Discover How Long is the Climb to Kilimanjaro – Your Ultimate Guide

how long is the climb to kilimanjaro

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is an exhilarating adventure, but have you ever wondered how long it takes to reach the summit? The duration of the climb to Kilimanjaro depends on several factors, including the route you choose, your physical fitness, and the time taken for acclimatization to the altitude. In this guide, we will explore the different routes, recommended durations, and essential considerations for a successful climb to the highest peak in Africa.

  • There are six main routes to climb Kilimanjaro, each with varying difficulty levels and success rates.
  • The Machame route is recommended for its beauty and higher success rate.
  • The minimum duration for climbing Kilimanjaro is six days, but longer durations are recommended for better acclimatization.
  • The costs for climbing Kilimanjaro can range from $1,000 to over $5,000 USD per person, depending on the route and services included.
  • Tipping your guides and porters is customary, and guidelines for tipping amounts are provided.

Now, let’s dive deeper into the details of each section to understand the duration, challenges, and essential steps for a successful Kilimanjaro climb.

Understanding the Different Routes and Difficulty Levels

The duration of the climb to Kilimanjaro depends on the route you choose, as each route has a different difficulty level and hiking time. There are six main routes to choose from: Marangu, Machame, Rongai, Lemosho, Shira, and Umbwe. These routes vary in terms of scenery, success rates, and the number of days required to reach the summit.

For those seeking a balance between scenic beauty and a higher success rate, the Machame route is highly recommended. This route takes a minimum of six days to complete and provides breathtaking views of Kilimanjaro’s diverse landscapes, including lush rainforests, heather moorlands, and barren alpine deserts. With a success rate of approximately 85-90%, the Machame route offers a good chance of reaching the summit.

However, it is important to note that the duration of the climb is not solely determined by the route itself. Factors such as your fitness level, altitude acclimatization, and weather conditions can also affect the overall hiking time. It is crucial to allow enough time for acclimatization, as ascending too quickly can increase the risk of altitude sickness and greatly reduce your chances of reaching the summit.

Before embarking on your Kilimanjaro adventure, it is essential to research each route thoroughly and consider your own physical abilities and hiking experience. Consulting with a reputable tour company can also provide invaluable guidance in choosing the best route for you. Remember, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a challenging endeavor that requires proper planning, preparation, and respect for the mountain’s unique demands.

climbing Mount Kilimanjaro time

RouteDifficulty LevelHiking Time (Days)
MachameModerate to Difficult6-7
LemoshoModerate to Difficult7-8
ShiraModerate to Difficult7-8

Recommended Route: The Machame Route

For those seeking a memorable experience and a higher chance of reaching the summit, the Machame route is highly recommended. Known as the “Whiskey Route,” this path offers breathtaking scenery and diverse landscapes, making it one of the most popular routes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

The Machame route typically takes a minimum of six days to complete, allowing climbers ample time to acclimatize to the altitude and increase their chances of success. This route is known for its higher success rate compared to other routes, such as the Marangu route, which has a shorter duration but lower success rate. Trekking through lush rainforests, moorlands, and alpine deserts, climbers on the Machame route are treated to stunning views and varied terrain.

Kilimanjaro Machame Route

During the climb, climbers will encounter challenging sections such as the Barranco Wall, a steep scramble that offers an exhilarating experience. The Machame route also provides a better opportunity for acclimatization due to its longer duration, reducing the risk of altitude sickness and increasing the chances of reaching the summit.

To ensure a successful and enjoyable climb on the Machame route, it is vital to choose a reputable tour company that provides experienced guides, quality equipment, and proper safety measures. Taking the time to research and select the right tour operator will greatly contribute to a positive climbing experience.

Key Highlights of the Machame Route
Scenic path with diverse landscapes
Higher success rate compared to other routes
Challenging sections, including the Barranco Wall
Opportunity for proper acclimatization
Reputable tour companies available

Embarking on the Machame route will not only provide a challenging and rewarding climb, but it will also offer a chance to immerse oneself in the awe-inspiring beauty of Kilimanjaro. It’s important to note that climbing duration and experiences may vary depending on individual fitness levels, weather conditions, and other factors. Proper preparation, training, and a positive mindset are key to conquering this iconic mountain.

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Acclimatizing to Altitude: Importance and Duration

Acclimatizing to the altitude is vital for a successful Kilimanjaro climb, and it is recommended to allocate enough time for this process. As you ascend the mountain, the oxygen levels decrease, and your body needs time to adjust. Failing to adequately acclimatize can lead to altitude sickness, which can be severe and even life-threatening.

Typically, climbers spend a minimum of six days on the Machame route, allowing for gradual acclimatization. This route is known for its higher success rate and stunning scenery. The slow pace of the trek allows your body to adapt to the changing altitude and reduces the risk of altitude-related illnesses.

During the climb, it is important to listen to your body and pay attention to any symptoms of altitude sickness, such as headache, nausea, dizziness, or difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is crucial to communicate with your guide and take appropriate measures, such as resting, hydrating, or descending if necessary. Your guide will be experienced in recognizing these symptoms and ensuring your safety throughout the climb.

Remember that everyone acclimatizes differently, and there is no set duration that guarantees a successful summit. However, allowing for a longer duration on the mountain increases your chances of reaching the top. Patience and proper acclimatization are key factors in conquering Kilimanjaro.

time to summit Kilimanjaro

Altitude (m)Duration (hours)
Base Camp6-8
First Camp3-4
Second Camp4-5
Third Camp5-6

It’s important to note that the table above provides estimated durations for the ascent. Your actual time to summit may vary depending on individual factors, such as fitness level, acclimatization progress, weather conditions, and group speed. It’s crucial to always prioritize your well-being and follow the guidance of your experienced guides and porters.

By allowing enough time for acclimatization and taking necessary precautions, you can increase your chances of a successful climb and reach the breathtaking summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Costs and Choosing a Tour Company

Climbing Kilimanjaro comes with costs, and it’s essential to plan your budget wisely while ensuring you choose a reliable tour company. The costs associated with climbing Kilimanjaro can vary depending on factors such as the route chosen, the duration of the climb, and the level of service provided.

On average, the cost of climbing Kilimanjaro can range from $1,000 to over $5,000 USD per person. It’s important to remember that these costs typically include accommodations, meals, park fees, and the services of guides and porters. However, additional expenses such as flights, travel insurance, and equipment should also be factored into your budget.

When selecting a tour company, it’s crucial to choose one with a good reputation and a track record of safety. Look for companies that are licensed and have experienced guides who are knowledgeable about the mountain and its challenges. Reading reviews and seeking recommendations from fellow climbers can also help you make an informed decision.

Tour Company Comparison

Tour CompanyPrice Range (USD)Customer Reviews
Summit Adventures$2,000 – $3,500★★★★★
Kilimanjaro Expeditions$1,500 – $2,800★★★★☆
Trek Africa$3,000 – $4,500★★★☆☆

While price is an important factor, it should not be the sole determinant of your choice. Take into consideration the level of support and services offered by each company, as well as their safety record. It’s worth paying a little more for a reputable company that prioritizes safety and provides a comfortable climbing experience.

By carefully considering your budget and selecting a reputable tour company, you can ensure that your climb to Kilimanjaro is not only successful but also a memorable and safe adventure.

climbing Mount Kilimanjaro cost

Tipping your guides and porters is an important part of Kilimanjaro climbing etiquette, and knowing the recommended tipping amounts is essential. These individuals play a crucial role in ensuring your safety and comfort throughout the climb, and a fair tip shows appreciation for their hard work. The general guideline is to tip 10-15% of the total trip cost to be divided among the crew.

Here is a breakdown of the recommended tipping amounts:

  • Head guide: $20-25 per day
  • Assistant guide: $15-20 per day
  • Chef: $15-20 per day
  • Porters: $10-15 per day

It is important to note that these amounts are per day, as the crew often works for multiple days. However, if you feel that the service provided exceeded your expectations, you can always tip more. Additionally, it is customary to present the tips to the crew on the last day of the climb.

“The guides and porters on Kilimanjaro work incredibly hard to ensure a safe and memorable experience for climbers. Tipping them is a way to show appreciation for their dedication and commitment.”

Table: Recommended Tipping Amounts

PositionRecommended Tipping Amount (USD)
Head guide$20-25 per day
Assistant guide$15-20 per day
Chef$15-20 per day
Porters$10-15 per day
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Remember, tipping is not mandatory, but it is highly appreciated. It is a way to recognize the dedication and hard work of the Kilimanjaro crew. By following these tipping guidelines, you can contribute to the livelihood of the local communities and support sustainable tourism practices on the mountain.

Kilimanjaro Tipping

Proper preparation is key to a successful Kilimanjaro climb, and this section covers important aspects such as training, mental readiness, and necessary medication. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a demanding physical challenge, so it’s crucial to have a good level of fitness before attempting the climb. Incorporating cardiovascular exercises, strength training, and hiking practice into your fitness routine can help you build endurance and prepare your body for the strenuous trek. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program.

Mental readiness is equally important for a successful climb. The journey to Kilimanjaro’s summit can be physically and mentally exhausting, so having a positive mindset, determination, and mental resilience is crucial. Visualize yourself reaching the summit, focus on the beauty of the surroundings, and stay motivated throughout the journey. Many climbers find meditation and mindfulness practices helpful in maintaining mental clarity and reducing anxiety during the climb.

Altitude sickness is a common concern when climbing Kilimanjaro due to the high altitude. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before the climb to discuss necessary medication for altitude sickness prevention. Some climbers may be prescribed medication such as acetazolamide (Diamox) to help with acclimatization. It’s important to follow the recommended dosage and adhere to any additional advice provided by your healthcare professional.

Training TipsMental ReadinessAltitude Medication
  • Incorporate cardiovascular exercises into your fitness routine, such as running, cycling, or swimming.
  • Include strength training exercises to build muscle and improve overall strength.
  • Practice hiking on steep terrains and uneven surfaces to simulate the conditions of Kilimanjaro.
  • Visualize yourself reaching the summit and focus on the sense of accomplishment.
  • Stay motivated by reminding yourself of the incredible experience and stunning views that await you.
  • Practice meditation and mindfulness techniques to maintain mental clarity and reduce anxiety.
  • Consult with a healthcare professional to discuss altitude sickness prevention.
  • Follow the recommended dosage of medication prescribed, if necessary.
  • Stay hydrated and listen to your body’s signals for any signs of altitude sickness.

By dedicating time and effort to training, focusing on mental preparedness, and following the guidance of healthcare professionals regarding altitude medication, you’ll be better equipped to tackle the challenges of climbing Kilimanjaro. Remember to pace yourself, listen to your body, and enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the journey. With the right preparation, you’ll increase your chances of summiting Africa’s highest peak and creating unforgettable memories along the way.

Mount Kilimanjaro Preparation

When embarking on a Kilimanjaro climb, it is crucial to ensure you have travel insurance that provides coverage for high-altitude hiking. This kind of insurance is specifically designed to protect you in case of any medical emergencies or accidents that may occur during your climb. Given the challenging nature of the climb and the potential risks involved, having adequate travel insurance coverage is essential for your peace of mind.

Before choosing a travel insurance policy, make sure to carefully review the terms and conditions to ensure that high-altitude hiking is included in the coverage. Some standard travel insurance policies may exclude coverage for activities above a certain altitude, so it is important to select a policy that specifically covers hiking at high altitudes.

Additionally, consider the level of coverage provided by the insurance policy. Look for policies that offer medical coverage, emergency medical evacuation, trip cancellation, and trip interruption coverage. These benefits can provide financial protection in the event that you need to cancel your trip or require emergency medical assistance during your climb.

Remember, accidents and unexpected events can happen, even with the best planning and preparation. Having travel insurance that covers high-altitude hiking will provide you with the necessary support and financial protection, allowing you to focus on the incredible experience of climbing Kilimanjaro.

Table: Important Factors to Consider in Travel Insurance Coverage

High-altitude HikingEnsure that the policy explicitly covers hiking at high altitudes, such as Mount Kilimanjaro.
Medical CoverageCheck the coverage limits for medical expenses, emergency medical evacuation, and repatriation.
Trip CancellationReview the policy’s trip cancellation coverage in case unforeseen circumstances prevent you from climbing Kilimanjaro.
Trip InterruptionConsider the coverage for trip interruption if you need to cut short your climb due to medical reasons or unforeseen events.
Emergency AssistanceCheck if the policy provides access to 24/7 emergency assistance services for immediate help in case of any emergencies.
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By ensuring you have the right travel insurance coverage, you can climb Kilimanjaro with confidence, knowing that you are protected in case of any unforeseen circumstances that may arise.

travel insurance Kilimanjaro hiking


In conclusion, the duration of the climb to Kilimanjaro varies depending on various factors, but with proper planning and preparation, you can embark on a thrilling adventure to reach the summit. With six main routes to choose from, each offering different difficulty levels and success rates, it’s important to select the one that suits your capabilities and goals.

The Machame route is highly recommended for its breathtaking scenery and higher success rate. This route typically takes a minimum of six days to complete, allowing for proper acclimatization to the high altitude. Acclimatization is crucial to increase your chances of successfully reaching the summit and avoiding altitude sickness.

When it comes to costs, climbing Kilimanjaro can range from $1,000 to over $5,000 USD per person. It’s essential to choose a reputable tour company that provides experienced guides, proper equipment, and high safety standards. Taking the time to research and read reviews will ensure a memorable and safe climbing experience.

Tipping your guides and porters is customary and a way to show appreciation for their hard work and dedication. While tipping amounts may vary, guidelines are available to help you determine the appropriate gratuity. Remember to budget for this additional expense as part of your overall climbing costs.

Preparing for the climb is not just about physical fitness but also mental readiness. Proper training, including cardiovascular and endurance exercises, will help you build the necessary stamina for the challenging ascent. Additionally, discussing altitude medication options with your doctor and ensuring you have adequate travel insurance coverage that includes high-altitude hiking is essential.

Embarking on a journey to climb Mount Kilimanjaro is an incredible achievement and a testament to your determination and resilience. By considering all the factors mentioned in this guide and making informed decisions, you can increase your chances of reaching the summit and creating memories that will last a lifetime.


How long does it take to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

The duration of the climb to Mount Kilimanjaro varies depending on the chosen route. On average, it takes a minimum of six days to reach the summit.

What are the different routes and difficulty levels?

There are six main routes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, each with varying difficulty levels and success rates. The routes include Machame, Marangu, Lemosho, Rongai, Umbwe, and Northern Circuit.

Why is the Machame Route recommended?

The Machame Route is recommended due to its scenic beauty and higher success rate compared to other routes. It offers a great balance between challenge and enjoyment.

How important is acclimatization, and how much time should be allocated for it?

Acclimatization is crucial for a successful climb. It is recommended to allocate at least six days for climbing Kilimanjaro to allow your body to adjust to the high altitude and reduce the risk of altitude sickness.

How much does it cost to climb Kilimanjaro, and how do I choose a reliable tour company?

The costs of climbing Kilimanjaro can range from $1,000 to over $5,000 USD per person, depending on the chosen route and the level of service provided. It is important to choose a reputable tour company that prioritizes safety, experience, and environmental sustainability.

Is tipping customary, and are there guidelines for tipping amounts?

Tipping your guides and porters is customary on Kilimanjaro. The recommended tipping amounts vary, but a general guideline is around $20-25 USD per day for guides and $10-15 USD per day for porters, to be divided among the team.

What preparations should I make for the climb?

Proper training, both physically and mentally, is essential for climbing Kilimanjaro. It is also important to consult with your doctor and consider altitude medication to mitigate potential altitude-related challenges.

Do I need travel insurance for climbing Kilimanjaro?

Yes, it is highly recommended to have travel insurance that specifically covers high-altitude hiking. This will ensure you are protected in case of any unforeseen circumstances or emergencies during your climb.

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Baron Cooke has been writing and editing for 7 years. He grew up with an aptitude for geometry, statistics, and dimensions. He has a BA in construction management and also has studied civil infrastructure, engineering, and measurements. He is the head writer of

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