Kilimanjaro Base Camp and Campsites by Route

Exploring the Campsites on Mt Kilimanjaro: A Guide by Routes and Base Camps”

Introduction: Mt Kilimanjaro Campsites

Mount Kilimanjaro boasts over 20 campsites that provide shelter and rest for hikers as they make their way to the summit. In this guide, we will take a closer look at the campsites on different routes and the base camps or high camps on Mt Kilimanjaro.

Campsites by Route

The campsites on Mt Kilimanjaro vary by route, with each one offering unique experiences and challenges. Here is an overview of the campsites by route and their elevations.

Lemosho Camps

On the Lemosho route, there are various camp options depending on the duration of the hike. The most common are the 6, 7, and 8-day itineraries, with different stops for camping. The campsites on this route are Mti Mkubwa (2,820m), Shira Camp 1 (3,500m), Shira Camp 2 (3,850m), Barranco Camp (3,900m), Karanga Camp (3,960m), and Barafu Base Camp (4,670m), before reaching the summit (5,895m). The descent can lead to either the Millennium Camp (3,820m) or Mweka Camp (3,100m), with the finish gate being Mweka Gate (1,640m).

Shira Camps

The Shira route is similar to the Lemosho but starts at a higher point, resulting in poor acclimatization. This 6-day route includes stops at Simba Camp (3,630m) and Barafu Base Camp.

Machame Camps

The Machame route has campsites at Machame (2,820m), Shira Camp 2 (3,850m), Barranco Camp (3,900m), Karanga Camp (3,960m), Barafu Base Camp (4,670m), and Millennium Camp (3,820m) or Mweka Camp (3,100m) for the descent. The finish gate is Mweka Gate (1,640m).

Umbwe Camps

The Umbwe route is the shortest and most direct path up the mountain, with stops at Umbwe Cave Camp (2,850m), Barranco Camp (3,900m), Karanga Camp (3,960m), Barafu Base Camp (4,670m), and the Millennium Camp (3,820m) or Mweka Camp (3,100m) for the descent. The finish gate is Mweka Gate (1,640m).

Marangu Camps

The Marangu Route is the only one that uses hut accommodation instead of tents. The stops on this 5 or 6-day route include Mandara Hut (2,700m), Horombo Hut (3,720m), Kibo Hut (4,700m) for the summit, and then back to Horombo Hut before descending to Mweka Gate (1,640m).

Rongai Camps

The Rongai route starts from the North of the mountain and has stops at Simba Camp (2,625m), Second Cave Camp (3,480m), Kikilewa Camp (3,630m), Mawenzi Tarn Camp (4,310m), Kibo Camp (4,700m), and finally, Horombo Hut (3,720m) for the descent. The finish gate is Mweka Gate (1,640m).

Northern Circuit Camps

The Northern Circuit is an extension of the Lemosho route, taking a longer and quieter route around the mountain. The stops are Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,850m), Shira Camp 1 (3,500m), Shira Camp 2 (3,850m), Moir Hut (4,150m), Buffalo Camp (4,020m), Third Cave Camp (3,870m), and School Hut (4,750m) for the summit, before descending to either the Millennium Camp (3,820m) or Mweka Camp (3,100m). The finish gate is Mweka Gate (1,640m).

Mweka Camps

The Mweka route is only used for descent, with stops at the Millennium Camp (3,820m) and Mweka Camp (3,100m).

Base Camps or High Camps

There are three base camps or high camps on Mt Kilimanjaro, each used by different routes to reach the summit.

Barafu Base Camp (4,670m) is used by hikers on the Lemosho, Machame, and Umbwe routes. It follows a zigzag route up the slopes of Kibo to the sub-summit, Stella Point (5,739m).

Kibo Hut/Camp (4,700m) is used by hikers on the Marangu and Rongai routes. It follows a slightly steeper and longer path up the slopes of Kibo to the sub-summit, Gilman’s Point (5,685m).

Crater Camp (5,800m) is the highest camp on Mt Kilimanjaro, situated in the volcanic crater of Kibo. It can only be used by experienced hikers who have properly acclimatized.

Conclusion

With its diverse routes and unique campsites, Mount Kilimanjaro offers a once-in-a-lifetime adventure for hikers. Whether you choose to climb through the lush rainforest or take the direct path up the mountain, each route offers breathtaking views and challenging terrain, making it a truly unforgettable experience.