Selecting the best hiking route on Kilimanjaro is a subjective question as there is no single best hiking route that works for every climber. In this article, we hope to help you choose the best hiking route for you and will make recommendations depending on your preferences.
The routes on 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 are what you're looking for, then the most popular routes may not be your best choice.
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 the 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?
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 the 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: