How long does it take to climb Kilimanjaro?

Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa, one of the world’s seven summits and the highest free-standing mountain in the world.

Kilimanjaro is classed as a trekking peak, so you don’t need any special skills to be able to summit this 5895m mountain. However, that doesn’t mean you can take this mountain for granted. It still needs to be given a great deal of respect to make sure you make it to the top.

With it being a free-standing mountain, the altitude gain is huge. You will be starting your trek generally from Moshi at 890m and a few days later you will want to be stood on the summit.

The number of days you spend trekking will give you more time to acclimatise and potentially more chance of reaching the top.

But how long does it take to climb Kilimanjaro?

Short Answer – 5 to 9 days

There are 7 established routes on Kilimanjaro, and each differ in length and duration. With most of the routes there is the option to have additional rest days and increase your time acclimatising.

Machame Route

This route can either be climbed over 6 or 7 days. The advantages of this route as it does have a good success rate due to the climb high, sleep low profile of the route.

Marangu Route

This route has a minimum of 5 days and can be increased to a 6 day climb with a rest day at Horombo Huts. This is a very direct route to the top and the accommodation is in huts. It advertised as a route with a low success rate, this is increased massively by adding the additional day. We use this route frequently with our groups and have always had a great success rate.

Northern Circuit

The Northern Circuit is a 9-day route. This is the newest route on the mountain. It is also the longest in terms of distance and time. The time spent above 4000m in this trek will certainly help your acclimatisation.

How long does it take to climb Kilimanjaro?

Lemosho Route

This route has a minimum of 6 days and a maximum of 8. This is a very scenic and unspoilt route on the mountain compared to others. This route had a very good success rate due to time on the mountain for acclimatisation. 

Rongai Route

This route will either take 6 or 7 days to complete. The Rongai is the only route that approaches Kilimanjaro from the North, close to the Kenyan border. We would certainly recommend adding the 7th day to increase your chances of summiting.

Shira Route

This is another 6- or 7-day route. The Shira route is very similar to the Lemosho route. Shira was the original route, before the improved Lemosho was added. Due to this, the Shira route is now very quiet. The start of the Shira route is very high in altitude (3600m), as this is approached by vehicle we advise against this route and recommend the Lemosho instead.

Umbwe Route

This is a 5-7-day route. This is a steep, short and direct route to the summit.

This route is used by many climbers wanting to break the speed records on the mountain. We certainly don’t advise using this route if you are wanting a great experience on the mountain. If you want to break a record, then this could be the route for you. But we would certainly recommend being an accomplished altitude climber before attempting any records!

Hopefully this answers your question on how long does it take to climb Kilimanjaro? If you have any other questions please get in touch and ask away! You can also download our 88 page Kilimanjaro guide here.