Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the world’s highest freestanding structure, standing at an altitude of 5,896 meters (19,336 feet) above sea level. Hiking on the rooftop of Africa is the adventure of a lifetime, and anyone who is physically fit can scale this snowcapped mountain.

Mount Kilimanjaro is located inside Kilimanjaro National Park, just outside the town of Moshi in the accessible village of Marangu, where the park headquarters are located. Various routes lead to the summit, each offering different villages and scenic experiences. These routes include the Marangu route, Machame route, Rongai route, Lemosho route, Umbwe route, Shira route, and Mweka route (used for descent only). With all these options, Mount Kilimanjaro is not only the highest freestanding peak in the world but also the highest accessible point.

The vegetation on Mount Kilimanjaro varies with altitude, transitioning from the tropics to the Arctic. At 2,700 meters, the cultivated foot slopes give way to lush montane forest, home to leopards, buffaloes, elephants, antelopes, and other primates. As you ascend, you enter the moorland zone, where giant heather is interspersed with otherworldly giant lobelias. Above 3,900 meters, the environment changes to alpine desert, which supports minimal flora and fauna. Here, trekkers often encounter signposts warning of no water. The final vegetation zone is a winter wonderland of ice and snow, culminating in the magnificent beauty of the roof of Africa.


Unlike other snow-capped mountains in the world, Mount Kilimanjaro is not a technical climb and requires less equipment. Essential items for trekking include a walking stick, proper clothing, sunglasses, enough drinking water, and determination. Success on Kilimanjaro depends on proper preparation, asking questions during the trek, and attentiveness to the guide.

Mount Kilimanjaro can typically be ascended in five days using the Marangu route, though record-seekers can opt for shorter climbs, still paying for a minimum of five days. An extra day for acclimatization is recommended, making six-day treks like the Machame route popular.

The climbing team includes a cook, a mountain guide, and mountain porters. Generally, there are a minimum of two porters per person, carrying less than 15 kg of luggage, cooking facilities, and sleeping tents, depending on the chosen route. Typically, one guide is assigned for every four to five climbers, with one assistant guide and one cook. Additional team members may be included based on group size and luggage.

The Marangu route is considered the luxurious route, offering huts for accommodation, European toilets, and sufficient water taps. Other routes require mobile camping tents, with porters often trekking ahead to prepare accommodation, food, and water upon your arrival.


Mount Kilimanjaro is accessible only through Tanzania, with the official routes being Marangu, Machame, Rongai, Lemosho, Umbwe, and Shira. The Kilimanjaro National Park Authority (KINAPA) operates the mountain and has its main offices in Marangu village. Treks usually start between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. at the entrance gate, where registration and park fee payments are made. Climbers are advised to observe national park regulations, especially regarding environmental issues. Successful trekkers to Uhuru Peak (5895 m), Stella Point, or Gillman’s Point receive a climbing certificate from KINAPA.

Eligible climbers aged 12 to 70 can attempt Kilimanjaro, and the mountain has seen people from various countries making unique records, which you can read about at the Marangu and Machame gates. With the increasing number of climbers, Mweka route is reserved for descent only, except for those using the Marangu route.

The Marangu route, affectionately known as the “Coca-Cola route,” is the most popular due to its affordability and the possibility of reaching the summit in 5 days, one day earlier than the Machame route.


Climb Mount Kilimanjaro via the Machame route, often called the Whisky Route. This popular path leads through magnificent forests, gaining a ridge through moorland zones to the Shira Plateau, then traversing beneath the Southern Ice fields to join the Barafu Route to the summit.

The Umbwe route is one of the shortest routes to the Southern Glaciers and the Western Breach. It is a scenic, non-technical route best suited for experienced trekkers due to its steep and taxing ascent.

The Lemosho Route is the longest and most remote, starting with beautiful forests and moorlands, crossing the Shira Plateau to join the Machame Route. Trekkers may be accompanied by an armed ranger on the first day due to the rich wildlife in the Lemosho Glades.

The Shira Route approaches the summit from the west, crossing the caldera of Shira Volcano and passing beneath the southern ice fields of Kibo. This less crowded route offers a more serene trek during the initial days.

The Rongai Route, remote and less frequently used, is the second easiest route to Kilimanjaro. It approaches from the less-forested north side and descends via the Marangu Route.


Mountain Meru Information

Located just 20 kilometers east of Arusha town, Mount Meru is Tanzania’s second highest mountain, standing at 4,566 meters above sea level within Arusha National Park. While it has only one route to the top, it can be climbed in three days, though a four-day climb is highly recommended for proper acclimatization. Many climbers use Mount Meru as a preparation climb before attempting Mount Kilimanjaro.

Unique to Mount Meru, climbers must be escorted by armed rangers as the trail passes through Arusha National Park, offering a walking safari experience. During the climb, you can encounter wildlife such as African buffaloes, zebras, and black-and-white colobus monkeys.

For the best chance of success, it is advised to plan for a four-day, three-night climb.