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Ultimate Kilimanjaro Climbing Guide 2024-2025  – We breath and live the Experience

Kilimanjaro towers at 5,895 m/19,340 ft above sea level. It is the highest free standing mountain in the world and the “Roof of Africa”.

Mt Kilimanjaro is one of the most popular travel attractions on the continent. Over 40,000 people visit it every year. The reasons for its popularity are simple. It’s an incredibly beautiful trek where a climber doesn’t require technical climbing skills. To reach the summit, one needs only a healthy average fitness level. This is why many people begin their Seven Summits journey with Mount Kilimanjaro.

We wrote this guide to help climbers prepare for their once-in-a-lifetime Kilimanjaro adventure. All the recommendations below are the results of our 10+ years of Kilimanjaro experience. Over this time we at Ngao Safaris have organized Mount Kilimanjaro hiking trips for over 200 people. 

Kilimanjaro Routes

The Machame hiking trail is the second most popular on Kilimanjaro. It starts in the tropical rainforest on the southern slope. Beginners should choose the seven-day option for a better acclimatization profile. Many of the Ngao Safari’s group climbs go via the Machame Route.

Starting on Kilimanjaro’s western side, the Lemosho Route has a remote trailhead. One of the key highlights is the famous Shira Plateau and the Cathedral Peak (3,962m/13,000 feet). The latter is the highest point of Kili’s western slope. Lemosho offers the finest acclimatization on Kilimanjaro. Our experts believe it to be the best Kilimanjaro route for group and individual treks. Or at the very least one of the best.

Marangu traverses the Eastern slope of Kilimanjaro. Chosen by over 30% of the hikers who climbed Kilimanjaro in 2023, it is the most popular route on Kilimanjaro. Hikers on all other routes spend their nights in tents. But in Marangu, they sleep in shared wooden huts (4-10 people in each). These huts are great during the rainy season. Also, it is the only route that follows the same trail for ascent and descent.

Rongai is the only route on the northern side, close to the Kenyan border. The trail goes through a beautiful forest of pine trees. Fewer people go there, making it a great choice to climb Kilimanjaro anytime. The descent follows the eastern Marangu route. This allows the hikers to enjoy the spectacular views of eastern Kilimanjaro.

The Umbwe Route is more challenging than the other ones because it follows a steeper trail in the beginning. We recommend it to those in good physical shape. Besides, it takes the climbers to higher camps faster than other routes. So having prior acclimatization is advisable. Like Machame, it passes through a beautiful rainforest. You can see colobuses and blue monkeys there.

The Northern Circuit is the longest route on Kilimanjaro. Beginning on the western slope, this trail goes around the cone, going up to the summit from the west. Descent is through the southern slope. This wonderful route gives trekkers a four-faced view of the mountain. However, it skips some key attractions, such as Dendrosenecio plants or the Barranco Wall.The Northern Circuit is the longest route on Kilimanjaro. Beginning on the western slope, this trail goes around the cone, going up to the summit from the west. Descent is through the southern slope. This wonderful route gives trekkers a four-faced view of the mountain. However, it skips some key attractions, such as Dendrosenecio plants or the Barranco Wall.