Situated south of the equator – in Tanzania – at 19,340 feet (5,895m), Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain and the highest “free standing” mountain in the world. Spectacular views and beautiful ice formations are the reward for the successful trekker, as well as the satisfaction of conquering this mighty peak.
It is not for the faint-hearted – this will test you to your limits, mentally as well as physically. The main problems encountered are altitude sickness, which can be countered by use of medicines, and lack of oxygen. The standard route is a hike – no climbing as such. We have personally done the major routes, so can offer first hand advice.
Good preparation and advice, as well as good guides on the mountain, have given us an over 95% success rate (the average is 60%) – this type of thing is a “once in a lifetime” challenge and must not be taken lightly. We ensure that all our climbers have all the facts – medical list, equipment list, etc – long before they travel and this is probably the reason for our high success rate.
Any reasonably fit person who enjoys walking can reach the summit of Kilimanjaro.
The Lemosho Route
Remote and wild.
The Lemosho Route starts on the western side of the mountain, and although it is a long drive to the starting point, your rewards are the possibility of seeing wildlife on the lower slopes and possibly being the only climbers. The route is perfect for those who want to take a slightly longer, more relaxed approach to climbing Kili. It meets up with the Machame route on Day 3.
The Londorosi Route
The hike starts on the Western side of Kili and takes you through the pristine rainforest to the Shira Plateau where it meets up with the Machame Route traversing the pretty south side of the mountain.
The Londorosi Route is the longest route but is less crowded and provides the most spectacular scenic views of both Shira Plateau and the Western Breach Wall.
The Marangu Route
The Marangu route is the traditional and most straightforward route on the mountain. It is also the busiest, and the only route where accommodation is in communal huts as opposed to camping. The hike follows the same route up and down and is considered an easier hike.
It generally takes five days to climb Mount Kilimanjaro along the Marangu Route and involves walking about eighty kilometres. We offer this as a 4 or 5 night climb, with the extra night ideal for those concerned about having sufficient time for proper acclimatisation.
The Machame Route is one of the most popular and scenic routes up the mountain, taking in both the western and southern face of the mountain. After Umbwe, this is probably the most beautiful route by which to ascend. The route takes you past the scenic Shira Plateau and Lava Tower before descending down to Barranco where you may enjoy impressive views of the Kibo Glaciers before the final steep stretch up to the summit.
We recommend an additional night on the mountain for novice hikers.
The Rongai Route
The Rongai Route approaches the highest mountain in Africa from the north and retains a sense of untouched wilderness. This is a quiet lesser-used route, great for novice hikers, and with the likelihood that you will have the mountain to yourself for the first few days.
It has a relatively gentle gradient and short daily stages as it winds its way from the starting point just south of the Kenya-Tanzania border. It passes through farmland and forest, past Alpine moorland to the beautiful summit cone, all the while offering hikers amazing views of Kenya stretching below and Mawenzi Peak towering above. Ascend to Gillman’s Point from where you have great views into the Kibo Crater before reaching Uhuru Peak.
The Umbwe Route
The most scenic route, well suited to fit hikers.
Umbwe is one of the shortest routes to the southern glaciers and the western breach of Kibo. Your first two days are steeper, but shorter, than on other routes. The climb is quite taxing, primarily due to the relatively fast ascent to higher altitudes, but the rewards are plentiful; fewer people, pristine forest, greater chance of seeing wild animals and birds in the lower levels, and shorter walking distances make it a great experience for fit hikers.
Why Climb With Us?
A word from the Director
However you choose a climb or adventure operator, there are certain points that should be checked before you place your life in their hands. We have the experience – operating since 1990 – with over 10 000 successful summits of Wild Frontiers guests, and a 90%+ success rate. Some of our team have climbed Kilimanjaro (some more than once!) and can give first hand advice.
We are members of TATO (Tanzania Association of Tour Operators) , and we have operations and offices in Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa – so you have peace of mind when paying your money over that you are dealing with an approved long term member of the industry, who undertakes annual industry led financial analyses to prove viability. We are a TALA licensed , tax paying Tanzanian tour operator.
There is a lot more information you will be sent when booking your climb with us (suggested pack list, suggested medical kit, information on how altitude may affect you, equipment rental options, how to train for the hike etc.), but the below information should answer many of the questions that you should be asking before climbing Kilimanjaro.
Our guides and crew: are looked after to international standards, following guidelines laid down by Porters Protection Association in Moshi, and part of that is our undertaking to ensure that porters are properly kitted out for their climb. Guides are qualified and licensed by National Parks, and trained in Mountain Rescue etc. Some guides have well over 400 summits to their name.Guide to climber ration is one guide to 2 or 3 guests for groups, with a second guide to support the lead guide if you are a solo climber. Our guides and porters are local –from Moshi, the regional center, ensuring the area gets the benefit of the income.
Health & safety: We carry portable oxygen on all climbs, and Finger Pulse Oximeters. Guides check guests’ medical condition daily, and monitor this closely. Portable hyperbaric chambers are available for hire .
Price issues: These always come up when groups research trips and then compare options. Some will want to go for the cheapest option, some want the better quality and peace of mind of booking through an experienced, reliable licensed operator. At the end of the day, we all buy safe vehicles, put safe tyres on them, and plan to live a long life – don’t compromise on something as important as summiting Kilimanjaro. Temperatures drop to minus 20C, and if you don’t have the correct gear, crew and food, you are putting yourself at risk. You want to get to the top, safely – and have a good time doing it.
Just looking at our success rate (90% +), and the average success rate of about 50-60% you have about a 30% better chance with us than a budget operator. You don’t want to waste your money.
Our trips are not cheap – and they never will be. We pay good guides and crew well, feed you wholesome food, and use decent equipment (which is maintained/upgraded regularly).What you will get from us is good value for money and a strong chance of summiting Kili.
When you consider that about USD 980 per person on a 6-day climb goes to park fees alone, and you work out what a budget operator has got left to run a business on, you can see that on budget trips corners will possibly be cut. All to the detriment of you, the guest. This could be done in many ways: from underpaying staff, to avoiding paying full park fees, compromising on food quality and quantity, shoddy equipment, and hidden extras that may only become once you have financially committed. Overloading porters is also another area which worries us… some unscrupulous operators cut corners here.
It has been estimated that in GOOD weather, your summit chances with a budget operator are probably only slightly less than if you climb with a decent operator. In BAD weather, the chances of summiting – indeed surviving without injury – are 40% better with a higher standard of climb.
Consider the above points well – they are ALL questions you should be asking.
Hope to see you up there soon!
Director – Wild Frontiers