You’ve finally done it. You’ve decided that you are going to fulfill your fantasy. You are going to Tanzania in Africa to Mt. Kilimanjaro the highest volcano in Africa. The meaning of Kilimanjaro translates to white or shining hill. You will be at the top of this mountain. Nothing is going to deter you. You’ve been climbing for years and you’ve convinced your spouse that you aren’t crazy. This is something that you must do. But now that you’ve made the decision to go you aren’t quite sure which route you want to take. Here are some things to consider that might help you make the right choice.
How long have you been climbing? Are you experienced enough to the point where you could lead the expedition? If so then Umbwe might be the right choice as it is by far the most difficult route to take. If you are a new climber you might choose Machame, Marangu, or Rongai. Either of these three routes would be best for someone that is not as experienced and still want to make it to the top of the summit. If your goal is to get to Uhuru Peak and take your picture at the top then you might want take the route that has the best chance for completion success. If that is your plan then Marangu is your route.
Does it matter how many people are on the trek with you? If you want a more isolated adventure with not many crowds, you wouldn’t want to take Marangu as it has become so popular that it has been nicknamed the “Coca-Cola” route. The Rongai route is more isolated however, it is for the ascent only so you’ll have to come back via Marangu. The second most popular route is Machame so this might not be as crowed as Marangu but still busy enough not to be remote if you do want to see and talk to others during your trek.
Do you want a quick climb or a longer climb to lengthen your experience? Three routes are six days long: Umbwe, Marangu, and Rongai. Lemosho Shira is eight days and Machame is seven days. If you can handle the hypothermia, headaches, discomfort and high altitude for a few more days then by all means take a longer route. The longest route Rongai is 40.4 miles but only takes 6 days. Whereas Umbwe is the shortest and the most dangerous as it is the steepest and has very sharp turns and curves.
If you want to see game animals and other native wildlife then Lemosho Shira is the route you’d want to take. You might not want to take Marangu as it is the same route going and coming back so you won’t get a change of scenary on the way back down. Machame is the scenic but it has a steeper route than some of the others.
If you still can’t make up your mind you could call a few companies and tell them your preferences and they’ll provide you with a few options to help you make your choice. After all, the hardest choice of all was deciding to come to Mt. Kilimanjaro one of the largest stratovolcanoes in the world.