Kilimanjaro Success Rate (How Many People Reach the Summit)

Tristan Balme what is the success rate of climbing kilimanjaro

As someone who has had the privilege of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, I know firsthand how intimidating it can be to take on the highest peak in Africa. In this blog post, I’ll share everything you need to know about climbing Kilimanjaro, from success rates to route options to tour operators.

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro Success Rate

The success rate for climbing Kilimanjaro varies depending on the route taken. On average, the success rate for all routes is around 65%, meaning that 35% of climbers do not make it to the summit. However, there are several factors that can increase your chances of success, including proper acclimatization, physical fitness, and the expertise of your tour operator.

A failed attempt could be due to many factors by most commonly altitude sickness or AMS.

Official Kilimanjaro Success Rate Statistics

The official Kilimanjaro success rate statistics are published annually by the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority. In 2019, the overall success rate for Kilimanjaro was 65.4%. However, it’s important to note that success rates can vary greatly depending on the route taken.

How Hard is it Really to Climb Kilimanjaro?

Climbing Kilimanjaro is considered to be a challenging endeavor, but it’s not impossible. The key to success is proper preparation and a willingness to push yourself physically and mentally. One of the biggest challenges when climbing Kilimanjaro is acclimatization, or adjusting to the high altitude.

Acclimatization on Kilimanjaro

Proper acclimatization is crucial when climbing Kilimanjaro, as it can mean the difference between success and failure. Most tour operators offer routes that allow for gradual acclimatization, such as the Lemosho Route and the Northern Circuit Route. These routes are longer and more expensive, but they give climbers a better chance of reaching the summit.

Kilimanjaro Success Rate by Route

The success rate for climbing Kilimanjaro can vary greatly depending on the route taken. Here’s a breakdown of the success rate by route:

RouteSuccess RateAltitude GainLengthNumber of Days
Northern Circuit95%4400m98km9-10

Rongai Route Success Rate

The Rongai Route is one of the lesser-known routes up Kilimanjaro, but it has a high success rate of around 85%. The route is known for its scenic views and diverse wildlife.

Lemosho Route Success Rate

The Lemosho Route is one of the longer routes up Kilimanjaro, but it has a high success rate of around 90%. The route is known for its scenic beauty and diverse landscape.

Northern Circuit Success Rate

The Northern Circuit Route is the longest route up Kilimanjaro, but it has the highest success rate of all routes, at around 95%. The route is known for its stunning views and diverse wildlife.

Machame Route

The Machame Route is one of the most popular routes up Kilimanjaro, but it has a slightly lower success rate of around 80%. The route is known for its scenic beauty and challenging terrain.

Marangu Route Success Rate

The Marangu Route is the shortest and most direct route up Kilimanjaro, but it has a lower success rate of around 60%. The route is known for its scenic beauty and comfortable accommodations.

Umbwe Route

The Umbwe Route is one of the shortest and steepest routes up Kilimanjaro, with a success rate of around 65%. The route is known for its challenging terrain and stunning views.

Kilimanjaro Tour Operator Success Rates

Choosing the right tour operator can greatly increase your chances of success when climbing Kilimanjaro. Here are some tour operators with high success rates:

  • Zara Tours – 85%
  • Tanzania Expeditions – 80%
  • African Environments – 75%
  • Kilimanjaro Tanzanite Safaris Ltd. – 70%
  • Altezza Travel – 65%

How to Increase Your Chance of Kilimanjaro Summit Success

There are several things you can do to increase your chance of summiting Kilimanjaro:

  • Choose a longer route that allows for gradual acclimatization
  • Train properly in the months leading up to your climb
  • Choose a reputable tour operator with a high success rate
  • Bring proper gear and clothing
  • Stay hydrated and eat enough food during your climb

Kilimanjaro FAQ

Q1. What is the Death Rate of Mount Kilimanjaro?

The death rate for climbing Kilimanjaro is relatively low, at around 1 in 1000 climbers. However, it’s important to note that altitude sickness can be fatal, so proper acclimatization is crucial.

Q2. Which Kilimanjaro Route Has the Best Success Rate?

The Northern Circuit Route has the highest success rate of all routes, at around 95%.

Q3. How Many People Fail to Climb Kilimanjaro?

On average, around 35% of climbers do not reach the summit of Kilimanjaro.

Q4. Is Climbing Kilimanjaro an Achievement?

Climbing Kilimanjaro is a significant achievement, both physically and mentally. It requires months of preparation and training, as well as a willingness to push yourself to your limits. However, it’s important to remember that the ultimate goal is not just to reach the summit, but to enjoy the journey and take in the stunning views along the way.

Summarizing Succeeding On Kilimanjaro

In conclusion, climbing Kilimanjaro is a challenging but rewarding endeavor. With proper preparation, a reputable tour operator, and a willingness to push yourself to your limits, you too can conquer the highest peak in Africa.

Kilimanjaro Travel Planning Cheatsheet


🚑 Should I buy travel insurance for Tanzania?

100% YES! — Tanzania has now introduceed “free” healthcare but it’s only for citizens! Tourists need travel insurance in case anything happens on your visit. Also be aware many policies won't cover high altitude hiking as it's a high risk activity!

(that's right, check the t&c's on your complimentary credit card insurance

I highly recommend World Nomads as you can get specific add-ons for high altitude hiking UP TO 6000m (Which most travel insurance companies don't offer!)

🎫 Do I need a visa for Tanzania?

Probably not — Tanzania now provide a visa on arrival (VoA) for most western countires which allows you stay for up to 90 days. However, some other countries do need a pre-approved eVisa (check here!). VoAs cost $50 USD for a single entry - Note, US Citizens are required to get a Multi-Entry visa which costs $100 USD. (View visa prices here)

If transiting through Kenya (a lot of people fly via Nairobi), you'll need a Kenyan visa too. Visa's cost $20 for a 3 day transit visa and $50 for a toursit visa

(By the way, on both my interactions with the imigration officers in kenya they tried to scam me, so know what your obliged to pay and BRING THE EXACT CASH for the visa!)

💉Do I need any vaccinations for Tanzania?

YES! Make sure you are up-to-date with all your vaccines. Common travel vaccines include Hep A/B + Typhoid, and Diphtheria + Tetanus.

A yellow fever vaccination isn't a requirment to visit Kilimanjaro but is for neighbouring areas in East Africa. In reality, you will might not be allowed back into your home country on your return (I was asked for proof of vaccination upon returning to Australia) so getting this jab prior made for good peace of mind. 

Rabies is an issue in Tanzania but the vaccine is expensive and ineffective as a preventative measure (it only lasts a few years and you'll need to get them again if you require treatment). If bitten by a stray dog seek immediate medical attention!

As always, talk to your GP or specialised travel doctor a few weeks BEFORE you leave.

🏩 What’s the best Kilimanjaro Tour operators?

Your only realy two options here are Kumano Travel and Its a complicated process so I wrote this guide here on the best kumano kodo accomodation options

If you don't want to figure it all out (it's meant to be a holiday after all) you can book a package tour. Here are my recommendations for both guided and self-guided.

🚌 What's the public transport like in Tanzania?

There is a good basic network of local and inter-city busses in Tanzania and travel this way is very cheap. Domestic flight are also very affordable and a far more comfortable option. Checkout Busbora for booking bus tickets online.

📲 How do I get internet/data/wifi in Tanzania and on the mountain?

This one needs a whole nother article, but the short version is prepaid SIM cards are cheap and availible to tourists and locals alike (You don't need a pricey tourst SIM!)

Your cheapest option is buying a physical sim card on the street corner once landed and getting the shop assistant to help you set it up. I went with Vodacom and had generally good coverage, even up on Kili!

Another option if you're visiting other African countries is the Nomad eSIM. This is a little more expensive but gives you connectivity across 14 neighbouring African Countries!

✈️ What’s the best site to buy flights to Tanzania?

For finding cheap flights, I recommend Skyscanner. Once you find the flight you're looking for, I'd then suggest booking directly with the carrier (even if it costs a few $$ more than with one of the agreggators/agencies).

💧Can you drink the water in Tanzania?

Safest not to — tap water in Tanzania may be OK (the locals drink it) but is generally untreated and not reccommended for tourists. Purchase bottled water for drinking and teeth brushing.

🏔️💧Can you drink the water on Mount Kilimanjaro?

Yes — Your tour company with ensure the water provided to you is safe to drink by either carrying in bottled water, or by treating stream water with purification tablets or by boiling it. If you want to drink water from the rivers and streams you generally can but should do so at your own risk. ALWAYS follow best practice and drink from fast flowing water as far up stream as possible. I'd also recommend a Brita Water Bottle for rehydrating on the trail safely. 


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