Seventy percent of climbers attempt their ascent of Kilimanjaro along the Marangu Route, which is the shortest and steepest way up the mountain. It is also extremely difficult, especially if done over five days, which is part of the reason fewer than one in five climbers on this route actually reach the Kili’s highest summit, Uhuru Peak. Extending the trek over six or even seven days greatly increases odds successfully reaching the top. Accommodation huts along the Marangu Route are equipped with mattresses, solar lighting, kitchens, toilets, and a rescue team.
The winding and dramatic Machame Route is the next most popular way up the mountain after the Marangu Route. The Machame Route is more challenging than the Marangu Route but has the advantage of being longer, allowing for easier acclimatization and thus a higher success rate. Descent is via Mweka Route, giving climbers a chance to see a lot of the mountain. Nights are spent camping.
The Shira and Lemosho Routes are different options of the same journey. The Shira Route is drivable up to 3600 meters, where it is joined by the foot traffic only Lemosho Route. From that point on, the routes are the same, approaching the peak from the northwest and joining the Machame Route on the Shira Plateau at the end of the second day’s hike.