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Kilimanjaro Climbing

To climb Kilimanjaro is literally reaching the roof of Africa. Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano, with 3 peaks, the highest being Kibo (Uhuru) Peak, which reaches to 5,895m above sea level. This makes Kilimanjaro Africa’s highest mountain and the world’s tallest freestanding mountain. Kilimanjaro climbs can vary between 5 to 8 days on the mountain depending on the route chosen and if extras days are required for acclimatization.

Kilimanjaro is not an easy holiday and we recommend training beforehand to improve your chances of reaching the summit.

Kilimanjaro is a hike, so the best preparation you can do, is to hike, preferably under simulated conditions. While running helps to some degree, it does not fully prepare your muscles for a strenuous 6-day hike. We suggest that you spend some of your training time by simply walking. Try to do a one or two day local hiking trial in your area, which will not only be an excellent way of preparation, but also most enjoyable.

The first recorded summit of Kilimanjaro occurred in 1889, when local guide Yohana Lauwo led German explorer Hans Meyer to the peak. Everyone was shocked that Kilimanjaro was snow peaked; and it has in fact been crowned by glaciers for over 10,000 years, but global warming means they’re disappearing little by little.

Scientists think they could be gone as soon as 2060. There are five distinct climatic zones on the mountain meaning temperatures on the mountain can vary by as much as 100 degrees between the summit and the hot and humid rainforests below. Many of the species that call Kilimanjaro home can’t be found anywhere else. Especially in the rainforest regions, species are often either still poorly known, or have yet to be classified.

Climbing Routes

There are several routes by which to reach Kibo, or Uhuru Peak, the highest summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, namely, Marangu, Rongai, Lemosho, Shira, Umbwe and Machame Please see the table with a quick summary of Kilimanjaro climbing routes:

This route is highly recommended for it’s scenic value, with medium success rate.Nicknamed the “Whisky” route as the climb is tougher than on the Marangu Route and you need a Whiskey first to tackle this adventure.

  • Great for acclimatizationwith lots of walk high, sleep low opportunities.
  • Extra acclimatization day available at 215$ per person
  • Challenging trek with stunning scenery through 5 diverse climatic zones
  • Very popular trail, therefore can be busy
  • Fully catered camping only

machame-kilimanjaro-route

Nicknamed the “Coca-Cola” route due to the older days when Coke used to be bought along the way in tea huts

  • Often selected by unprepared, inexperienced climbers because of its reputation for being the “easiest” route, attributing to the lower success rate.
  • The shortest  route, but less time to acclimatize, therefore lower success rate
  • Dormitory style accommodation in huts
  • Less scenic due to ascent and descent on same route

marangu-kilimanjaro-route2

The Shira trail is one of the two longer Kilimanjaro climb routes that start on the western side. (The other route starting here is the Lemosho Route.)Those routes both cross the Shira Plateau before joining the Machame Route near the “Lava Tower”. Lemosho, a relatively new route, is preferred by reputable operators due to its beauty, remoteness and success rate. In short, it maximizes the chances that a climber will reach the summit, and enjoy the experience overall.

  • High success rate. Good for acclimatization
  • Remote and spectacular, dramatic gorges and views of west Kilimanjaro
  • Converges with Machame on day 4 at Barranco
  • Shira offers higher start point compared to Lemosho and poorer acclimatization
  • Fully catered camping only

lemosho-shia-kilimanjaro-route

This route is highly recommended for it’s scenic value, with medium success rate.Nicknamed the “Whisky” route as the climb is tougher than on the Marangu Route and you need a Whiskey first to tackle this adventure.

  • Great for acclimatizationwith lots of walk high, sleep low opportunities.
  • Extra acclimatization day available at 215$ per person
  • Challenging trek with stunning scenery through 5 diverse climatic zones
  • Very popular trail, therefore can be busy
  • Fully catered camping only

rongai-kilimanjaro-route

The Umbwe route has a well-deserved reputation of being the most challenging route on Mount Kilimanjaro.Approaching from the south, the Umbwe route is a short, steep and direct climb.

  • Steep, short route with lower success rate
  • Poor acclimatization because of rapid ascent
  • Very remote and quiet
  • Fully catered camping only

umbwe-kilimanjaro-route


Of all the routes, Machame is by far the most scenic albeit steeper route up the mountain. The Rongai is the easiest camping route and the Marangu is also easy, but accommodation is in huts. As a result, this route tends to be very busy and ascent and descent routes are the same. Although the Rongai route is a flatter walk, it offers less opportunities for acclimatisation. The Machame and Lemosho routes both allow better opportunities to “walk high and sleep low”, which is critical to avoiding altitude sickness. Although the official lower age limit set by the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority for trekking to Uhuru Peak is 10 years old, we usually recommend a minimum age of 13 years. We request that you let us know at the time of making an enquiry if any member of your group will be under 16 at the time of the ascent.

 

 

 

Please note all our Kilimanjaro prices include the following:

  • Kilimanjaro National Park Entry Fees
  • Transport From Arusha To Starting Point of Climb and back agaiz
  • Hut / Camping Fees
  • Certified, English speaking guides.
  • Porter salaries
  • Rescue Fees (National park requirement)
  • 3 meals per day on the mountain
  • Accommodation in Arusha at start and end of climb
  • Tents, sleeping mats & cooking equipment
  • Disposable oxygen cylinder

Excluded are:

  • Tips for mountain guides, cooks and porters
  • Equipment (sleeping bags, telescopic walking sticks, etc)
  • Cold drinks on the mountain other than boiled, natural spring water
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    Hello, in September 2013, we travelled on a 5 day safari with Paradies Safari. It was just great and perfect. Our expectations were really surpassed. With Ally (cook) and Radjabu (driver) we had 2 super guides. Ally knew everything about the animals and he also always made great food. The Orga was actually perfect but a bit ‘Africa’ influence was still great! We would book it that way again and we would insist that we get Ally as a cook and Rajabu as a driver. In the end I can tell you Hilde, he…
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