scenic than the Marangu. On the Marangu route you will be staying in huts as opposed to camping, and you hike up and down the same path.

The Rongai route takes you up the north side of the mountain and you descend down the Marangu route. The Lemosho and the Machame routes traverse the mountain and descends down the Mweka route.

Trekking Mount Kilimanjaro by The Marangu Route:
Marangu is traditionally the most popular route. Nicknamed the coca cola route, there are huts all the way and it is the cheapest option for trekkers on a budget. However, given the low completion rates on Marangu (approx. 42%), it doesn’t necessarily offer the best value for money

Pros of Marangu
Quickest route
Cheapest route
Huts for overnight
Accessible in the wet season

Cons of Marangu
Low summit success rates
Crowds on the trail
Overcrowded huts with poor sanitation

*Note: Marangu has traditionally been the cheapest option because it was the simplest and easiest for an operator to equip. With a paved road to the gate, huts and communal kitchens, the equipment and staffing requirements are far lower than other routes. It also has a reputation as the least physically demanding route, whilst this may be true it is also offers the worst acclimatisation.

Trekking Mount Kilimanjaro by The Machame Route:
Machame is traditionally known as the most beautiful route on the mountain and has grown in popularity to surpass Marangu. After Marangu it is the most accessible for operators, and is therefore cheaper than other options (barring Marangu). The main draw-back (and only notable criticism) of Machame are over-crowding, particularly where Shira, Old Lemosho and Umbwe converge with Machame at Barranco.

Pros of Machame
Attractive route
Accessible in the wet season
Offers the second greatest chance of summit success behind TK Rongai

Cons of Machame
Crowding in the high season

Trekking Mount Kilimanjaro by The Lemosho Route:
The traditional Lemosho route is effectively a variant of the Machame route with the only the first two days of the trek differing. It is arguably more beautiful than Machame with more views of Kili than any other route and a true wilderness on the first two days where you are unlikely to see another trekker. With less people around, the chances of a wildlife encounter are also much higher. The big drawback is the bottle-neck at Barranco where it joins the other routes. This can be avoided with the unique TK Lemosho route which is arguably the best option during the peak season, steering clear of the bottleneck and preserving the sense of wilderness right up to the junction of Hans Meyer Cave (well into the assault bid)

Pros of Lemosho
Attractive route
Very quiet, particularly on the first two days. (Great option in the peak season)

Cons of Lemosho
The traditional Lemosho route bottlenecks at Barranco with Machame & Umbwe. (This is avoided in the TK Lemosho route)
Not possible in the wet season (the approach to the start point by vehicle is not possible)

Trekking Mount Kilimanjaro by The Rongai Route
The traditional Rongai route is a fairly direct slog offering poor acclimatisation (summit rates as low as 50%). Instead we sell a trek on the unique TK Rongai route, a pioneering route with unparalleled successful summit rates. TK Rongai is our favourite route on Kilimanjaro. 

Pros of Rongai
The best climb high sleep low differential of all routes
The gentlest approach to high camp

Cons of Rongai
Summit assault point is shared with climbers from Shira, Lemosho, Machame and Umbwe
Not possible in the wet season (the approach to the start point by vehicle is not possible)

Trekking Mount Kilimanjaro by The Umbwe Route:
Umbwe is traditionally the hardest route with the poorest altitude acclimatisation. It tends to attract hardier sorts, particularly those attempting the recently re-opened Western Breach.

Pros of Umbwe
Access to the Western Breach for experienced climbers

Cons of Umbwe
Poor acclimatisation
The Western Breach is dangerous