HIKING TRAILS ON MOUNT KILIMAJARO
Hiking Trails on Mount Kilimanjaro : Here are the 7 trails used to hike up Mount Kilimanjaro in Kilimanjaro national park Tanzania.
- The Machame Route
If your dream is to climb Mount Kilimanjaro using Machame route, then relax as you are in a right place. Machame route is one of the 7 routes used to hike up Mount Kilimanjaro. Machame route offers the best views of different attractions along the hike. Machame route is as well the cheapest route of all used by over 50% of all hiker. It is the shortest route taking few days to get to the summit though it is one of the toughest routes to hike known as the Whisky route. Machame route is one of the best routes used by travelers who are on a Tanzania safari to hike Mount Kilimanjaro. This Machame route requires about 6 days to ascend and descend Mount Kilimanjaro though if more days are added, the hike will be more rewarding. Hikers who intend to use Machame route starts their journey from Machame gate situated in the southern part of the mountain and then follow the trail through the montane rainforest and proceed ascending up to the summit. Machame route covers about 62 kilometers to make a complete circuit and hikers are spend their overnight in the tents. Machame Route is also known as the whiskey route due to its difficulty and steepness thus best for the adventurous travelers who are ready to endure the difficulty. However, Machame route is heavily congested thus sometimes becomes less attractive than it would have been thus Hiking Trails on Mount Kilimanjaro.
- Northern Circuit
The Northern route is yet another fascinating but longest route used by hikers to summit the top of mount Kilimanjaro. Northern circuit enables tourists to enjoy stunning attractions along the hike due to the fact that it take you on almost a 360 degrees enjoying the various attractions along the hike and beyond. It takes hiker about 9 hours to get to the Summit of Mount Kilimanjaro at Uhuru peak making it one of the most recommended route for Mount Kilimanjaro hike.
The northern circuit route starts from the western side of Mount Kilimanjaro where hiker have to drive from Moshi to get to the park entrance gate at Londorossi Gate that marks the start of the hike through the beautiful tropical montane forest at the base of the mountain as you proceed towards Shira ridge and proceed to cross over Shira plateau. Form Shira Plateau, hiker proceed ascending northwards and connects to Buffalo Camp then school hut and finally at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. The entire hike covers 96 kilometers and hiker descend through Mweka route. Tourist who wish to have something more adventurous can opt for a special 10 days northern circuit package that comes with an overnight at the Crater Camp.
- Rongai Route
Hikers on this Rongai Route start their hike from the Northern part of Mount Kilimanjaro near the border of Kenya. To some hikers, this Rongai route is the easiest starting from the North Eastern part of Mount Kilimanjaro and it is one of the least used hiking route on Mount Kilimanjaro taking 7 days to make a complete circuit. This Rongai Route can be used by any hiker including those without experience in backpacking. Hikers can as well choose to take up the challenge within 6 days though this will not include an acclimatization day that is usually on day four at Mawenzi Tarn. The route follows the trail from Rongai gate at 6,398 ft to Rongai Cave at 9,300 ft through the rain forest and this takes a duration of 4 hours to complete an 8km hike. Hiker will then proceed to the second cave at 11,300ft in heather vegetation cover then to Kikelewa Cave at 11,811 ft. after this, you will proceed your journey to Mawenzi Tarn at 14,160 ft through the Alpine desert then to Mawenzi Ridge at 14,400 ft in Alpine Desert. Here you will enjoy an acclimatization where you can enjoy a hike to Mawenzi Ridge and spend your overnight at Mawenzi Tarn. You will then proceed with the hike to Kibo Hut at 15,430 ft and then connect to the Uhuru peak 19,341 ft which is the summit of the Mount Kilimanjaro after which you will descend to Horombo Hut at 12,250 ft in heather vegetation and complete your circuit with a descent to Marangu Gate at 6,046 ft in the rain forest once again. Where hikers will then collect their hiking certificates and this marks the end of the Rongai route.
- Marangu Route
Marangu route is such oldest route used during Mount Kilimanjaro hike. Apart from being the oldest route, Marangu route is as well considered the favorable route due to the fact that it has well maintained sleeping huts that offer accommodation to hikers who choose to use this route. This route can be hiked in 5 days though adding one more day makes it more adventurous. The only challenge with using Marangu route is that it is overcrowded especially during the rainy season when hikers prefer to spend overnights in the huts than other routes which only use camping in tents as the only option for accommodation. Marangu route is also known as the “Coca-Cola route”. The hikers on this route use the same trail for ascending and descending making it less adventurous.
Marangu route on Mount Kilimanjaro starts from Marangu gate which is elevated at 6,046 ft to Mandara Hut at 8,858 ft with in the rain forest at the base of the mountain. Then proceed ascending to Horombo Hut at 12,205 ft within heather vegetation after which ascending takes on to Mawenzi Ridge at 14,400 ft after which you will return to Horombo Hut at 12,205 ft for a 1 day which is set aside for acclimatization. From here, hikers proceed with the hike from Horombo Hut to Kibo Hut at 15,430 ft in Alpine Desert at Kibo crater wall as we prepare for the next day’s hike to Uhuru peak at 19,341 ft. Hikers will then descend to Horombo Hut at 12,250 ft and finally from Horombo Hut to Marangu Gate at 6,046 ft where the hike began from thus Hiking Trails on Mount Kilimanjaro.
- Lemosho Route
Lemosho Route is a newer route used to hike up Mount Kilimanjaro starting from the western part of the mountain and it requires at least 6 days to make a round circuit. However, hikers can take up a most fascinating 8 days package that enables you to have a memorable experience. Lemosho route is one of the best route offering hikers with stunning views of lots of fauna and flora species. The approach of this route is from the western part of the mountain. The Lemosho routes connects to Machame route at some point ant it follows that trail till the summit at Uhuru peak. However, descending follows the Mweka route. A hike through Lemosho route starts from Londorossi gate at 7,742 ft then proceeds to Mti Mkubwa at 9,498 ft with in the tropical rainy forest after which hikers proceed to Shira 1 Camp at 11,500 ft within the heath vegetation. From Shira 1 camp, hikers head to Moir Hut at 13,800 ft at the base of Lent Hills then to Lava Tower at 15,190 ft then descend to Barranco Camp at 13,044 ft which is the best acclimatization for hikers on this Lemosho route. Hiker will then proceed with ascending to Karanga Camp at 13,106 ft and then join Mweka route as you ascend to Barafu Camp at 15,331 ft offering beautiful views of Kibo and Mawenzi as you prepare to summit the highest peak of Mount Kilimanjaro at Uhuru peak the next day at 19,341 ft. you will then descend back from Uhuru peak to Mweka Camp 10,065 ft and finally to Mweka Gate.
- Shira Route
The Shira route start from Londorossi Gate for a drive to shira gate situated near Shira Bridge where the hike starts from at 11,800 ft where hikers will spend an overnight at Simba camp. You will then proceed with your hike to Shira 2 Camp at 12,500 ft then to Lava Tower at 15,190 ft. Hikers then descend to connect to Barranco Camp at 13,044 ft from which hikers will then ascend to Karanga Camp at 13,106 ft to Barafu Camp at 15,331 ft and finally connect to Uhuru Peak at 19,341 ft. then descend to Mweka Camp at 10,065 ft and finally to Mweka Gate at 5,380 ft and your hike ends there.
- Umbwe Route
Umbwe Route is yet another stunning route used by tourists Hiking Trails on Mount Kilimanjaro. Umbwe Route requires 6 days to hike though adding another day is more adventurous. This route is used by strong hikers thus mostly discouraged for use.