Mount Kilimanjaro Trekking, Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, Mountain Climbing trips, Mount Kilimanjaro stands almost 6000 meters above sea level, but one does not need to be an experienced mountain climber to reach its peak. To climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro, you need to be in a fit and healthy state with a good all-round condition, strong will power and a little bit of luck. All you really need is the ambition – we will do the rest. Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest freestanding mountain on earth. Crowned with an everlasting snow-cap, this majestic mountain can be found inside the Kilimanjaro National Park of Tanzania, at 005.00 degrees south, 036 degrees east, 5895m a.m.s.l. Climbing Kilimanjaro does not require any technical skills or special equipment, just some physical fitness and determination. People from all walks of life, from a 7 year old child to an 89 year old woman, have successfully summited. But the challenge should not be taken lightly. You need to understand what lies ahead. To climb Mount Kilimanjaro is a once in a lifetime opportunity. People travel from all over the world to stand on top of the Roof of Africa. Being properly prepared to climb Mount Kilimanjaro is the key to a successful summit attempt.
Standing 5,895 metres high, Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa and the fourth highest in the world. Despite its size it is the easiest and most accessible of the world’s Seven Summits and is triumphed over by hundreds of people who visit Mount Kilimanjaro for trekking each and every year. While its size may be intimidating, with training and the all-important acclimatization, this impressive mountain really can be taken on by people of all backgrounds and different fitness levels thanks to the variety of routes that are offered by Viva Africa Tours.
Kilimanjaro Hike Length and Routes
There are six official routes on which one can complete a Mount Kilimanjaro hike. They are the Lemosho and Shira from the West, Machame and Umbwe from the South-west and South respectively, the Marangu from the South-east and the Rongai route from the North-east. The Mweka route is used for descent only.
There are of course subtle variances on these routes. For example, routes that approach from the West (Lemosho and Shira) and from the South West (Machame and Umbwe) typically use the Southern Circuit to traverse the Barranco Wall and begin a summit assault from the South via Barafu Camp and Stella Point.
However, an excellent, but longer variation on these routes uses the Northern Circuit which traverses around the North side of Mount Kilimanjaro and uses an Eastern summit assault passage via Gilman’s Point. Kilimanjaro hikes that use the Northern Circuit typically begin from the Lemosho start point and join the Northern Circuit on day three.
A much more technically challenging route, the Western Breach, uses a steep approach east of the Shira Plateau. Hikers on the Western Breach typically start on the Umbwe route before departing from Lava Tower to take a steep approach past Arrow’s Glacier and the Western Breach, before beginning their summit assault via Crater Camp.
The number of days on each of the six main routes and their respective variants obviously varies. Here are the Kilimanjaro hike lengths by days:
Lemosho Route – 6, 7, 8 day route variations – Ideal length for the average hiker on this route is 7 days. Lemosho has a great route altitude profile and high success rates. If you elect to take the Northern Circuit from day three you will usually lengthen your Kilimanjaro kike by 2 to 3 days for a total of 8 or 9 days on the mountain.
Shira Route – same as Lemosho, although this route has a much higher start point and therefore many trekkers struggle with acclimatization. Poor altitude route profile and low success rates
Machame Route – 6 or 7 day route variations, both route variations provide the best climb high, sleep low option on Mount Kilimanjaro. Good for acclimatization and high success rates. The 7 day is ideal although the six day is fine for fit trekkers with some experience of high altitude hiking
Umbwe Route – 5, 6 or 7 day route variations – one of the steepest and fastest ascents on Kilimanjaro and therefore not great for acclimatization unless one chooses the 6 or 7 day variations. If you elect to do the technically challenging Western Breach you will usually spend 6 days on the mountain
Marangu Route – 5 or 6 day route variations – the only route on Mount Kilimanjaro with hut accommodation for the entire hike duration. The 5 day has a very rapid ascent profile and poor acclimatization – success rates for the 5 day trek tend to be the lowest on the mountain. If you choose to do the Marangu we highly recommend the 6 day variations which includes a climb high, sleep low day up to Mawenzi Peak
Rongai Route – 6, 7 and 8 day route variations – the only route that starts on the Kenyan side of the Mountain. Much dryer and flatter route. Six day ascents are too rapid for adequate acclimatization. The seven day variation includes a small climb high, sleep low opportunity and is recommended
Before you embark on your trekking adventure, you will meet with our Trekking Operations Manager for an extensive briefing. Route, safety procedures and health issues will be discussed in detail and you have enough time to ask any remaining questions. Your trekking gear will be inspected to ensure that you have everything you need to be safe and comfortable. If you are missing any gear, you can rent it from us.
During your climb, you only carry your backpack with essentials such as water for the day’s hike. Our porters will carry all equipment, food and additional luggage – they are tough climbers and the true heroes of the mountain.
Our permanent mountain guides will lead the way. They are responsible for your safety and will encourage you and lend a helping hand, but also call the climb off due to weather, altitude sickness or injury, if necessary. Your safety is paramount to us. Most of our mountain guides have been part of our team for many years, been up Kilimanjaro hundreds of times and all receive regular training. You are in good hands.
Our cooks are miracle workers. With simple gas cookers, they conjure up 3-course feasts, hot drinks and snacks to revive and nourish you when you need it most. Drinking water comes from mountain streams and is boiled before you drink it.
On most routes, you will sleep in high-quality two-person tents. The tents will be pitched and taken down by our team of porters. You can concentrate on getting to the top, one step at a time. When you arrive at camp after a long day’s hike, your tent will already be waiting for you. Our camping gear is imported from South Africa and Germany and of the highest standard. It is inspected and cleaned regularly by our equipment team in Arusha. While there are no showers on the camping routes, you will be provided with a bowl of hot water in the morning to start the day fresh. When climbing Kilimanjaro on the Marangu Route, you will overnight in mountain huts.