Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Aqua-Firma operates privately guided and group treks along all routes to the summit of Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru and Mount Ol Doinyo Lengai. Our treks up Kilimanjaro are designed to provide an intimate experience of these mountains, paced according to you, with a local expert leader whose knowledge of the mountain, 1st Aid and emergency procedures will keep you safe; whilst their knowledge of wildlife, birdlife, plants and cultures of Tanzania will help you to enjoy more of this stunning mountain than just the magnificent views you can hope for.

Our Privately Guided Kilimanjaro Treks provide:

  • 1st Aid Qualified Guides
  • Mountains + Nature
  • Larger tents
  • Excellent mountain catering
  • Your own private flushable toilets
  • Mobile camp beds
  • Comfortable bedding
  • Supplemental Oxygen & Pulse Oximeter
  • Fair wages for your team
  • Tree planting to help local conservation

Visible from nearly 100km away and covering an area of nearly 4000km², the huge and ominous cone of Mt Kilimanjaro (5895m) demands respect. A dormant volcano, last known to have erupted about 300 years ago, Kilimanjaro is Africa's highest mountain. It is also the World's highest free standing peak, towering 5 vertical kilometres above the friendly local town of Moshi nestled in mountain's shadow.

Kilimanjaro, or Kili as it is affectionately known, is not only a climb to consider for the achievement of reaching the continent's highest peak and watching the sun rise over the clouds from the 'roof of Africa', but it also offers the opportunity to hike through a fascinating range of Tanzania's climates and ecological zones. On most routes to the summit, you will pass through a zone of misty and extravagant cloud forest, home to primates such as black colobus and blue monkeys, antelopes and even leopards. Passing this zone the trees thin to be replaced by strange Afro-Alpine grassland, inhabited by the otherworldly forms of giant groundsels and lobelia. Above this level it becomes difficult for plants to survive, and from around 4600m you enter an alpine desert zone of rock and almost lunar desolation. Although the 'Snows of Kilimanjaro' are retreating steadily, for the time being Africa's summit is still crowned by permanent glaciers.

Kilimanjaro is one of highest mountains in the world that you can 'walk' up without any technical mountaineering ability - but due to the extreme possibility of altitude sickness and huge climatic change from tropical lowlands, it should be climbed with an experienced team of supporting guides, cooks and porters. Your trek should also allow for steady acclimatisation*. Equipped with such a team, Aqua-Firma can offer Kilimanjaro on popular routes such as the Machame Mweka route or less used routes such as Lemosho and Rongai.

See the Itinerary tab for our description of the main Kilimanjaro Climbing routes offered by Aqua-Firma; and don't hesitate to Contact Us to discuss this challenging adventure with one of our Tanzania experts.

*All privately guided itineraries that we offer can be extended to make acclimatisation longer.

A Note on Climbing Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro is often considered to be an 'easy' mountain to climb due to it's non-technical nature. This leads many people to underestimate its challenges. Good acclimatization to avoid altitude sickness is essential - the longer you spend at altitude the better your chances of reaching the 'roof of Africa'. At the summit of Kilimanjaro there's only about 50% of the oxygen in the air that exists at sea level (or Moshi 5000 meters below)!

Good fitness levels and preparation are also essential - you should be ready to walk 7-8 hours a day. The final summit ascent is always the most challenging and involves around 17 hours of walking up to summit and back to camp.

If you can spare the time, we recommend an additional 3 to 4 day climb of the beautiful and wildlife rich peak of Mt Meru (4566m). This is an excellent acclimatization climb and fantastic experience in its own right. To discuss this in greater depth please call us to speak with an experienced Tanzania mountain guide.

Extending your time in Tanzania

Aqua-Firma operates wildlife, marine life and adventure safaris throughout Tanzania; so whilst climbing Kilimanjaro might be your primary aim, speak to us for information about small group and privately guided Great Migration Safaris; our annual expert-led Whale Shark Research experiences; scuba diving with marine biologists; and tailor made safaris to every corner of the country.


Climbing Routes: Privately Guided Trips

We offer these three main climbing routes which need between 7 - 9 days, but can be extended to give longer for acclimatisation as you ascend:

  • Machame Mweka
  • Rongai
  • Lemosho

For the most complete details, pease Contact one of our Tanzania experts.

You will need to fly in and out of Kilimanjaro Airport.

To mitigate against any potential flight delays and to allow yourself time to relax and become acclimatised before your trek begins, we recommend that you aim to arrive the day before your trip is due to begin and spend the night in Arusha or Moshi. As a fully ATOL and ABTOT bonded company, we can arrange your international flights, hotels and transfers in Tanzania.

Machame Mweka Route (9 Days)

Starting in the forest on the South side of the mountain at around 1800m, this is a beautiful and diverse route up Kilimanjaro. Like all the routes except for Marangu, it requires camping and the route is also fairly popular. However, the scenery is excellent and the longer nature of the route means that the percentage of climbers reaching the summit is much greater than on the shorter and steeper Marangu route. Backtracking is also minimised as you ascend the mountain from the South-West and descend via the Southern Mweka or Kidia routes (routes are sometimes closed due to environmental recovery projects).

The first day's climb passes through an area of cloud forest draped in mosses and lichens. This is a good part of the mountain for spotting forest birds which are rare or absent at lower altitudes. Orchids are also common. Emerging from the misty forest at over 3000m you reach the rocky Shira Plateau. Giant Lobelia's and Groundsels, strange high altitude thick leaved plants dominate here. The Shira area is the site of Kili's oldest crater, the Shira cone, a good place to spend some extra time acclimatizing to the rapidly increasing altitude. From here you hike east crossing rugged lunar scenery, eventually reaching the Barranco Wall, a section of the route that requires relatively easy and none-technical scramble up the Barranco Wall. Barafu camp at 4600m is your final, chilly base before undertaking your night-time trek to the summit of Africa and a truly spectacular sunrise! We descend via Mweka or Kidia routes.

Rongai Route 7 Days / 6 Nights (Minimum)

The Rongai Route offers one of the least visited routes up Kilimanjaro. It is slightly less accessible so a 2 hour drive is required to reach the Naremoro Village only a few kilometres from the Kenyan Border. The Northern side of Kilimanjaro has a slightly drier climate, and after ascending through forest you relatively quickly emerge into a landscape of wide vistas and alpine moorlands. There are also some excellent sweeping vistas of the Kenyan plains beyond.

The Rongai route offers what is considered to be one of least steep ascents of Kilimanjaro. From the alpine plains you then trek to the South-East, towards Kilimanjaro's 'second' peak, Mawenzi, whose spectacular rocky pinnacles reach 5149m. Camping in the shadow of Mawenzi we then push on over the high 'saddle' connecting Mawenzi and Kibo peaks. Summiting Kibo you'll enjoy Kili's spectacular vistas before descending the quick but relatively steep and busier Marangu route.

Lemosho Route 9 Days / 8 Nights (Minimum)

The longest of the main routes up Kilimanjaro, the little used Lemosho route offers an extended view of Kilimanjaro's western flank and forests - and also some of best chances of reaching the summit due to the extended acclimatization that this route offers.

Starting in a region of dense forest the route steadily climbs through a wide belt of constantly changing cloud forest. Emerging above the forest you come to the Shira plateau were you pass the Shira Cone (3962m), one of the older volcanic peaks on the mountain. Views of Mt Meru to the West are spectacular. At Shira Camp (3840m) the Lemosho Route joins with the Machame Route were you continue to the summit. As detailed in the Machame/Mweka description this section is well used but spectacular, involving a non-technical scramble up the Barranco Wall and excellent views of the Southern ice-fields and Kibo peak. Descent is via the Mweka or Kidia Routes.

Climbing Routes: Small Group Trips

We offer four main climbing routes which range between 7 - 9 days. Please contact us for a detailed itinerary for each route.

These trips will begin and end at Moshi Airport, reached by a short domestic flight from any of the main international airports in Tanzania or by overland transfer from Kilimanjaro.

As with our privately guided trips, we always recommend that you aim to arrive the day before your trip is due to begin and spend the night in Arusha (if flying into Kilimanjaro), Dar or Zanzibar before taking a domestic flight or transfer to Moshi. Please contact us for more information.

A note on campsites: the communal campsites on the mountain are fairly basic and are exposed to the elements. They do not have electricity or shower facilities, toilet facilities are basic long-drop latrines. Tents will be set up for you each night with insect mesh and mattresses provided, you will need to bring a sleeping bag and pillow on these group trips.

Marangu Route (7 Days)

This popular route covers forests, moorlands and the Saddle (a high-altitude desert) on its way to Kibo Hut. This is the quickest route to the summit, however due to it's popularity and quick ascent, the success rate is not as high as other routes.

Group size: Max 12 people
Accommodation: simple hotels (2 nights), mountain huts (4 nights)

Rongai Route (8 Days)

This route follows the drier, northern side of the mountain on the ascent and descends down the popular Marangu Route, with its diverse climate zones and stunning views. This route generally has a high success rate due to the slower ascent. You can expect to camp next to the only lake on the mountain and enjoy stunning views over Kenya's Amboseli plains.

Group size: Max 12 people
Accommodation: simple hotels (2 nights), full-service alpine camping (5 nights)

Lemosho Route (10 Days)

This little-travelled route is considered by many to be the most beautiful path up the western breach of the mountain to the Shira Plateau. The slower ascent and built in acclimatisation days helps to increase your chances of reaching the summit.

Group size: Max 12 people
Accommodation: simple hotels (2 nights), full-service alpine camping (7 nights)

Machame Route (8 or 9 Days)

Possibly the most scenic route to the summit, you can enjoy high-alpine deserts with amazing views of the ice fields and the peak of the mountain. This route is somewhat tougher than the others, leading you through magnificent forests before traversing a ridge leading through moorlands to the Shira Plateau. It offers great scenic views beneath the glaciated precipices of the southern ice fields before summiting from the higher Barafu Camp.

Group size: Max 12 people
Accommodation: simple hotels (2 nights), full-service alpine camping (5 or 6 nights)

Extending Your Time in Tanzania

Please Contact Us for options to extend your time in Tanzania. You could consider a short one or two day safari to Arusha National Park or Tarangire National Park; fly to Zanzibar for a relaxing coastal stay with options for snorkelling and diving; or experience the fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities here on one of our Great Migration & North Tanzania Safaris or our Southern Tanzanian Safaris.


Please contact us for exact Small Group prices and departure dates

- All accommodation
- Park fees, camping fees & rescue fees
- 18% VAT on tour fees & services
- 3 Season mountain tents
- -29oC Extreme Limit Sleeping Bags*
- Double layered Sleeping Mats
- Transportation to & from the mountain gate
- Professional mountain guides, cooks and porters
- 3 meals daily while on the mountain
- Katadyn filtered water throughout the trek
- Fair wages for the mountain crew as approved by the Kilimanjaro National
  Park Authority (KINAPA), Kilimanjaro Association of Tour Operators (KIATO)
- Tree donation in support of our environmental conservation projects
- 2- way shared airport transfers (if arriving and departing on standard arrival
  and departure days)
- Supplemental Oxygen & Pulse Oximeter*
- Portable flush toilet with a toilet tent*

Not included:
- Items of a personal nature
- Laundry Services
- Travel Insurance
- Gratuities for your mountain crew

*Privately guided trips only

  • Reaching the Summit at Uhuru Peak - Philip Barker
  • Snow on Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Small Group Climb on Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Barrange to Karanga, Mount Kilimanjaro - Oana Dragan
  • Shira Route, Mount Kilimanjaro - Oana Dragan
  • Reaching the Summit at Sunrise
  • Lava Towers on Mount Kilimanjaro - Oana Dragan

Tanzania Safari Guide: National Parks & Game Reserves


Trips Reviews from East Africa
Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda

  • Small Group Climb, Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Mount Kilimanjaro
  • View of Mount Meru from Barranco View Point, Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp, Mount Kilimanjaro - Oana Dragan
  • View from Stella Point, Mount Kilimanjaro - Oana Dragan
  • Karanga Campsite, Mount Kilimanjaro - Oana Dragan
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