Mt. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in the world that is not part of the mountain range, and it is definitely one of the world’s most impressive mountains. Kilimanjaro means ” shining mountain ” it rises from an average of about 3300ft (1000m) on the dry plains to 19,340 feet ( 5,895 m ), truly a world class mountain. The mountain consists of three major volcanic centers: Kibo ( 19,349 feet/5895 m ), Shira ( 13650 feet/ 4,162 m) to the west and Mawenzi ( 16,893 feet/ 5,150 m ) to the east. In regard to routes, Kilimanjaro is devided into two halves by a line running north/south between barafu camp and Kibo hut. All climbers who ascend on the machame, Shira, lemosho and umbwe routes must descend on the mweka route.
The rongai route starts just south of the Kenya-Tanzania border. It is as easy as the main Marangu trail and more attractive as it travels from the northern side of the mountain right across in to the southern slopes. The route has extensive view and spends one night at Mawenzi tarn, the mountain’s most beautiful campsite.
This route is from the west and is planned to give the best acclimation, while views are not as extensive as on Rongai, they are constantly changing as you traverse the mountain which is quite interesting.
The Marangu route is the least expensive route to climb and is second in popularity only to the machame route. Marangu has hut accommodations with separate long-drop toilets, and is the second easiest ( most gradual ) route to the summit ( Rongai is the easiest ).
This is the most popular and one of the most beautiful routes up the mountain. It is also one of the steepest routes. The park gate is located a few miles above machame village.
Next to the umbwe route, this is the least-used route and requires a minimum of 7 days. As with Shira plateau route above, drive to the londorossi gate. Then drive to lemosho glades and hike through the rain forest to forest camp ( 8,000ft/2,440m ).
The umbwe route is very steep and strenuous. The route begins at umbwe (about 4,600ft/1,400m), a village 10 miles ( 16 km ) from Moshi. Walk two miles to kifuni village and into the forest.