Mount Kilimanjaro Hiking Tours Tanzania

Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain as well as the highest in Tanzania at an altitude of 5895 meters above sea level. This is the tallest free-standing mountain in Africa. It is at times referred to as the rooftop of Africa. Mount Kilimanjaro is part of Kilimanjaro National Park which is the top destination for hiking tours in Tanzania.

Kilimanjaro is made up of three summits which are Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. Kibo is the highest peak, a dormant volcano that could erupt again with its last eruption over 300,000 years ago. An ascent to Mount Kilimanjaro offers a trek through six different ecological systems and these are cultivated land, hearth, moorland, rain forest, alpine desert, and an arctic peak.

Mount Kilimanjaro Hiking is challenging but millions of people have accepted to take the challenge of hiking to the summit. Frenchman Valtee Daniel is the oldest man to hike the mountain at a time when he made 87 years. Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro takes about five to nine days depending on how many hours the trekker takes each day. For hikers who are disabled, there is a possibility of one being able to hike the mountain using a modified wheelchair.

Mount Kilimanjaro hiking

Mount Kilimanjaro Hiking Routes

There are several routes set to hike to Kilimanjaro’s peak. These are; the Machame route, Lemosho route, Marangu route, Rongai route, Shira route, Northern circuit, and Umbwe route. Of these routes, Machame and Lemosho routes are the most scenic. Marangu route is the easiest to follow to the Kilimanjaro route.

Marangu, Machame, and Umbwe route all approach Kilimanjaro peak from the south of the mountain, and the Mweka route is used only for the descent.

Lemoshso, Shira, and Northern circuit approach the mountain from the west. In the north, there is only the Rongai route.

All of these routes can lead the hiker to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. However, making a choice on which route to take may be difficult. To make a great choice one has to consider factors like the route’s scenery, hiking difficulty, foot traffic, and altitude acclimatization characteristics. Here is a highlight of each route according to the above characteristics;

The northern circuit route takes a minimum of 9 days with high difficulty but excellent scenery. There is also very low foot traffic on this route. The Northern circuit traverses the mountain around the quiet, rarely visited slopes.

Lemosho route offers a minimum of 8 days to hike and descend. Hiking this route is difficult but has excellent scenery. Foot traffic is moderate along the route. This route is considered the most beautiful and grants panoramic vistas on various sides of the mountain.

Rongai route has a 6-day minimum with difficulty in hiking rated medium and very good scenery. The traffic on the route is low. This route is close to the Kenyan border. Rongai route is preferable for trekkers who need an alternative less crowded route, more remote, and for those climbing during the rainy season as the north side receives less precipitation.

Machame route Kilimanjaro

Machame route Kilimanjaro

Machame route also takes a minimum of 6 days with very high difficulty in hiking. The scenery is excellent and foot traffic is high. The walks on the Machame route are steeper and more suited for adventurous folks and those with hiking or backpacking experience. The route begins from the south, then heads east, traversing underneath Kilimanjaro’s southern ice field before summiting.

Shira route to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro takes a minimum of 6 days with high difficulty in hiking, excellent scenery, and medium foot traffic. The Shira route bypasses the Londorossi Gate that the Lemosho route uses by using a vehicle to transport climbers to Shira Gate near the Shira Ridge. However, climbers may experience some altitude-related symptoms on the first day while camping at 11,800 feet.

Marangu route takes a minimum of 5 days with medium difficulty in hiking. The scenery is good and traffic is high. Marangu route is a classic trek route and the oldest well-established route on Mount Kilimanjaro.

The route is preferred by many because it is considered to be the easiest path on the mountain given its gradual slope. It is also the only route that offers sleeping huts in dormitory-style accommodations.

Umbwe route has a minimum of 5 hiking days with very high difficulty. The scenery is very good and traffic is very low. This route is short, steep, and direct. However, due to the quick ascent, the route does not provide the necessary stages for altitude acclimatization. This may reduce the rate of success for a complete peak hike for those who cannot adapt easily.

Generally for the Kilimanjaro hiking routes, the northern circuit, and Lemosho route are recommended, the Rongai route is good, the Machame route is okay and the Shira, Marangu, and Umbwe routes are less recommended.

For more Africa tour experiences, tailor in a short gorilla trekking safari in Uganda or Rwanda gorilla tour and have an encounter with the great mountain gorillas in their natural habitats. Charter flights can be organized to connect the Tanzania tour to either Uganda or Rwanda in the shortest time possible for such memorable lifetime experiences.

Tanzania Safari Packages