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How to Get to Kilimanjaro

Getting to Mount Kilimanjaro doesn't have to be complicated. Use our guide and discover the best ways to get to Tanzania's magnificent dormant volcano, including the closes airports and best flights to allow you the most direct access possible. After reading this, you can start to focus on climbing instead of planning! 

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Best way to get to Kilimanjaro

Before you start your hiking escapade to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, you will need to establish how to get there, and the best mode of transport to suit your itinerary or tour. Travellers flying from the UK, the US, Australia or Canada and other parts of the world have a few options to explore, the most popular being the Kilimanjaro Airport.

Each of these options should be carefully considered based on your budget and how much time you have to explore Tanzania before, or after your trek. Most importantly, don’t be tricked into booking the cheapest flight without considering if there might be a catch; including long layover times, additional visas or transport arrangements. 

Mount Kilimanjaro from Kilimanjaro Airport

The best option would be to pick one of the direct flights into Kilimanjaro airport, located approximately 45 kilometres from the towns of Moshi, Marangu or Arusha as this is where most climbs will start or where your small group tour will meet. Airlines that fly into Kilimanjaro airport include:
 

  • KLM
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Ethiopian Airlines 
  • Emirates
  • Qatar

Travellers should note these direct flights or airlines may be subject to change, please check the airlines websites and the Kilmanjaro Airport one for further information. 

Mount Kilimanjaro from Julius Nyerere International Airport

If you don't want to pick one of the direct flights to the Kilimanjaro Airport, the next option for travellers is to fly into Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam, as this is the main hub for domestic and international travellers. Domestic flights within Tanzania are operated by regional airlines, including:
 

  • Precision Air 
  • Fastjet
  • Zanair
  • Hanh Air
  • RwandAir
  • Kenya Air

Julius Nyerere International Airport is located just 12 kilometres from the Dar es Salaam city centre. Depending on how your tour or itinerary is planned, there are also many operators that will start their tours in Dar es Salaam and travel overland to the towns of Moshi or Arusha.

If time allows, you could always stay in Dar es Salaam and enjoy the time before your hike on a few of the beaches including Kipepeo Beach, Coco Beach or Mbezi Beach, something you can't do from the Kilimanjaro Airport. 

Mount Kilimanjaro from Nairobi Airport

Another option that is sometimes overlooked is for travellers to fly into Nairobi Airport in Kenya and book a one-hour connecting direct flights to Kilimanjaro airport. If you do arrive in Kenya, there is the option for you to arrive by land into Arusha via shuttle bus or a private transfer (depending on your budget). Flights to Nairobi are likely to be cheaper than flying directly into Kilimanjaro Airport and allow for the opportunity to explore another region before trekking to Mount Kilimanjaro.

It is worth noting that while the initial flight into Kenya might seem cheaper, travellers should consider the cost of an additional visa to Kenya, local taxis, and accommodation if spending a night in Nairobi before travelling onwards and starting the tour in Arusha.

Facts about Kilimanjaro

Date of last eruption
360,000 years ago
Highest point
5,895 metres (19,341 ft) above sea level
Mountain's nickname
"Every man's Everest" because it's said that everyone is capable of reaching the summit
Closest airport
Kilimanjaro airport
Direct flights from
Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Nairobi, Doha, Addis Ababa, Kigali

Frequently asked questions: how to climb Kilimanjaro

  • How do I prepare for Mount Kilimanjaro?

    Any physical activity you can do beforehand landing at Kilimanjaro Airport will help make your ascent more enjoyable. As for how hard you train, this will depend on whether you're aiming for the Uhuru Peak or embarking on a shorter journey and will be different for everyone.
    Learn more.
  • When should I climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

    You can climb Mount Kilimanjaro year-round, but it may be wet and cold which means you should be equipped with the right waterproof gear. Consider climbing between January–March and June–October. Note that April, May and November are the wettest months. Pick carefully your direct flight to Kilimanjaro.
    Learn more.
  • What permits do I need?

    Each visitor will be required to pay a fee per person, per day for the conservation fee to help manage the national park, however, most tours will cover the permits and entry fees are included in the price. You can't pay this fee at Kilimanjaro Airport.
    Learn more.
  • Do I need a guide to climb?

    Yes. All hikes or treks on Mount Kilimanjaro can only be completed with a licensed guide. Depending on what route you take, the assistance of porters may also be included in your tour price. 
  • How much does it cost to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

    The cost of climbing Kilimanjaro may vary depending on a season, the route you choose and the length of the journey. Usually, the prices start at $1,000 USD and above, however, this may vary if you need to purchase any extra equipment, accommodation or add any additional transportation.The flight to the Kilimanjaro Airport isn't included.
  • What should I pack and what equipment do I need?

    While trekking tour operators may supply some of the gear you’ll need, there are a few non-negotiables you will need that includes waterproof gear, a headlamp, sunglasses, appropriate hiking boots, personal medication, a non-disposable water bottle and a cap or a beanie for example. Learn more.

Mount Kilimanjaro routes & maps

  • Machame Route

    Known as the most popular climbing route on Kilimanjaro, Machame is classified as a difficult route due to its steep ascent, and each day tends to cover more distance compared to the Marangu route. Because of it’s challenging nature, Machame tends to attract adventurous and experienced hikers.  
     
    Distance: 62 km
    Average duration: 6-7 days
    Average difficulty: A 7-day hike often shows a higher success rate of approximately 85%. A 6-day hike generally shows a lower success rate of 70%. Less experienced hikers are advised not to rush and aim at 7-day hike for higher chances of reaching the summit.

     

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  • Marangu Route

    If you’re searching for the most ‘iconic’ trek, the Marangu route is the oldest marked trail. The gradual slope appeals to many travellers as it's considered the easiest route, and is the only Kilimanjaro route that offers hut accommodation. It’s recommended to allow for one extra night to acclimatise. 
     
    Distance: 72 km
    Average duration: 5-6 days 
    Average difficulty: Marangu route has one of the lowest summit success rates of all the routes up the mountain. Although it is known as the easiest trekking route, the summit success rate is sometimes as low as 50% when travellers undertake a shorter hike.

     

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  • Lemosho Route

    Starting in a similar direction to the Shira route, climbers are likely to encounter lower traffic on the trails until the route meets with the Machame route. Lemosho is known as one of the most beautiful routes as it includes hiking through the rainforest, past the Shira Plateau and through vast icefields.
     
    Distance: 70 km
    Average duration: 7-8 days
    Average difficulty: The success rates are high, and the longer you take to complete the journey often shows a higher success rate. An 8-day hike usually offers around a 90% success rate while a 7-day hike will be around 85%. For a 6-day hike, the success rate will be much lower at approximately 65%. 

     

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  • Rongai Route

    Starting from the northern side of Kilimanjaro, Rongai route is the only route that travels from this direction and is often less crowded than Marangu. Rongai is considered a moderately difficult route recommended for less experienced hikers. 
     
    Distance: 73 km
    Average duration: 6-7 days 
    Average difficulty: This route is considered difficult as it does not offer the same climb height. The longer you take to complete this trail, the higher the success rate will be. A 7-day hike often sees an 80% success rate, and a 6-day hike is much lower at 65%.

     

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  • Shira Plateau Route

    Boasting similar qualities to the Lemosho route, the Shira route also approaches Kilimanjaro from the west. Hikers should take note of the steep elevation on this route, as day one catapults you to some serious altitude. 
     
    Distance: 56 km
    Average duration: 7-8 days 
    Average difficulty: Shira has an excellent success rate. However, it should only be tackled by more experienced climbers or those who are comfortable with their ability to acclimatise as the first day is incredibly steep.

     

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  • Umbwe Route

    One of the most difficult, and most demanding routes on Kilimanjaro, Umbwe also happens to be the most spectacular. This short and steep route is only recommended for experienced climbers who are confident in their ability to adapt to the altitude. 
     
    Distance: 53 km
    Average duration: 5-6 days 
    Average difficulty/success rate: As the most difficult and demanding trek on Mount Kilimanjaro, Umbwe has a much lower success rate than the other trails. This route should only be attempted if you are an experienced or confident hiker. 

     

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  • Northern Circuit Route

    The Northern Circuit route follows the Lemosho trail at the start before travelling along the northern slopes where trekkers can enjoy more space on the trails. 
     
    Distance: 98 km
    Average duration: 8-9 days 
    Average difficulty: Because of its length, the Northern Circuit is one of the most successful routes for reaching the summit and sees a success rate of almost 95%. 

     

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