Help a Reader Travel: Mt. Kilimanjaro

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Welcome to another post of helping a reader travel! As I’ve mentioned before, I have not been to every destination (unfortunately), but do get questions from friends and other blog readers on all sort of travel destination questions. Thus far, we’ve been able to help other readers travel to Maui, The Greek Islands, Pacific Coast Highway, Argentina /Buenos Aires, Costa Rica, Cape Cod & The Islands, Iceland, Geneva, Canadian Rockies, Rome, Israel, Peru / Inca Trail , Stockholm, Chicago, Paris, Hanoi, Austin, Puerto Rico, Bruges, Salzburg, Istanbul, Las Vegas, Jamaica, India/Golden Triangle, Auckland, Singapore, Moscow, The Oregon Coast,Seattle, Portland, Hawaii Islands, Alaska Skiing, Brazil, Prague, Budapest,Paraguay, Cabo San Lucas, Edinburgh, San Diego, Hilton Head, Dubrovnik, Tanzania, The Seychelles, Belize, and Miami, Vienna, London, and Tahiti.

So this weeks travel destination includes Mt. Kilimanjaro. I received the following email from reader Jill:

“We are planning a holiday in Tanzania for December including a climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro. I would love recommendations on Mt. Kili climbing operators as well as recommended routes. At the moment we’re considering both the Rongai and Machame routes, but having a hard time deciding which to book. We’re young and relatively fit (not that it matters in that altitude!) and would like to summit in 5 nights / 6 days. Any tips on operators and routes would be much appreciated!”

If you’ve ever hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro and have any recommendations, let’s help out reader Jill by commenting below.

Also, if you have any upcoming travel where you need some help, feel free to email me at to be a featured “Help a Reader Travel” Monday special. Thanks!

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Alexis L
Alexis L
10 years ago

I did the Rongai route with Nature Discovery two years ago and had a wonderful experience. We chose the Rongai route for several reasons but mainly because it is less crowded, you cross the saddle between the two peaks (amazing view) and because we were climbing in the start of the rainy season and that side of the mountain gets less rain. I’m happy to provide more detailed information if you post your contact info.

Jim F.
Jim F.
10 years ago

I summitted Kili in 2005 using Tusker Trail and the Lemosho Glades route. Machame (the “Coke route”) is more crowded and one is more prone to altitude sickness. If one doesn’t know whether or not they get altitude sickness or at what altitude they do, a more gradual, “hike high, sleep low” route will give one better odds of summitting. Tusker is not the cheapest but they are very safety-conscious.

10 years ago

The “Coca cola route” is Marangu, not Machame. The most crowded is Marangu since it tends to be the cheapest and has actual huts for hikers to sleep in.
The machame route is also called the whiskey route. Why? I have no idea. I did Machame last year and no one in my group got altitude sickness (primarily because on days 3 and 4 the route follows the mantra of “hike high, sleep low”.)
We used Zara Tours, which has a big local presence in the area. I thought it was fine and I’d use them again, but I’d more likely use Henry Stedman’s trekking company. He wrote a comprehensive trekking guide to Kilimanjaro and knows that area in & out. Even if you don’t use his trekking company, try to get his guidebook before you leave and bring it with you along the trek (just in case your tour guide doesn’t speak good English.)

10 years ago

I used Team Kilimanjaro (TK) and summited in August of this year. I did Rongai.

Always felt secure and well looked after. Every detail was taken care of so just had to focus on the ascent. Not the cheapest you’ll find, nor the most expensive. Very good website with lots of content to read.

Really enjoyed Rongai because you do get both peaks (Mwenzi & Kili). TK summits via Rongai and descends via Marangu. So, you get a very different look on the way up and on the way down. The TK Rongai for 7 days does two hike-high, sleep-low. Rongai is all tent sleeping, even on descent, with TK anyway.

All of the routes have their own challenges. Some would say one is easier than the other, but easier is a relative term. Some things to consider for a route decision are: what sort of scenery you want to see, the number of days you have, your level of endurance, and the time of year. It’s obvious if you have issues with altitude then you need to really think things through. Also keep in mind some routes summit at Stella’s point, vs. Gilman’s.

Jim F.
Jim F.
10 years ago

Sorry, I confused Marangu with Machame; Joey is correct.
The interested party can find a good description of the route options at (and many other places); just search “Kilimanjaro AND route AND alternative OR option”.

Andy F.
Andy F.
10 years ago

This post was put under Uncategorized rather than Help a Reader Travel.. That’s why when I click Help a Reader Travel at the right side and there are only few posts that it suppposed be. Hope you could fix that.

Laurence Neuer
5 years ago

HI Jill and Jen

I climbed Kilimanjaro last year and it was a phenomenal experience. After doing a lot of research I discovered that the most important factor is safety and choice of the route.

Initially I wanted to do it as cheap as possible but after my research I decided to go with a proper company. A lot of the budget companies have really bad equipments such a tents and sleeping bags etc.

On the safety side some of the guides also do not have emergency oxygen (we did not need it) but it has a good thing to have if it was needed.

The choice of the Kilimanjaro route goes hand in hand with the acclimatisation profile and how well your body will adapt to the altitude and avoid altitude sickness. The longer and slower you take to climb the more time your body has to adapt and the higher chance of a successful summit you will have.

In the end I choose the Lemosho route:

And can highly recommend the company Follow Alice due to them being so personal and responsible in their work.

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