Mount Kenya vs Kilimanjaro

Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro are two of the most iconic and breathtaking mountains in Africa. As the two highest peaks on the continent, they offer challenging and rewarding experiences for adventurers and trekkers alike. In this article, we will delve into the similarities and differences between the two mountains, and help you decide which one is right for your next adventure.

Location and Accessibility:

Mount Kenya is located in central Kenya, about 150 kilometers north of Nairobi. It is easily accessible from the capital city and can be reached by road or air. On the other hand, Kilimanjaro is situated in Tanzania, just south of the equator.

It is approximately 300 kilometers from the city of Arusha and can be accessed via Kilimanjaro International Airport or by road.


Height and Difficulty:

Mount Kilimanjaro stands at an impressive 5,895 meters, making it the highest peak in Africa. It is also the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. On the other hand, Mount Kenya has three main peaks, with the highest, Batian, standing at 5,199 meters.

Kilimanjaro is often considered to be a less technical climb compared to Mount Kenya. However, both mountains require a good level of fitness and stamina, as well as the ability to acclimatize to high altitudes.


Climate and Terrain:

Both mountains are located near the equator, so their climates and terrains are very similar. both are classified as tropical mountain climates, with the temperatures dropping as you move higher up.

Kilimanjaro’s summit is permanently covered in snow and glaciers, while Mount Kenya’s glaciers have been receding in recent years. The terrain on Kilimanjaro is relatively consistent, with a well-defined path and gradual slopes.

Mount Kenya, on the other hand, offers a more challenging and diverse terrain, with rocky peaks, steep slopes, and a mix of snow and ice.


Wildlife and Scenery:

Kilimanjaro is within the Kilimanjaro National Park, which is home to a variety of wildlife such as elephants, leopards, and monkeys. The lower slopes of Mount Kenya are also within a national park, but the upper slopes are a designated wilderness area.

Both mountains offer stunning views and natural landscapes, with Kilimanjaro offering the iconic image of the snow-capped peak rising above the savannah. Mount Kenya, on the other hand, offers a more rugged and isolated landscape with breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys and peaks.


Climbing Routes:

Kilimanjaro has several popular routes to the summit. They are:

1. Marangu route – Know as
the “Coca-Cola” route, it is the most popular and easiest route.

2. Machame route – Known as the “Whiskey” route, it is more challenging than Marangu but offers more scenic views.

3. Lemosho route – One of the longer routes, it is considered to have a high success rate for reaching the summit.

4. Rongai route – This route starts in the north and offers a more remote and less crowded path to the summit.


Mount Kenya also has multiple routes to the summit, including:

1. Naro Moru route – Known as the quickest and most direct route, it is quite steep and offers amazing views.

2. Sirimon route – This route starts from the west and is considered less crowded and more scenic than other routes.

3. Chogoria route – The longest and most diverse route with stunning scenic views, but also the most challenging.



Both mountains offer accommodation options for trekkers, varying from basic campsites to mountain huts. On Kilimanjaro, trekkers typically use tents or stay in mountain huts along the routes. On Mount Kenya also, trekkers can choose between camping or staying in rustic mountain huts.


How long is each hike to the top?

The length of the hike to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro depends on the chosen route and can take anywhere from 5 to 9 days. On the other hand, the average duration for the trek to the summit of Mount Kenya is 4 to 6 days, again depending on the chosen route. It is generally a shorter and more challenging climb compared to Kilimanjaro.


Pricing Difference:

The cost for climbing either mountain can vary greatly depending on factors such as the route, number of days, and level of support and equipment provided by the tour operator.

Generally, climbing Mount Kenya is more affordable than Kilimanjaro, with prices starting at around $1,000 for a five-day climb. The cost of a Kilimanjaro trek can range from $2000 to $6000 per person.


Crowds and busy season:

Both mountains attract a high number of climbers every year, especially during the peak season from June to October and December to February.

Kilimanjaro sees a higher number of trekkers due to its popularity and accessibility (30,000 to 50,000 per year), so it can get quite crowded on some routes. Mount Kenya, on the other hand, is less popular and has fewer trekkers, making it a more peaceful and secluded experience.



Both Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro offer unique and memorable experiences for those seeking a challenging and rewarding trek. While Kilimanjaro is taller and more well-known, Mount Kenya offers a more diverse and technical climb.

Ultimately, the choice between the two mountains comes down to personal preferences and abilities. Whichever one you choose, both will leave you with unforgettable memories and a sense of accomplishment at reaching their summits.

So, lace up your boots, pack your gear, and embark on the journey of a lifetime to either Mount Kenya or Kilimanjaro.