Hey you, the one who daydreams of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro’s summit at sunrise, the one whose life goals include reaching Africa’s highest point and letting out an enormous howl of celebration at the top. What if I shared with you the single best piece of advice to increase your chances of reaching the top of the highest freestanding mountain in the world?
Okay, here it is: Slow and Steady. (pole pole in Swahili)
To climb Kilimanjaro means taking a leap. It typically means flying halfway around the world to scale the Roof of Africa. And in order to make this large commitment, you need the trip to be successful—it might be your only chance.
Also, sifting through reviews on how best to climb Kilimanjaro can be as daunting as reaching the summit itself. You can find armies of information regarding the best routes and optimal numbers of days, but all you have to remember are these simple words: Slow and Steady. (pole pole in Swahili)
Why? Because each year 35,000 to 50,000 people climb Kilimanjaro and the single most common inhibitor to making that sunrise summit is this: altitude sickness. But if you go slow and steady and choose a trip with enough days to acclimatize, your success will skyrocket.
Beware of the Five-Day
Kilimanjaro National Park won't let you climb their beloved Kili in fewer than five days, so technically you have 5 to 10 days to complete the climb. Some of these five-day treks may be alluring because of their lower cost, but beware: they have far lower summit success rates. This is simply because there is less time to properly adjust to the elevation change.
Choose your Own Adventure.
There are seven official routes on Mount Kilimanjaro, and we've highlighted four of our favorites below for you to better understand the options for a successful Kilimanjaro trek:
1 - Marangu (5-6 days) - "The Coca-Cola Route." Traditionally this was the most popular, economical, and direct route. There is permanent hut accommodation the whole way,
though it does have lower summit success than the others. Best to choose six days.
2 - Machame (6-8 days) - "The Whiskey Route." This is quickly becoming Kilimanjaro's most popular route. It's scenic and gradual, with an average duration of 7 days. Machame gives you proper adjustment to higher elevations.
3 - Rongai (6-7 days) The non-crowd – Rongai approaches the summit from the north and offers some remote and gentle climbing. You'll come across fewer trekkers on this route, too.
4 -Lemosho (7-10 days) – Considered one of the most scenic routes, Lomosho has smaller crowds but increasing in popularity. It's more remote with a generous southern traverse.
Take at least a week. Any fewer than seven days and you begin to compromise your Kilimanjaro summit. Each additional day increases your chances for success. Ideally, 7-9 days (10 if you have extra time) will enable you to ease into the elevation and position both your head and heart for one of the most stunning sunrises of your life. Few places on Earth compare to Kilimanjaro so take it slow and steady (pole pole in Swahili) and your daydream might just step into reality.
Peter was an excellent, friendly, and knowledgeable guide. I did the 6 day Machame tour with comfort and ease - thanks to Peter's reminders to go slow and his team's hard work to ensure camp was ready upon our arrival. Peter had great leadership qualities and clearly seems to know how to deal with diverse clients.
Peter Kinyaiya is an excellent guide. He lead our group of porters and trekkers up the Machame route. Every one of us made it to Uhuru Peak the summit of Kilimanjaro. Peter was always ready with a helping hand or encouraging words.
It was an awesome trekking trip. My friends and I took Machame Route. I was very impressed with the beauty of various vegetation and flora as well as the breathtaking scenes over the whole mountain massif. Although I could not summit the Uhuru Peak because of my stomach problem but all of my friends accomplished with their big smiles. Thank...
My friends and I were on the week of Kilimanjaro Marathon, some of our group run full marthon and myself half. This race is a great race. We started our jorney on that afternoon when we have finshed the run. With the excellent care and support from Twende Group, my friend and I reached the Uhuru Peak exactly the time of sunrise. What amazing view, we experience. This would be one of our impressive our memory. Safari on the last day, we met closely with all Big Five.Thank You !!! Twede Africa Team.
We enjoyed every meter of this tour. Only the summit night was very hard. But Peter and Richi motivated us again and again and pole pole we reached the Stella Point. Here we experienced the most beautiful sunrise of our life. The last part of way up to Uhuru Peak was just fantastic. Walk through the snow, gaze at the giant glaciers and see the destination in front. We were so happy!
Thanks to Peter from Twende Africa Tours and his whole team. They have made it possible for us to realize our dream.