Six Paths, Many Goals: The Different Sides of Mount Kilimanjaro

February 20, 2014 at 5:33 pm Leave a comment

A lot of decisions need to be made before you board your plane and make the long-anticipated trip to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. One of your initial decisions will be deciding what route to take to the iconic summit.

In total, you have six possibilities. They are:

  • Lemosho
  • Marangu
  • Umbwe
  • Shira
  • Machame
  • Rongai

If you are unfamiliar with Kilimanjaro’s terrain, or this will be your first trek to the mountain’s summit, a Kilimanjaro climbing company can be an integral part of helping you choose the best and most successful route to experience this opportunity to the fullest.

Ask Familiar Questions

Remember those introductory questions from grammar school?

  • Who?
  • What?
  • When?
  • Where?
  • Why?
  • How?

Well, each of them applies to making a decision like this also.

Who – who is climbing with you? The route you choose has to work for everyone on your climbing team, not just you. Factor in everyone’s climbing abilities before you pick the route.

What – what are the limitations for your climb? Are there budgetary or time constraints? Are weather patterns a factor?

When – speaking of weather, are you climbing during the wet or dry season? The answer to this question will affect the difficulty of reaching the summit.

Where – there are starting points for treks all over the mountainside. Where you start affects cost, view, and scenic variety.

Why – what is the goal of your climb? Do you want to reach the summit? Then pick a route with the highest success rate. If you want great photos, choose a scenic climb.

How – how do you see this climb playing out? Do you want a challenge or a less strenuous trek?

Any climbing company will advise you to pick a route that doesn’t result in injury, sickness, or turning back before you reach your goal.

Six Paths, Many Goals: The Different Sides of Mount Kilimanjaro

Depending on the Kilimanjaro climbing company you select, these treks take five to 10 days to complete. Below is a basic description of all six routes:

Marangu – Popular tourist choice; starts from southeast; easy, gentle gradients; beautiful rain forest section and moorland views; comfortable, basic hut shelter; poor acclimatization reported; descent by same trail.

Machame – Most popular choice; starts from south; very scenic route great for pictures; difficult route, but very good for acclimating, camping.

Rongai – Remote; less frequented; good alternative to Marangu; easier gradient than expected with alpine/desert view; fair acclimatization reported; camping available.

Lemosho – Long access drive to trailhead; beautiful heath section; very scenic pictures on southern approach; difficult route but excellent acclimatization reported; camping available.

Shira – starts at 11,800 ft.; remote; less frequented; beautiful heath section; very scenic with southern approach; difficult route but excellent for acclimatization if ok with high altitude camping.

Umbwe – Least used trail; approaches from south; shortest, steepest route; pre-acclimatization recommended.

As a rule, 85% of climbers choose Marangu or Machame, while 15% choose a more difficult or strenuous route. Whatever you do, choose your Kilimanjaro climbing company wisely!

Zara Tours is the premier provider of Tanzanian adventure vacations and trips

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Entry filed under: Climbing Kilimanjaro, Hiking Kilimanjaro, Kilimanjaro Trips, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Kilimanjaro Summit, ZARA Tanzania Adventures. Tags: , , .

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