Planning to take on a thrilling climb? If so, you can climb Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. It’s the highest mountain in Africa and is one of the seven highest summits in the world.
With that said, climbing its summit is a matter of pride.
But, how long does it take to climb Mount Kilimanjaro? For a non-athletic person with an average fitness level, it’ll take five to nine days to reach the Mount Kilimanjaro summit. It’s crucial to go slow, not fast, to ensure a safe and comfortable hiking experience.
There are shorter tours for Mount Kilimanjaro consisting of 5 days of adventure. However, this isn’t advisable for inexperienced hikers. But, no worries, as there are climbing programs for everyone!
So you've decided to climb mount Kilimanjaro
As you’ve decided to take on the challenge of climbing the highest mountain in Africa, you know it won’t be easy. There are several preparations you need to make and gears to equip.
You also have to take climbing programs to prepare your body for what’s to come. Although you don’t need to have professional climbing skills, it’s required that you must have done aerobic exercise or extensive hill-walking in the run-up to your Kilimanjaro Climb.
If your current fitness level is low, it may take several months of training before you reach the level where you can enjoy the climb.
How long does it take to climb Kilimanjaro?
The amount of time to climb Kilimanjaro depends on the route you take. There’s a shorter tour route with a hike time of 5 days, but as discussed above, it’s not an ideal route for beginners.
The Machame and Rongai routes are ideal for everyone with a 6 to 7-day climb duration via Lemosho (8 days). This is considered to be the best route for every climber for the following reasons:
- The longer the program you take, the more your body gets accustomed to the irregular Kilimanjaro altitudes.
- Taking the said route is also crucial for smooth and successful acclimatization
Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro is a remarkable feat and experience. However, it’ll take passion, determination, confidence, grit, and stamina to reach Uhuru Peak—the highest free-standing peak in Africa!
Thus, if you want to attempt to climb Kilimanjaro, you need to prepare professionally, have a good acclimatization transition, and lastly, have a positive attitude! Ideally, it’s best to take the longer program for safer trekking and better acclimatization transition.
So, with proper preparation, good acclimatization transition, and grit, you’ll surely reach your Kilimanjaro Trekking goals!
Mount Kilimanjaro climbing seasons
When you challenge yourself to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, one of the considerations you need to take is the weather.
Thus, it would be best to climb Kilimanjaro in the most favorable weather conditions—during January through March and June through October. These months give the best views, sunshine, and clear skies, making your hiking experience better and worthwhile.
Routes up mount Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro has a total of seven routes, but the Marangu route is the easiest, meaning it’s beginner-friendly.
Marangu route aka the ‘Coca-Cola route’
The Marangu route, also known as the ‘Coca-Cola’ route, is the classic route to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. This is the only route that provides dormitory-style huts, instead of camping.
Both the Kibo Huts and Mandara have 60 bunk beds, while the Horombo Hut has 120. This is the oldest, well-established route and most favoured by trekkers because it’s the easiest path.
However, if you’re a seasoned trekker or physically prefer more adventure, you may also try the following routes:
The Shira route is another path to Kilimanjaro, approaching from the west side. This route is almost similar to Lemosho but less improved.
Although this route is diverse and beautiful, the Lemosho route is recommended over this route. This is due to the comparably high altitude of Shira’s starting point, which can be accessed by car quickly.
The Lemosho route is one of the fresher tracks on Mount Kilimanjaro, which begins in the west. This route also crosses from the Shira Ridge to Shira Plateau, like the Machame route.
This route is deemed the most beautiful among the courses on Kilimanjaro and gives the best panoramic sights of the mountain. It’s the most balanced among all the trails, considering traffic, views, and success rate.
The Umbwe route is a short, steep, and direct course to Kilimanjaro. It is deemed to be strenuous and is the most challenging trail to Mount Kilimanjaro.
It also has a quick ascent and doesn’t give the essential stages for altitude acclimatization. Due to its route difficulty, the success rate and traffic on this route are low.
The Rongai route is close to the Kenyan border and the only course coming from the north. Though this has become a popular route, the traffic on this trail is low and is an excellent alternative route for those who love to hike remotely.
Northern circuit route
The Northern Circuit is one of the newest and most recommended routes to Kilimajaro. This is an exciting route that approaches Kilimanjaro from the west. This trail crosses the mountain around the infrequently visited northern slopes, unlike the most west-approaching paths that follow the southern traverse.
This route is the longest, taking nine days with the highest success rates compared to all courses on Mount Kilimanjaro. The days spent at 13,000 feet are excellent for acclimatization, contributing to the highest success rates on this trail.
What is acclimatization?
Acclimatization refers to the process wherein the body gets accustomed to the lower oxygen availability in the air. This can be achieved by spending some time at various altitude levels before going higher.
The ideal acclimatization for Kilimanjaro trekking is a minimum of 8 days on the mountain. This means you have to sleep five nights below 13,000 feet before going higher.
Who is the fastest climber up Kilimanjaro?
The recorded recent fastest climb was set by a Swiss-Ecuadorian, Karl Egloff, with just 6 hours, 56 minutes, and 24 seconds in August 2014. He used the Umbwe Route and descent via Mweka.
Ascent and descent time
It takes around five to nine days using the longer route to reach Mount Kilimanjaro Summit: the Uhuru Peak. Meanwhile, it would take two days to descend from the Uhuru Peak Summit to the finish point.
The descent could take up to five hours to reach the camp for an overnight stay and the subsequent day for four to six hours, depending on the route and experience.
Regardless of which route you decide to take, you will need to spend at least 6 to 8 days on the mountain. Mount Kilimanjaro has an intense acclimatization process, and many routes to choose from. If you need help choosing the best route, Easy Travel is here to help you craft the hike of your dreams.