Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest freestanding mountain on earth. Crowned with an everlasting snow-cap, this majestic mountain can be found inside the Kilimanjaro National Park of Tanzania, at 005.00 degrees south, 036 degrees east, 5895m a.m.s.l.
Through this website, Livingstone Safari Tanzania hopes to provide prospect climbers with a comprehensive guide that contains accurate and valuable information to increase one’s chance of a successful summit when climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Detailed itineraries, route maps, useful hyperlink, stunning pictures and photography of all the major routes, including the Arrow Glacier, the Lemosho, Machame, Marangu, Mweka (only used for descending), the Rongai (Nalemoru), Shira (predominantly used for evacuation) and Umbwe routes.
Also known as the “Coca Cola route” – the Marangu route is one of the most popular routes leading to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Many hikers believe that the Marangu route is the easiest route to Uhuru peak, since it is the only route which can be hiked in 5 days (making it the cheapest option). It is also the only route offering accommodation on the mountain, in A-frame huts.
It is unfortunately a well-known fact, that the 5 day Marangu route has one of the lowest summit success rates of all the routes up mountain. If you choose the Marangu route, we strongly recommend hiking the route over 6 days, to increase your chance to reach the summit successfully. This is the only route, which provides comfortable communal sleeping huts, equipped with solar lighting, bunk beds and mattresses at every overnight site. There are also cold showers and flushing toilets at Mandara hut and Horombo hut. The Marangu route utilises the same route for the ascend and descend.
The Machame route is our most popular and successful route leading to the summit of Kilimanjaro. Hikers sleep in tents which are carried up the mountain by porters. The Machame route is a very scenic and beautiful route, which can be completed in 6 days, however we strongly recommend hiking the route in 7 days, allowing for more time to acclimatise. The key to the success of the Machame route is its topography, allowing hikers to climb high and sleep low, helping towards better acclimatisation.
The Lemosho Route is a very beautiful and unspoilt route and sightings of wild game in the forest section is possible. The Lemosho route is one of the quieter routes up Kilimanjaro, this advantage however disappears when the route combines with the Machame route on the 3rd day of the hike.
For those seeking a quiet route away from the crowds, the route is a superior option to the Rongai route. Unlike the Rongai the Lemosho route has the same excellent pro-acclimatization features of the Machame route, which it joins just before reaching Lava Tower.
We do not recommend hiking the Lemosho route during the rainy season as the start point of the Lemosho Route is particularly inaccessible during the wet season. Climbers should be prepared to walk the final 2-5 kilometers of the road following heavy rains. The journey time to reach the start point is quite long and joined to the possibility of not reaching the end of the road by vehicle head torches may well be needed to reach Forest Camp on day 1.
The route descents along the Mweka Route, a descent-only route.
The Rongai route ascents Kilimanjaro from the north-eastern side of the mountain, along the border between Tanzania and Kenya. This route retains a sense of unspoilt wilderness and offers a different perspective on Kilimanjaro by approaching it from the north.
The Rongai route’s premier advantage is that it is one of the quietest routes on the mountain. A disadvantage is the long travel time to the starting point of the route. The route also becomes busier when it connects with the Marangu route just before reaching Kibo hut.
The Rongai route descends along the Marangu route as well, however you still sleep in tents, and do not use the A-frame huts of the Marangu route.
I have never climbed a mountain before – can I make it up Kilimanjaro?
While Kilimanjaro is a great way to climb for the first time – it is always best to be in reasonable physical shape. A moderate amount of exercise prior to the period leading up to the climb will make the 6-12 kilometer daily marches up the mountain easier. That said, the climb should not present any problems to anyone not leading a sedentary lifestyle. Most of those climbing Kilimanjaro are first-time climbers and the overall success rate is 95%.
What is the necessary level of physical fitness?
You do not need to run marathons for a successful climb. However, being able to jog 5-6 km would make life easier on the mountain.
Who should not climb Kilimanjaro under any circumstances?
Climbing is not recommended to those with chronic lung and cardiovascular diseases. Despite this, we do regularly have such climbers among our clients. However, it is important that your Tour Manager knows about any such conditions in advance in order to work out the climb programme that will bring you to the top of the mountain safely. You should also consult your physician before climbing.
Can children climb Kilimanjaro?
The Kilimanjaro National park regulations only allow children under the age of 10 up to the altitude of 3,500 meters. We have, however, had children of 9 and 8 ascend to the summit with special Park permits and following tailored climb programmes. Since children may need more time for acclimatization, we would recommend that you only consider 7-9 day programmes for climbs with them.
What equipment does your company provide free?
The cost of your climb includes the following:
Sleeping tents – The North Face VE-25 or similar
Mess tents– Eureka
Mattresses for added comfort
All cutlery and crockery
Chairs and tables
Emergency oxygen tanks and oximeters
Can I rent the missing equipment and what quality is available?
Yes, you can rent what you may be missing at our offices after arriving in Tanzania. We offer quality climbing gear and renew our stocks every 6-8 months.
How is climbing Kilimanjaro different from climbing other mountains?
Kilimanjaro is one of the least-demanding mountains under 6,000 meters for a first-time climber. In addition, unlike other mountains, Kilimanjaro can be climbed year-round.
How long is the climb?
Kilimanjaro climbs take 5-10 days. The shorter 5-day programmes can only be done on Marangu and Rongai Routes. If, on the other hand, you want to have a night overnighting in the Kilimanjaro crater at the altitude of 5,700 meters, then be prepared for a 10-day climb.
Where can I leave my luggage and valuables while I am in the mountains?
You can leave everything you do not need on the mountain at our offices. The luggage store is video monitored and all your valuables are inventoried before being stored in our safe.
What is the difference between the climbing Routes?
At the end of the day, there is no difference between the Routes as they all lead to the journey’s goal – Uhuru Peak. Still - the journey being at least as important as the destination – here are brief descriptions of the Routes to help with your choice.
Marangu – the only Route equipped with sleeping huts (4-20 people, depending on the camp). This is one of the shortest Routes and takes between 5 and 7 days of climbing. However, we would not recommend the shorter 5-day programme to anyone who does not have extensive prior climbing experience as the time frame does not provide adequate altitude acclimatization leading to a success rate of 40% as opposed to 85% for the 6-day programme. The route starts in the rain forest at 1,800 meters above sea level. Passing through different climate zones as the altitude increases, it goes on to join the Rongai Route at Kibo Camp. The final ascent to the summit is somewhat longer than on Lemosho and Machame Routes as it takes 30 to 60 minutes to traverse the distance between Gillman’s Point (which is considered to be the 3d peak of Kilimanjaro) and Stalla Point (the 2nd peak). The latter is where all the Routes join before the final push to the highest point of Africa – Uhuru Peak, at 5,895 meters. The descent takes you back to the starting point following the already-traversed path. Being a very popular Route, Marangu tends to be crowded. We, therefore, recommend taking this Route only off-season when the numbers of climbers drop due to rains and having huts, as opposed to tents to sleep in comes in handy. (Rainy seasons in Tanzania : April, May, November).
Lemosho – also called Shira Route – starts off on the western slopes of Kilimanjaro and climbs up to the Shira Plateau at 3,500 meters. It traverses Kilimanjaro’s Southern side to wind up on the East. This is one of the lest frequented Routes on Kilimanjaro despite offering great views and better acclimatization than other Routes as one spends more nights at higher altitudes. Lemosho joins Machame and Umbwe Routes at Barranco Camp and descends via the Mweka trail, thus taking only 6-8 hours between the start of the final ascent to Uhuru Peak and exiting Kilimanjaro National Park. Tents are the only accommodation available on this – as well as all other but Marangu – routes.
Machame – also called Wiskey – is the classic Kilimanjaro climb route. It starts off in the rain forests of the Southern slopes of Kilimanjaro and takes 2 days to leave the forest belt. As, arguably, the logistically easiest and, therefore, cheapest in terms of transfers due to its proximity to the town of Moshi, this route is very popular. Sleeping accommodation is tents-only, and these are provided by your tour operator. The Route joins Lemomsho and Umbwe Routes on the 3d after climbing the Lava Tower. The final Ascent to Uhuru Peak starts off at 4,600 meters, climbs to the crater rim at Stella Point and descends via Mweka trail.
Umbwe – parallels Machame Route and is – up to the point where it joins Lemosho and Machame Routes – the least used of all the Routes on the mountain. This Route has the undeserved reputation of being difficult, despite affording the climber the most optimal acclimatization regime of all the 6-day programmes. Umbwe was the route taken during a record-setting speed-climb of Kilimanjaro. This Route climbs up to Barranco and then traverses westward to Barafu Camp for the final ascent to Uhuru Peak. The descent is via Mweka Route.
Rongai – the Northern Route up Kilimanjaro used only by a very moderate number of climbers. This trail provides great views of both Kibo and Mawenzi volcanoes. Sleeping arrangements on this route are “tents only” including Kibo Camp, where those taking Marangu Route are provided with accommodation in huts. This route does not present any nuances or particular difficulties during the climb apart from the possibility of running into wild animals on the first day. The descent is via Marangu Route.
What happens when one or more members of a group wish or have to discontinue the climb?
In these cases the climber(s) in question will be escorted by at least one crew member on their descent to the park gate, where a vehicle will await them for the transfer to Livingstone Safari Tanzania offices and, subsequently, their hotel.
Can I continue the climb if all members of my group discontinue the climb?
All climbing crews are organized in a manner that guarantees every climber in the group a chance to ascend to Uhuru Peak. Whatever the numbers of climbers turning around and carrying on with the trek, there always are professional crew members who can guide those continuing with the climb to the summit.
Are mobile networks and Internet available during the climb?
Mobile networks, though rather unreliable, are generally available at camps. We recommend buying a local SIM card as this ensures communication by SMS at the least.
Does the price of a tour include flights to and from Tanzania?
Our standard rates (found on our website) do not include the cost of international flights. Our clients include travellers from all over the world, which makes establishing a universal rate including international air travel impossible. However, our Manager organizing your individual tour can always help with choosing and booking your air tickets.
Do advance payments for the tour need to be made and if so, then what is the latest date before the commencement of the tour when this can be done?
Yes, pre-payment is expected in order to facilitate hotel bookings and expedition logistics. Classic tours incur a 30% advance payment, while Luxury and Premium require 50%. Flights within Tanzania as well as accommodation and excursions in Zanzibar require advance payments in full. Generally, advance payments are made no later than 60 days before the commencement of the tour. However, if you intend to visit Tanzania in high season (around Christmas holidays and July through August) hotels are best booked well in advance, as the demand for quality tourist accommodation in Tanzania far outstrips the supply. Therefore, your Tour Manager may request that payments for tours falling on those periods be made 4-6 months in advance, especially if a photographic safari is part of the package. When booking larger corporate groups (upwards of 20 pax), payments should be made 6-8 months in advance. This ensures our being able to book your accommodation in quality hotels where the number of rooms available is limited, especially in the run-up to the tourist season.
Can I make full advance payments for the tour, and if so- then how?
Yes, full advance payments can be made to our Tanzanian bank accounts. Please, keep in mind that transfers generally take 3-5 days. All transfer commissions and charges are payable by the client.
What costs, apart from the actual price of the tour, could I expect to incur?
Your tour price does not include the following:
Alcohol at hotels, unless specifically stated under all-inclusive rates;
Tips for climb crews and safari driver/guides. Crew tips for a Kilimanjaro climb average USD 250 per client. USD 30-50 per vehicle per day are the accepted norm.
What is your cancellation policy and do advance payments get refunded?
Our cancellation policy is as follows:
Cancellations made no later than 30 days before the starting date- refund in full, minus cost of hotel booking cancellation and bank charges.
Cancellations made no later than 15 days before the starting date- 75% refund, less cost of hotel booking cancellation and bank charges.
Cancellation no later than 7 days before the starting date- 50% refund, minus cost of hotel cancellation and bank charges.
Cancellation within 7 days of the starting date- 25% refund, less cost of hotel booking cancellation and bank charges.