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7-day Grand Traverse With Crater Camp

ALTITUDE PROFILE (HIKE HIGH, SLEEP LOW)Average
DIFFICULTY (GRADIENT, DAILY DISTANCE)Strenuous
SCENERYVery good
WILDERNESSExcellent
360° VIEWSExcellent
ACCESSIBILITYGood
AFFORDABILITYExpensive

This 7-day Grand Traverse With Crater Cramp itinerary is an extremely challenging climb with very long hiking days. It has been designed to be combined with a pre-acclimatization climb of Mount Meru. It is imperative that climbers have sufficiently pre-acclimatized to the high altitude prior to staying overnight at Crater Camp.

For climbers who are extremely confident of their physical abilities, it may be advisable to include a detour to Lava Tower for better acclimatization to the high altitude. This detour as per the 7-day Grand Traverse With Crater Camp & Lava Tower itinerary, however, will also makes the climb even more physically challenging.

To make this itinerary at least a little less strenuous, please consider the 8-day Grand Traverse With Crater Camp extension.

For climbers less confident of their physical abilities to endure long climbing days, we strongly recommend the longer 10-day Northern Circuit With Crater Camp route as a more manageable itinerary.

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Day-By-Day Itinerary

Day 1
    2h
  • Transfer to the Kilimanjaro National Park gate
  • Moshi (831m)  →  Londorosi Gate (2,250m)
  • 1,419m
  • 82km

The start of your exciting Mount Kilimanjaro journey begins from your hotel pick-up in Moshi (or Arusha). You will depart early to arrive by Londorosi Gate on the western side of the Kilimanjaro National Park by mid-day.

During the drive, enjoy the green scenery of coffee and banana plantations. Nearer to Londorosi Gate, you’ll find yourself surrounded by pine plantations – sad evidence of the past destruction of the indigenous rainforest which used to engulf the gate until few decades ago.

At the gate, you will be registering with the Kilimanjaro National Park authorities. Expect to linger around for approximately an hour to two while all equipment and supplies get distributed amongst your porters and weighed to ensure fair porter treatment practices.

Once formalities are taken care of, it’s time to head back into the car to drive to the start of your exciting journey at Lemosho Gate.

    1h
  • Transfer through the forest to the edge of the tree-line
  • Londorosi Gate (2,250m)  →  Morum Barrier Gate (3,410m)
  • 1,160m
  • 20km

After formalities and registration are taken care of at Londorosi Gate, you are driven up through a dense rainforest to an altitude of 3,400 meters (11,000 feet) where Morum Barrier Gate awaits you.

While climbers on other routes spend two days hiking up to the Shira Plateau, your exciting adventure on the Grand Traverse starts at the edge of the tree-line. The views of the wilderness will be breathtaking and you’ll begin to feel immersed into the Kilimanjaro mountainside as soon as you begin your once-in-a-lifetime excursion.

    4-6h
  • Panoramic Kibo views
  • Morum Barrier Gate (3,410m)  →  Shira 2 Camp (3,850m)
  • 440m
  • 14km

Your first day of hiking will take you up and across the Shira Plateau. The rainforest you drove through begins to become sparse as you enter into the heather and moorland vegetation zone. Not long into your hike, breathtaking views of Kibo open in the distance.

The path maintains a very manageable incline as you cross the the vast Shira Plateau, steadily narrowing the distance between you and the free-standing mountain glistening in the afternoon sun.

After you’ve crossed the Shira Plateau, watch out for a few specimen of the curious Dendrosenecio trees, also known as Giant Groundsels.

As you approach camp, it’s time to rest after your exciting first day and enjoy the panoramic views before the sun sets. Be aware that the Shira Plateau can be below freezing at night, so make sure you have your hats, gloves and flashlights ready.

Day 2
    4h
  • Acclimatizing to the thin air at Lava Tower
  • Shira 2 Camp (3,850m)  →  Lava Tower (4,600m)
  • 750m
  • 7km

The morning climb brings you to the majestic Lava Tower, an ancient plug that was left by the active-volcanic days. Although the walk is not too steep, it is nonetheless a long and strenuous one due to the high altitude. Your body will begin to notice the decrease in oxygen.

On this part of the journey, the landscape becomes more barren and even the heather disappears, only to be replaced by rocks and lava ridges. At the peak of your journey, you will have climbed 4,600 metres to the Lava Tower, also known as the Shark’s tooth. This covers an altitude distance of approximately 750 metres from Shira 2 Camp.

Your new surroundings at Lava Tower will consist of a high altitude desert, with no vegetation and pools of rocks, scree and dust as far as the eye can see.  You’ll need a few warm layers on this part of the journey as it can be prone to cold winds, ice and mist.

Symptoms of altitude sickness are common here, but don’t worry because this is one of the reasons why you have come here: to allow for proper altitude acclimatization.

    2-3h
  • A euphoric descent after your big morning climb
  • Lava Tower (4,600m)  →  Moir Hut Camp (4,200m)
  • -400m
  • 7km

After spending time at the stunning Lava Tower, you will descend today into the Moir Hut Camp. Hiking high and sleeping low is an important tactic in acclimating your body to the higher altitudes. While it seems backwards to descend after working so hard to climb up, you are preparing your body to succeed when you finally summit.

You’ll surely feel your legs today by the time you reach Moira Hut. The camp is situated at the base of Lent Hills – a scenic and quiet camp that is only used for the Shira and Northern routes.

If you’ve skipped Lava Tower and made your way to Moir Hut Camp directly, and still have some energy left, you may want to take a short walk around the camp in the afternoon. This acclimatization opportunity is a quaint getaway from the other busier camps, and should be taken full advantage of!

Day 3
    9-11h
  • Off into authentic wilderness on the northern slopes
  • Moir Hut Camp (4,200m)  →  Third Cave (3,800m)
  • -400m
  • 16km

Today you will head north onto the Northern Circuit, away from all other routes that approach the summit on the southern slopes.

The day will begin with a fairly steep climb, as you hike to the summit of Lent Hills. You will be rewarded with breathtaking scenery of the vast moon-like terrain and the snow-covered mountains. After you’ve accomplished the most challenging part of the day, and admired the views, it’s time to head east across the rock fields and back onto a trodden trail.

For the remainder of your hiking day, the path gently undulates and you cross a series of inclines and declines through the slopes of Kibo. As you approach Buffalo Camp, and weather permitting, you are met with a scenery of plains that stretch out all the way to the Kenyan/Tanzanian border.

The day will leave you with some time to rest, and an opportunity to explore the surrounding area. The infinite amount of plains and the snow-capped Kibo will be a welcoming place to relax.

Buffalo Camp has no cabins or built structures, not even toilet latrines, completely immersing yourself into the Kilimanjaro wilderness. There is good chance that you get to enjoy the campsite to yourself, a real treat on the busy mountain!

Day 4
    5h
  • Into thin air and alpine desert
  • Third Cave (3,800m)  →  School Hut (4,800m)
  • 1,000m
  • 10km

Today you will be climbing from Third Cave to School Hut, your base camp for the final summit push. You may start to be feeling butterflies in anticipation of your big summit night. Within less than 24 hours, you’ll be standing on the top of Africa!

The hike will be shorter today, but significant altitude height will be gained to acclimate you for the summit. Soon after leaving Third Cave, the landscape will become barren, and you may feel like you’re on another planet with the clouds sitting below you.

You’ll notice that the altitude can be difficult. While the trek doesn’t seem very steep, the lack of oxygen will make it feel otherwise. Do not be discouraged, and take as much time as you need! The views of the towering  will motivate you as you take each step. Weather and cloud cover permitting, you have Kibo in your view the entire time.

It’s still fairly early as you approach the campsite, so that you can get as much rest as possible before the exciting night ahead. Even though you may not be feeling hungry due to the altitude, try to eat as much as possible to gain strength for your summit push. After an early dinner, it’s time to get your gear ready for your early wake up, and to catch as much sleep as you can.

Day 5
    6-7h
  • All the way the top (almost)
  • School Hut (4,800m)  →  Stella Point (5,756m)
  • 956m
  • 3km

Today is an early start for the moment you’ve been waiting for – your final push to the top of Kibo. One of the benefits of staying overnight at Crater Camp is that you can conquer the top of Kilimanjaro in daylight rather than overnight. However, it will still be an early start just after sunrise, to leave enough time to explore the crater in the afternoon.

Even though summiting in daylight will feel a lot less frigid than overnight, be sure to pack thick gloves and extra warm gear as the wind will still feel icy even during the day. And make sure to apply extra thick sunscreen and bring your sunglasses as the sun is getting ever more intense the higher you climb. Snacks are encouraged as well to maintain energy throughout the long day.

After a relatively moderate start, the trail becomes steep and challenging as it joins with the Marangu Route. The air will become so thin that you may need to pause for a second or more after each step, and altitude sickness may begin to hit you. Your final push to the top may seem endless and will test all your patience as climbers on the Marangu Route who summited overnight are making their way down while you're slowly making your way up. Knowing that you'll be able to enjoy the roof of Africa without the crowds will be your reward for all the hard work.

After approximately an hour and a half slowly making your way up via a series of switchbacks that make the steep scree slopes easier to tackle, you will hit rockier terrain. As you scramble over up to hip-high boulders, be mindful of your steps as these so-called Jamaican Rocks can be slippery at times. After a while, the rocks become more moderate and easier to manage – a sign that the end is near.

What satisfaction as you reach Gilman's Point at the top of Kibo and a vast open crater expands in front of your eyes! From here, the path becomes very manageable as you continue along the crater rim to Stella Point – your highest point today before you'll descend to Crater Camp.

Congratulations! You’ve already conquered an impressive feat and will receive your climbing certificate for making to the top of Kibo. Even though Gilman's and Stella Point are not yet the summit, and the excitement of Uhuru Peak is still waiting for you the next morning, you can already be proud that you’ve climbed Mount Kilimanjaro!

    1h
  • Lunar landscape, glacier and ash pit
  • Stella Point (5,756m)  →  Crater Camp (5,739m)
  • -17m
  • 2km

After the euphoric moments at Stella Point, the fun continues as you get to walk to Crater Camp. The morning was hard on your body, and luckily Crater Camp isn't far, situated only 150 meters (510 feet) of descent away. Set in soft sands, the camp is located near the impressive ice walls of the Furtwangler Glacier. The campsite is the highest on Kilimanjaro, located at 5,740 meters (18,800 ft). After replenishing your energy levels over a well-deserved break in the mess tent, the lunar landscape is yours to explore with the Reusch Crater and ash pit located only an hour away. After your accomplished day, what a treat to be able to experience the majestic offerings on the top of Kilimanjaro that so few climbers ever get to see!

Day 6
    1-2h
  • Sunrise at the summit
  • Crater Camp (5,739m)  →  Uhuru Peak (5,895m)
  • 156m
  • 1km

If climbing all the way to Stella Point wasn’t enough, it's time to scale the very top of Mount Kilimanjaro – Uhuru Peak. You will rise early to reach the summit by sunrise. However, while your body may be aching from the day before, it will be nowhere as challenging because the peak is only 150 meters (510 feet) of ascent away, and won't take more than one or two hours at most.

Dawn is approaching as you push yourself to the highest point of Mt. Kilimanjaro and of Africa – Uhuru Peak. The opportunity to see the new day’s climbers and the sunrise from the summit is a privilege that you won’t soon forget. Take some pictures, pat yourself on the back, hug your companions and enjoy the glistening pink and orange sunrise hues overlooking the ice fields and glaciers. The rolling clouds splash against the noble beauty of Kibo – it’s a sight you won’t soon forget.

    5-7h
  • Half way down into thicker air
  • Uhuru Peak (5,895m)  →  Mweka Camp (3,100m)
  • -2,795m
  • 13km

Make sure to take lots of photos and soak in the views as you won’t be staying up long at Uhuru Peak. Your guide will make sure to bring you back down to thicker air soon after you’ve reached the peak of your journey. While climbing thus far may have seemed to be the hardest part, you’re day has only just begun.

After making it all the way up to the summit of Uhuru Peak, you will still feel that lingering sense of euphoria that comes with such a magnificent achievement. Now the challenge is to make your way down to Mweka Camp, which sits at 3,100 metres – an an altitude drop of almost 2,800 metres. As you make your way down, you will find that the descent is tough on your knees, which will by now be feeling the impact of your climb up this formidable mountain. To ease the strain on your knees, make good use of your walking poles.

For the initial part of your journey down from Stella Point, you will encounter fields of sand and scree, which can be particularly challenging to navigate your way through. Gaiters are once again essential here, to prevent some of the glacial scree making its way into your boots! There are different ways you can tackle the scree. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can simply slide or ski down the scree slopes, which is a fun and quick way of conquering it! If you’re not comfortable with that, simply walk slowly down the scree, although this will add additional time onto your journey.

Your slope then turns into rocks before you reach Barafu Camp. Rest and eat to regain some energy. However, don’t rest too long. You still have over 3 hours to go. As you descend, you’ll notice that some of the plants and greenery starts to reappear and the surroundings are not as barren as it has been in recent days. You’ll pass by Millennium Camp which is located just above the tree line. Sometimes, you may camp here if the descent further down is just too challenging to handle – discuss this with your guide beforehand to see if it’s possible.

But Mweka Camp is only two hours further, located in the upper part of the rainforest zone, which brings with it a very welcome increase in oxygen and moisture in the air. You will be feeling tired and worn from the journey by the time you reach your camp for the night, but this is normal. Conquering Kilimanjaro is far from easy and you can take solace from the fact that you have completed a challenge that you’ll remember for a lifetime. Finally, you’ll be able to get some well earned rest and relaxation, and celebrate the completion of this important milestone of your journey.

Day 7
    3-4h
  • All the way back down through the forest
  • Mweka Camp (3,100m)  →  Mweka Gate (1,640m)
  • -1,460m
  • 10km

The euphoria from yesterday’s achievement will linger today and give you a high that will last for some time to come. Conquering Mount Kilimanjaro is not easy and the challenge associated with climbing it is legendary. Today’s walk is a pleasant one and it will take you through the beautiful greenery of the rainforest as you steadily continue your downward descent. The atmosphere will resemble prehistoric times as you make your way through the 20 foot fern trees in the rainforest. You will venture through the moorlands and the montane rainforest, which bears similarities to the first stop on Kilimanjaro and you will once again greet the different bird species and monkeys that you encountered on your way up. At this point tiredness and bruised knees may drain your enthusiasm little, but you will still feel the pride in your accomplishments. The temperature will be a little warmer and more humid by this point, in contrast to the ice caps and the glaciers experienced over the last few days.

Soon even the jungle will gradually start to fade in favour of dirt tracks and the return of civilisation, which signals your arrival at Mweka Gate – the exit of Mount Kilimanjaro National Park. Once you have reached this point, your journey across Kilimanjaro will have concluded and you will be satisfied in the knowledge that you have reached the summit and finally conquered this tough but beautiful mountain.

Once you arrive at Mweka Gate and you have completed your walk, it will be time to bid farewell to your crew. It is customary to tip your guides, cook and porters for their assistance during your trip before you are transported back to your hotel. Please check the tipping procedure and tipping ranges recommended by your tour company before the start of your climb.

    1h
  • Transfer to your hotel
  • Mweka Gate (1,640m)  →  Moshi (831m)
  • -809m
  • 17km

After your exciting conclusion at Mweka Gate, you surely can’t wait to get back to your hotel for a well-deserved shower. The scenic drive back to Moshi (or Arusha) takes you through coffee and banana plantations, and is serene as you reflect on your adventure.

Arriving at your hotel, you’ve finished the magical journey, and it’s time to sift through photos, brag to your friends, and reminisce fondly on those life-long memories that you’ve just made.

More info about the 7-day Grand Traverse With Crater Camp

Destination Information
Facilities
Where do I sleep on Mount Kilimanjaro?

Where you sleep on Mount Kilimanjaro depends on your hiking route and climbing package. On all but the Marangu route, you will sleep in tents at designated campsites. Your tour operator will typically organize your sleeping tent and mattress, whereby the quality of tents ranges from cheap locally produced via high-quality imported winter mountaineering tents (mid-range offers) to luxurious walk-in size tents with proper frame beds (VIP offers).

The Marangu Route offers shared hut accommodation with dormitory-style bunk beds. This means you'll have a firm roof, but it also reduces your level of privacy. High-quality tents may feel more luxurious and comfortable than the Marangu Huts.

Deciding Whether To Go
Comfort & Facilities
Where do I sleep on Mount Kilimanjaro?

Where you sleep on Mount Kilimanjaro depends on your hiking route and climbing package. On all but the Marangu route, you will sleep in tents at designated campsites. Your tour operator will typically organize your sleeping tent and mattress, whereby the quality of tents ranges from cheap locally produced via high-quality imported winter mountaineering tents (mid-range offers) to luxurious walk-in size tents with proper frame beds (VIP offers).

The Marangu Route offers shared hut accommodation with dormitory-style bunk beds. This means you'll have a firm roof, but it also reduces your level of privacy. High-quality tents may feel more luxurious and comfortable than the Marangu Huts.

Hiking Routes
Overview
What are the key differences between the routes on Mount Kilimanjaro?

The hiking routes on Mount Kilimanjaro vary by length, duration, difficulty, scenery, altitude profile, accessibility, and (lack of) facilities. The better a route scores on all these criteria, the more popular it is. Popularity is great if you like to share your experience with many other climbers and make lots of new friends. It's also great if you're looking for an affordable climbing package. If solitude and wilderness is what you're looking for, then the most popular routes may not be your best choice.

Lemosho Route
Which Kilimanjaro route has the the highest summit success chance?

The Kilimanjaro routes with the highest summit success rates are those with the best altitude profile so that you can acclimatize to the thin air before attempting your final summit push. Climbing high during the day and sleeping low at night is ideal. Furthermore, it's important to ascend slowly over multiple days so that your body has more time to get used to the high altitude.

8-day Machame, 8-day Lemosho, 8-day Grand Traverse and 9-day Northern Circuit (including acclimatization hike to Lava Tower) are all excellent routes for altitude acclimatization that allow you to hike high, sleep low and ascend slowly over multiple days. With the right preparation and the right guide, these routes all have a summit success chance of close to 100%.

Which Kilimanjaro route do you most recommend?

For most climbers who prefer to scale the mountain when the weather is sunny and dry, and to maximize your summit success chance without having had prior high altitude experience, our most recommended routes are:

  • 8-day Lemosho Route: Best scenery and easy to join an open group climb, as long as you don't mind the crowds
  • 8-day Machame Route: Easiest route with best scenery, as long as you don't mind the crowds
  • 8-day Grand Traverse: Easiest route in authentic wilderness, as long as you don't mind missing some scenic highlights
  • 9-day Northern Circuit: A somewhat more difficult alternative to the Grand Traverse (similar to Lemosho), yet with more opportunity to acclimatize and more scenic variety compared to the Grand Traverse

Arguably, 8 or 9 days on the mountain may sound just a bit too long. If you prefer a group climb, you will also be somewhat limited in your choice of affordable options for the above routes. So if either time or budget is a constraint, then we recommend:

  • 7-day Machame Route: Most popular route with great scenery and ideal profile for altitude acclimatization (similiar to Lemosho, just shorter)
  • 7-day Rongai Route: Authentic wilderness away from the crowds. However, the scenery and profile is not as good as the Machame Route.
Machame Route
Which Kilimanjaro route has the the highest summit success chance?

The Kilimanjaro routes with the highest summit success rates are those with the best altitude profile so that you can acclimatize to the thin air before attempting your final summit push. Climbing high during the day and sleeping low at night is ideal. Furthermore, it's important to ascend slowly over multiple days so that your body has more time to get used to the high altitude.

8-day Machame, 8-day Lemosho, 8-day Grand Traverse and 9-day Northern Circuit (including acclimatization hike to Lava Tower) are all excellent routes for altitude acclimatization that allow you to hike high, sleep low and ascend slowly over multiple days. With the right preparation and the right guide, these routes all have a summit success chance of close to 100%.

Which Kilimanjaro route do you most recommend?

For most climbers who prefer to scale the mountain when the weather is sunny and dry, and to maximize your summit success chance without having had prior high altitude experience, our most recommended routes are:

  • 8-day Lemosho Route: Best scenery and easy to join an open group climb, as long as you don't mind the crowds
  • 8-day Machame Route: Easiest route with best scenery, as long as you don't mind the crowds
  • 8-day Grand Traverse: Easiest route in authentic wilderness, as long as you don't mind missing some scenic highlights
  • 9-day Northern Circuit: A somewhat more difficult alternative to the Grand Traverse (similar to Lemosho), yet with more opportunity to acclimatize and more scenic variety compared to the Grand Traverse

Arguably, 8 or 9 days on the mountain may sound just a bit too long. If you prefer a group climb, you will also be somewhat limited in your choice of affordable options for the above routes. So if either time or budget is a constraint, then we recommend:

  • 7-day Machame Route: Most popular route with great scenery and ideal profile for altitude acclimatization (similiar to Lemosho, just shorter)
  • 7-day Rongai Route: Authentic wilderness away from the crowds. However, the scenery and profile is not as good as the Machame Route.
Northern Circuit
Which Kilimanjaro route do you most recommend?

For most climbers who prefer to scale the mountain when the weather is sunny and dry, and to maximize your summit success chance without having had prior high altitude experience, our most recommended routes are:

  • 8-day Lemosho Route: Best scenery and easy to join an open group climb, as long as you don't mind the crowds
  • 8-day Machame Route: Easiest route with best scenery, as long as you don't mind the crowds
  • 8-day Grand Traverse: Easiest route in authentic wilderness, as long as you don't mind missing some scenic highlights
  • 9-day Northern Circuit: A somewhat more difficult alternative to the Grand Traverse (similar to Lemosho), yet with more opportunity to acclimatize and more scenic variety compared to the Grand Traverse

Arguably, 8 or 9 days on the mountain may sound just a bit too long. If you prefer a group climb, you will also be somewhat limited in your choice of affordable options for the above routes. So if either time or budget is a constraint, then we recommend:

  • 7-day Machame Route: Most popular route with great scenery and ideal profile for altitude acclimatization (similiar to Lemosho, just shorter)
  • 7-day Rongai Route: Authentic wilderness away from the crowds. However, the scenery and profile is not as good as the Machame Route.
Rongai Route
Which Kilimanjaro route do you most recommend?

For most climbers who prefer to scale the mountain when the weather is sunny and dry, and to maximize your summit success chance without having had prior high altitude experience, our most recommended routes are:

  • 8-day Lemosho Route: Best scenery and easy to join an open group climb, as long as you don't mind the crowds
  • 8-day Machame Route: Easiest route with best scenery, as long as you don't mind the crowds
  • 8-day Grand Traverse: Easiest route in authentic wilderness, as long as you don't mind missing some scenic highlights
  • 9-day Northern Circuit: A somewhat more difficult alternative to the Grand Traverse (similar to Lemosho), yet with more opportunity to acclimatize and more scenic variety compared to the Grand Traverse

Arguably, 8 or 9 days on the mountain may sound just a bit too long. If you prefer a group climb, you will also be somewhat limited in your choice of affordable options for the above routes. So if either time or budget is a constraint, then we recommend:

  • 7-day Machame Route: Most popular route with great scenery and ideal profile for altitude acclimatization (similiar to Lemosho, just shorter)
  • 7-day Rongai Route: Authentic wilderness away from the crowds. However, the scenery and profile is not as good as the Machame Route.
Choosing Your Itinerary
Overview
How do I go about choosing my best Kilimanjaro route?

To choose the best hiking route for your Kilimanjaro climb, it is important to assess your personal preferences and priorities:

  • Do you prefer the most stunning scenery or authentic wilderness away from the crowds?
  • Do you prefer a climb with least amount of walking and easy slopes, or are you looking for a bigger physical challenge?
  • Do you have time constraints, or are you OK to take a longer route of 8 days (or more) in order to maximize your summit success chance?
  • Do you have budget constraints, or do you prefer to pay a premium for a longer climb, a private tailor-made arrangement (as opposed to an open group climb), and/or a luxurious climb off-the-beaten track?

Please contact us for a tailor-made recommendation.

Safety
Which is the best Kilimanjaro hiking route for altitude acclimatization?

The best routes for altitude acclimatization allow you to climb high during the day and sleep low at night. Climbing high during the daytime gets your body used to the high altitude. By sleeping at a lower elevation during the night, your body has enough time to take a break from the lack of oxygen associated with higher elevations. You should also ascend slowly over multiple days so that your body can acclimatize better.

7-day Machame, 8-day Lemosho, 8-day Grand Traverse and 9-day Northern Circuit (including acclimatization hike to Lava Tower) are all excellent routes for altitude acclimatization that allow you to hike high, sleep low and ascend slowly over multiple days.

Summit success
Which Kilimanjaro route has the the highest summit success chance?

The Kilimanjaro routes with the highest summit success rates are those with the best altitude profile so that you can acclimatize to the thin air before attempting your final summit push. Climbing high during the day and sleeping low at night is ideal. Furthermore, it's important to ascend slowly over multiple days so that your body has more time to get used to the high altitude.

8-day Machame, 8-day Lemosho, 8-day Grand Traverse and 9-day Northern Circuit (including acclimatization hike to Lava Tower) are all excellent routes for altitude acclimatization that allow you to hike high, sleep low and ascend slowly over multiple days. With the right preparation and the right guide, these routes all have a summit success chance of close to 100%.

Recommendation
Which Kilimanjaro route do you most recommend?

For most climbers who prefer to scale the mountain when the weather is sunny and dry, and to maximize your summit success chance without having had prior high altitude experience, our most recommended routes are:

  • 8-day Lemosho Route: Best scenery and easy to join an open group climb, as long as you don't mind the crowds
  • 8-day Machame Route: Easiest route with best scenery, as long as you don't mind the crowds
  • 8-day Grand Traverse: Easiest route in authentic wilderness, as long as you don't mind missing some scenic highlights
  • 9-day Northern Circuit: A somewhat more difficult alternative to the Grand Traverse (similar to Lemosho), yet with more opportunity to acclimatize and more scenic variety compared to the Grand Traverse

Arguably, 8 or 9 days on the mountain may sound just a bit too long. If you prefer a group climb, you will also be somewhat limited in your choice of affordable options for the above routes. So if either time or budget is a constraint, then we recommend:

  • 7-day Machame Route: Most popular route with great scenery and ideal profile for altitude acclimatization (similiar to Lemosho, just shorter)
  • 7-day Rongai Route: Authentic wilderness away from the crowds. However, the scenery and profile is not as good as the Machame Route.
Finding Your Best Offer
Guides
How many guides will there be for my group when climbing Kilimanjaro?

When climbing Kilimanjaro, you must have at most 2 climbers per guide, and at least 2 guides for groups of 2 climbers or more. This ensures that there will always be enough guides to assist climbers who require descent, while at the same time allowing all other climbers to continue their summit ascent safely.

The minimum guide-to-climber ratios are stipulated by Kilimanjaro National Park regulations and apply to all climbs booked via Fair Voyage. So for every group, there will always be one lead guide, and we have classified all other guides as assistant guides.

Please beware that guides and companies operating illegally on Kilimanjaro may not adhere to these minimum ratios, which can lead to dangerous life threatening situations. While it may be tempting to save costs by booking with a low-budget operator, your financial savings may come at the cost of your own safety.

Minimum ratio of Kilimanjaro climbers per guide for all climbs booked via Fair Voyage:
ClimbersGuides
1 climber1 guide
2 climbers2 guides
3 climbers2 guides
4 climbers2 guides
5 climbers3 guides
6 climbers3 guides
7 climbers4 guides
8 climbers4 guides
9 climbers5 guides
10 climbers5 guides
11 climbers6 guides
12 climbers6 guides
Inclusions
Is it worthwhile to have a portable mountain shower for my Kilimanjaro climb?

Whether it's worthwhile to have a portable mountain shower for your Kilimanjaro climb depends on your personal preferences. Most climbers do not need it, while those who have it wouldn't want to miss it.

If you're new to camping in the wild for consecutive nights, imagining a week without a shower may be a scary thought. However, most climbers will find that it's not as uncomfortable as they imagine it to be. Overcoming this initial fear is all part of the unique personal growth experience that makes Kilimanjaro such a rewarding mountain to climb. In hindsight, you will likely feel proud of having managed a week without a shower. Even though operators who offer mountain showers would typically also provide warm water, you may also find it too cold to take off your clothes and shower.

Climbers who book a portable mountain shower & wash tent, on the other hand, also tend to use it. They enjoy the comfort and flexibility to take a shower on days when they don't feel too cold, and are happy about their decision to book that includes a warm mountain shower.

Is it worthwhile to have a walk-in tent and cot for my Kilimanjaro climb?

If you prefer more comfort, it may be worthwhile to upgrade your climb with a walk-in tent and sleeping cot. Crawling in and out of standard sized tents multiple times a day can become quite tedious for some people. The space may also feel very confined with not much room to spread out your gear or get changed, especially when shared between two climbers. A larger tent will feel more spacious and give you more room to move. On the flip side, larger tents will also feel colder because they don't trap the heat as well.

Whether you feel more comfortable sleeping on a cot compared to standard foam sleeping mats used on the mountain is very individual. Cots can feel more comfortable to sleep on for some people, as they're softer and give the feeling of a familiar frame bed. For others, however, the relatively narrow width of cots may feel less comfortable compared to sleeping closer to the ground, where you can simply rest your arms or legs on the floor if you need more space.

Open Group Tours
When joining a Kilimanjaro group climb, can I customize it to make it cheaper?

When joining an open group trek to climb Kilimanjaro, it is not possible to downgrade the package to make it cheaper. For example, you might not require emergency oxygen or a dining tent that are included in the climb package. However, the cost of these items is already factored into the price paid by other climbers. It wouldn't be fair to them if they would be required to pay more, and it could lead to friction in your climbing group. In case of emergency, of course your guide would use the emergency oxygen paid for by other climbers for your safety benefit. Other climbers may be annoyed about you getting a free ride at their cost.

However, to the extent allowed by Kilimanjaro National Park regulations, it is always possible to downgrade and fully customize a private group climb. This may help you save a lot of costs if you are a group of at least 5 climbers booking together. If you are a solo or couple traveller, please note it would almost always be cheaper to join a higher-quality group climb, then organize your own lower-quality budget climb.

When joining a Kilimanjaro group climb, can I go my own pace?

When joining an open group to climb Kilimanjaro, please note that you will have to adjust your walking speed to that of others, which typically means the pace of the slowest person in your group. It is not uncommon for this to create some frustrations amongst group members. Faster climbers would prefer to go ahead and take less frequent breaks, while the slowest person may feel pressured to walk faster.

When booking a group trek, please expect that you will need to adjust to the pace and needs of the entire group. Furthermore, you will not be able to adjust your itinerary spontaneously (unless needed), such as shorten your climb by a day if you feel that you can go faster. While there will always be a sufficiently high guide to client ratio to assist with early descent if needed, groups will not split up to accommodate the preference of some climbers to walk faster than others.

If you prefer more flexibility during your climb to set your own pace and adjust your itinerary while climbing, please contact us for private climbing packages.

Preparing Your Trip
Getting started
What steps do I need to take to prepare for my Kilimanjaro climb?

Other than booking a suitable climbing package, it is important that you also take these steps to prepare for your Kilimanjaro climb (read more here):

  1. Take out travel insurance
  2. Book your flight
  3. Book any missing hotel nights depending on your flight
  4. Inform your operator about all your personal requirements
  5. Make sure your passport will be valid for 6 months
  6. Get a health check & required vaccinations
  7. Prepare physically as much as you can
  8. Organize your gear
  9. Familiarize yourself thoroughly with all risks involved
  10. Carefully read all information provided by your operator
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