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Mount Kilimanjaro

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Mount Kilimanjaro

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... located in Northeast Tanzania, is the highest walkable mountain in the world, the largest free-standing mountain in the world, the highest mountain in Africa and has the only snowfields on the equator.

A trek to the summit of Kilimanjaro is a magnificent and spectacular undertaking, one which ranks amongst the greatest outdoor challenges on the planet.

We are the leading provider of high quality treks on Kilimanjaro, with over 17,000 past customers, a genuine summit success rate of 91% on our recommended routes and an exemplary safety record. We very much hope that you will choose us to help you trek the mountain.

A trek on Kilimanjaro typically spends 5 to 8 nights on the mountain, to which you need to add at least one night in a hotel either side, so 7 to 11 nights in total.

A trek typically costs between USD 1700 and USD 3400 per person, depending on the route you choose, the specification level and whether you want to join a group or go private. That includes all park fees, hotels and transfers.

So long as you are sufficiently fit, well prepared and well guided, then Mount Kilimanjaro should reward you with an experience of genuinely life-punctuating magnitude. It is the closest many of us will ever come to experiencing a true expedition, the deep and powerful camaraderie of a team working together in adverse circumstances to reach an extraordinary goal. People who know the mountain understand the level of achievement that it represents. People who have successfully climbed Kilimanjaro tend to remain proud of the fact for the rest of their lives.

We sometimes think that the biggest single challenge in getting to the summit of Kilimanjaro is getting the planning right. Remarkably, selecting the right operator, route and time of year actually has a much greater impact on your chances of success than how you perform on the mountain. So long as you are reasonably fit and sufficiently focussed, it should be possible for you to give yourself as high as a 90% chance of getting to the crater rim of Kilimanjaro just by getting the plan properly formulated. The following sections, together with the information on the pages for each specific trek, should provide you with everything you need to know to get you to the top of the mountain ...


Detailed information ...

1. How to trek
2. Who can trek
3. The risks of trekking
4. The pleasure and the pain
5. The chances of summit success
6. Fitness levels
7. Altitude sickness
8. Arriving early
9. Trek duration
10. When to trek
11. Trek costs
12. Why you should trek with us
13. Different trek specifications
14. Mountain factfile


Route selection ...

If you are thinking about trekking Kilimanjaro, one of the most important things you need to do is select the right route, since this will greatly affect your chances of summit success. Routes vary from 4 to 10 nights duration. Generally speaking the five night route are the best for people who are less than totally confident about their fitness, the longer routes are for very confident trekkers. Prices are more or less constant per day, so the overall cost of a trek rises in line with the duration.

The guide prices listed below include a night in an hotel either side and all transfers in and out. On top of that you need to think about tips at USD 150 per person, ALTOX Personal Oxygen Systems at around USD 285 per person and any rental equipment you may need, such as walking poles, sleeping bags, jackets etc.

You also need to consider your long-haul flights to Africa, which are likely to cost around USD 1800/2200 per person from North America, or USD 800/1200 per person from Europe and Asia. The nearest airport is Kilimanjaro International.


Kilimanjaro Rongai Route ...

This route approaches from the north-east and offers the best five night trek on the mountain. It is best suited to people who are slightly less confident about their fitness and ability to cope with sleeping out on the mountain. It is slightly less scenically varied, but still a very interesting trek, with excellent altitude acclimatisation considering its shorter duration.

Rongai 5g is a high specification non technical five night group trek on this route, one of our most popular options, with a summit success rate of 88% and a guide price of USD 2100. Treks depart for the mountain throughout the main trekking seasons 15DEC/10MAR and 05JUN/10NOV, for groups of up to fifteen trekkers. It usually runs once per week, departing for the mountain on Sunday, but during high demand periods an extra departure is often added on Monday.

Rongai 5p is a high specification non technical five night private trek on the same route, which tends to work out slightly more expensive for 1-4 trekkers, slightly lower cost for 5+ trekkers. The summit success rate is also 88%. Treks can start any day of the year, subject to availability, but is best on a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Rongai 6p is a high specification non technical six night private trek on the same route, but with an extra night added in for enhanced acclimatisation. However the summit success rate actually falls slightly to 87%, we generally recommend the following routes for longer treks.


Kilimanjaro Shira Route ...

This route approaches from the west and offers the best seven night treks on the mountain. It is best suited to people who are very confident about their fitness and ability to cope with sleeping out on the mountain. It is very scenically varied and unusually good for altitude acclimatisation. But you do need to have the time and money available.

Shira 7Bg ... is a high specification non-technical seven night group trek on this route, one of our most popular options, with an outstanding summit success rate of 94% and a guide price of USD 2700. It uses a very unusual variant on the routing, first pioneered by us in 2009, which manages to avoid major traffic for almost the whole of the first five days. Treks depart for the mountain throughout the main trekking seasons 15DEC/10MAR and 05JUN/10NOV, with groups of up to fifteen trekkers. It usually runs once per week, departing for the mountain on Saturday.

Shira 7Bp ... is a high specification non-technical seven night private trek on the same route, which tends to work out slightly more expensive for 1-4 trekkers, slightly lower cost for 5+ trekkers. Treks can start any day of the year, subject to availability, but is best on a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.



Kilimanjaro Lemosho Route ...

This route approaches from the south-west and is often considered to be the classic route on Kilimanjaro, with an excellent range of scenery and a wide range of different trek variants, of which the three most highly recommended are ...

Lemosho 7Ag ... is a high specification non-technical seven night group trek which has good altitude acclimatisation, an excellent summit success rate of 92% and a guide price of USD 2700. Treks start on the mountain on most Wednesdays throughout the main trekking seasons.

Lemosho 7Ap is a high specification non-technical seven night private trek on the same route as above, which tends to work out slightly more expensive for 1-4 trekkers, slightly lower cost for 5+ trekkers. Surprisingly the summit success rate is marginally lower at 91%. Treks can start any day of the year, subject to availability.

Lemosho 8Bp ... is a high specification non-technical eight night private trek which is arguably the best option on the mountain, having excellent altitude acclimatisation, an extraordinary summit success rate of 95% and excellent traffic avoidance, especially for departures early in the week. The guide price is USD 3200, all this varied greatly depending on the number of trekkers.


Kilimanjaro North Route ...

This unusual set of routes offer long and spiralling circumnavigations around and up to the summit and tend to appeal mainly to trekkers who are returning to the mountain for a second or third time and are specifically seeking out a new challenge.

North 8Bp is a high specification non-technical eight night private trek on this trail, with an outstanding summit success rate of 93% and a guide price of USD 3000-3400, depending on the group size. Treks can start any day of the year, subject to availability, but best for traffic avoidance on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.


Lesser routes ...

Kilimanjaro Marangu Route approaches from the south-east and is the shortest and supposedly "easiest" option on the mountain, the only route where the accommodation is in huts instead of tents. But is it a really low quality option, up and down the same trail, with very poor altitude acclimatisation, very busy with trekkers and low quality climb operators. Whilst we are able to offer private treks on this route, it must be at least ten years since we last did so.


Kilimanjaro Machame Route approaches from the south-west and offers good scenic variation and reasonable altitude acclimatisation for a shorter five or six night trek. Up until around 2004 we used to operate a good number of treks on this route, but it has since become deluged by trekkers and lower quality operators, who have moved over from the Marangu Route. Whilst we are able to offer private treks on this route, we tend to only do this for military and other specialist groups during the off season.

Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route also approaches from the south-west, but is too short to offer suitable altitude acclimatisation and we have therefore never outfitted a trek here.


Technical climbs ...

In addition to the above treks, there are also several technical routes for experienced mountaineers.

These technical and potentially dangerous options typically access the summit via the Western Breach, possibly including a night in Kibo Crater itself and the daytime ascent to the summit.

Because these routes involve technical climbing, they are not covered under normal travel insurance. The prices are typically 3 to 4 times the price of a non-technical trek. Please contact us for details.


How we like to include treks in trips ...

The majority of people trekking Mount Kilimanjaro tend to use it as the backbone of a longer trip to Africa. The mountain just happens to be situated close to perhaps the greatest safari area in Africa, lying just 100km east of the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater. It is also within an hour hop by light aircraft of the tropical beaches and superb diving off the islands of Zanzibar.

Read more about safari and beach combinations ...

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