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    How to avoid the crowds on Kilimanjaro

    11 minutes read
    how to avoid crowds on mount kilimanjaro

    Mount Kilimanjaro is among the most popular adventure travel destinations in the world. Approximately 35,000 people try to summit the highest free-standing mountain every year.

    With these numbers, there’s a high chance you’ll encounter crowded pathways, which can decrease your time to enjoy the beautiful, rare scenes of the mountain. So, to have a satisfying Kilimanjaro experience, avoiding the crowd is an excellent choice.

    How to avoid the crowds on mount Kilimanjaro

    Thousands flock to the mountain yearly to see its majestic snow-capped peak. However, with such a high volume of visitors, it can often be quite crowded. We have compiled a blog with tips on how to avoid crowds when embarking on your journey to Mount Kilimanjaro.

    Tip #1: Book a private climb to Mount Kilimanjaro

    Mount kilimanjaro

    One way to guarantee that your trekking experience on Kilimanjaro will be open is to book a private climb. It’s the simplest way to avoid the crowd.

    Based on your preferences and with the help of our Kilimanjaro professionals, Easy Travel can help you craft your dream Kilimanjaro tour. Our climbers have two to three porters and a team of cooks and guides.

    Thus, as the number of people joins the tour, the total number of people on the trail is easily multiplied. Booking a private climb allows you to choose how many people you want to be included or if you desire to go solo.

    You’ll also control when you’d like to set out for the day and how fast to hike. Furthermore, you’ll also have the flexibility to take breaks when you want to, with the approval of the lead guide.

    Note: Starting your daily hikes before the usual hike time of a group tour schedule time, which is 8 AM, will let you be on the trail before 90% of the climbers who are sticking to their schedule

    Tip #2: Book your Mount Kilimanjaro climb during the short rainy season

    Tanzania - short rain season - how to avoid the crowds on kilimanjaro

    The dry seasons on Kilimanjaro are from July to October and December to February. However, if you’re a person who’s up for an adventure and is willing to gamble, schedule your trek during the short rainy season.

    The short rainy season is the transitional period between the dry and wet seasons. You’ll still have the chance to enjoy good to fair weather while hiking the highest free-standing mountain in the world.

    The shoulder seasons in Kilimanjaro happen between March and June, and the short rainy season transpires every November. For those who don’t know, the shoulder seasons are the travel periods between peak and off-season.

    Most operators in Tanzania don’t operate group climbs during those times, except for Easy Travel and others. In addition, during the short rainy season, mornings are typically clear, and rains usually occur every afternoon and evening.

    Those who hike fast can reach the camp even before the afternoon rains start. So, if you are okay with these conditions, this is an excellent time to visit to avoid the crowd and have the mountain almost by yourself.

    Note: The Rongai Route is a good route option during the rainy season since it receives less rainfall than other trails.

    Tip #3: Pick the least travelled route on Mount Kilimanjaro

    Tanzania - least travelled route - how to avoid the crowds on kilimanjaro

    There are over 35,000 people who climb Kilimanjaro each year. Although this number won’t be a problem due to the vastness of the mountain, most of these numbers are only centred on two routes—the Machame and Marangu Route.

    Thus, picking the least travelled route can help you avoid the massive crowd while climbing until all the routes meet at higher elevations. Along with the Machame and Marangu routes, the following are your best alternative, well-established routes for a Kili climb:



    – Umbwe

    – Shira

    – Northern Circuit

    Picking any of these routes will dramatically reduce the crowds on the trails and at campsites. However, for a much better experience, choose a path appropriate to your knowledge and ability to acclimate to high altitudes.

    Note: The Lemosho, Northern Circuit, and Rongai are well-established routes with fewer people.

    Tip #4: Choose alternative campsites on Mount Kilimanjaro

    Tanzania - campsite kilimanjaro - how to avoid the crowds on kilimanjaro

    When you choose an alternative route, it’s also best to choose an alternative campsite since some campsites are densely populated. For example, you can opt for the following:

    – The Moir Hut instead of Shira 2

    – Kosovo Camp rather than the Barafu Hut

    Note: Choosing sites like the Kosovo and Crater Camp requires a special permit, adding additional fees for these arrangements. In addition, it must also be arranged in advance to get the license before staying at the said camps.

    Tip #5: Refrain from summiting during full moon

    Tents on mountains

    Summiting during the full moon appeals to many trekkers. This is because it gives trekkers substantial light to see the mountain while hiking during the middle of the night at the final ascent.

    Furthermore, the view is stunning and magical, as the bright moonlight reflects the glaciers, making them sparkle. This is why most full moon tours on Kilimanjaro are fully booked.

    This is why you should book your summit far from the full moon to avoid the crowds.

    You’ll encounter a much lesser crowd by starting your climb in the middle of the week instead of the usual group departures on weekends or Mondays.

    How many people climb per year on Mount Kilimanjaro?

    Tanzania - people climbing kilimanjaro - how to avoid the crowds on kilimanjaro

    Every year, more than 35,000 adventurers embark on the journey of climbing Kilimanjaro, drawn by its majestic allure and challenging terrain. As one of the most iconic peaks in the world, Kilimanjaro attracts climbers from all walks of life, each seeking to conquer its summit.

    Whether you tackle the crowds during peak seasons or opt for quieter routes like the Lemosho or Machame routes, planning your climb during the dry or wet seasons can significantly impact your experience. Some climbers even aim for an entire moon summit, adding an extra layer of magic to their ascent of Africa’s tallest mountain

    How busy does mount Kilimanjaro get?

    Tanzania - busy in kilimanjaro - how to avoid the crowds on kilimanjaro

    Mount Kilimanjaro gets particularly busy during the full moons, every January to early March and June to October. These months offer clear skies, fantastic views, and sunshine—which are great hiking conditions.

    Nonetheless, it’s best to note that the weather may change drastically, irrespective of the season. Thus, it’s best to come prepared with the right gears.

    When is the busiest time of year on Kilimanjaro?

    Tanzania - busy time in kilimanjaro - how to avoid the crowds on kilimanjaro

    The busiest time of the year in Kilimanjaro is during June, July, August, September and October. This is because these months have great weather conditions and offer the best views of the mountai

    Conclusion: Which season is best to climb mount Kilimanjaro?

    The best period to climb Mount Kilimanjaro is throughout the driest and warmest months—December to mid-March and mid-June to October. However, these months are also the busiest times of the year.

    These months could be better if you want to experience fewer crowds during your Kili climb. But there are other options to avoid the crowds on the mountain, even during these months.

    Refer to the tips above to find the ideal option, or contact Easy Travel for more options. Our team of Kilimanjaro Specialists will assist you with planning your adventure from start to finish!

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. How can I avoid crowds while climbing Kilimanjaro?

    While climbing Kilimanjaro, avoiding crowds can enhance your experience and provide a more intimate connection with the mountain. Opting for less popular routes, such as the Lemosho or Machame routes, can significantly reduce the number of climbers encountered. These longer routes offer a more gradual ascent, allowing for better acclimatization and a more enjoyable climb.

    Additionally, less-travelled routes like the Northern Circuit Route can provide a crowd-free Kilimanjaro experience, as it is one of the least frequent paths to the summit. Planning your climb during the off-peak seasons, such as the rainy seasons, can also help avoid overcrowding, as fewer climbers tend to venture out during inclement weather.

    2. What are the advantages of choosing longer routes to avoid crowds on Kilimanjaro?

    Opting for longer routes like the Lemosho or Machame offers several advantages when seeking to avoid crowds while climbing Kilimanjaro. Due to their longer duration and more challenging terrain, these routes typically attract fewer climbers.

    As such, trekkers on longer routes often experience a quieter and more serene journey, with fewer encounters with other climbing parties. Additionally, the gradual ascent of longer routes allows for better acclimatization, reducing the risk of altitude-related issues and enhancing overall safety and enjoyment.

    3. Is the Northern Circuit Route a good option for avoiding crowds on Kilimanjaro?

    Yes, the Northern Circuit Route is an excellent choice for those seeking a crowd-free Kilimanjaro experience. This route is one of the least travelled paths to the summit, offering trekkers a more secluded and intimate journey.

    The Northern Circuit Route takes a longer and more scenic path around the northern slopes of Kilimanjaro, allowing climbers to explore less-travelled areas of the mountain. With fewer climbers heading in the same direction, those on the Northern Circuit Route can enjoy a more peaceful trekking experience away from the crowds typically found on more popular routes.

    4. How does the group climb schedule impact the crowds on Kilimanjaro?

    The group climb schedule can significantly affect the crowds encountered while climbing Kilimanjaro. Most group departures follow similar itineraries, often converging on popular routes and campsites at similar times. As a result, climbers on group climbs may find themselves sharing the trail and accommodations with a more significant number of trekkers.

    Consider arranging a private trip or joining a minor trekking party with a more flexible schedule to avoid crowds. Private climbs offer the flexibility to choose less-travelled routes and adjust the itinerary to avoid peak times, providing a more personalized and crowd-free Kilimanjaro experience.

    5. What are the benefits of summiting Kilimanjaro during a full moon climb?

    Summiting Kilimanjaro during an entire moon climb can offer a unique and unforgettable experience while also helping to avoid crowds. However, full-moon climbs typically attract fewer climbers due to their specialized scheduling and the added challenge of trekking at night.

    As such, those embarking on total moon summit climbs may encounter fewer fellow climbers on the trail and at the summit. The illuminated landscape under the moonlight provides a magical ambience and enhances the adventure of climbing Africa’s tallest peak.

    6. How can I ensure a crowd-free Kilimanjaro experience on a private climb?

    Opting for a private climb is one of the most effective ways to ensure a crowd-free Kilimanjaro experience. With a private trip, climbers have the flexibility to customize their itinerary, choosing less popular routes and avoiding peak times.

    Private climbs also allow for a more personalized and tailored experience, with dedicated attention from experienced guides and support staff. By booking a private climb, trekkers can enjoy the tranquillity and solitude of Kilimanjaro’s breathtaking landscapes without the distractions of larger climbing groups.

    7. Are there specific routes known for offering a crowd-free Kilimanjaro experience?

    Several routes on Kilimanjaro are known for providing a more secluded trekking experience. The Northern Circuit Route, for example, is one of the least travelled paths to the summit and offers stunning views of the mountain’s northern slopes.

    Similarly, the Lemosho Route and the Rongai Route are popular choices for those seeking to avoid crowds, as they offer longer and more scenic alternatives to the busier routes. These fantastic routes provide ample opportunities to enjoy the scenic beauty of Kilimanjaro while avoiding overcrowding.

    8. How do the rainy seasons impact the crowds on Kilimanjaro?

    The rainy seasons, which typically occur from March to May and November to December, tend to see fewer climbers on Kilimanjaro. The wet weather and challenging trail conditions deter many trekkers from attempting the climb during these times, resulting in fewer crowds on the mountain. Climbers should embark on their journey during these short rainy seasons to avoid encountering large groups and enjoy the stunning vistas with enough light.

    9. What are the advantages of joining a minor trekking party to avoid crowds on Kilimanjaro?

    Joining a minor trekking party can offer several advantages when avoiding crowds on Kilimanjaro. Smaller groups are more flexible and can adjust their itinerary to avoid peak times and congested trails.

    With fewer climbers in the group, trekkers can enjoy a more personalized and intimate experience, with more significant opportunities for interaction with guides and support staff. Climbers should choose a tour company that offers designated camps and fantastic routes, especially during summit night, for a crowd-free Kilimanjaro experience.

    10. Do certain sections of Kilimanjaro see more crowds than others?

    Yes, certain sections of Kilimanjaro tend to attract more crowds than others, particularly as climbers approach the summit. The final ascent to the summit, known as summit night, often sees a higher concentration of climbers due to the limited time available for reaching Uhuru Peak.

    Popular routes such as the Machame and the Marangu Route may experience more congestion at specific points along the trail, especially during the peak climbing seasons. Climbers should opt for less popular routes like the Umbwe Route to avoid crowds and enjoy good or fair weather conditions.

    11. How do longer routes contribute to a crowd-free Kilimanjaro experience?

    Longer routes on Kilimanjaro, such as the Lemosho Route and the Northern Circuit Route, offer a more gradual ascent and allow for better acclimatization. As a result, these routes tend to attract fewer climbers, providing a quieter and more peaceful trekking experience.

    Furthermore, the longer duration of these routes means that climbers spend more time on the mountain, spreading out the crowds and reducing congestion along the trail. Climbers should consider longer routes, especially during popular climbing seasons, to run group climbs and avoid encountering large crowds.

    12. Are there any strategies for avoiding crowds during summit night on Kilimanjaro?

    One strategy for avoiding crowds during summit night is to depart from camp earlier or later than most climbers. By adjusting your departure time, you can avoid congestion on the trail and enjoy a quieter ascent to the summit.

    Additionally, choosing less popular routes or opting for total moon summit climbs can help minimize the number of climbers encountered during the final push to Uhuru Peak. Climbers should also ensure they have enough light to navigate safely during the ascent.

    13. How can climbers ensure a crowd-free experience on Kilimanjaro during private climbs?

    Private climbs offer the ultimate flexibility for avoiding crowds on Kilimanjaro. By booking a private trip with a reputable tour company, climbers can customize their itinerary, including departure dates, routes, and group size.

    This allows trekkers to avoid crowded group climb schedules and enjoy a more secluded experience on the mountain. Private climbs allow climbers to choose designated camps away from the main routes, enhancing the crowd-free Kilimanjaro experience.

    14. Are there specific times of the year when Kilimanjaro experiences fewer crowds?

    Yes, certain times of the year are less popular for climbing Kilimanjaro, resulting in fewer crowds on the mountain. The short rainy seasons, occurring from March to May and November to December, see fewer climbers due to the wet weather and challenging trail conditions.

    Travellers with flexible schedules can capitalize on these time frames to relish a calmer and more tranquil hiking adventure. Moreover, climbing during the off-peak season ensures favourable or moderate weather conditions and fewer group expeditions, enhancing the opportunity for a Kilimanjaro ascent devoid of crowds.

    15. What precautions should climbers take to ensure a safe and enjoyable crowd-free experience on Kilimanjaro?

    Climbers embarking on a crowd-free Kilimanjaro experience should ensure they are sufficiently prepared for the trials of the climb. This includes choosing a route that aligns with their fitness level and experience and having the necessary equipment and gear for the trek.

    Climbers should stay informed about weather conditions and trail updates to avoid unexpected challenges, especially during summit night. By taking these precautions and planning, climbers can enjoy a safe and memorable journey to the summit of Kilimanjaro, away from the crowds.

    Musaddiq Gulamhussein - Owner - Easy Travel Tanzania

    About the author: Musaddiq

    Meet Musaddiq Gulamhussein, owner of Easy Travel Tanzania, a tour company creating life-changing safari experiences for over 35 years. Musaddiq has explored Tanzania, developing a deep understanding of the local cultures and traditions. Follow his journey and gain insights into the African Safari experience through Easy Travel's social media and blog.

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