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The Marangu route is known at the "Coca Cola route" because you literally can have a coke once you get to the huts! That's right, Marangu route means you'll be sleeping in huts (think of a small dormitory with bunk-beds), don't get this confused with a 5 star hotel. If you are traveling during the rainy months (March-May) then definitely consider this option because a wet tent is no fun! Other than that, it's a pretty straightforward climb and you'll be descending down the same path. There isn't a whole lot of time to acclimatize on such a short journey, so if you are not that experienced of a trekker with high altitude, then consider customizing the itinerary and adding a day onto the route.

Choose this route if you:
Enjoy coca cola
Have experience with high altitude
Don’t like camping

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 45 miles (72km)
Style: Huts
Duration: 5-6 Days

 
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The Umbwe route, with 33 miles of distance covered, is one of the shortest and steepest routes to the highest point in all of Africa. This means you better be pre-acclimatized if you are going to go for the challenge. We should point out that this doesn't means Umbwe is a technical route, it is still just one long walk, however that walk is super steep. If you decide to reach the summit via Western Breach, things just got steeper, because you will gain altitude like nobody's business. With this kind of opening description, you can understand that not very many climbers opt for this route. They say only about 200 climbers attempt this route a year compared to tens of thousands on the likes of the Machame and Marangu routes. The rewards this route offers apart from extreme joy of overcoming a big physical challenge, is major bragging rights once you get home!

Choose this route if you:
Want the ultimate challenge
Have experience with high altitude
Can consistently climb over steep slopes

Difficulty: Most Difficult
Distance: 33miles (53km)
Style: Camping
Duration: 6-7 Days

 
 

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The Rongai route has you start climbing from the northeastern side of the mountain (near the Kenyan Border). The really amazing thing about Rongai route is that it rises above the Amboseli plains and there are really no words to capture how amazing the Amboseli is, you'll just have to see it for yourself! No other route starts on the northern face of the mountain, so that's one factoid that'll set you apart from all the others. Looking for some alone time with nature? Then this is your route, no where near the foot traffic you see on Machame or Marangu, means you'll have peace and quiet. The only other thing to point out is that the route doesn't offer a "climb high, sleep low" typography (which is really helpful to acclimatize). Again if you've been training hard and are experienced, don't have any doubts about the Rongai route becauuse it will get you to Uhuru Peak!

Choose this route if you:
Prefer a secluded climb
Want to increase your chances of seeing wildlife
Want to see the view from the north

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 45 miles (73km)
Style: Camping
Duration: 6-7 Days

 
 

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The Northern Circuit, the name of this path does have a nice ring to it and if you like to travel off the beaten path then this is the way to go. It’s one of the least used routes and so if quiet is your thing then that is another reason to choose the Northern Circuit. As one of the longest routes up to Uhuru Peak, covering 56 miles, the Northern Circuit basically gives you the opportunity to traverse nearly the entire mountain. No other route offers this kind of tour of Kilimanjaro and therfore is an experience on its own. At a minimum you’ll need 8 days to take the Northern Circuit route, but as many will agree, the more time spent on the mountain the higher your chances of success. 

Choose this route if you:
Prefer to be alone with mountain
Want to take longest path up
Can deal with 8 or more day of camping

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 56 miles (90km)
Style: Camping
Duration: 8-9 Days


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Shira route starts high! Yes, you’ll be driven to Shira Gate and at the end of day 1 you will be sleeping above 10,000 feet. This means you should be well acclimatized or have experience with high altitude, as this is a steep change in altitude from your previous night in Moshi or Arusha. Similar to the Lemosho Route, the Shira Route has you kick off your climb from the west and offers some killer views as you cross the Shira Plateau. Once you cross the Shira Plateau the route actually joins up with the Machame Route. In short, Shira offers you peace and quiet with the mountain before you join other fellow trekkers for your final rally to Uhuru Peak.

Choose this route if you:
Can quickly adapt to high altitude
Want a mix between low and high foot traffic
Are excited to cross the Shira Plateau

Difficulty: Difficult
Distance: 35 miles (56km)
Style: Camping
Duration: 7-8 Days


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The Machame Route, known as the Whiskey route, is one of the most popular routes to take up Kilimanjaro. No they do not serve whiskey on this route! However the Machame route’s ascent profile is considered more challenging than Marangu, hence the comparision of whiskey to coca cola. It'll get super steep at some points, but it's worth the challenge! The scenery is amazing and 6 days gives you enough time to acclimatize without spending an eternity on the mountain. Going up the Machame Route means you'll see the incredible Shira Plateau, be able to  climb up Lava Tower & the Great Barranco Wall and lastly see Kilimanjaro's Southern Icefield. It is one of the most popular routes to take so even if you do a private climb expect lots of fellow trekkers during your trek!

Choose this route if you:
Want to climb high & sleep low
Want a balanced challenge
Dont mind foot traffic

Difficulty: Difficult
Distance: 39 miles (62 km)
Style: Camping
Duration: 6-7 Days

 
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The Lemosho Route has some killer views of West Kilimanjaro and given it starts with a minimum itinerary of 7 days and 6 nights on the mountain - the odds of you making it to Uhuru Peak just got better. If you are into wildlife then this is your route as well, because buffalo, elephants and other wildlife inhabit the Lemosho Glades. The route actually joins up with the Machame Route once you reach Shira Camp 2, so you technically get the best of both words! In summary Lemosho has some incredible scenery, it has low foot traffic and it holds an impressive record on getting trekkers to Uhuru Peak. If you've got one week to live life on the edge then Lemosho is probably one of your best choices to climb up Kilimanjaro.

Choose this route if you:
Want to see wildlife
Prefer a secluded time
Have at least 7 days to climb

Difficulty: Difficult
Distance: 44 miles (70km)
Style: Camping
Duration: 7-8 Days