Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is the highlight of most visitors’ experiences in Tanzania. Few mountains can claim the grandeur, the breathtaking views of Amboseli National Park in Kenya, the Rift Valley, and the Masaai Steppe, that belongs to Kilimanjaro. Hiking on the ‘rooftop of Africa’ — the highest point on the continent at 5896 metres — is the adventure of a lifetime, especially because, if paced well, everyone from seasoned trekkers to first-time enthusiasts can scale the snowy peak. For more information, see the ‘Mountain Climbing‘ section under ‘Things to Do.
Kilimanjaro. The name itself is a mystery wreathed in clouds. It might mean Mountain of Light, Mountain of Greatness or Mountain of Caravans. Or it might not. The local people, the Wachagga, don’t even have a name for the whole massif, only Kipoo (now known as Kibo) for the familiar snowy peak that stands imperious, overseer of the continent, the summit of Africa.
Kilimanjaro National Park Trails
When it comes to talking about trails, really you are talking about routes up the mountain. There are seven different routes that provide opportunities for the ascent to the summit.
Southern Routes: Marangu, Machame, and Umbwe are the three routes that ascend from the south.
Western Routes: Lemosho, Shira, and Northern Circuit are the three routes that ascend from the west.
Northern Route: There is only one route that ascends from the north known as Rongai.
The Marangu Route, affectionately called the Coca Cola Route, is one of the more popular routes for the traditional visitor. It features one of the more gradual slopes as well as provides sleeping huts along the way. It is the oldest and most established route.
Tourists have a chance to cycle inside the park. There are two routes, one for summit bound visitors (Kilema route) and second one for non summit visitors (Shira plateau). These routes are equipped with picnic sites and resting points.