Kilimanjaro is the highest peak in Africa, with its summit about 4,900 meters and 5,895 meters above sea level. It is said that if Kilimanjaro climbing routes were placed on a flat plane, it would be the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. A free-standing mountain is not connected to other mountains and rises out of a plain.
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The most popular route to the summit, the Marangu Route is also the easiest. It is open year-round and therefore used by climbers with no previous experience.
This route takes you through the rainforest, moorland, and alpine desert zones before climbing up a scree-covered slope known as Barafu. You pass through Stella Hut at around 3,750 meters (12,300 feet) before walking along a knife-edge ridge called Kikelewa Peak and then onto Uhuru Peak’s Summit Plateau at 5,895 meters (19,340 feet).
The Lemosho route is the most popular, easiest, and shortest of all the routes. It takes you through forests of bamboo and moorlands dotted with several waterfalls, then leads onto a vast alpine desert where you might find yourself alone on a trekking trail with only a few other groups’ insight. This route requires advance booking as it’s very popular with tourists.
Machame Route is the second most popular route on Kilimanjaro. This is because it is considered to be the easiest, most scenic, and most comfortable of all the routes available for climbing Kilimanjaro.
The Machame route starts at Machame Gate (4,950 meters/16,199 feet), which is located at a height of 5500m(18,045 ft) above sea level. It also ends at Machame Gate (4,950 m/16,199 ft). The total distance covered in this route is 35 km. (22 miles).
This trail ascends through forests and woodlands until you reach Shira Plateau (5200m/17480ft) where you get an amazing view of Mawenzi Peak that stretches across the horizon with snow-capped Mt Meru behind it.
On your way up towards Uhuru Peak(5895m/19340ft), you will pass through several villages inhabited by local people who make their living from farming tea and coffee or growing fed crops like potatoes and maize
Northern Circuit Route
This is the most popular route, and it’s no surprise. The Northern Circuit offers the shortest and most scenic trek of Kilimanjaro. It is also the easiest route to follow because there are fewer hiking days and less elevation gain than other routes.
The Northern Circuit route starts at Marangu Gate (1,860m) and then heads east along with Tarn Camp (2,630m), Shira Plateau (3,851m), and Lemosho Glades (4,650m), Barranco Valley (5,200m) and Barafu Hut (5). This trail continues around Kibo Peak to Uhuru Peak on Mount Kilimanjaro’s highest summit at 5885 meters above sea level – a total trek of approximately 27 miles.
The Umbwe route is a moderate route, with a moderate ascent and descent. It’s recommended for first-time climbers who have a good level of fitness. The route offers some stunning views and fewer people compared to other routes on Kilimanjaro climbing.
If you’re looking for an easy way to get up Kilimanjaro climbing routes, Rongai is your best bet.
The route is a bit longer than the Marangu and Machame routes (you’ll end up trekking about 13 miles per day), but it’s also more scenic. You’ll pass through several different ecosystems as you climb from forest to alpine desert, with plenty of wildlife along the way. And unlike the other routes, there aren’t many people on this one—so if you don’t like crowds or want some peace and quiet while hiking Kilimanjaro, Rongai might be right up your alley!
If you’re looking for a challenge and prefer a bit more solitude, there are several other routes to the summit. The Marangu Route is an easy way to reach Kilimanjaro’s peak. It starts at the Marangu Gate in Tanzania and takes six days to complete, with camping spots along the way. The Lemosho Route is another popular option that also takes six days with several campsites along the way. It starts at Londorossi Gate in Kenya and crosses over two glaciers before reaching Stella Point on Kilimanjaro’s northern side.
Another well-trodden path to Kilimanjaro’s peak is the Machame Route, which begins at Machame Gate in Tanzania and requires seven days of hiking with multiple campsites along the way. Finally, there are five other less popular but still accessible paths that lead up Kilimanjaro: Umbwe Route (7 days), Rongai Route (7 days), Shira Plateau Path (4–5 days), Northern Circuit Trail/Barafu Camp (6–7 days), Western Breach/Lemosho Glades Path (8–10 days).
The mountain is located in the Kilimanjaro National Park, which was established in 1973. The park extends from 1,280 m (4,200 ft) on the lower slopes to 5,895 m (19,341 ft) at the summit of Kibo. The park covers an area of about 1,688 km2 (652 sq mi) and also includes Mount Meru (5,895 m or 19,341 ft), an active volcano to the northwest of Kilimanjaro. If you want to climb Kilimanjaro and other peaks like Everest, Manaslu, Cho Oyu, K2, Ama Dablam, Aconcagua, Elbrus, Lobuche Peak, and Island Peak then SummitClimb offers climbing every year.