What is the best climbing route to Kilimanjaro?

There are seven traditional routes to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. The Umbwe route, Marangu Route, Machame route, Lemosho Route, Shira Route, Rongai Route and Northern Circuit. In this little guide you can find a short description of these routes and make a better choice the day you decide to conquer Africas highest mountain. 
There is a star rating in the headline and a subjective comment.

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There are seven traditional routes to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. It might be a challenge to choose which one is the right one for you, so this article aims to help you pick between the Umbwe route, Marangu Route, Machame route, Lemosho Route, Shira Route, Rongai Route and Northern Circuit. In this little guide you can find a short description of these routes and make a better choice the day you decide to conquer Africas highest summit. 

Marangu Route aka the "Coca Cola Route" ** - Crowded
The Marangu route is the oldest and the most established route. Many people will choose this one because it is considered the easiest way up due to its gradual slopes. The Marangu route is also the only route that offers mountain huts for sleep and accommodation. You will normally use at least five days to reach the top.

 

  • Views and scenery: Good. 
  • Difficulty level: Moderate.
  • Traffic level: High
Machame Route aka the "Whiskey Route" *** - Decent
Nowadays, the Machame route is the most popular. It is harder and more demanding than the Marangu Route, and will attract a more adventurous type of people with more hiking experience. You have to estimate a minimum of six days for this trip, but seven will probably be more accurate. 

 

  • Views and scenery: Excellent
  • Difficulty level: Hard
  • Traffic level: High

Lemosho Route**** - Recommended
This is a great choice if you want the most beautiful scenery with not too many climbers, at least up until it connects with the Machame Route. This is one of the newer routes, and starts on the west side of the mountain. 

 

  • Views and scenery: Excellent
  • Difficulty level: Hard
  • Traffic level: Medium
Shira Route** - For advanced climbers in a hurry
The Shira Route is almost the same route as Lemosho. It is actually the original route that Lemosho evolved from. Although the Shira Route is varied and scenic, Lemosho will get rated higher due to the lower altitude at the starting point. You may struggle with the height the first day on Shira. 

 

  • Views and scenery: Excellent
  • Difficulty level: Hard
  • Traffic level: Medium
Northern Circuit Route**** - Highly recommended
The Northern Circuit Route is the newest and probably the most exciting route up Kilimanjaro. It follows the Lemosho Route from west in the beginning, but instead of taking the southern traverse it will follow the northern quiet slopes to the top. This is the longest and, but maybe the most interesting route.

 

  • Views and scenery: Excellent
  • Difficulty level: Hard
  • Traffic level: Very Low

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Rongai Route*** - Decent Route
By choosing the Rongai Route you can expect less traffic because it is the only route approaching Kibo from the north, close to the Kenyan border. The route is not as scenic as the western parts, but it passes through real wilderness before joining the Marangu route from the Kibo hut, and is gaining popularity among climbers.

 

  • Views and scenery: Very good
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Traffic level: Low

Umbwe Route** - Not recommended
The Umbwe route is short and steep. You should be an experienced climber as it is considered the most difficult route to the top. The quick ascent makes the acclimatization harder and the success rate is much lover than other routes. But traffic is lower too.

 

 

  • Views and scenery: Very good
  • Difficulty level: Very Hard
  • Traffic level: Very Low.

 

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