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Tanzania > Tour operators and travel agencies > Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro

Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro.

Mount Kilimanjaro is not only the highest peak of the continent. It is also the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, rising in breathtaking isolation from the surrounding coastal scrubland to 5,895 m / 19,336 ft above sea level. 

Mount Kilimanjaro is composed of three distinct volcanic cones: Kibo - the highest one -, Mawenzi at 5,149 m / 16,893 ft, and Shira at 4,005 m / 13,140 ft. Uhuru Peak is the highest summit on Kibo's crater rim. Mount Kilimanjaro is famous for its eternal snows in an equatorial country. The ice cap of Kibo is however shrinking so that one can expect that most of the ice on Kilimanjaro will disappear by 2040.

Mount Kilimanjaro (Kibo)
                                                                                                                                                                               Mount Kilimanjaro (Kibo), Tanzania.

There are several Mount Kilimanjaro climbing routes:

1. The Marangu Route (64 km / 40 mi) also known as the "Tourist Route" or "Coca-Cola Route" is the most popular route to Kilimanjaro. It is one of the less scenic itineraries since the ascent and descent routes are the same. It is the only one that offers sleeping huts, which serve beverages like Coca-Cola, on the way. It takes 5 or 6 days.

2. The Machame Route (49 km / 30 mi), nicknamed the "Whiskey Route" in comparison to the "Coca Cola Route", is a more difficult route. However, it is one of the most scenic routes. It is the second most popular Kilimanjaro route. It does not offer sleeping huts for accommodation. It takes 6 or 7 days.

3. The Rongai Route (65 km / 40 mi) is the only route that approaches Kilimanjaro from the north, near the Kenyan border. Rongai's ascent profile is very similar to that of Marangu. It is one of Kilimanjaro's easiest routes. The climb to the top is gradual and steady. However, unlike Marangu, this route has low crowds and passes through remote wilderness areas. It is probably the only route where seeing wildlife in the first days is possible. There a different options to complete the climb in 5, 6, or 7 days.

 4. The Lemosho Route (56 km / 35 mi) is a new route to Mount Kilimanjaro. It starts from the west side of the mountain. It is a difficult and long route. It is one of the most favorite routes of reputable Kilimanjaro climbers due to its smaller crowds, scenic variety and high success rates. It takes 8 or 9 days.

5. The Shira Route is a difficult route that begins in the west, at Shira Gate. What is unique about Shira is that the first section of the trail is not hiked, but rather driven. Therefore, climbers miss out on hiking up one of Kilimanjaro ecological zones, the rain forest.

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Mount Kilimanjaro has three distinct volcanic cones: Kibo (with Uhuru Peak as highest summit), Mawenzi, and Shira. There are several Mount Kilimanjaro climbing routes: Coca-Cola Route, Machame Route, Rongai Route, Lemosho Route, Shira Route, and Umbwe Route.