Mount Kilimanjaro is the fourth-most prominent volcano peak in the World and the highest mountain in Africa – proudly standing 5895 m (from sea-level) in the spectacular country of Tanzania. It has three distinct volcano peaks: Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira. Kibo is still active although dormant.
Mt Kilimanjaro is the highest freestanding mountain on earth – it is not part of a range making it a photographers and trampers dream.
There are seven official trekking routes of which approx. 20,000 climbers complete the trek to the top each year.
Track Names: Lemosho, Machame, Marangu, Mweka (decent only), Rongai, Shira (evacuation), Arrow Glacier and Umbwe.
Treks usually take six to seven days.
Marangu Route – also known as the Coca Cola Route is considered the most scenic but steeper route. It can be done in 5 days but should allow for 6. Communal A-frame hut accommodation with matrices is available at every overnight site. If you don’t want to sleep in a tent this is the route for you. Beer, Chocolate, Mineral Water and Soft drinks are also sold at most sites! Same route up and back.
Rongai Route – is the on the North Eastern side of the mountain along the Kenya/Tanzania border. It is also one of the quietest routes.
Machame Route – is possibly the busiest and most successful route. Accommodation is usually in tents carried by mountain porters. Can complete in 6 days but allow 7 days. Other routes join this route on day 3 – return via Mweka route. some areas are physically demanding with ridges.
Lemosho Route – offers some of the nicest views with forest on the lower slopes and looking across the Shira Plateau. It is a fairly quiet route until you meet up with Machame Route. It is the longest ascent but that assist with acclimatisation too.
Mount Kilimanjaro, often called Kili is located in the Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania. It is a free standing mountain making it most recognisable.
High elevation, low temperatures and occasional winds are key factors affecting Mt Kilimanjaro climbers. Adequate training, correct equipment and altitude acclimatisation is essential. 90 % of all climbers make it to the summit and the ones that don’t are usually because of the altitude.
Altitude sickness – lack of oxygen pressure caused by high altitude usually begins at altitudes of 1500-2000 m and can affect the healthiest and fittest of any person. Symptoms include headache, shortness of breath, fatigue, stomach illness, dizziness but can develop into more serious conditions. It is important to pre-acclimatise for at least 24 hours at high altitude, ascend slowly and avoid alcohol prior to strenuous activity.
Now that you are suitably scared, the routes on Kilimanjaro are primarily walking tracks – you don’t need to be a mountaineer to reach the summit – however some parts are steep and covered with boulders.
Its always a good idea to take your time – go ‘pole pole’ Swahili for slow – not only will you avoid altitude sickness but you will enjoy the scenery – maybe spot a chameleon hiding in the branches, see butterflies, listen to streams rushing over boulders, enjoy the view and if you are very lucky you may also spot a honey badger (nocturnal), bushbaby (nocturnal), tree hydrax,bush pig or blue monkey.
The average trek is approx. USD2,000 – 3,000 per person so start saving.
Should you wish to climb Mt Kilimanjaro you will need to pre-book with an agency. You can not climb by yourself. You will be provided with a guide, his assistant, a cook and several porters which assists with the local economy.
Bookings should be at least six months in advance.
This is a unique experience and one that should be combined with a small group safari – while you are in the area make sure you include Kenya & Tanzania.
There are two main trekking seasons for Mount Kilimanjaro – which correspond with the regions ‘dry seasons’ Jan – mid March and June to October. September is often the busiest month of the year on the mountain. Although it is the dry season, it will probably rain at least once on your trek. It is possible to still trek most of the rest of the year but often the summit is sheathed in thick cloud and/or too much snow.