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How Long Does It Take to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

How Long Does It Take to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

If you’re planning a trip to Africa and want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, you’ve probably heard that it takes between 5 and 6 days to reach the top. But how accurate is that? How long does it take? And what’s the best route for your trip? Here’s what we know about this iconic mountain:

The main route up Kilimanjaro is the Marangu Route, which takes 5 to 6 days to climb.

The Marangu Route is the most popular route up Kilimanjaro, and for a good reason. It’s short—about five days from base camp to Uhuru Peak (the summit). This means you can spend more trekking time with your friends or family. It also allows you to see more of Tanzania than if you took another route that took longer.

Because this is such a popular choice among travellers, many hotels along this path offer rooms at discounted rates so that climbers can stay overnight before continuing their journey the next day or later in the week.

Recommend Route to Climb Mt Kilimanjaro is the Machame Route, which takes 6 to 7 days.

The Machame Route is the most popular and scenic route on Kilimanjaro, but it’s also one of the longest. It takes 6 to 7 days to complete—a moderate climb with a gradual incline of about 2,000 feet per day. Start at 6,000 feet and end at 11,000 feet for an average total elevation gain of about 4,800 feet (2 miles).

The reason this route is so popular? It does offer something for everyone:

  • Easy acclimatization from Day 1 through Day 4.
  • Gentle climbing from the 5th class up until the 8th class (where you’ll be exposed).
  • Then more strenuous climbs toward 11th class before gradually descending through 10th class terrain before reaching base camp at 1750 meters (5700 ft).

The Rongai Route takes 6 to 7 days.

The Rongai Route also takes 6 to 7 days. This is the shortest route to the summit and offers little shelter from wind, rain or cold temperatures. It’s also the steepest, least travelled and most challenging of all courses on Mount Kilimanjaro.

The Tarangire Circuit takes eight days from the north side to the south side of the mountain range. This is a popular route for hikers because it offers good views and plenty of activities such as wildlife viewing, bird watching and cultural tours, along with great hiking opportunities in Tanzania’s national parks surrounding this part of Africa.

The Lemosho Route and Shira Route take eight days, while the Northern Circuit and Umbwe Routes take nine days.

The Lemosho Route and Shira Route take eight days, while the Northern Circuit and Umbwe Routes take nine days.

The Lemosho Route is more complex than the Shira Route because it offers less accommodation but more walking opportunities (e.g., hiking up to Machame peak). It also takes you to Arusha National Park, where you can visit Lake Manyara National Park or Ngorongoro crater. If you have time for one extra day or two, this route is worth doing!

The table below lists each route to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, sorted by the number of days usually taken on each route.

RouteNumber of DaysRoute Length
Marangu Route564 kilometres (40 mi)
Umbwe Route637 kilometres (23 mi)
Rongai Route6 or 765 kilometres (23 mi)
Machame Route6 or 749 kilometres (30 mi)
Lemosho Route7,8 or 966 kilometres (35 mi)
Northern Circuit8 or 966 kilometres (35 mi)

Mount Kilimanjaro can be climbed in as little as five days, but most of our expeditions take 8 or 9 days. The fastest time to climb Kilimanjaro was five days and the slowest time to climb was 12 days. The average time is seven days; some people have reached their goal in just six days!

We recommend you spend at least 10-12 hours per day on the mountain, which means that you will need to sleep between 4-6 hours per night (including rest stops). This might seem like a lot of sleep for one person, but it’s essential for your body’s health and safety, so don’t worry about getting enough rest during your trip!


With so many options available, it cannot be easy to decide which route and route combination is best for you. If you want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro but don’t have much time or knowledge about climbing, we recommend taking our Machame Route. This is the most popular route on the mountain and has seen a lot of development in recent years due to its popularity among other climbers. The Machame Route takes 6-7 days to complete, so you will have plenty of time to enjoy some incredible scenery along the way! However, if you prefer a less crowded path, consider taking one of our more challenging routes like Rongai or Shira, which take 8-9 days total because these routes offer even more solitude than others.


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