Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa. This mountain can be climbed without any special equipment or mountaineering experience. However, don't underestimate this mountain it's still a tough hike to the top
Can you go on a hike without joining a tour?
All Mount Kilimanjaro hikes must be booked through a Tanzanian tour operator. The tour operator is responsible for providing guides, hiking gear, meals, and obtaining any needed permits. All Tanzanian tour operators are registered by the ministry of tourism and available on the ministry's website. This website is where you'll find the best deals since most operators advertise here.
Hiking cost and Routes
The price of hiking packages depends mainly on what is included in your hiking package and the route you take.
There are 5 main routes to take to the top: Marangu, Machame, Rongai, Lemosho, and Northern Circuit.
On this route, it takes 5 to reach the peak. Marangu route starts from Marangu gate in Marangu town. This route is popular among budget travelers. It's the shortest route and the cheapest. It's also the route with the best facilities. Hikers on this route have the option to sleep in huts with proper bathing facilities on all 4 nights they'll spend along this route. On the other routes, you have to sleep in tents. The downside to this route is that it's the most congested especially during peak season.
This is the second most popular route and it's more gentle compared to the Marangu route and allows for more acclimatization. It's also more scenic compared to Marangu. It takes 7 days to reach the summit on this route. Keep in mind that there are no accommodation facilities along this route, you sleep in tents on all six nights.
This is the only route that begins on the northern side of the mountain close to the Kenyan border. This side of the mountain is dry with little vegetation and receives much less rainfall. It also takes an average of 7 days to reach Uhuru Peak on this route. Rongai route tends to be uncrowded, this route only gets crowded on the day before summiting when it converges with the Marangu route or during the rainy season since it's the most preferred route during this time.
This route starts on the western side of the mountain and takes at least 8 days to get to the summit. This is also the route that's richest in wildlife, some tour operators offer 10 days packages that include 2 days of game drives and wildlife viewing before beginning the 8-day ascent. It's one of the best routes for mountaineering beginners but costs more than the previous 2 routes.
Northern circuit route
This is the longest route taking at least 10 days to reach Uhuru peak. It's the most expensive route but since the ascent on this route is gradual it has the most success rate.
Best time to hike Mount Kilimanjaro.
The weather on the mountain varies a lot and can get very harsh especially in the rainy seasons between April-June and October-December. The best time to visit is during the dry season, especially from Jan- March.
Budget travelers can also opt to visit during the rainy season since it's when rates are lowest but use the Rongai route.
How to Get to Mount Kilimanjaro
The easiest way to access the mountain is to fly into Kilimanjaro airport. Most tour guides offer airport transfers from Kilimanjaro airport to where your climbing route begins.
Currently, all Tanzanian airlines offer flights from all airports in Tanzania to Kilimanjaro airport. Other international airlines offer direct and connecting flights from Most East African cities and Europe to Kilimanjaro airport. International airlines with flights to Kilimanjaro airport include Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Qatar Airways, Delta Airlines, Air Viva, and Turkish Airlines.
What to do in Mount Kilimanjaro
Apart from climbing the mountain here are other things to do while visiting Mount Kilimanjaro.
Cultural tour of the Chagga tribe that live on the slopes of the mountain.
Visit Materuni and Kinukamori waterfalls. It's at these waterfalls that you'll see most wild animals and birds.