Sunrise over Kilimanjaro | Kristoffer Darj, Unsplash
Photo by Kristoffer Darj Unsplash

Published on July 30 2021
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Kilimanjaro's most popular routes

Kilimanjaro is among the most popular tourist destinations in Tanzania. Depending on the resource, anywhere between 35,000 and 50,000 people attempt to summit Africa’s tallest mountain each year. Your African Safari has noticed an increase in reviews for Kilimanjaro tour operators since the start of 2021. In fact, Kilimanjaro is now the second-most reviewed destination on Your African Safari, following the Masai Mara, Kenya. Your African Safari surveyed around 950 tour operators, all of whom indicated they offer tours to Kilimanjaro, and asked them questions regarding which routes receive the most bookings and during which months. Roughly 25% offered their feedback and participated.

Machame: the most popular route on Kilimanjaro

Machame is most popular route Kilimanjaro

Tour operators indicated that Machame is the route they book most often, with 46% indicating that this is their clients’ top choice. Marangu Route came second, with 25% of the votes, followed by Lemosho, with 22%. Shira and Umbwe did not receive any votes.

Lemosho is the preferred route of tour operators

Machame may be the most-booked route but, when asked which route they personally preferred, tour operators opted for Lemosho Route.

Tour operators prefer Lemosho

Lemosho came in first, with 35% of all votes. Machame was a close second at 32%, followed by Marangu with 22%. Once again, Shira and Umbwe did not get any votes. Below is a summarization of the highlights that tour operators provided for the routes. Should you be on the fence as to which route is the one for you, these may help in your decision.

Lemosho Route

  • Excellent views
  • Highest rate of successful summit
  • Gradual incline facilitates acclimatization
  • Less crowded when compared to Machame
  • Rich in flora

Machame Route—Whisky Route

  • Scenic
  • Affordable
  • Can be done in fewer days
  • Busiest route

Marangu Route—Coca Cola Route

  • Only route with built in bandas (huts)
  • Cheapest option
  • Quicker route
  • Easy to climb
  • Same route in and back

Northern Circuit

  • Low traffic
  • Fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities
  • Stellar views
  • Can require more days

Rongai Route

  • Best for experienced climbers
  • Remote
  • Excellent views of Kibo and Mawenzi peaks
  • Starts from northern side of Kilimanjaro
Routes of Kilimanjaro eTrip Africa

When is the best month for Kilimanjaro?

Tour operators were asked to pick their top month for trekking Kilimanjaro. August is the best time of year to climb Kilimanjaro August was chosen as the best month to climb Kilimanjaro by nearly one-third of tour operators. The dry conditions lend to increased chances of a successful summit and enjoyable climb. The arid, clearer air provides for better visibility and nicer vistas.

August is the best month to climb Kilimanjaro

July was the second choice, again for weather reasons. February and September tied for third, with each garnering 13% of the votes. February is warmer than August and, aside from full-moon climbs, is not as busy as August, either. Tour operators who voted for September indicated that they feel it has the clearest skies. The months of April and May, which coincide with the rainy season, received no votes. Those wishing to avoid the crowds and experience what some tour operators call ‘amazing snowfall’ may wish to consider trekking Kilimanjaro in March.

Most people take seven days to climb Kilimanjaro

38% of tour operators said that seven days is what most of their guests book for Kilimanjaro treks.

Most people take seven days for Kilimanjaro

Six days was the next popular choice, with 24% of the vote. Eight days came in third, at 16%, which means that roughly 80% of all tourists book between six and eight days to climb Kilimanjaro. 13% of companies said that five days was their average number of days for a Kili trek and 5% said their average is more than 10 days.

Looking to climb Kilimanjaro? Check out the tours featured on Your African Safari.

Sources and credits

Tanzania Invest


eTrip Africa


About the author

Has been on: 15 safaris

Your African Safari (YAS) is a safari-planning resource for anyone planning an African safari. It features information on over 2600 tour operators including company and vehicle descriptions, user reviews, safari itineraries and photos. It also features detailed information on 14 countries and 84 parks and game reserves.

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Said on 20 October 2023 12:44

I agree, most of climber prefer Lemosho Route and Machame Trek Route for Kilimanjaro Trek. We recommend Marangu Route for those who have short number of days in Tanzania

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