Kilimanjaro Success Rate (Comparison By Route To The Summit)
The average success rate of reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro is somewhere between 70% and 80% across all tour operators. This means that roughly three-quarters of hikers who embark on this trek successfully make it to Uhuru Peak, the highest point on the mountain.
That said, Kilimanjaro success rates vary depending on several factors. The route you choose, the duration of your trek, the operators you go with, your physical fitness, and acclimatisation all play a part in successfully summitting.
If you want to take on this iconic adventure, here’s the information you need to increase your prospects of reaching the “Roof of Africa”.
Kilimanjaro Success Rates By Route
As you know, there are different routes to the summit, and the route you choose can impact how you acclimatise while hiking.
Altitude sickness is the biggest factor that prevents people from reaching the pinnacle, and not the physical demands of the hike itself.
Skyhook works with a really great local tour operator, Ahsante Tours. They have put careful thought and consideration into planning their itineraries. As a result, every trip is set up to give you the best chance of getting properly acclimatised on the mountain.
While there are no recent official rates released by Tanzania National Parks, we asked Ahsante to share their latest summit success rate stats. Here’s an overview by route based on their 2023 data:
Machame Route Success Rate
Average success rate: 95%
The Machame route is immensely popular, with around half of all the 30,000 hikers who trek the mountain annually choosing it. On Skyhook, you’ll find two itineraries on the Machame route - a 6-day hike and a 7-day hike.
The "climb high, sleep low" profile of both itineraries contributes to a high success rate, particularly for the 7-day option. For this reason, the 7-day Machame trek is one that we highly recommend.
Lemosho Route Success Rate
Average success rate: 94%
The Lemosho route is quickly becoming a favourite with our guests, as it typically experiences less traffic. It offers a good trekking acclimatisation profile, stunning scenery, and a longer itinerary.
The Rongai route is unique as it starts from the northeastern side of Kilimanjaro, near the Kenyan border.
Available on Skyhook in a 7-day itinerary, it doesn’t provide as good a "climb high, sleep low" profile as other routes. But, it follows a more gradual ascent, and the longer itinerary helps you trek and acclimatise comfortably.
Marangu Route Success Rate
Average success rate: 96%
The Marangu route, also called the Kilimanjaro Coca-Cola route, is the oldest and most well-trodden trail on the mountain. It is the only route that offers hut accommodation, and for that reason, often believed to be the ‘easiest.’
Because there’s no camping, it’s lighter work for the porter team as there’s no need to carry camping equipment up and down the mountain.
Historically, this route had a lower success rate, often below 60%. But this is likely a reflection of the 5-day itinerary, which was popular with tour operators. Nowadays, it’s usually trekked over 6 days (Skyhook offers a 6-day itinerary), which has improved the average summit rates.
Northern Circuit Success Rate
Average success rate: 95%
As the newest and longest route, the Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit sees a pretty high success rate, with an average of around 95%. Note that we don’t currently list any Northern Circuit itineraries on Skyhook, so this data isn’t from Ahsante.
Generally speaking, the longer 9-day itinerary provides ample time for acclimatisation as you spend more time on the mountain.
Other Factors That Can Affect Your Summit Attempt
Besides the routes we discussed above, here are two more factors that could also affect your chances of summiting Kilimanjaro:
Your Trekking Company
The quality of your guides and support crew can significantly impact your success rate. Experienced guides who prioritise safety and health can make all the difference.
The guides we work with at Skyhook understand the mountain and its challenges. They have undergone extensive professional training to ensure the safety of all the trekkers and the entire team on the mountain.
Always listen to your guides' advice regarding setting a pace, taking regular rest stops, and continually checking in when hiking.
The Weather Conditions
Although the mountain’s proximity to the equator means relatively stable weather throughout the year on the lower levels, the weather on Kilimanjaro itself can be unpredictable, especially the higher up you get. This is true for any high-altitude mountain.
While the weather doesn’t usually prevent anyone from reaching the summit due to being unsafe, it can make the trek that little more complicated.
Plan to climb Kilimanjaro during drier months like January to March or June to October. These dry months offer clearer skies, lower rain chances, and more comfortable temperatures.
Also, be prepared to deal with extreme cold, wind, and rain as and when the weather changes. Here's our guide on what to pack for Kilimanjaro.
The journey to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro is an extraordinary adventure that tests your limits and rewards you with breathtaking vistas from the Uhuru Peak.
Plan meticulously, train diligently, and cultivate the mental strength to endure the challenges of high-altitude trekking. Then, set your sights on the majestic Uhuru Peak–success awaits!