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Kilimanjaro Route Profiles

Which Route Should I Use to Climb Kilimanjaro?

Elite Kilimanjaro offers treks using six different routes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.  Deciding which route to use is a not an easy task, but Elite Kilimanjaro has put together some information to help you out.  We certainly have our favorites, but the decision is up to you.  When determining which route is right for you, consider the following factors:

Difficulty
Scenery
Success Rate (Acclimatization Factors)
Traffic
Comfort

 

Kilimanjaro Route Comparison

The following table is a comparison of each route in each of these categories.  The ratings below are based on a dry season trek using the Elite Kilimanjaro minimum number of days per route.

 

Kilimanjaro Route Profiles

Elite Kilimanjaro has put together high-level overviews of each route to give you a quick view of the Kili route profiles.  When you find the route that’s right for you, follow that route’s link to view a detailed description.  You can also click on the Kili route map images to open a larger downloadable pdf version of the route map in a new window.

Lemosho Route Profile

Climb Kilimanjaro's Lemosho Route with Elite Kilimanjaro

Lemosho Route Map

Minimum Days: 7
Recommended Days: 8 or more
Difficulty (1-10):  Elite Kilimanjaro ranks the Lemosho route at 7.  Lemosho is easier than Shira due to the lower altitude of its starting point.  Other than that they are equal in difficulty because they utilize the same route for the majority of the climb.
Scenery:  The Lemosho route is considered the most scenic route on Kilimanjaro.
Success Rate:  Lemosho route has one of the highest success rates due to better acclimatization, especially if you do 8 days or more.
Traffic:  Traffic is low on the Lemosho route, although both of the Western routes are growing in popularity.
Comfort:  You will sleep in tents on the Lemosho route.  Your comfort is really determined by your level of tolerance for camping.

Lemosho Route Detailed Descriptions & Itineraries

Lemosho Route 7-Day Itinerary
Lemosho Route 8-Day Itinerary
Lemosho Route 9-Day Itinerary
Request a Custom Lemosho Itinerary

Shira Route Profile

Kilimanjaro's Shira Route Map made by Elite Kilimanjaro

Shira Route Map

Minimum Days: 8
Recommended Days: 8 or more
Difficulty (1-10):  Elite Kilimanjaro ranks the Shira route at 7.5.  Shira Route is slightly more difficult than Lemosho due to the higher altitude of its starting point.  Other than that they are equal in difficulty.
Scenery:  The Shira Route is a beautiful and varied climb.  One of the most scenically varied routes of Kilimanjaro.
Success Rate:  The success rate of the Shira Route is a bit lower than Lemosho due to its higher starting point.  This is the reason for our minimum days of 8 for Shira.  Overall, the success rate of the Shira Route is much higher than the Southern Routes due to better acclimatization allowed by its longer trek.
Traffic:  Traffic is low on the Shira route, although both of the Western routes are growing in popularity.
Comfort:  You will sleep in tents on the Shira route.  Your comfort is really determined by your level of tolerance for camping.

Shira Route Detailed Descriptions & Itineraries

Shira Route 8-Day Itinerary
Shira Route 9-Day Itinerary
Request a Custom Shira Itinerary

Machame Route Profile

Climb Kilimanjaro's Machame Route with Elite Kilimanjaro

Machame Route Map

Minimum Days: 6
Recommended Days: 7 or more
Difficulty (1-10):  Elite Kilimanjaro ranks the Machame route at a 7.  Considered more difficult than Marangu, hence the nickname “Whiskey Route”.  Suitable for trekkers who are a little more adventurous.
Scenery:  Although Macheme is a busy route, the scenery is beautiful and varies since the ascent and descent routes are different.
Success Rate:  The success rate of Macheme route is much higher than Marangu, but is still considerably lower than other routes, especially if you opt for the 6-day trek.
Traffic:  Due to its popularity, Machame is now the busiest route on the mountain.  If you are looking for peace and quiet, we do not recommend using this route.
Comfort:  You will sleep in tents on the Macheme route.  Your comfort is really determined by your level of tolerance for camping.

Machame Route Detailed Descriptions & Itineraries

Machame Route 6-Day Itinerary
Machame Route 7-Day Itinerary
Request a Custom Machame Itinerary

Rongai Route Profile

Climb Kilimanjaro's Rongai Route 6-Day with Elite Kilimanjaro

Rongai Route 6-Day MapClimb Kilimanjaro's Rongai Route 7-Day with Elite KilimanjaroRongai Route Map 7-Day

Minimum Days: 6
Recommended Days: 7 or more
Difficulty (1-10):  Elite Kilimanjaro ranks the Rongai route at a 6.  Suitable for trekkers who are less experienced.  Trekking conditions are better than other routes during the rainy season due to less rain on the North side of Kilimanjaro.
Scenery:  Scenery is very good on the Rongai route and is varied since it uses different ascend and descent trails.
Success Rate:  The success rate of Rongai is a little higher than that of Southern routes, but not quite as high as the Western routes due to their longer treks allowing better acclimatization.
Traffic:  Traffic is low on the Rongai route, due to the remoteness of its starting point.
Comfort:  You will sleep in tents on the Rongai route.  Your comfort is really determined by your level of tolerance for camping.

Rongai Route Detailed Descriptions & Itineraries

Rongai Route 6-Day Itinerary
Rongai Route 7-Day Itinerary
Request a Custom Rongai Itinerary

Marangu Route Profile

Kilimanjaro's Marangu Route Map made by Elite Kilimanjaro

Minimum Days: 6
Recommended Days: 6 or more
Difficulty (1-10):  Elite Kilimanjaro ranks the Marangu Route at a 5.5/10.  Some consider Marangu to be the easiest route due to its gradual slope.  Hence, the nickname “Coca-Cola Route”.
Scenery:  Marangu uses the same route to ascend and descend to and from Uhuru Peak.  This means your scenery is not as varied as the other routes.
Success Rate:  The success rate of Marangu is very low due to many climbers trying to complete it in 5 days.  For this reason, Elite Kilimanjaro only offers Marangu treks of 6 days or more.
Traffic:  Marangu is reported to be one of the busiest routes on the mountain.  If you are looking for peace and quiet, we do not recommend using this route during the dry season.  During the rainy season, the traffic is very low on all routes including Marangu.
Comfort:  Marangu is the only Kilimanjaro route with huts, which makes it the most comfortable by default.

Marangu Route Detailed Descriptions & Itineraries

Marangu Route 6-Day Itinerary
Request a Custom Marangu Itinerary

Umbwe Route Profile

Climb Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route with Elite Kilimanjaro

Umbwe Route Map

Minimum Days: 6
Recommended Days: 7 or more
Difficulty (1-10):  Elite Kilimanjaro ranks the Umbwe Route at a 8/10.  Umbwe is very difficult because of how short and steep it is.  Suitable for strong hikers who have experience with altitude and know their bodies acclimatize well.
Scenery:  Scenery is very good on the Umbwe route and is varied since it uses different ascend and descent trails.
Success Rate:  The success rate of Umbwe is very low because there is not appropriate time to acclimatize in the minimum duration of 6 days.
Traffic:  Traffic on the Umbwe route is very low due to its level of difficulty and lower success rate.
Comfort:  You will sleep in tents on the Umbwe route.  Your comfort is really determined by your level of tolerance for camping.

Umbwe Route Detailed Descriptions & Itineraries

Umbwe Route 6-Day Itinerary
Umbwe Route 7-Day Itinerary
Request a Custom Umbwe Itinerary