Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s most accessible high summits, a beacon for visitors from around the world. Not only is this the highest peak on the African continent; it is also the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, rising in breathtaking isolation from the surrounding coastal scrubland – elevation around 900 meters – to an imperious 5,895 meters (19,336 feet). Most climbers reach the crater rim with little more than a walking stick, proper clothing, and determination. And those who reach Uhuru Point, the actual summit, or Gillman’s Point on the lip of the crater, will have earned their climbing certificates.
And their memories.
But there is so much more to Kili than her summit. The ascent of the slopes is a virtual climatic world tour, from the tropics to the Arctic.
Even before you cross the national park boundary (at the 2,700m contour), the cultivated foot slopes give way to lush mountain forest, inhabited by elusive elephant, leopard, buffalo, the endangered Abbot’s duiker, and other small antelope and primates. Higher still lays the moorland zone, where a cover of giant heather is studded with otherworldly giant lobelias.
Above 4,000m, a surreal alpine desert supports little life other than a few hardy mosses and lichen. Then, finally, the last vestigial vegetation gives way to a winter wonderland of ice and snow – and the magnificent beauty of the roof of the continent.
The mountain is located to Northern Tanzania near to Moshi town, The size of the Mountain is 1668 sq km 641 sq miles). It is 128 km (80 miles) away from Arusha and one hour’s drive from Kilimanjaro airport. Six usual trekking routes to the summit and other more-demanding mountaineering routes.
Day or overnight hikes on the Shira plateau. Nature trails on the lower reaches.
Visit the beautiful Chala crater lake on the mountain’s southeastern slopes.
When to Visit: Clearest and warmest conditions from December to February, but also dry (and colder) from July-September
Huts and campsites on the mountain.
Several hotels and campsites outside the park in the village of Marangu and the town of Moshi.
Climb slowly to increase your acclimatization time and maximize your chances of reaching the summit.
To avoid altitude sickness, allow a minimum of five nights, preferably even more for the climb. Take your time and enjoy the beauty of the mountain.