If you want to survey and walk around Mount Kilimanjaro, then most people prefer to use Marangu route. But I have to assure you that things are never going to be easier for you in any way because there is no route to the top of that mountain that is just going to be easy. The name and rating of this route came by because of the greater distances that you will cover each day. But at the same time, the ascent per day that you will undergo through is gradual
There is always an advantage and a disadvantage of this route. The disadvantage here is that you will get little chance to acclimatize yourself with the famous principle of ‘climb high and sleep low’. Most people that select to use this route are those that are less fit to ensure that they get to the summit. But the number of those people that always manage to finish the journey to the summit are less than those that use other routes.
There is also the Rongai route, famously known as the ‘Loitoktok’ route. Initially, it was known as the ‘outward bound route’. The ascent is also believed to be just like that of Marangu and is taken to be the second easiest route. It meets the route at Kibo huts where the two join and take you to summit. The major merit that you will enjoy from this route is that it is quite and also less populated. If you want to enjoy the full benefits of this route, add one day to the trek.
There is also the Machame route that starts right from the opposite side of the mountain. It heads up the mountain through a forest that is thick in a south westerly direction. That is why you will need at most 6 days for you to reach the summit. If you choose this path, then you will enjoy the amazing views that are in the Shira volcano. Other than being a steeper route, it is also taken to be scenic. You can spend your night at the Baranco camp that is at a lower altitude.
At the far western side of the mountain, we have also the Shira and Lemosho routes. They are also ranked as scenic routes that you can take. But you have to be prepared to tackle the ascent profile in day one as you climb 3500m from 2200m. when using this path, you will spend more time in the rainforest, hence advisable to take the route for 7-8 days. The path will then take you through the Shira plateau and join the machame route near Lava Tower, and takes you to the summit.
There is also the Umbwe route that is known to be the toughest and also the steepest. It is feared and no one that is not fit can risk undertaking it because of its steep trekking. It heads directly upward but in a northerly direction to the Baranco wall where it meets and joins Shira, Lemosho and Machame routes. With acclimatization, you will never get an opportunity to enjoy it fully.
The newest route that has been invented is the Northern Circuit route. It is famously referred to as the 360 route. It also starts in the western side of the mountain. You can do the trek in 7-8 days and it will offer you great time for acclimatization. The route is not frequently used making it to be quite. You will see or meet people when you join the Rongai route at the ‘Third caves camp and later at the ‘Kibo huts’.
Each person will choose a trek in a different way but majorly, it all depends on what you are planning to get from it. Is it fitness, do you want to enjoy the scenery, save on cost or you want to sleep happy in a tent or not. Therefore, the route that you will choose will solely depend on you.