Kilimanjaro Trekking: Best Routes & Seasons

Have you ever thought about trips to climb Kilimanjaro and explore Tanzania? Amazing! It is the best time to start planning your safari packing list and getter the essential gear needed for your Kilimanjaro climb for an amazing journey to Tanzania full of experience.

Kilimanjaro trekking attracts people from all over the world. However, Trekking up Kilimanjaro routes is a huge challenge: located in Tanzania, Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s tallest mountain, standing at around 5,895 meters (19,340 feet) high. Trips to climb Kilimanjaro means facing different terrains, from lush forests to rocky landscapes, up to its snowy peak. The success rates for climbing vary by Kilimanjaro routes, ranging from 27% to 85%. The journey demands a lot physically and mentally, especially dealing with the effects of high altitude.

Exploring the Adventure: Your Guide to Kilimanjaro Climbing Season and Routes

kilimanjaro routes

When you try to find the best month to climb Kilimanjaro, you will explore an exciting fact: the mount has its unique way of doing seasons: wet and dry instead of winter and summer. Picking the right time to climb means looking at the weather and how crowded it gets. The best Kilimanjaro climbing season is when it is warm and dry: from December to early March and late June to October’s end.

During the short dry season (December to mid-March), you get nice temps and hardly any rain. However, it is busy around holidays. On the other hand, the long rainy season (late March to May) brings heavy rain, tricky paths, and bad visibility.

Then, the long dry season (late June to October) comes back with clear skies and hardly any rain. It is colder but more people climb, especially in July and August. In November, there’s a short rainy season with light rain and fewer climbers, better for a quieter hike despite the showers.

Weather plays a crucial role in determining the difficulty and safety of the trek. Rain, snow, wind, and temperature fluctuations can all impact the trail conditions and the overall comfort of the climbers. Besides considering weather patterns associated with each season when planning your Kilimanjaro adventure, you should consider the choice of Kilimanjaro routes as well. 

Whether you choose a more popular or less-travelled route, being prepared for various weather conditions and understanding the unique challenges of your chosen route is essential for a successful and enjoyable trekking experience.

1. Lemosho Route

Characteristics:

  • Offers a variety of landscapes.
  • Generally less crowded compared to other routes, providing a more peaceful trekking experience.
  • Takes around 7 to 8 days.
  • Opportunities to explore diverse wildlife along the route.
  • Passes through remote and less-visited areas of Mount Kilimanjaro

Challenges:

  • High altitude and altitude-related symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and fatigue
  • Weather conditions can be unpredictable
  • Demands a good level of physical fitness and mental stability
  • Requires proper planning and preparation

2. Machame Route (Whiskey Route)

Characteristics:

  • The Machame Route offers a sense of connection and shared adventure.
  • 6-7 days typical duration
  • Offers a variety of landscapes.
  • Includes challenging parts with steep uphill climbs and descents, making the trek more adventurous.
  • Camping experience

Challenges:

  • High altitude and altitude-related symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and fatigue
  • Requires a good level of physical fitness and steadiness
  • Can be crowded during peak climbing seasons, requiring patience and flexibility in navigation and camp selection.
  • Limited amenities

best month to climb kilimanjaro

3. Marangu Route (Coca-Cola Route)

Characteristics:

  • The most direct route to Mount Kilimanjaro, offering a shorter trekking experience.
  • 5-6 days typical duration
  • Unlike other routes where camping is the norm, the Marangu Route features hut accommodations along the trail
  • Picturesque views of lush rainforests in the lower altitudes
  • It passes through villages offering trekkers a glimpse into the local culture and traditions of the region

Challenges:

  • Can be crowded during peak climbing seasons
  • A higher rate of summit failure compared to other routes.
  • The hut accommodations can be basic with shared facilities and limited privacy for trekkers

4. Rongai Route

Characteristics:

  • Stunning views
  • Compared to some of the more popular routes, the Rongai Route sees fewer trekkers
  • The angles on the Rongai Route are more gradual, making it suitable for climbers of various fitness levels.
  • Camping experience and a closer connection to nature and the surrounding wilderness
  • A unique opportunity of aproaching the mountain from the north side

Challenges:

  • Longer travel times to reach compared to routes starting from the southern side of the mountain.
  • The effects of high altitude, including altitude sickness and decreased oxygen levels
  • Requires a good level of physical fitness
  • Proper planning and preparation are critical

Kilimanjaro Adventures

5. Umbwe Route

Characteristics:

  • A direct route to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, offering a challenging and adventurous trekking experience.
  • Breathtaking views
  • Less frequented by trekkers compared to other routes
  • 5-6 days typical duration
  • Camping experience

Challenges:

  • Can be physically demanding, requiring a high level of fitness
  • Limited Adaptation
  • Proper planning and preparation are critical

6. Northern Circuit Route

Characteristics:

  • Exclusive access to remote and untouched wilderness areas of Mount Kilimanjaro
  • 360-degree views of the mountain
  • 9-10 days typical duration
  • Diverse ecological zones
  • Low crowds
  • Cultural experiences

Challenges:

  • Can be challenging to access, requiring longer travel times and additional logistics compared to other routes
  • Physical strength and energy
  • Risks of reduced oxygen levels and the risk of altitude-related symptoms
  • Environmental responsibility

7. Shira Route

Characteristics:

  • Begins at a higher elevation, offering immediate views
  • A quieter trekking experience.
  • Adequate adaptation
  • Diverse landscapes 

Challenges:

  • Altitude-related challenges, including decreased oxygen levels and potential altitude sickness
  • Risks of headaches, nausea, and fatigue
  • Trekkers must minimise impact on the fragile ecosystem, following Leave No Trace principles


Kilimanjaro Trekking Tours and More…

While you can enjoy your Kilimanjaro climb at any time, it is wise to do it sooner rather than later. The Mount Kilimanjaro packages, mountain’s conditions and your readiness may change, so getting the opportunity sooner ensures you can make the most of this incredible experience.

kilimanjaro climbing season

Planning your trip early is key. It gives you time to organize everything, from permits to training, combine your  Kilimanjaro climb with African Safari holidays and experience all aspects of Tanzania’s natural beauty. By avoiding last-minute rushes, you can get amazing experiences.

Choose Flash McTours for your next adventure. With expert guides and top-notch accommodations, we make sure your Kilimanjaro journey is unforgettable. Besides, you can try other cool stuff, like climbing Mount Kenya or going on an African safari. Our friendly guides will keep you safe and make sure enjoy an outstanding trip.

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