Mount Kilimanjaro, majestically standing at 5,985m (19,341 ft), making it the tallest mountain in Africa and one of the Seven Summits of the world. It also happens to be the world’s tallest freestanding mountain.
Ironically Kilimanjaro is relatively easy to climb with several routes making it an item on several people’s bucket lists. The mountain consists of three peaks named Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira.
The snow-capped volcano rises dramatically above the vast African plains. That can be seen from as far as Mount Kenya, Africa’s second highest mountain to the North. Uhuru Peak is the highest point of the volcano rim. It is the destination of the many adventure seekers that attempt this mountain every year.
Serious interest in Kilimanjaro dates back to 1884 however, it was not until 1889 that Hans Meyer finally stood on the highest point of the crater rim.
Like many high mountains, the glacier’s of Kilimanjaro are diminishing and it is believed at the current rate they will be completely gone by 2050.
Mount Kilimanjaro Weather and Ecosystem
One approaches this great mountain through various ecosystems encountering varying weather conditions. One starts off by driving through massive cultivated regions of farmland and plantations. These were once covered in dense forest.
The thick lush tropical rainforest is then taken on mostly by foot on the first day and part of the second day of trekking. This rain-forest generally reaches about 2,800m. The temperatures in this zone starts off at a warm 70–80°F and gradually reduces as one ascends.
The Heather zone is the transition between the rainforest and Moorland. Here you encounter the cloud forests usually blanketed in thick mist and fog. The vegetation here is usually thick low growing shrubs.
The Moorland zone is an open area covered with heather, bracken and moss and cool and clear weather to match. Risk of sun burn is very real in this area due to the intense sun. This is normally what you experience on day three and four.
Trekkers then have to go into the alpine desert usually above 14,000 ft. Nights are below freezing temperatures and the sun’s radiation is very intense during the day at this altitude. Effect of altitude also takes its toll in this zone. With noticeable lack of all forms of vegetation. You normally reach this zone on day four or five.
The Summit zone which experiences arctic conditions is finally where all climbers desire to reach. Here there is extreme cold at night and unbearably intense sun during the day. The are is very dry except for the spotty glaciers at the volcanic cone.
To find the best weather on the mountain and surrounding areas, it is better to go there between late December to March and June to October. December to March is usually very cold, and has generally less activity than during the more popular June to October season.
Mount Kilimanjaro Routes
Mount Kilimanjaro has seven primary routes which do not require technical climbing experience or equipment. Anyone in great physical condition and mental strength can go the distance on any of these routes.
It usually takes between 5 and 8 days to make it to the summit depending on the route. The most popular being Marangu route, Machame route and Lemosho route. Others are Rongai route, Umbwe route, Shira route and the Norther circuit.
Mount Kilimanjaro Guides and Fees
To climb Mount Kilimanjaro, you must hire a registered guide. You can arrange your climb with us. Pricing on Kilimanjaro trips depend on the route, length of trip and quality of accommodation.
It is the norm on Kilimanjaro for service provider agencies to includes registered guides, porters, meals and communal gear such as tents, sleeping mats, cutlery and cooking services, and treated drinking water.
Tipping: Gratuities to guides and climbing support staff are not included in the fees. Ideally you will carry cash to offer your tips. Tipping is voluntary and is done at your own discretion. Generally if you so choose to tip, plan on about $250 . $100 goes to the head guide, $50 total to te assistant guides, $50 total to the cooks and $50 total to porters.