A taste of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro : “The Roof of Africa” is none other than Mount Kilimanjaro. It takes willpower, commitment, and desire to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. However, the summit also offers benefits such as views of the African ice caps, strolls through cloud forests covered in moss, interactions with elephants, and, of course, the opportunity to stand at the highest point on the continent. Rising 19,341 feet (5,895 metres) above sea level in the heart of northern Tanzania, it shatters through cloud cover to reveal three millions-year-old volcanic cones. You’re interested in Africa’s highest peak, which is why you came across this site. One of the most well-liked trekking locations in the world is Mount Kilimanjaro. This comprehensive travel guide contains professional advice to help you get ready for one of the most amazing climbing safari experiences of your life.

About Mount Kilimanjaro.

Situated in Tanzania, Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa. At 19,341 feet (5,895 metres) in altitude, it is the focal point of Tanzania’s spectacular Kilimanjaro National Park, located in the country’s extreme north. In reality, it is a dormant volcano made up of three primary cones. Stretching from Mawenzi in the west to Shira (the lowest) in the east, they are about equally spaced apart. Typically, hikers aim for the central cone, Kibo. That’s where Uhuru Peak sits, perched above the crater on a cliff, the highest point on Kilimanjaro and the destination of most expeditions.

Kilimanjaro is a bifurcated mountain. Because they are softer, the northern slopes have far less vegetation. They disappear into the sinews of dusty scree and lava chutes that lead to the Tanzania-Kenya border. A verdant ring of montane and cloud forests envelops the south, while the sharply angular summits of Uhuru and Mawenzi tower over it.

The Saddle Plateau is one of Kilimanjaro’s most distinctive characteristics. At about 14,400 feet (4,400 metres), the mountain sort of flattens out, creating a tabletop area between the smaller craters with Kibo in the centre. Good news for hikers: the whole Saddle is over 14.9 miles (24 km) long, providing enough room for several acclimatization camps! Are you still curious to find out more?

History of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

It is estimated that the volcanic activity that created Mount Kilimanjaro’s cloud-shattering summit began about a million years ago and lasted for some 500,000 years. It gave rise to a massive peak that has generated legends among people. The Swahili Chagga people of Tanzania report old elephant burial sites located atop the mountain. Some have proposed it as the possible origin of the River Nile, which sustains life.

Kilimanjaro climbing attempts were not documented until the Germans arrived in East Africa in the latter part of the 1800s. After a previous unsuccessful attempt, Hans Meyer and his Austrian climbing partner Ludwig Purtscheller are now celebrated as the first Europeans to reach the summit of Kibo crater and successfully complete the Kilimanjaro walk, which they accomplished in 1889. With the assistance of a group of Swahili porters and camp builders, they succeeded.

Since then, the appeal of climbing Kilimanjaro and the legendary Roof of Africa has only increased. Today, the mountain provides employment for a thriving business of climbers and climb aides in Tanzania; estimates have the number of jobs it supports at 11,000 or more. It is estimated that between 35,000 and 50,000 hikers attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro every year, with only slightly more than two-thirds reaching the summit and finishing the walk.

Getting to Mount Kilimanjaro.

Taking a flight to the Kilimanjaro International Airport, where your ascent of Kilimanjaro begins, is the best way to arrive at the foot of the magnificent mountain. However, it’s more than just the starting point for the hikes up to Africa’s highest peak. It’s also an ideal location for seeing the Ngorongoro Crater, the savannahs of Tarangire National Park, and the safari hotspots of Arusha National Park. This implies that there will be fierce competition for flights, so make sure to arrive early to make your reservation. Fortunately, a healthy mix of long-haul airlines operate out of major European hubs like Amsterdam Schiphol and Middle Eastern hubs like Istanbul and Doha. Arrivals from African locations, such as Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, and Entebbe, are also plentiful.

 An overview of Moshi, Tanzania.

Moshi is regarded as the charming, dilapidated centre of the entire Kilimanjaro region. Kilimanjaro is the starting point for most excursions to climb the mountain, and the area is loud with the sounds of honking 4X4s and sobbing herds of goats. You can hardly move for hikers during peak climbing season (more on that below); some are young and eager to go, while others are tanned and exhausted but have one item fewer on their bucket list: hiking Mount Kilimanjaro to the summit.

Don’t leave Moshi too soon in search of the trailheads. Spend some time exploring the bustling Chagga Street bazaar or meandering through the Mbuyuni market booths along Double Road to fully experience everything Tanzania has to offer. These are active marketplaces where you can purchase everything from unique healing roots from Maasai medicine men (not advised!) to old hiking equipment.

Moshi also offers excellent food to assist you replenish your energy after climbing Kilimanjaro or to help you refuel before your descent. That takes the shape of numerous coffee shops, a few Italian cooks, and Indian cookhouses serving fiery curries from across the Arabian Sea. After all, you’re in one of Tanzania’s most productive bean-growing districts, right?

You’ll probably undertake your trekking in Moshi if you’re on an organized tour and you haven’t already signed up for your group at the airport. It is the beginning location for the Machame Route, which is around a 30- to 40-minute drive northwest of town. This is where you will depart on the first day.

When is the best time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

So you want to go up Kilimanjaro at the right time of year. The prevailing consensus is to avoid the wet seasons when ascending Mount Kilimanjaro. There are two of such in Tanzania: the long and the short monsoon seasons. The first is over really quickly, as the name suggests. The first or second week of December is when it ends, lasting from the beginning of November. Between March and May, the second one lasts for almost three months. For hikers who desire what I would consider to be ideal circumstances for their Mount Kilimanjaro ascent, that really only leaves two windows of opportunity.

The busiest months for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro are July through October, which also offers the best trekking weather conditions. Rainfall averages 0.8 inches (20 millimeters) over 30 days, which is a quarter of what it was just three months before. This results in clearer sky and better views of Tanzania’s countryside as you climb Kilimanjaro. The increase in traffic on the Kilimanjaro routes is the primary drawback. Climbers are most active on popular routes to the summit, such as the Machame Route, between July and August. This is primarily because it is during the European holiday; therefore, as October approaches, things ought to cool out a bit and less people should be trying to climb Kilimanjaro. Because it’s Tanzania’s winter season, expect some nights below zero.

January to February: This is one of the ideal months to climb Kilimanjaro, as it falls between the short and lengthy wet seasons. From July to October, it stays dry and is much warmer than the window, making your Kilimanjaro trip more comfortable. Additionally, it doesn’t fall on any significant US or European holidays, which helps to moderate crowds. The only thing to keep in mind is that, come afternoon, you do run the risk of losing the vistas. Usually clear in the mornings, heat hazes and clouds might build up by 1 o’clock in the afternoon, spoiling the breathtaking views of Kilimanjaro’s ascent.

It’s not necessary to adhere to the aforementioned seasons in order to successfully climb Kilimanjaro. In actuality, you may ascend Mount Kilimanjaro at any time of year. The monsoons simply add an element of unpredictability to the equation, which reduces the likelihood that your Kilimanjaro walk will be successful. More practically, you should prepare for muddy routes and torrential downpours when travelling during the rainy season.

Mount Kilimanjaro climbing routes.

What is the duration required to ascend Kilimanjaro? From base to summit, the walk takes five to seven nights, depending on the climbing route you choose. Arguably, the most crucial aspect of preparing to climb Mount Kilimanjaro is selecting the appropriate climbing route. There are seven different ways to climb Kilimanjaro, and each one offers a different perspective on the peak and a different price. These routes are the Northern Circuit, Machame, Marangu, Shira, Lemosho, Umbwe, and Rongai.

One could include a plodding seven-night climb to the summit. An alternative would be a fast five-day run from base to summit, although this would take a lot of training and pre-acclimatization to climb Kili by this method. Depending on which trek you take, you’ll encounter diverse scenery as you ascend Kili, such as cloud forest, montane jungle, or scree. Each trail passes a different portion of the peak on route to the top. On the upper Saddle Plateau, though, as you prepare for the last push up Uhuru Peak, most people converge.

Machame – Now the most common path of all for climbers on Kilimanjaro, Machame involves three days of trekking high and then sleeping at camps that are lower down on the way to the summit. As a result, the Machame path has an overall success rate of 85% for the seven-day version of the Kilimanjaro walk, which has been shown to aid in acclimatization. See why people like Machame? But it’s more difficult than Marangu. The Machame Route is known as the “Whisky Route” for this same reason. After emerging from the rainforests on the south slopes, camp for the duration of the hike and be prepared for difficult climbs.

Marangu – Because it is the most well-known and well-established route, many refer to Marangu as the “Coca-Cola Route.” It’s also thought to be the simplest Kilimanjaro hike. Currently, the entire Marangu route offers hut accommodations, saving you from having to set up tents and haul heavy equipment up Kilimanjaro. Marangu can be finished in five days, but it frequently takes longer due to pre-acclimatization on Mount Meru or another location. Stable ascent and descent along the same route on Kilimanjaro’s southeast flank make Marangu an excellent option for novice climbers.

Shira: Starting at the Shira Gate, the Shira Route climbs Kilimanjaro by round the Saddle and connecting with the Machame Route prior to the final push to the summit. Typically, experienced climbers only utilize this route to summit Kilimanjaro; it is definitely not recommended for individuals on their first long-distance trip. This is because the route starts at an already strenuous elevation of about 11,480 feet (3,500 metres).

Lemosho – Generally regarded to be the most stunning of all the ways to hike Kilimanjaro to the summit, Lemosho starts on the western side of the park, close to the gate for the Shira Route. Although it starts at 7,500 feet (2,286 metres) above sea level rather than 11,000, it offers greater acclimatization from the start and follows a different route up Kilimanjaro through the lower forests. Along this route to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, sightings of herds of elephants other unusual wildlife are more regular, and you should discover that the path is not quite as crowded as the heavily travelled Machame.

Umbwe: The Umbwe Route may be worth considering for those who identify as Jimmy Chins. Of all the routes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the Umbwe path is the most difficult. Umbwe begins with two days of extremely steep hiking across the south slope’s exposed alpine zones and rainforests. Later, Umbwe either retraces his steps to the Western Breach, one of the few truly technical sections of the Kilimanjaro climb that is only accessible by very experienced mountaineers, or joins with the Machame Route to reach the summit. In either case, trekking in Umbwe is guaranteed to be tough but worthwhile.

Rongai: The only route up Kilimanjaro that takes one to the summit from the mountain’s northern flank, the Rongai Route starts almost exactly where Tanzania and Kenya meet. The reasonably easy slopes on this side of the peak are utilised during the five- to seven-day trip, albeit this can make full acclimatization during Kilimanjaro climbing a little challenging. Typically, descents take place on the mountain’s southern flank.

Northern Circuit: Combining the best of the Rongai and Shira pathways into a single nine-day adventure, the Northern Circuit is one of the more recent methods to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. The main attraction is that this route offers a more distinctive ascent of Kilimanjaro since it allows you to witness areas of the volcanic Saddle that are inaccessible by other routes.

You should also be aware of the Mweka Route of climbing Kilimanjaro. It features a solitary camp pit stop along the way and is only used for south-facing mountain descents. It ends at the Mweka Gate, from where it takes just thirty-five minutes to return to Moshi. Unable to choose the best course of action for you? Get in touch with my team at The Explorer’s Passage, the world’s top adventure tour business, for a complimentary trip consultation to determine which option is ideal for your Kilimanjaro hike!

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