A Complete Hiking Guide To Kilimanjaro

Hiking Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa with its highest point at 5,895 m (19,340.5 ft) above sea level, is probably one of the hardest things I have ever done, and I've done quite a few intense hikes for many years before.

Considered to be the tallest standalone mountain in the world, Kilimanjaro may seem easy on paper, with the fastest route taking only 5 days to complete, but what they don't tell you is its low success rate and the reason behind it.

Out of all the 8 trails you can climb on Kilimanjaro, the average success rate is only around 65% with the 5-day Marangu Route being the lowest at only 27%. The reason behind this is its notorious acclimatization profile.

In order to be on the right side of that stat, extensive preparation is required from the gear you pack to which route to pick to maximize your success rate, and you will find them all here in this hiking guide.

Within this guide, you will find all the information you need to plan a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the roof of Africa right from the beginning all the way to the summit of Kilimanjaro. I am going to take you through each process carefully and help guide you all the way up to the top of Kilimanjaro.

Without further ado, here's a complete hiking guide to Kilimanjaro with a focus on the Machame Route, the best route to hike Kilimanjaro with the highest success rate. Let's first take a look at what the Machame trail looks like on the map below:

There are 8 hiking routes that you can take to get to the top of Kilimanjaro, all of which have varying beauty, difficulty, duration, and success rates. Your success could depend entirely on the hiking route you pick so it is best to learn a bit about these routes before deciding.

Marangu Route: This is the shortest route out of all 8 routes on Kilimanjaro with a minimum of only 5 days required. It's not the prettiest or the hardest trail-wise, but it is the most popular due to how short it is. This is the only route where you will be sleeping in mountain huts other than camping like all the other routes so you would need fewer porters which ultimately affect your Kilimanjaro tour prices making it the cheapest option out of all. That said, Marangu Route also has the lowest success rate out of all at only 27% due to poor acclimatization profile and I wouldn't recommend it unless you really have no choice.

Machame Route (Recommended): This is one of the prettiest routes you can get to the top of Kilimanjaro. The trail will take you through some of the most beautiful parts of the mountain from forests to moorlands to volcanic deserts. It has a great acclimatization profile with lots of nights staying at around 3000 m before summit day. The minimum day required is 6 but you can extend to 7 to increase your success rate. For this trail, you will be camping every day and a lot more porters are required to carry your camping gear and food which is why it is more expensive than Marangu Trail. Still, I highly recommend you take this route over Marangu as it has a higher success rate and you will enjoy the view more.