There are several different routes to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, and each route has its own entry gates or starting points. These entry gates are located at the base of the mountain, and are the starting point for the various hiking and climbing routes. Some of the most popular entry gates for Mount Kilimanjaro include the Marangu Gate, the Mweka Gate, and the Rongai Gate. These gates are located on different sides of the mountain, and offer different experiences and challenges for hikers.
Climbing Kilimanjaro begins from the time to decide to take on this amazing challenge but the actual climb of the mountain begins right at the entrance gate. Each route has its entrance point that ushers you into the Kilimanjaro National Park to begin the trekking to the summit then another gate for exiting the mountain after climbing. These gates are important checkpoints in your expedition because it is here that you will meet your mountain crew, made up of porters, guides, and cooks. it is also here that you will be registered by the park officials before embarking on your journey to the top of the mountain.
The key starting sites for any Kilimanjaro climb adventure are the Tanzanian cities of Moshi and Arusha, most preferably Moshi as it is the closest major town to Mount Kilimanjaro. Most tour companies have their headquarters in one of these cities, which is bustling with activity and offers a wide variety of excellent lodging options, dining establishments, stores, and marketplaces.
The Entrance and Exit gates of Kilimanjaro
Every ascent begins at one of the trailheads chosen by the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority (KINAPA). Here are some of them: Lemosho and the Northern Circuit treks use the Londorossi Gate. At 2360 m or 7740 f, the trailhead’s starting point. Nevertheless, keep in mind that the majority of the journey begins higher, in the Lemosho Glades at 11,500 ft (3,500 m). This is carried out to provide a painless acclimation process.
With a Lemosho or Northern Circuit route, your Kilimanjaro trek will only have a total elevation gain of 2,395 meters (7,840 ft). Now, it doesn’t seem quite so intimidating, does it?
At 8860 ft, Marangu Gate is located (2700 m). The most well-known hike on Kilimanjaro, the Marangu trail, begins here. We can estimate your total elevation gain on this route to be 10,480 feet (3,195 meters) using some basic math.
All Machame route excursions begin at Machame Gate. 5720 ft (1740 m) above sea level is its elevation. Thus, the total height gained when ascending Mount Kilimanjaro through the Machame route is 13,620 feet (4,155 meters).
The Rongai trail, the only trip that approaches Kilimanjaro from the North, begins at Nalemuru Gate. It has an elevation rise of 12,940 feet or 3,945 meters and is situated at 6,400 feet or 1,950 meters above sea level.
You must go 14,090 feet (4,295 meters) up the mountain to access the difficult Umbwe Route, which begins at 5,250 feet (1,600 meters).
Where do Mount Kilimanjaro climbs begin and end?
All Kilimanjaro climbs begin at the various entrance gates assigned for each route. Most routes use a different gate for exiting the mountain except the Marangu Route which uses the same route to go up and down the mountain, hence using the same gate to enter and exit. Mountain hiking expeditions are one of the park’s main attractions. Mountain Kilimanjaro National Park has a total size of 756 square kilometers.
The several gates that serve as entry and departure points for the Mountain Kilimanjaro National Park are described here.
What do you do at the gates of Mount Kilimanjaro?
The gates of Kilimanjaro serve an important purpose, where you meet and greet your mountain crew. But most importantly, at the gate tourists undergo through document inspection that may inlcude:
- Registration and paperwork for identification purposes in case of any emergency
- Verifying your passport and visa
- Confirming your itinerary as proof for your mountain climbing expedition
- To show proof of use of a registered tour/safari guide
- Showing proof of resources to assist you on your trek and accommodation in Kilimanjaro national park such as a porter, food, tents and many more.
The Marangu gate serves as both an entrance and exit to Mount Kilimanjaro National Park. It marks the beginning of the Marangu hiking path and the conclusion of the Marangu and Rongai hiking trails. The most well-liked hiking path on Mount Kilimanjaro is known as Marangu Gate, and plenty of trekkers utilize it when ascending the mountain.
Marangu gate is located in the Marangu village neighborhood on the southern slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. It is approximately an hour’s drive from Moshi city and two hours from the closest airport.
The gate is home to the majority of the TANAPA park authority offices, where you may also meet your guides and porters. The gate’s immediate surroundings include several homes, stores, small eateries, a huge guarded parking lot, and hotels.
Marangu gate is located 6.8 km from Mandara huts camping, 7.3 km from Maundi crater, 14.5 km from Horombo huts campsite, 16.3 km from Zebra cliffs, and 19.3 km from Mweka hut campsite.
Read more about the Marangu gate
One of the park’s entrances is the Machame gate, which is situated in a remote area of Machame in the southern foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Despite its isolated position, the gate has several paved roads linking the gate to the surrounding areas. The gate sits on the edge of the montane woods.
All hikers using the Machame trekking route to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro must register at the gate before beginning their hike, entering Kilimanjaro National Park, and paying park fees. Machame gate is home to several offices of TANAPA park authorities and serves as the administrative starting point for all hikers. This gate is smaller than others in the park, including Marangu Gate, and it serves as a starting and ending point for climbers of Mount Kilimanjaro.
The Umbwe gate is 4.8 kilometers away, the Machame Hut campground is 9.2 kilometers away, the Umbwe cave campsite is 9.8 kilometers away, and the Mweka gate is 1.5 kilometers away. Few scattered buildings near Machame gate.
Read more about the Machame gate
The Umbwe trekking route is an ascent-only route, which accounts for its lower popularity when compared to other routes like Marangu gate. Umbwe gate is another gate of Kilimanjaro national park that serves as the starting point for the Umbwe trekking route solely. Umbwe gate is located a hundred meters from the mountain’s edge on the southern slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, amidst montane woods.
The gate is accessible through paved roads and is located in the suburb of Umbwe, which is sparsely inhabited with a few scattered buildings.
Despite the tiny size, few amenities, and infrequent utilization of the gate, Moshi may be reached by car in approximately an hour. For park visitors, Umbwe Gate acts as an administrative checkpoint where they must register and satisfy all criteria. Additionally, you may pay park fees and permits at the entrance (which does not have a cash system and instead accepts credit/debit cards).
Machame gate is 4.8 kilometers away from Umbwe gate, Mweka gate is 7.6 kilometers away, Umbwe cave campground is 8.2 kilometers away, Mweka hut campsite is 10.4 kilometers away, and Machame hut campsite is 10.6 kilometers away.
Read more about the Umbwe gate
The Mweka path is solely used by descending hikers as an exit point; for admission, they can use other gates. Mweka gate is an exit point of Mount Kilimanjaro National Park and is used by hikers on the Mweka route. On the southern edge of Mount Kilimanjaro, close to Uru West Ward of Moshi Rural District, is where Mweka Gate is situated. The gate is flanked by a number of residential homes, greenery, and patches of forest trees.
Mweka gate is reachable by using road transportation along the Mweka Route, which includes cars and bicycles. The gate also serves as an exit point for several routes, including the northern circuit, Lemosho, Shira, Machame, and Umbwe routes. Mweka gate is located 7.6 kilometers from Mweka hut campsite, 7.6 kilometers from Umbwe gate, 10.3 kilometers from Millennium campsite, 11.1 kilometers from Umbwe cave campsite, and 12 kilometers from Karanga Hut campsite. The majority of hikers who use the gate are coming from Millenium campsite or Mweka hut.
Read more about the Mweka gate
The entrance to Mount Kilimanjaro National Park is known as Lemosho gate, also known as Lemosho Glades Trail Head.
This gate is situated in Lemosho settlement, in the northwest foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, and is encircled by plantations. The Lemosho hiking track begins at the Lemosho gate, where hikers may also register with park officials, complete their last safari preparations, and meet their porter.
Lemosho gate is located 9.5 kilometers from Shira 1 campsite, 15.7 kilometers from Shira 2 campsite, and 16.3 kilometers from Shira Cave campsite. It is very accessible by road and is located at distances of 7 kilometers from Mti Mkubwa camp, 4.6 kilometers from Londorsi gate, and 15.7 kilometers from Shira 1 campsite.
Read more about the Lemosho gate
Located in the northwest slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, Londorossi Gate is a gateway into the national park. It is 40 kilometers from the northern boundary between Kenya and Tanzania and is surrounded by large trees from montane forests.
The Londorossi gate is the only gate on Mount Kilimanjaro that is located far from hiking routes; it is used by hikers from the Lemosho glades trailhead (Lemosho gate) or murram barrier gate. The gate is home to many TANAPA and park authority offices and serves as the administrative and starting point for Shira trail and Lemosho hiking routes. Before utilizing this gate to enter the park and the mountain, you must register there and undergo a thorough check.
It is 4.6 kilometers from Lemosho gate, 5.9 kilometers from Mti Mkubwa campground, 11.9 kilometers from Shira 1 campsite, 18.7 kilometers from Shira 2 campsite, and 19.6 kilometers from Shira cave campsite before Londorsi gate, which is reachable by road.
Read more about the Londorossi gate
The Rongai gate is a mountain Kilimanjaro national park entrance gate. It is situated on the narrow Kilimanjaro e north-eastern foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro and is so near to the Kenya-Tanzania border that it is surrounded by plantations and forests. A tiny village and many rivers had their beginnings in the vicinity of the gate.
Rongai Gate is the beginning point for the Rongai Gate that only leads to Mount Kilimanjaro’s Uhuru Peak. This gate is home to a few TANAPA and park administration buildings and acts as an administrative stop for all tourists entering the Mount Kilimanjaro National Park and Mount Kilimanjaro.
Rongai gate is rarely utilized due to its distant position and tiny size. It is also located far from a major tourist hub and is 3 hours by car from Arusha and 2 hours from Moshi, which contributes to its rarely used status.
Rongai gate is located 5.9 kilometers from Simba campground, 10.7 kilometers from the second cave campsite, 11.7 kilometers from the Kikelelwa campsite, and 13.2 kilometers from the third cave campsite. Visitors from these cities may reach the gate through a paved tarmac road.
Read more about the Rongai gate
Starting your Kilimanjaro climbs
As you can see, hiking Mount Kilimanjaro does not always entail ascending 5,895 meters (19,340 feet) to the summit. Always keep in mind that the beginning of the trekking excursions is not at sea level, and depending on the route, hikers may have an advantage here.
Never make the mistake of assuming that the journey would be simpler the higher you start. The key to a successful summit is proper acclimatization, hence we strongly advise taking into account Kilimanjaro itineraries with 7 extra days.
Our data shows that Uhuru Peak climbs are routinely more successful on 7 or 8 day Kilimanjaro hikes.
Read more here if you’re curious about how we get our statistics and which routes are the most effective.
Or ask one of our consultants; they are always willing to assist.
Entering the Kilimanjaro National Park
Mount Kilimanjaro is a large stratovolcano in northeastern Tanzania. It is the highest mountain in Africa, with its summit standing about 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) above sea level. It is a popular destination for hikers and climbers from around the world, who come to attempt to reach the summit. The mountain has several routes to the top, and each route has a number of gateways or entry points where hikers begin their ascent. These gateways are known as the “kilimanjaro gates”.
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