best route to climb kilimanjaro find easy hike

Advice on the best routes to climb Kilimanjaro

The best routes to climb Kilimanjaro offer a variety of options for adventurous trekkers. From the southern side, the Machame, Western Breach, and Umbwe routes provide challenging yet rewarding paths to the summit. To the west, the Lemosho and Shira routes, as well as the Northern Circuit, offer a more gradual ascent. To the east, the Marangu route is a classic choice, while the northern Rongai route offers a unique perspective. Each route has its own charm and level of difficulty, allowing climbers to choose their preferred experience. Whichever path you select, the journey to the top of Kilimanjaro is sure to be an unforgettable adventure.

Our primary criteria for assessing the best routes to climb Kilimanjaro are summit success rates. Customers consistently tell us that getting to the top is their number one priority. Recommending routes with the highest summit success rates seems like the best way to meet this goal. We generally recommend three routes, if climbed over 7 or more days, that offer you a good chance of summiting successfully.

Selecting a route is a tough choice for most. When finding the best route to climb Kilimanjaro for you, consider various factors such as the route’s scenery, difficulty, foot traffic, and its altitude acclimatization, as depicted in the table below. Kilimania Adventure has assigned overall ratings to each route.

Kilimanjaro RouteMin. DaysRec. DaysDifficultySceneryTrafficRating
Northern Circuit99highexcellentvery low****
Lemosho Route68highexcellentmedium****
Rongai Route67mediumvery goodlow****
Machame Route67highexcellenthigh***
Shira Route67highexcellentmedium**
Marangu Route56mediumgoodhigh**
Umbwe Route57very highvery goodvery low**

Tourist Usage Percentages for Kilimanjaro Routes

Machame (45%), Marangu (40%), Lemosho (8%), Rongai (5%), Shira (1%), Northern Circuit (0%), Umbwe (0%). In contrast, Kilimania adventure clients use Lemosho (77%), Northern (10%), Rongai (6%), Machame (6%) and Marangu (1%). The reason for the difference in route popularity is that we favor the best Kilimanjaro routes. Those with the most favorable combination of high success rates, excellent scenery, and low foot traffic. Our recommendations are the Machame, Lemosho and Rongai routes

MACHAME ROUTE: Among the Best Route To Climb Kilimanjaro

If you have just 9 days and want to have the best chance of going home and saying I climbed Kilimanjaro the route is the one for you. Best route to climb Kilimanjaro Starting to the south-west of Kilimanjaro it circuits south before climbing to Uhuru Peak via Stella Point. With excellent acclimatisation and varied and interesting scenery every day it is a great choice for the novice climber.

LEMOSHO ROUTE: Among the Best Route To Climb Kilimanjaro
We highly recommend the Lemosho route, approaching from the west, as one of the best routes to climb Kilimanjaro. First three days of the ascent are quiet and relatively untraveled, then day four it joins the busy Machame route. A wonderful route in terms of scenery, it offers unequalled views over the majestic Shira plateau. The success rate for this route is comparable to the Machame route. 

The Rongai route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the north east, near the border of Kenya and Tanzania. Its main attraction is that it is very quiet and traverses virtually untouched wilderness. Ascent is via the scree path to Gilman’s Point with a traverse round the rim to Uhuru Peak. Descent is along the Marangu route.

The newest officially approved route up Mount Kilimanjaro is the Northern Circuit route. One of the few ways to see its quieter, more remote northern slope. This is an extended, nine day climb which offers excellent acclimatisation time. Provides views of the rugged and highly varied countryside on all sides of the great mountain, among of Best route to climb Kilimanjaro .

Choosing between our recommended Best route to climb Kilimanjaro

Even when you have eliminated the routes with poor success rates, choosing a route is still probably the hardest decision. Fact that there is so much conflicting advice available on the internet. While we don’t pretend to own the oracle on this our advice is based on climbing all the routes ourselves. When you look at the choice of climbing routes, nearly every person starts with a checklist that the best route. This holy grail of routes sadly does not exist: all the routes with great scenery are busier.

For a really good chance of success. Good scenery and a reasonable budget check check out the Machame route over 7 days. Best route to climb Kilimanjaro

For great scenery, a quieter start. A more relaxed daily schedule, the 8 day Lemosho route is a great choice. Best route to climb Kilimanjaro

For a quieter route. That is ideal in the rainier months of the year then have a look at the Rongai route.

Without complicating these recommendations too much these are some of the other factors you should think about.

What is the experience of your group?  You need to carefully assess the fitness and experience of everyone in your group. As a route that would be fine for experienced mountaineers will not be suitable for novices. Nothing will put a damper on your summit success more effectively than having friends with you who didn’t make it. If you have weaker walkers in your group the 8 day climbs are best.

Do you have a limited number of days you can take? Ideally you need at least 7 days to climb and with travel days this means a 9 day trip. If you haven’t got this time, we would recommend the Machame route but the success rate will be lower

Is your budget a restriction? Partly because of the number of days. Partly because of the access issues on some routes there is considerable variation in costs. The 8 day Lemosho and the Rongai routes are more expensive for these reasons. Don’t be tempted to save money by reducing your chance of success. The most expensive trip to climb Kilimanjaro is one where you don’t summit and have to descend with altitude sickness.

How challenging do you want to make the climb?. For most climbers getting to the summit is a big enough challenge. But we do operate Kilimanjaro routes that are even more challenging, like the Crater Camp options. Think carefully about just how tough you want to make your climb.

How important is the scenery? With routes starting from different locations the views and scenery are very different. The rain shadow to the north of Kilimanjaro the climate is distinctly different.  The most varied scenery is on the South and West of the mountain but this is also the wettest.

What is the motivation for climbing?. Of course everyone wants to summit but if you are climbing in a group for charity. Or doing the climb as a team-building event then reaching the summit should be the highest priority.
When do you want to do your climb? Because your choice of route is always a compromise between how attractive a route is. And how busy it will be the time of year can be a major factor. Most popular routes are quiet in the two rainy seasons and the Rongai route is much drier all year round

If you are unsure which route to climb Kilimanjaro will be best for you. Ring and talk to one of our consultants (saby) who is experience guide.


Of all the routes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the Machame route is the most popular. Its popularity reflects its high success rate. The  impressive views it offers and the fact that the trail takes you up through a variety of habitats. Also because it is readily accessible from Moshi it is one of the cheaper routes. About half of all those climbing Kilimanjaro choose the Machame route.  The Machame route is known locally as the Whiskey route. And is recognised as the tougher more challenging option than the Marangu route. 

It is possible to climb Kilimanjaro by the Machame route in six days. It is much better to choose a 7 days. This allows for better acclimatisation overall and a shorter pre-summit day which allows you time to rest before heading for the top.  The success rate on 7 day climbs is significantly higher.

The Machame route begins at Machame Gate, located in the south of the mountain, a short drive from Moshi.  The first day is spent in the rainforest with lots of opportunities for bird and animal spotting.  This region gets a lot of rainfall so you will need to be careful as the trail is often slippery. As the route climbs up towards the Shira Plateau, the jungle thins and the trees give way to low, scrubby bush. 

On day 3 you climb to what is volcanic plug, Lava Tower. Where you stop for lunch and acclimatisation before descending down to Barranco camp.

The next day has you scaling the famous Barranco Wall. Which is nowhere near as forbidding close up as it appears from a distance. From there you traverse East towards Karanga effectively circling the southern part of the mountain.

From Karanga there is a short but steep climb up to base camp, Barafu. Where you will have a short sleep before starting for the summit in the very early hours of the next day. Summit night is very tough with over 1500m of ascent. Which can take 7-8 hours as progress is very slow at this altitude. The trail is a series of switchbacks on loose scree.
The first main goal is Stella Point on the rim of the crater. From there the route is quite flat to the summit although this still takes over an hour. The quick descent follows the Mweka trail.

Lemosho, the best route to climb Kilimanjaro, offers a high summit success rate due to its longer approach that aids in acclimatization. The first couple of days are generally quieter before it joins up with the popular Machame route at Shira camp.

KINAPA recently introduced the Lemosho route as an improved version of the original Shira route. Starting lower than the Shira route, which began at 3600m, Lemosho provides better acclimatization. The high altitude start on the Shira route is not recommended, as climbers may experience symptoms of altitude sickness on their first day. The Lemosho and Shira routes merge after day 1.

Beginning from Londorossi Gate at 2360m on the far west of Kilimanjaro, the Lemosho trail traverses through rainforest, where wild game may be seen, continuing up to Shira Ridge, Kilimanjaro’s third summit. From here, you will ascend and cross the expansive Shira Plateau with fantastic views of Shira Cathedral. The Lemosho route starts at 2360m and joins the Machame route at Shira camp on day 3. The descent on both Lemosho and Shira routes, like on the Machame route, is by the Mweka trail, so you never have to backtrack.

Most climbers who are fit and well-acclimatized take 7 days to climb Kilimanjaro by the Lemosho route. However, for those who have not trekked at altitude before, it is wise to add an additional day, making it an 8-day trek. This allows the pre-summit day to be split into two shorter days of trekking prior to the summit ascent, improving the chances of summiting.

The only northern approach route to Kilimanjaro, the starts from Rongai route very close to the Kenyan border so there is a relatively long transfer to the start. Rongai route is generally quiet, offers the closest to a wilderness experience and for those looking to get away from the crowd
The trek in is through a remote and barren landscape where the rainforest has sadly been lost to agriculture.

There is a variation of the Rongai route that offers better acclimatisation: the “Rongai Route Variation”. This starts with the traditional route but then traverses to the east to meet up with the Machame route at Barafu. The biggest attraction of the Rongai route is that it is quiet and because it is quiet you have a much better chance of seeing wildlife. If though you really want to see wildlife we would recommend the Lemosho route.


The newly introduced Northern Circuit route deserves its billing as the “grand traverse” of Kilimanjaro from west to east and if you have the time it is our favorite route.  It is by far the most quiet and remote route taking you on a circumnavigation of Kilimanjaro. It offers a very high summit success rate due to its longer walk in which helps to improve acclimatisation. 

The Northern Circuit route starts at 2360m on the far west of Kilimanjaro. It traverses through rainforest, following the start of the Lemosho path as far as  Shira Ridge, Kilimanjaro’s third summit. From here the route ascends further on the Lemosho route across the Shira Plateau underneath Shira Cathedral.  It then turns north and works around the remote northern slopes of Kilimanjaro overlooking Kenya. 
As it circles clockwise around the mountain you travel from Moir Hut to Buffalo Camp to School Hut, before summiting. Unlike the Rongai route, the descent is via the Mweka route.

Just shy of the summit, there is a little used campsite known as Crater Camp (18,800 feet/5,750 m). Is called Crater Camp because is a short distance from the source of Kilimanjaro. Additionally, the campsite is next to one of Kilimanjaro’s last remaining glaciers, Furtwangler Glacier. Staying at Crater Camp allows climbers to climb to the crater rim. Crater Camp can be used the night before or preferably after a summit attempt. Kilimania Adventure operates private climbs using Crater Camp on the 9-day Lemosho route and 10-day Northern Circuit route.


An alternative route to the summit approaches Uhuru Peak from the west, called the Western Breach. The strenuous Western Breach ascends 2,800 ft (850 m) in about 1.25 miles (2 km), and requires some scrambling. This path is very beautiful but also very challenging due to its rocky, steep slope. The Western Breach was gaining popularity by climbers using the Umbwe, Lemosho, Shira and Machame routes. In response, Kilimanjaro National Park (KINAPA) closed the Western Breach.
The Western Breach re-opened in December 2007. The route are still considered by prominent Kilimanjaro operators to be unsafe. Kilimania no longer utilizes the Western Breach approach due to safety concerns for clients and staff.

Fifty miles (80 km) west of Mount Kilimanjaro lies is an often overlooked, but spectacular volcano. Mount Meru is 14,980 feet (4,565 m) high. And serves as a great warm up before climbing Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895 m). In fact, it is ideal for altitude acclimatization and you may elect to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
On the mountain, have a good chance of seeing wildlife, and the crowds that can be seen on Kilimanjaro. Many people who climb both mountains have a quiet preference for the humble Mount Meru.

[sibwp_form id=2]

    Time for an adventure

    Experience the best of Tanzania with our adventure holidays, featuring thrilling safaris and Kilimanjaro trekking. Explore trails that lead through diverse walking and hiking terrains, and observe the rich variety of flora, fauna, and wild animals that call this area home.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *