How hard is it to hike to Everest Base Camp compared to Kilimanjaro?

Most people think Everest Base Camp is higher than Kilimanjaro but surprise surprise, it is not. Base camp of Everest (or rather Kala Pathar – the little hill you climb up above base camp) is actually 5545m, whereas Kilimanjaro summit is 5895m.

People also think it is a tougher hike than Kilimanjaro, but Kilimanjaro is actually regarded as tougher by those who have done both.

How hard is it to hike to Everest Base Camp compared to Kilimanjaro?

First things first base camp is a hike it’s not a climb! It entails a lot of hills, so there are a lot of ascents and descents along the route as you steadily gain altitude. By contrast, Kilimanjaro is a climb. You start at the base and unless you are on a route that goes from Lava Tower back down to Barranco camp, it is a climb all the way to the summit with the summit pull being the toughest part.

How hard is it to hike to Everest Base Camp compared to Kilimanjaro?

There is nothing technical about either of the two. Neither have the need for crampons, ropes or any technical equipment. The most technical piece of equipment you will have is hiking boots.

Both of these treks involve ascending to a high altitude and without a doubt this is what makes both Everest Base Camp and Kilimanjaro challenging. Over the course of 4-5 days on Kilimanjaro you climb 4000m. On the base camp of Everest trek you ascend 2545m over 7 days.  For this reason, any itinerary that includes extra acclimitisation days is highly beneficial.

Tengboche Monastery

Conditions on Kilimanjaro are less ‘tourist friendly” than on the base camp trek. The route to Everest base is lined by small villages with tea houses and lodges. You can buy all types of food, water, sweets, toiletries and even medicine in some places. Even wifi! On Kilimanjaro it is a case of just places to sleep either in the form of mountain huts or camp areas. There are long drop toilets and only Marangu route offers facilities with some showers or flush toilets.

Cost wise, Everest Base Camp is more affordable and is a longer trek, compared to climbing Kilimanjaro. The scenery on base camp is more varied with a greater cultural experience as well.

Both require a good level of fitness, though the fact that people often underestimate how tough Kilimanjaro summit to Uhuru peak is, is the reason why success rates overall on Kilimanjaro are lower than Everest base camp trek.

Kilimanjaro Rongai Route

Weather wise, Kilimanjaro is best done December to February or June to October, whereas Everest base camp is best done March to July or end September to November.

The main difference of course, is that Kilimanjaro is a mountain with a summit. Everest base camp is just that, a base camp at the base of Mt Everest.

So – which one would or did you choose? If you need a quote for either, contact us on

By Debra Bouwer

Kilimanjaro National Park – UNESCO World Heritage Centre

2 thoughts on “How hard is it to hike to Everest Base Camp compared to Kilimanjaro?

  1. I have done both hikes/treks. I will say that Kilimanjaro is by fare harder seeing that I have done the Western Breach (Arrow Glacier) route. The Everest trek is much more amazing and beautiful than the Kilimanjaro trek.


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