Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest peak in Africa, standing 5985m above sea level

It is a giant dormant stratovolcano with a 750,000 years old vintage. Other names for this volcano are: Kilima Dscharo, Oldoinyo Oibor (white mountain in Masai), and Kilima Njaro meaning shining mountain in Swahili.

It is an agglomeration of three volcanic cones – Kibo, Mawenzi (to the east) and Shira(to the west). Kibo is the volcano’s highest and youngest cone.

The summit is on the Kibo cone and is named Uhuru, which means freedom in Swahili. The last major eruption was 350,000 years ago.

The journey to the glittering peaks of the plateau is a trek through five distinct habitat zones and varying altitudes.

Cultivated zone – 800m – 1800m.

Rainforest zone – 1800m – 2800m.

Heather Moorland zone-   2800m – 4000m

Highland Desert zone -4000m – 5000m.

Arctic zone- 5000m – 5895m

Kilimanjaro has three distinct altitude zones. The effects of altitude first show up once you reach the 2400m mark

High altitude (2,500 – 3,500 metres)

Very high altitude (3,500 – 5,500 metres)

Extreme altitude (above 5,500 metres)

Kilimanjaro is welcoming around the year.  But the dry months of January-February and July-October are the best time to climb.

There are 6 established routes to reach the summit. Each route has its own unique offerings and presents varying degrees of challenges and sceneries.

The mountain can be scaled in a minimum of 5 days. But a longer ascent profile is advised. A minimum of seven days on the trail gives you more time for rest and acclimatization. Lemosho, Rongai and Machame are our picks

The trek is expensive and cost anywhere between $1000-$4000. It’s mandatory to use a sanctioned local tour operator. You can hire equipment on rent too. Get in touch in advance for gear and size specifics. Hiring local helps you save money

Trekkers are to be accompanied by a registered and licensed guide. Straying off the official routes  as well as staying in bivouacs or caves is  strictly prohibited

Tip the porters and guides generously

Kilimanjaro is a ‘Leave No Trace’ area, and you are required to take your waste back with you

Fork out extra for a portable loo from your outfitter. Relieving yourself behind the sparse bushes isn’t an exciting thought. Pack those toilet paper rolls. You will thank yourself for that later

It’s a “non-technical climb” doesn’t translate into an easy climb. It’s partly hike, part slog, and partly high altitude trek. So you would do well to improve your fitness and undertake high altitude training.

Hydration is extremely important. Carry water purification tablets. You wouldn’t want your dream cut short by a bad bout of stomach infection

The push to the Uhuru summit begins at midnight. It’s a cold hard trek. But the view of the sunrise from the top is mesmerising

Learn some Swahili, heed your guide, make friends, give yourself the best chance of acclimatizing observe the principles of climb high/sleep low, pole pole your way to the top