Besides the biggest obstacle (extreme altitude and low oxygen levels) up the world’s tallest freestanding mountain, many believe that there are few challenges along the way on summit day. However, there are many other factors that contribute to climbing Kilimanjaro successfully. One thing to be sure of though is that it is not a breeze. For a successful climb, it is imperative that you physically prepare for the long journey and choose a route that’s right for you. Don’t choose a difficult route unnecessarily, nor a scenic route if you’re overestimating your level of fitness. This is Africa’s tallest mountain, so take care when choosing your climbing route up Mt. Kilimanjaro. Let’s talk about how long each option takes.
How Long Will It Take To Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro?
Take at least a week
Any fewer than seven days and you begin to compromise your success at climbing to Kilimanjaro’s summit. Each additional day increases your chances for success. Ideally, 7-9 days (10 if you have extra time) will enable you to ease into the elevation and position both your head and heart for one of the most stunning sunrises of your life. Few places on Earth compare to Mount Kilimanjaro so take it slow and steady, and your daydream might just step into reality. One more off the bucket list!
Beware of the 5-Day Trek
Kilimanjaro National Park won’t let you climb their beloved Kili in fewer than five days, so technically you have 5 to 10 days to complete the climb up Mount Kilimanjaro. Some of these five-day treks may be alluring because of their lower cost, but beware: they have far lower summit success rates. This is simply because there is less time to properly adjust to the elevation change.
To climb Kilimanjaro means taking a leap. It typically means flying halfway around the world to scale the Roof of Africa. And in order to make this large commitment, you need the trip to be successful it might be your only chance.
Also, sifting through reviews on how best to climb Mount Kilimanjaro can be as daunting as reaching the summit itself. You can find armies of information regarding the best routes and optimal numbers of days, but all you have to remember are these simple words: Slow and Steady.
Why? Because each year 35,000 to 50,000 people climb Mount Kilimanjaro and the single most common inhibitor to making that sunrise summit is this: altitude sickness. But if you go slow and steady and choose a trip with enough days to acclimatize, your success will skyrocket.
Choose your Own Adventure
There are seven official routes on Mount Kilimanjaro, and we’ve highlighted four of our favorites below for you to better understand the options for a successful Kilimanjaro trek:
Marangu Route (5-6 days)
“The Coca-Cola Route.” Traditionally, the Marangu Route was the most popular option, being economical and direct. It is a shorter route, too. There is permanent hut accommodation the whole way, though it does have the lowest success rate than the others. If you choose the Marangu route, it would be best to choose six days, and be an experienced climber.
Machame Route (6-8 days)
“The Whiskey Route.” This is quickly becoming Kilimanjaro’s most popular route. It’s scenic and gradual, with an average duration of 7 days. Machame gives you proper rate of ascent to higher elevations.
Rongai Route (6-7 days)
The Rongai route approaches the summit from the north and offers some remote and gentle climbing. You’ll come across fewer trekkers on this route, too.
Lemosho Route (7-10 days)
The Lemosho route is considered one of the most scenic routes. It has smaller crowds but is increasing in popularity. It’s more remote with a generous southern traverse.
If you’re wondering what you should pack (camping gear etc) check out our blog on our essential climbing gear for Mt. Kilimanjaro that will set you up for the entire expedition.
Getting You There?
Easy Travel has several options to plan your successful journey to the Roof of Africa.
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