Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is Africa’s highest peak and one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. There are seven different official Kilimanjaro routes that you can choose from to climb to the summit. Each route has its own pros and cons. Find out exactly what it’s like to climb Kilimanjaro, what you need to pack for Kilimanjaro, and what the best Kilimanjaro preparation looks like.
When you trek to the summit of Kilimanjaro, you pass through different and distinct climate zones. With most routes you start the trek by hiking through beautiful acacia forest. You then climb up to reach the moorland or heath zone, which is dotted with striking giant groundsels and giant lobelias. You then ascend into alpine desert and pick your way through tussocks, before reaching the artic zone at the top of the mountain. Kilimanjaro was formed by a volcano, and at the top of the mountain you trek through scree, snow and ice. You pass also by glaciers. The summit point, known as Uhuru Peak, sits on the crater rim and is a mighty 5,895 m (19,341 ft) above sea level!
✓ Summit the tallest mountain in Africa, one of the Seven Summits
✓ Sleep under the stars at each camp
✓ Conquer the Great Barranco Wall
✓ Relax in a traditional luxury lodge amid the African rainforest
✓ Walk above the clouds
✓ Hike through different climate zones
Chris is our friend and has been working on Kilimanjaro leading groups for over 16 years. He has made it to the summit over 300 times. He is ranked #6 out of 261 guides on Kilimanjaro by clients. Chris is an incredibly knowledgeable and experienced leader who always puts Kilimanjaro safety first. Learn more about Chris in this interview.
“Our lead guide Chris was amazing, looking after us really well and helping us to overcome difficulties. He is incredibly experienced and professional and we wouldn’t have reached our goal without him!” Robert Jensen
There are many routes that lead to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Each of them has its own pros and cons and should therefore be thoroughly researched in order to make an informed and educated choice. Take a look at each of the Kilimanjaro routes in detail here:
Note that the Mweka route leading to Mweka Gate as marked on the map below is a descent route only.
The right itinerary is essential to successfully summiting Mount Kilimanjaro. Our carefully planned Kilimanjaro itinerary below uses the seven-day Lemosho route. This is the newest route up the mountain and we love it because of its beauty, remoteness and success rate. Think beautiful scenery, panoramic vistas, remote landscapes, and varied terrain. The route approaches the summit from the west, and starts at the Londorossi Gate. It has a great acclimatisation profile, which means the route is good at letting your body acclimatise properly to the increased elevation. Proper acclimatisation is necessary to preventing you from developing altitude sickness.
Remember, deciding on a Kilimanjaro route is a personal choice. We’re happy to lead you up a different Kilimanjaro route if you prefer.
“I climbed Kilimanjaro last year with Follow Alice and it was an unforgettable experience!! All the planning was made at their side and I just enjoyed the beautiful climb – so simple and well delivered.” Silvia Coimbra
We pick you up from Kilimanjaro Airport and take you to the lodge in Moshi. At the lodge, you meet up with the rest of the group. We also meet with our lead trek guide, Chris, for a pre-climb briefing and a delicious dinner. Then it’s bedtime, as the adventure begins tomorrow!
After an early breakfast, our driver takes us on a drive of two to three hours to Londorossi Park Gate. Here we register our entry into Kilimanjaro National Park. All of our bags to be carried by the mountain crew are also checked and weighed. You eat your packed lunches here while waiting for all of the logistics to be sorted out for you. We then drive another hour to the Lemosho route trailhead, and then the trekking begins! We walk through undisturbed rainforest on a three-hour hike up to Mti Mkubwa Camp (also known as Big Tree Campo). This is our first night of sleeping under the stars in tents!
After an early morning breakfast, we begin our ascent out of the rainforest and into the heather and moorland zone. We hike for about five to six hours in total today. During the hike we cross many streams and walk over Shira Plateau to reach Shira 2 Camp. At this campsite we have a spectacular view of the Western Breach and its glaciers.
Today we do our first acclimatisation walk up to an impressive rock formation called Lava Tower at 4,630 m (15,419 ft) above sea level. It takes five hours to get there and is a real highlight on the way to the summit. After lunch at Lava Tower, we head down to Barranco Camp. This leg of the day’s trek takes about two hours. The camp is located in a valley below the Western Breach and Barranco Wall.
This is a short hiking day of four to five hours that’s very helpful in terms of acclimatisation. After an early morning breakfast, it’s time for us to conquer the great Barranco Wall. At the top of the wall, you’re above the clouds with superb views of the southern ice-fields and the summit. The trail then winds up and down until we arrive at Karanga Camp where we spend the night.
It’s getting real! We’re now very close to the summit and enjoy some amazing views of the mountain during our short ascent of two to three hours to the last base, Barafu Camp, which is 4,600 m (15,091 ft) above sea level. You can really feel the altitude here. An early dinner is served so we can get some rest before attempting the summit that same night. Before heading to bed, our guide briefs us in detail on how best to prepare for summit night. Don’t worry, we’re all in great hands.
Our guide wakes us up around midnight for tea and biscuits. We then begin our summit attempt, which many describe as the most mentally and physically challenging part of the whole Kilimanjaro climb. The route heads northwest out of camp into the dark night. We ascend over stone scree for much of the way. In about six hours we reach Stella Point (5,685 m or 18,651 ft) in time for sunrise.
After enjoying the magnificent sunrise at Stella Point, we continue for an hour or so on a snow-covered trail before reaching Uhuru Peak (5,895 m or 19,341 ft), the very top of Africa! Be prepared to be overwhelmed by your mega accomplishment!
We then descend to Mweka Camp at 3,110 m (10,204 ft) above sea level. Here we spend our final night on the mountain after having hiked for about 12 to 15 hours. Sleep comes pretty immediately, trust us!
We wake up at Mweka Camp, which is in the rainforest zone of Kilimanjaro. When we reach the end of the trail, we spend time saying goodbye to mountain crew, who worked so hard throughout the week to get us successfully to the summit. The thank-you takes the form of a tipping ceremony, which involves song and dance and is plenty of fun while also being quite a cathartic experience.
We then do the last bit of hiking down to the foot of the mountain, where our driver is waiting to bring us back to the lodge. Time for a beer and great celebration dinner!
After breakfast at the lodge, it’s time for a transfer to the airport or to plunge into your next adventure, like a Tanzania safari. Everyone who climbs Kilimanjaro leaves with memories they won’t forget any time soon!
“I asked our great guide Chris for his opinion on why Follow Alice climbers were more successful than other companies. He had a very clear answer: we are all one team – guides, porters, climbers. It‘s a community goal that requires taking care of each other.” Jenny Handl
You’re already in Tanzania, so why not make the most out of it and enjoy an African safari? Tanzania is arguably the ultimate safari destination for wildlife lovers. With sixteen beautiful national parks, including Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, it offers some of Africa’s best game viewing. The wildlife you can spot include elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, zebras, giraffes, buffaloes, hippos, hyenas, wildebeests, dik-diks, antelopes, gazelles, elands and kudus. The country dedicates more of its land to its national parks than any other wildlife destination in the world. It Going on a Tanzania safari is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience!