Choosing a Kilimanjaro routes
Marangu is by far the most popular route, and is known as the tourist route. Some claim that this is also the easiest route to the summit of Kilimanjaro. A five day option is available on the Marangu route, which may be extended to six days for acclimatisation. Marangu is the only route on Kilimanjaro that offers comfortable sleeping huts, which are equipped with beds and mattresses at all the campsites. Beer, mineral water, soft drinks and chocolate are available at every camp. All camps also have radio contact with the Kilimanjaro National Park Headquarters.
The Machame route is arguably the most scenic and beautiful route to the summit. The Machame route is more challenging than Marangu, and takes six days to complete. The route's day walking is long and steep, but summit night is an hour shorter than Marangu. Hikers get the opportunity to see beautiful views of the Western Breach as they traverse up the mountain. Tents are the only accommodation available on the Machame route, and hikers need to bring a hiking mattress and good sleeping bag.
Although Umbwe is one of the shorter routes, it's also one of the more difficult routes on Mount Kilimanjaro. However, it is spectacular. Hikers spend the first night of the hike inside Umbwe Cave Camp, and have the opportunity to visit two more caves enroute. The Umbwe route is sometimes also used as a descend route.
One of the most fascinating, scenic areas on Mt Kilimanjaro is the Shira Plateau. Weather permitting one can drive with a 4x4 to within half an hour of Shira Hut, which is situated at 4000 meters above sea level. This drive offers spectacular views of the Great Rift Valley and Mt Meru. Game is often seen on this drive, and the terrain offers striking vegetation which changes from forest to grassland to heath to moorland. The drive up to Shira Hut requires acclimatisation. After this the summit to Uhuru can commence via either Barafu Hut or the Western Breach.
Used only as descending route for all western routes.
The Lemosho route is a remote, unspoiled route. Big game is abundant in the forest around the Lemosho Glades. Buffalo and elephant roam freely here, and the first day often sees a game ranger accompanying hikers. For a comfortable completion, this route requires seven days. This means that it is also more expensive than any of the other routes.
Rongai (Naro Moru) Route
Rongai route can be started from Rongai in Kenya, or from the Tanzanian side of the border. However, all arrangements and park fees have to be settled at Marangu Gate. Rongai is an ascending route only, and is used in conjunction with Marangu route, which serves as the descending route. Several large caves can be found along the route, and hikers overnight in these for the first two nights of the climb.
Western Breach / Arrow Glacier
This route serves as an alternative ascension route which can be taken from all western routes, and affords hikers the opportunity to sleep at the magnificent Arrow Glacier. The Western Breach offers a challenge in that the terrain is covered in scree, with the occasional rock scrambling required. If the scree is covered in snow, it makes for easier going, but the use of an ice axe is then necessary. Hikers also have the opportunity to add an extra night to their climb to sleep a night in Kibo Crater.
No adventure activities (e.g. cycling, paragliding, skiing) and no technical climbs are allowed on Kilimanjaro.