The Ultimate Guide to Mount Kilimanjaro Climbing
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a journey of exploration, not merely a climb. We believe that when you challenge yourself to tower over the roof of Africa, you will be rewarded with an increase in self-awareness and improved self-belief. As said by the first man ever to climb Mount Everest, Edmund Hillary, “it is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves”.
You will see that we’ve designed your hike to give you the very best chance of reaching the summit, enjoying the spectacular scenery, and getting an insight into the natural history and ecosystem (flora and fauna) of the snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro, en route to the highest point on the African continent.
To help you understand why our mountain treks are carefully crafted with the safety of our clients in mind, please read through the below important pre-planning information.
Where is Mount Kilimanjaro located?
Set within the Kilimanjaro National Park, Kilimanjaro emerges from the sprawling plains of Tanzania and boasts dense tropical rainforests, glacial ice fields, moorlands, and mystical moonscapes. Sitting between the border of Tanzania and Kenya, the foothills of the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro offer breathtaking views of these two neighbouring countries, a unique perspective of the wild-world of safari and a perfect juxtaposition to the rolling savannah plains of the African wilderness. While you can only climb Mount Kilimanjaro from the Tanzanian side, the base of the mountain is home to some of Africa’s diverse wildlife including: elephant, buffalo, leopard, duiker, eland, hyrax, and blue monkeys, just to mention a few.
Why climb Mount Kilimanjaro?
At 5896m, Mount Kilimanjaro stands proud as Africa’s highest mountain and one of the continent’s most enticing attractions. The tallest free-standing mountain in the world, it rises dramatically from the plains and coastal scrubland of northern Tanzania, its snowy peak and glassy glaciers piercing the clouds. The park is a protected area, aiming to minimize the impact of human interaction on the environment and wildlife.
The challenge of the climb may be enough to draw you in, but the rewards are abundant. The majesty of the mountain and the awe-inspiring views of Amboseli National Park in Kenya, the Rift Valley, and the Maasai Steppe are hard to compete with. Part of the attraction of Kilimanjaro is that, with the right preparation and pacing, the peak is within reach for most enthusiastic adventurers, whatever your level of skill or experience.
What is the best time of year to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?
We recommend climbers plan their trek during the dry season months of June through October when we would expect the weather to be predominantly dry (though the chance of rain should not be discounted). While rain at lower slopes may mean a little discomfort, this can lead to snow at higher altitudes, which we feel adds to the experience rather than detracts from it, especially considering the views from a snow-covered summit. If any deep snow exists, the guides will cut out bucket steps for climbers to follow where required.
Your climb to Mount Kilimanjaro is more mental than physical
You do not need to be super fit for this trek, but you should get out for some longish hikes before the trip, or jog for three to four kilometres, a couple of times a week, to get a basic level of fitness. This will enable you to enjoy the trek much more. Due to the training, we afford our guides and their professionalism, we expect at least 9 out of 10 to summit, no matter which route/trek duration they have chosen, assuming they are mentally prepared for the rigors of Kili.
Our local mountain experts have years of experience climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, they’re all licensed & certified Wilderness First Responders
Our African guides and staff are all experts on the mountains, and we maintain an excellent relationship with them, built up over many years of working together. Moreover, our travel arrangements are based on fair-trade principles to ensure that significant benefits from our visits remain with the local people.
The route you take matters, here’s our recommendation:
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro can take from six to nine days. We offer private treks on various routes including Marangu, Umbwe, the Northern Circuit Route, Rongai, Lemosho and Machame. While Marangu is the shortest, easiest and cheapest route, our personal experience shows that Marangu has the lowest summit success rate of all routes on the mountain due to poor in-built, pre-summit acclimatization. The Machame Route is longer (2 additional days) than the Marangu ascent and therefore more expensive, but it is less crowded and offers an easier climb with breathtaking views en route to the summit.
Therefore, if you want to maximize your chance of making it to the highest free-standing mountain in the world, we recommend you choose the Machame Route (6-7 days) for your climb. We love Machame because it has a built-in acclimatization, which helps to enhance trekker’s pre-summit preparation and maximize their chances of reaching the roof of Africa in the best condition (mentally as well as physically), whilst enjoying amazing scenic vistas en route to the summit. Furthermore, the Machame Route is more affordable compared to other overlapping routes like Rongai & Lemosho. Based on our records, the guests have a greater than 97% chance of making it to the summit via this route!
A week on the mountain is just enough
On most standard routes, climbers opt for the 7-day route in order to err on the side of caution with respect to being well-rested and adequately acclimatized prior to their assault. However, timings on the 6-day routes are still safe and most people with active lifestyles, are younger than around 45 years of age, and not carrying significant excess body mass, will usually manage very well on the 6-day itineraries.
Your safety is our top priority
We work tirelessly to ensure your adventure is always safe and comfortable, so you can experience the real magic of trekking on the tallest peak in Africa with long-lasting memories. As one of the best and authorized Mount Kilimanjaro tour operators, all of our treks are run by certified professional mountain guides and crew (our team members are Wilderness First Responder trained). We will provide you with all the essentials for safety and health checkups, including a pulse oximeter, approved first aid kit, emergency oxygen and a checklist for altitude sickness.