At 5.895m meters above sea level, Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest free-standing and the most accessible high summit in the world and can truly be regarded as “the roof of Africa”. “As wide as all the world, great, high and unbelievable white” was Ernest Hemingway’s description. The National Park with its outstanding features of three extinct volcanic summits: Shira in the west, Mawenzi in the east and the snowcapped Kibo in the center, has been deemed a “World Heritage Site”. The forest of the surrounding park is inhabited by elusive elephants, leopards, buffaloes, bushbucks, the endangered Abbot’s duiker, primates and rodents.
The park has six hiking routes below:
MARANGUThe “Coca Cola” Route is Kilimanjaro’s easiest, shortest, and most popular route. The trip usually takes 5 days. You can however also add an additional acclimatization day and make it a 6-day trip
Duration: 5 days trekking; 3 and a half days ascending, 1 and a half days descending
Length: 32 km/20 mi ascent; 64 km/40 mi round trip
Elevation: 4,065 m/13,340 ft gain; 4,065 m/13,340 ft descent Marangu Gate (1,830 m/6,000 ft) to Uhuru Peak (5,895 m/19,340 ft) and return
UmbweThis route is one of the shorter but also one of the more difficult ones to reach Uhuru peak, but quiet spectacular. Umbwe is known for its caves. The first night you actually sleep at the Umbwe Cave Camp with two more caves that can be visited on route the following day. Also sometimes used as a descending route.
MachameThis is Kilimanjaro’s longer, more scenic, “whiskey Route.” The typical duration for this trip is 6 days. However, you can also add an extra acclimatization day and make it a 7 – day trek
Duration: 6 Days trekking; 4 and a half days ascending, 1 and a half days descending.
Lenght: 100 km/62 mi total; 62 km/38 mi to summit; 38 km/24 mi descend from summit
Elevation: 4,405 m/14,450 ft net gain; 3,915 m/12,845 ft descend Machame Gate (1,490 m/4890 ft) to Uhuru Peak (5,895 m/19,340 ft) and descend to Mweka Gate (1,980 m/6,500 ft)
ShiraThe Shira Plateau is one of the most scenic and most fascinating areas on Kilimanjaro. Depending on the weather conditions you can drive by 4 wheel drive vehicles, to within a 1/2 hours walk of Shira Hut (4000m). Even this drive is very spectacular indeed and offers some magnificent views of Mt. Meru and the Great Rift Valley in general. Game is often sighted and the road features some striking vegetation changes ranging from forest, grassland, heath to moorland. The fast ascend by vehicle to about 4000m will require additional acclimatization, after which it will be possible to ascend Uhuru Peak either via the Western Breach or via the Barafu hut.
RongaiThis is one of Kilimanjaro’s easiest routes, and it has very few people on it. The typical duration for this trip is 6 days. However, you can also add extra acclimatization day and make it 7 – days
Duration: 6 or 7 days trekking; There are two versions of this trek
Length: 70 km/43 mi total (6-days); 77 km/48 mi total (7-days)
Elevation: NaleMuru (1,950 m/6,400 ft) to Uhuru Peak (5,895 m/19,340 ft and descent to Marangu Gate (1,830 m/6,000 ft)
LemoshoThis long, little-used route parallels the lower part of the Shira Route.
Duration: 8 days trekking; 6 and a half days ascending, 1 and a half days descending
Lenght: 98 km/61 mi total; 60 km/37 mi ascent; 38 km/24 mi descent
Elevation(m): 4,065 m to 3,915 m descent Londorossi Gate 2,250 m to Uhuru Peak 5,895 m and descent to Mweka Gate 1,980m
Elevation(ft): 13,340 ft /12,840 ft descent Londorossi Gate 7,380 ft to Uhuru Peak 19,340 ft and descent to Mweka Gate 6,500ft
MWEKAThis route can only be use as a descending route for all the western routes.
Getting there: A 2 hours drive from Arusha or 1 hour from Kilimanjaro International Airport.