kilimanjaro routes









northern circuit





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)


The primary causes of failure on Mount Kilimanjaro are:

1. Acute mountain sickness (AMS) – Acute mountain sickness, also known as altitude sickness, is a biological reaction caused by the low oxygen content at high altitudes. Symptoms of AMS include headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, malaise, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Severe AMS can result in high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), fluid in the lungs, and high altitude cerebral edema (HACE), swelling of the brain. Both of these conditions are very serious and can be fatal.

2. Physical exhaustion – climbing Kilimanjaro is a physical exercise, and thus, those who are not in good fitness can become spent due to the constant hiking, day after day. This is most apparent during the long, unforgiving ascent to the summit, which is almost a 4,000 foot climb.

3. Bad weather conditions - Mount Kilimanjaro is so tall that it creates its own weather. Blizzards, heavy rains and strong winds can occur at any time, without warning. During severe weather conditions, the risks on the mountain are exponentially greater as there is a smaller margin for error. Therefore, experienced guides may discontinue trekking when bad weather compromises the safety of the climbers.

4. Other Illnesses - it is possible to contract other illnesses on the mountain. Food poisoning due to poorly prepared food, water-borne illness caused by contaminated water, bacterial and viral infection caused by poor cleanliness, are both fairly common on the mountain, especially amongst those climbing with budget operators who lack a standard of hygiene. When the body is under stress, it is also more susceptible to contracting diseases such as the flu and colds.

5. Injury – all it takes is one wrong foot placement on the rocky mountain terrain to get hurt on Kilimanjaro. Blisters, twisted ankles, sprained wrists, strained backs, painful knees are all injuries that can end a Kilimanjaro trek.