Work Begins Soon on Kilimanjaro Cable Car

In December 2020, officials in Tanzania approved installing a cable car on Mount Kilimanjaro. On Tuesday, November 30, 2021, Tanzania’s deputy minister for natural resources and tourism announced that construction would begin soon. The improvement is a part of the nation’s broader plan to revitalize recreational tourism.

Measuring 5,895m at its Uhuru summit on the Kibo volcanic cone, Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest point and the world’s tallest freestanding mountain. According to the Tanzanian National Parks Authority, the cable car will end at Kilimanjaro’s 3,700m mark, some 2,000m shy of the summit. This will make it the fourth-highest cable car in the world, after the Merida gondola in Venezuela (4,765m), the new Swiss aerial tram to Klein Matterhorn (3,883m), and the cable car to the Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix (3,842m).

Cable car on the Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix, France. Photo: Shutterstock

Kilimanjaro cable car route

According to an Outside article from February 2021, the cable car route will follow Kilimanjaro’s southern Machame route. Due to its numerous ecosystems, proximity to the main thoroughfare, and summit success rate, Machame is one of Kili’s most popular drags. Park officials estimate that the Machame route alone rakes in up to half of the park’s visitors.

Reportedly, the route will comprise six columns, an aerial suspension system, and 15 cable cars suitable for up to six adults per cabin.

Sources close to the matter estimate that the cable car route will begin near the Machame trail’s entry point, nearly 2,000m above sea level. It will likely end at the volcanic Shira Plateau. Officials state that the runs will last around 20 minutes one way.

Machame Route gate. Photo: Polina Meleca via Shutterstock

The cable car launch site will likely run from Machame gate (seen here) to the Shira Plateau. Photo: Polina Meleca/Shutterstock



Hiking remains the most popular way up the mountain, but the physical demands and high altitude put a damper on the peak’s accessibility. Park officials estimated that of the area’s 50,000 annual tourists, 35,000 attempted to broach the summit. How much tourism potential was the nation forfeiting by not providing accessible infrastructure at its crowning destination?

In mid-2019, one study showed that such an infrastructure could increase Tanzania’s tourism numbers by 50%. Thus, the proposed a cable car system on Mount Kilimanjaro, which the government greenlighted late last year.

You can head to the Kilimanjaro National Park website to learn more about developments and the region in general.