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How to Plan an Epic Adventure to Kilimanjaro

If you’re an adventurer who dreams of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, whether that’s for the love of mountains, as part of a longer trip that includes other experiences such as an African safari, or for a personal sense of achievement, then you’ve got reasons to be optimistic. While climbing Mt Kilimanjaro which at 5,895m is the tallest mountain on the African continent, is no walk in the park (obviously), it’s certainly an achievable dream for well-prepared and fit mountaineers including novices because it isn’t the type of expedition that requires technical mountaineering skills. That means you can successfully climb Kilimanjaro, especially with the support of experienced guides, even if you have no prior experience in using ice axes, ropes, or harnesses – something you need to master before attempting to climb other comparable peaks. 

Many mountaineers who intend to complete the Seven Summits, i.e. the highest peaks on each of the seven continents, begin at Mt Kilimanjaro so that they might experience a successful beginning to their goal. Besides a fair amount of time to physically prepare and ensure that your fitness is up to the mark, it helps to have a guiding motivation, whether that’s to mark an important milestone in your life or prove to yourself that you can do challenging things,  

If you’re considering going on a grand Kilimanjaro adventure, here’s what you need to know.

Where is Mount Kilimanjaro?

The highest mountain in the African continent, Mount Kilimanjaro is located in Kilimanjaro National Park in the northeast of Tanzania. It is also the highest free-standing mountain in the world which means that it is not part of a mountain range. The mountain’s highest peak Kibo is a snow-capped dormant volcano believed to have last erupted 360,000 years ago, while the other two volcanic cones Mawenzi and Shira are extinct. 

Climbers can expect to experience diverse ecological systems on Mt. Kilimanjaro, from rainforest and moorland to alpine desert and an Arctic summit. 

How to get to Mount Kilimanjaro? 

The easiest way to get to Mt Kilimanjaro is to fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). International airlines that fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport include Qatar Airways, Ethiopian, Turkish Airlines, Kenya Airways, KLM, Flydubai, and Lufthansa. 

Alternatively, you can fly into Tanzania’s former capital, Dar-Es-Salaam (DAR) and then reach Kilimanjaro International Airport via a domestic flight.

The nearest towns to Mt Kilimanjaro are Arusha and Moshi and your expedition is likely to begin from one of these towns. 

What routes can climbers choose from on Kilimanjaro? 

There are seven established routes to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, each varying in difficulty, terrain, scenery, and expected crowds. Here is what to expect on some of the popular routes: 


The only route on Kilimanjaro where you can stay overnight in huts (instead of tents), the Marangu route, also called the Coca-Cola route, is the most popular one among trekkers, especially during the rainy season. Available as 5 and 6-day itineraries, this route navigates the mountain’s eastern slope. It follows the same trail while descending on the way back, which can often make it crowded. 

On the plus side, the dormitory-style shared wooden huts offer a relatively comfortable night’s rest (versus sleeping in tents) and feel like a more reassuring shelter if you plan to climb Kilimanjaro during the rainy season. Expect to experience all the climatic zones and enjoy fantastic views of the mountain’s southern slopes along the way. Beginners should consider the 6-day version so they have more time to adapt to the high altitude.  


With 6 and 7-day itineraries, the Machame route, also known as the Whiskey Route, is among the most popular routes to climb Kilimanjaro. It begins in a tropical rainforest ecosystem on the mountain’s southern slope. Expect beautiful views along this route, to scale the Barranco Wall, and a chance to experience all five climatic zones of the mountain. 

While the 6-day itinerary is suitable for experienced climbers, beginners should consider the 7-day itinerary which allows extra time to acclimatize to the altitude and boasts a higher success rate. As this is a popular route for both beginners and experienced trekkers, don’t expect a whole lot of solitude. 


Beginning on the western slope of Kilimanjaro, the Lemosho route, available as 6, 7, and 8-day itineraries boasts a high success rate and some incredible highlights such as Shira Plateau and Cathedral Peak (3,962m) which is the highest point of Kilimanjaro’s western slope. You’ll also spot the fascinating Dendrosenecio kilimanjari plants on this route. 

The Lemosho route allows a decent amount of time to acclimatize, increasing the likelihood of a successful climb. On this route, operators such as Altezza Travel will take you to 3,500m by car, speeding up your adaptation to the high altitude.

How much does it cost to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro?

Depending on the route chosen and time of year, it costs about 2000-2400 USD per person to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. 

With whom should you book a Kilimanjaro expedition?

Your choice of operator can make or break your Kilimanjaro expedition. To boost your chance of success, go with an experienced operator such as Altezza Travel whose operations office is located on the slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro in Machame, ensuring you always have professional on-the-ground support and high-quality equipment. They run 15% of all Kilimanjaro climbing expeditions with group tours leaving every two or three days. They have highly-trained and certified guides and have also successfully guided Guinness World Record Holders to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. 

Moreover, if you’d like to continue your adventure after climbing Kilimanjaro, they can help organize a wildlife safari or plan a relaxing beach holiday in Zanzibar. 


This post was sponsored by Altezza Travel.

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