Every year close to 50,000 people attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro. That is a lot of people. So how to climb Kilimanjaro without the crowds?
Don’t despair, there are a few ways to climb Kilimanjaro without the mass of people climbing with you.
The easiest way to climb without the crowds is to book a private climb. That way you can go on any date and route. Many companies have people arriving on Saturday and beginning their climb on Sunday. If you book a private climb, you can start on a Tuesday or Wednesday for example. That way you would only share camp with other groups that also booked a private climb. Additionally, with a private climb, you have some wiggle room when it comes to Summit night. You can leave later than most groups so you’ll have the summit to yourself. This, of course, has to be a reasonable request. You can’t leave after sunrise. Afterall, you have up to a 14 hour day walking ahead of you. You definitely don’t want to get to camp well after dark and miss dinner. This also applies to the Barranco Wall. You can wait for the masses to ascend the Wall and go up after they are through. That way you’ll avoid any potential bottleneck at the Kissing Rock.
Another way to reduce the number of people on your climb is route choice. The Machame route is the most heavily traveled. It is about 45% of all climbs. The Marangu route follows with 40%. Whereas the Lemosho is only about 9%. The Rongai is around 5%. If you really want solitude book the Northern Circuit it makes up roughly only 1% of all climbs.
The Umbwe and Shira routes make up less than 1% each because they are not the greatest of routes. There is less than 50% chance of summiting via these routes. For this reason, we do not guide these two routes. You can read more about routes here: https://peakplanet.com/best-route-climb-kilimanjaro/
Percentage by Route
Finally, another way to avoid crowds on your Kilimanjaro climb is to book a private climb during the rainy season. The long rainy season begins around the first of March and runs through the end of May.
The short rainy season is in November.
Of course, this is weather and nobody can predict the weather. Not even computer models. Don’t believe us? Watch the weather on the evening news, make your outdoor plans like camping or a wedding and see what happens.
Anyway, if you are an avid outdoors person and don’t mind a little rain (or a lot see the previous paragraph) then book a private climb during the rainy season and have the mountain to yourself. You can even book the Marangu route since you’ll sleep in huts and not have to worry about sleeping in tents on the wet ground. Keep in mind, the rain usually rolls in in the afternoon once you are already at camp.
We hope this helps you make a decision on how to avoid the crowds on your Kilimanjaro climb.