Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest peak in Africa, standing at 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) high. Being on the equator, the climate on Kili doesn’t tend to vary over the course of the year; rather it changes with altitude, and almost every climate type on earth is represented on the mountain. Kilimanjaro can be climbed year-round, but we recommend avoiding the two rainy seasons (November and April-May). Climbing Kili is a major draw for all adventure-seekers, but this 7-10 day trip is not for the faint-hearted. It is estimated that half of those who attempt the climb do not summit. There are numerous trip lengths and routes to the top, and as with most high-altitude climbs, the more time you spend on the mountain, the easier it is for your body to acclimatize.
Here are a few of our most recommended routes:
- Lemosho 8 days: the best in terms of scenery & acclimatization, this route is going to be less crowded and offer the highest success rate.
- Machame 7 days: this route is popular for its success rate and time. It is also scenic in that it joins the Lemosho route after a couple of days. It has a great ascent profile for acclimatization with a shorter amount of time. This is a great option for a little less money.
- Rongai 7 days: this route starts on the opposite side of Kilimanjaro and will be the least crowded. It has a more moderate grade and is a bit dryer in terms of scenery (not rainforest). Though it is the most off-the-beaten-path route, it is getting busier and is a little more expensive than the Machame route.
We like to use Hoopoe or Zara as our partnering guiding companies to make sure that you have the best guides, porters, and equipment on your climb. Safety training is critically important on the mountain, so paying a little more for your trek in order to use a company who trains year ’round and ensures their crews are well-equipped is a sound investment. Day hikes from the base camp are also a great option for those who don’t want to commit to the summit.
Climbing Kilimanjaro is a very specific experience, and it is the main reason to travel to the area, located about one hour from Arusha. Before and after your climb, we recommend spending at least one night either in Moshi, a small back-packers village at the base of the mountain (the best option is Springlands Hotel), or back in Arusha, where there’s a better selection of properties. Kili is also very close to both Kilimanjaro International Airport and the domestic Arusha Airport, so a climb can be very easily combined with a wildlife safari or beach experiences.