1. Marangu Route (also called the ‘Coca Cola Route’) – 5-6 days
The main thing to remember about this route is that just because it is shorter than other routes, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the easiest one. In most cases, having a little bit more time for acclimatisation helps the climbers with reaching the top and having a more enjoyable experience.
On this route the climbers sleep in huts (instead of tents) which may be one of the reasons why this route is often mistook for the ‘easiest’ option.
2. Machame Route (also called the ‘Whiskey Route’) – 6-7 days
Whilst this route is often thought to be harder than Marangu Route, the proportion of trekkers reaching the summit via Machame Route is higher; this is mostly accredited to the longer time allowed for acclimatisation, but it could also simply mean that more of the experienced trekkers chose this route.
This particular route has become very popular in the recent years which contributed to slightly higher traffic but there are still plenty of time when you would be the only group in sight.
On this route you get to climb the Barranco Wall and take amazing pictures above the clouds.
3. Lemosho Route – 7-8 days
This is the longest official assent route at 29 miles (47km) and the 3rd most popular. The trail takes you through the remote and pristine forest of West Kilimanjaro – one of the reason why this route is often chosen by birdlife enthusiasts. There is also an option to visit the Shira Cathedral (useful for acclimatisation without a need for adding extra days to the trip). This route can be extended to 10 days and more side trips can be added; this trail provides a lot of flexibility depending on the time climbers have.
One thing to keep in mind is that Lemosho route is thought to be the wettest.
4. The Rongai Route – 6 days
The only Route ascending Kilimanjaro from the northeast. It is mainly chosen for the possibility of seeing the wildlife (I.e. Colobus Monkey) along the way, due to its proximity to Amboselli (one of Kenya’s national parks). It starts near the Kenyan border and the time as well as the cost of getting there will be a little higher than in case of Marangu or Machame routes.
By spending the last night at Mawenzi Tarn Hut you will get the opportunity to admire incredible views but also the chance to walk across the Saddle (favourite part of the mountain for many climbers) the following day.
5. Umbwe Route – 5-6 days
This is the shortest (24.7km) but steepest and hardest route on Kilimanjaro but still not a technical climb. Very demanding though. The trekkers are rewarded for undertaking such gruelling trail with breathtaking views and solitude as this is the quietest route on the mountain, especially if you chose the way to the summit via Western Breach instead of the much busier route via Barranco Wall. Some call this trail the Kilimanjaro’s best kept secret. Be warned – this is the riskiest of the routes on the mountain.
6. Northern Circuit – 9 days
This is the newest official route on Kilimanjaro and one with highest success rate (mainly due to the longer time allowed for acclimatisation). For the first few days this route follows the Lemosho trail, then separating after Shira Camp 2 when you will circle around to the mountain’s northern slopes, crossing them to the east. Because the northern side of Kili is more remote, there is also less traffic on that route. This route is the best for ‘walk high, sleep low’ – again for best possible acclimatisation and therefore increasing the chances of reaching the summit.
Itinerary is customizable to a valid extent.