Mount Kilimanjaro routes, Mount Kilimanjaro general information

Kilimanjaro Routes & General Information

Mount Kilimanjaro
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Mount Kilimanjaro National Park

Mount Kilimanjaro the highest point in Africa is also one of the highest mountains in the world accessible to walkers. It lies in Tanzania just south of the Kenyan border and the area above 2750m. is a National Park. The park headquarters are located by the Marangu Park Gate, 5km. above Marangu. Park fees are payable through an officially approved agent (hotel or tour operator - beware of impostors), most of whom offer a full package. Park fees for the year 2008 are $60 per person per day entry fee plus $50 per person per night camping or hut fee. This fee, payable in foreign exchange only, covers entrance, mountain hut and camping fees only (no porter, guide or service fees) .


Porters and Guides
Guides are compulsory and are available at the Park Gate. It is best to make arrangements one day before the planned ascent. Porters are selected by the Guide, their wages are generally paid by your agent (Porters - $10 per day, Cooks - $15 per day, Guides - $20 per day). Guides and porters are self-sufficient; wages are low compared to park fees but they will negotiate high tips. Porters often prefer to carry equipment in sacks on their heads.


Access Routes
The tourist route, an easy walk as far as the Kibo Hut. The lower sections provide fine forest and moorland walking. The lunar landscape of the Saddle leads to the Kibo Hut; above this tedious scree leads to the crater rim. All huts on the route are manned and in radio contact with the Park Headquarters at Marangu. Just above the Park Gate the western route through the forest provides a longer, more difficult but beautiful walk along narrow paths beside streams. There is often no water at Kibo Hut and it either has to be carried from last water or melted from snow or ice if this is available. During peak periods the huts are sometimes overfull because of groups altering itineraries or for other reasons. At these times all facilities will be severely overstrained.

 Note: The path in the forest is often realigned on account of erosion. Above Mandara hut the main path has been realigned and now passes closer to Maundi Crater - a worthwhile viewpoint.

Easy walking up steep, tedious scree slopes to Gillman's Point then along the broad crater rim with good views over the caldera and of Mawenzi. A very early departure to arrive at sunrise at Gillman’s Point is recommended. The final section undulates and is occasionally snowy. No special equipment is required. Grade l.

A very direct and fast way down the mountain providing limited views across the Southern Glaciers. The track in the forest is often impassable even to 4WD vehicles. Beyond the roadhead the path is steep and slippery in parts. Above the Mweka Huts water must be carried. Sometimes a long walk is required at the Barafu Hut to find snow or ice for water.

A very strenuous walk up steep, slippery paths with many fallen trees to negotiate. The middle section follows a narrow spectacular ridge with magnificent views of the Great Barranco and Southern Icefields.

Machame village is served by a tarmac road. There is a park checkpoint at the start of the route. The walking is strenuous, initially up narrow, slippery paths through beautiful forest. It provides good access to the South Western Glaciers and the Western Breach.

Depending on its condition and the weather, this track provides an access route for 4WD vehicles to within 1 hour of the Shira Hut. The Shira Plateau is very beautiful with good views of the Western Glaciers. There are several fine minor summits to be climbed; the Shira Needle can be gained by a scramble and provides a nice viewpoint.

This magnificent variation to the Shira Route is as yet unspoilt and little used. It takes paths through forests rich in game south of the Shira Route. On day 3 the Machame Route is rejoined. Detailed description.

This used to be the route used by the Outward Bound Mountain School at Oloitokitok in Kenya. The border is open during daylight hours but all park fees and arrangements must be made (via an agent) at the Marangu Gate before starting on the route. It is possible to arrange transport from Marangu to Naremoru / Rongai. Only a limited number of groups are allowed on the route at any time and it may not be used in descent. There are several big caves along the route, these are used by porters and tents should be carried. The "Outward Bound School" Hut is privately owned, no water or firewood in the vicinity. Allow 5 days for the traverse.


Walking on and around Kibo
A superb traverse offering fine panoramas of the southern icefields and visiting some of the mountains most beautiful locations. The journey from Shira Hut to Horombo Hut or vice versa takes at least two days and is best broken at the Barranco Hut or at Karanga Valley. The section just east of the Great Barranco involves a short easy scramble.

A very remote and rather tedious walk over endless screes. Fine panoramas northwards to Mount Kenya. Allow 3 hours from the Shira Hut to the Moir Hut. The next section to the Kibo, Mawenzi or Horombo Huts is best done in two days. Very limited water en-route.

Easily reached from the East. Sulphur deposits and fumaroles are found inside this crater. To look into the Ash Pit it is best to go down into the crater. Descending into the Ash Pit involves scrambling over steep scree and poor rock.

Though far from the main routes there is some magnificent ice scenery is to be seen here - well worth the effort and time.


Maps and Guidebooks
1:100,000 Ordnance Survey map of Mount Kilimanjaro including 1:17,500 of Kibo and general information.

'Guide to Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro': comprehensive guidebook, available through the Mountain Club of Kenya.

'East Africa International Mountain Guide': available through West Col Productions, Goring, Reading, RG8 9AA, England. details

'Mount Kilimanjaro National Park': published by the Tanzanian National Parks and available only in Tanzania.

'Mount Kilimanjaro Map and Guide': 1:80,000 main area, 1:20,000 summit area, also Mawenzi, road map and guide on reverse. EWP, Haulfryn, Cilycwm, SA20 0SP.
Email:, Fax: +44 1550720053. details

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© Andrew Wielochowski 10/06/98. From the "Mount Kilimanjaro Map and Guide"
alw 4/9/2014