Picking the best route can determine whether or not you are successful on the mountain. Although there are many routes on Kilimanjaro, route selection becomes much easier if you follow with a few basic, practical guidelines:
1. Use the longest route – The routes that are the longest in terms of days on the mountain have the highest success rates. The reason for this is that the rate of ascent the main issue that determines whether one acquires AMS. If you manage to avoid AMS, then you have a good chance of reaching the summit. Routes like 8 day Shira Route, 9 day Northern Circuit and 9 day Lemosho Route are solid choices.
2. Pick a manageable route – Some routes require a bit more effort than others. The combination of altitude and strenuous exercise can bring about altitude sickness and physical exhaustion. Furthermore, being tired on the mountain can result in discomfort, injuries and illnesses. Therefore, it is important that you select a route that falls within your abilities. Routes that approach from the west (Machame, Shira, Lemosho) are more difficult and those who select these paths should be up for the challenge. All routes include a long summit day, which is taxing for almost everyone. Proper preparation and training for your climb is essential.
3. Select a route that is appropriate for the season – During the dry season, trail conditions on every route are OK. But during the rainy season, certain routes are better than others. It is recommended to ascend using routes that approach from the northern side of the mountain, where precipitation is relatively lower. Therefore, 6 day Rongai route and the 9 day Northern Circuit route are good choices during the rainy season.
|Route||Pros and Cons||Days||Distance|
|Northern Circuit||Newest route on Kilimanjaro. Best acclimatization profile. Highest success rate. Most scenic path. Long access drive to trailhead. Very low foot traffic. Longest route. Expensive.||9||90 kilometres (56 mi)|
|Lemosho & Shira
||Great scenery. Great acclimatization profile. High success rate. Long access drive to trailhead. Moderate foot traffic. Longer route. Expensive.||7-9||56 kilometres (35 mi)|
||Very popular route. Great scenery. Good acclimatization profile. Moderate success rate. Good option for shorter trek. Lowest cost of the camping routes.||6-7||49 kilometres (30 mi)|
||Original route on Kilimanjaro. Very popular and crowded route. Less difficult trekking. Beautiful rainforest section. Sleep in hut shelters. Uses less porters. Lowest cost. Limited scenery. Poor acclimatization profile. Low success rate.||5-6||64 kilometres (40 mi)|
||Remote route. Low foot traffic. Less difficult trekking. Long access drive to trailhead. Fair acclimatization profile. Moderate success rate.||6-7||65 kilometres (40 mi)|
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