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