The highest mountain in Africa. A dormant volcano in Tanzania which rises approximate 4,900 m (16,000 ft) from its base to 5,895 metres (19,341 ft) above sea level.
REASONS TO CLIMB MOUNT KILIMANJARO
You’ll learn about culture, beliefs, hear local stories and discover a different way of life. It’s an experience that will challenge you physically and very likely change the way you see the world.
Mark an Important Life Event
Whether it’s to mark a personal transition like graduation or for a more selfless reason like raising money for charity – the mountain presents the perfect challenge
It's Glaciers Are Receding
The mountain’s 11,700-year-old glaciers are shrinking. Scientists predict that because of climate change, these glaciers could disappear as early as 2030. A chance to see a natural wonder before it’s gone forever.
Even though it’s one of the easiest summits – it’s still a challenge. You’ll have to walk for 4 to 10 hours a day alongside tough terrain and come face to face with how your body will handle the altitude.
Easiest of the Seven Summits
The Seven Summits are each continent’s highest peaks, although Kilimanjaro is a high-altitude hike, you don’t need ropes, special mountaineering gear or any previous climbing experience.
Great Natural Wonder
It’s more than a pile of rocks,sand and snow. Home to five ecological zones, experience four different climate zones in a week, rare flora and fauna.
Climb a Piece of Tanzania's History
Kilimanjaro called “Uhuru (Freedom)” Peak by the locals. The mountain got this name when it inspired an entire nation to fight for their freedom and become the first African nation to win independence from colonial powers.
Sense of Achievement
Life is all about creating memories and challenging our mind, body and soul. The perfect opportunity to put all three to the test and accomplish what most people only dream about doing.
The Incredible View at the top
An accomplishment and feeling that you will remember for the rest of your life.
Tick Bucket Your List
If Mount Kilimanjaro isn’t on your bucket list it should be. Africa’s tallest mountain and the world’s highest free-standing mountain.
Mount Kilimanjaro is situated in the Northern part of Tanzania, in the Kilimanjaro National Park. It covers an area of 100 kilometres long and 65 kilometres wide.
Accommodation on Mount Kilimanjaro will be in tents brought up by your porter(s). On the Marangu Route, camping is forbidden and instead people have to sleep in huts along the route.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Best time to climb
The mountain can be climbed all year round, There are, however, a couple of rainy seasons – April-May and November-mid-December – that are best avoided.
With its three volcanic cones, “Kibo”, “Mawenzi”, and “Shira”, is a dormant volcano in Tanzania. It is the highest mountain in Africa and rises approximately 4,900 m (16,000 ft) from its base to 5,895 metres (19,341 ft) above sea level.
You can inquire about full moon treks, where the final trek to the summit done at night is under the light of the full moon. Visibility is better and the weather tends to be more settled.
ABOUT MOUNT KILIMANJARO
The origin of the name "Kilimanjaro" is not precisely known, Jim Thompson claimed in 1885, although he also did not support his claim, that the term Kilima-Njaro "has generally been understood to mean" the Mountain (Kilima) of Greatness (Njaro). "Though not improbably it may mean" the "White" mountain. Others have assumed that "Kilima" is Kiswahili for "mountain". The problem with this assumption is that "Kilima" actually means "hill" and is, therefore, the diminutive of "Mlima", the proper Kiswahili word for mountain. However, "It is possible that an early European visitor, whose knowledge of [Kiswahili] was not extensive, changed mlima to kilima by analogy with the two Wachagga names; Kibo and Kimawenzi.
In 1889, Meyer became the first recorded person to successfully climb Mount Kilimanjaro with Austrian mountaineer Ludwig Purtscheller on his third attempt. The success of this attempt was based on the establishment of several campsites with food supplies so that multiple attempts at the top could be made without having to descend too far. Meyer and Purtscheller pushed to near the crater rim on October 3 but turned around exhausted from hacking footsteps in the icy slope. Three days later, on Purtscheller's fortieth birthday, they reached the highest summit on the southern rim of the crater. They were the first to confirm that Kibo has a crater. After descending to the saddle between Kibo and Mawenzi, Meyer and Purtscheller attempted to climb the more technically challenging Mawenzi but could reach only the top of Klute Peak, a subsidiary peak, before retreating due to illness. On October 18, they reascended Kibo to enter and study the crater, cresting the rim at Hans Meyers Notch. In total, Meyer and Purtscheller spent 16 days above 15,000 feet (4,600 m) during their expedition.They were accompanied in their high camps by Mwini Amani of Pangani, who cooked and supplied the sites with water and firewood
The first ascent of the highest summit of Mawenzi was made on 29 July 1912, by the German climbers Edward Oehler and Fritz Klute, who christened it Hans Meyer Peak. Oehler and Klute went on to make the third-ever ascent of Kibo, via the Drygalski Glacier, and descended via the Western Breach.
In 1989, the organizing committee of the 100-year celebration of the first ascent decided to award posthumous certificates to the African porter-guides who had accompanied Meyer and Purtscheller. One person in pictures or documents of the 1889 expedition was thought to match a living inhabitant of Marangu, Yohani Kinyala Lauwo. Lauwo did not know his own age. Nor did he remember Meyer or Purtscheller, but he remembered joining a Kilimanjaro expedition involving a Dutch doctor who lived near the mountain and that he did not get to wear shoes during the climb. Lauwo claimed that he had climbed the mountain three times before the beginning of World War I. The committee concluded that he had been a member of Meyer's team and therefore must have been born around 1871. Lauwo died on 10 May 1996, 107 years after the first ascent, but now is sometimes even suggested as co-first-ascendant of Kilimanjaro
KILIMANJARO NATIONAL PARK
Although the name Mount Kilimanjaro brings to mind images of high peaks, the name also belongs to the natural park surrounding the famous mountain. The park covers an area of 291 square miles and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While many visitors come here for climbing, there’s more to see and do within the park’s borders.
Mount Kilimanjaro National Park is rich in both small and big game. The park itself is a moorland zone, which means you’ll find lush vegetation with plenty of rainfall. Easy hikes are available on the moorland, and you might need to hire an armed park ranger to reach some areas because of the potential danger from leopards, buffalos and other large animals. A trek will also allow you to see baboons, bush pigs, mongooses, elephants and a number of other animals.
Chala Crater Lake
Located on the edge of Mount Kilimanjaro, Lake Chala is inside a high crater rim. The lake covers an area of 1.6 square miles and is one of the park’s most famous sights because of its incredible waters, which range in color from turquoise to emerald green depending on the time of the year. Lake Chala Safari Camp is the only accommodation available near the lake, where visitors can rest or choose to join a tour of the area.
Travellers can also join hiking tours that explore the lower levels of the mountain, around the Shira Plateau. Most hikes take three days and require you to sleep in mountain camps. Expect steep trails and lots of climbing over rocks and tree roots, as these are not well maintained, smooth trails. Hikes will take you to see craters, giant ferns, wildlife and plenty of scenic views.
MOUNT KILIMANJARO CLIMBING ROUTES
There are seven official trekking routes by which to ascend and descend Mount Kilimanjaro: Lemosho, Machame, Marangu, Mweka, Rongai, Shira, and Umbwe. Of all the routes, Machame is considered the most scenic, albeit steeper, route. It can be done in six or seven days. The Rongai is the easiest and least scenic of all camping routes. The Marangu is also relatively easy, but this route tends to be very busy, the ascent and descent routes are the same, and accommodation is in shared huts with all other climbers
Choosing a Kilimanjaro route, which will satisfy your personal requirements as well as contribute towards your eventual summit success, is important. Factors which should be carefully considered includes:
- A Kilimanjaro routes comparison in terms of an authentic wilderness experience
- Kilimanjaro routes distances and trekking costs for each route
- The Kilimanjaro routes success rates and best possible summit prospects
- The possibility of additional days for a safer extended acclimatisation on each trekking route
Below follows a brief summarised comparison of all the current Kilimanjaro routes. For more detailed information regarding each of these Mount Kilimanjaro routes, including routes distances and route success rates, please contact us so that one of our safari experts can assist you.
The Machame route is our most popular and successful route leading to the summit of Kilimanjaro. Hikers sleep in tents which are carried up the mountain by porters. The Machame route is a very scenic and beautiful route, which can be completed in 6 days, however we strongly recommend hiking the route in 7 days, allowing for more time to acclimatise. The key to the success of the Machame route is its topography, allowing hikers to climb high and sleep low, helping towards better acclimatisation. There are however two drawbacks on this route:
- Firstly hikers will need to pass an area just before the Shira ridge and hike the Barranco Wall, both of which are physically demanding and also present a potential problem for hikers with a fear of heights.
- The second problem relates to the route’s high success rate, compounded by the fact that other routes join the Machame route from day 3 onwards – higher numbers of hikers can be therefore be encountered on this route.
4-5 days Ascent, 5-7 days including descent
Also known as the “Coca Cola route” – the Marangu route is one of the most popular routes leading to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Many hikers believe that the Marangu route is the easiest route to Uhuru peak, since it is the only route which can be hiked in 5 days (making it the cheapest option). It is also the only route offering accommodation on the mountain, in A-frame huts.
It is unfortunately a well-known fact, that the 5 day Marangu route has one of the lowest summit success rates of all the routes up mountain. If you choose the Marangu route, we strongly recommend hiking the route over 6 days, to increase your chance to reach the summit successfully. This is the only route, which provides comfortable communal sleeping huts, equipped with beds and mattresses at every overnight site. Mineral water, soft drinks, beer and chocolates are also sold at most sites. The Marangu route utilises the same route for ascend and descend.
4-6 days Ascent, 5-7 days including descent
The Umbwe route is known for its caves. The first night you actually sleep at the Umbwe Cave Camp with two more caves that can be visited en route the following day. The Umbwe route is one of the shortest routes to the Southern Glaciers and the Western Breach. It is probably one of the most scenic, non-technical routes on Kilimanjaro. There are however higher risks involved when attempting to summit via the Western Breach / Arrow Glacier and overnight at the Arrow Glacier camp, which include:
- Safety on the Western Breach – nobody can guarantee your absolute safety, as the area is unstable and rock falls may occur at any time.
- During a normal summit of Kilimanjaro we will sleep at Barafu camp (4 600m) or Kibo Hut (4 650m) before attempting the summit. By sleeping at Arrow Glacier camp (4 850m) the risks for severe altitude sickness are considerably higher.
Most of our Umbwe route hikes are currently re-routed, to join with the Machame route from night 2 on the mountain. On special request we can assist with Umbwe route hikes attempting to summit using the Western Breach / Arrow Glacier path and overnight at the Arrow Glacier camp (and the Crater camp). Please note this can only be arranged through our higher quality Superior Packages and a supplementary rate will apply.
5-7 days Ascent, 6-9 days including descent
The Shira Plateau is one of the most scenic and most fascinating areas on Kilimanjaro. Depending on the weather conditions you can drive by 4 wheel drive vehicles, to within a 1/2 hours walk of Shira Hut (4000m). Even this drive is very spectacular indeed and offers some magnificent views of Mt Meru and the Great Rift Valley in general. Game is often sighted and the road features some striking vegetation changes ranging from forest, grassland, heath to moorland. The fast ascend by vehicle to about 4000m will require additional acclimatisation, after which it will be possible to ascend Uhuru Peak either via the Western Breach or via the Barafu hut.
The Shira route is only offered to hikers who are already acclimatized to 4 000m, by hiking either Mt Meru or Mt Kenya a few days before attempting Kilimanjaro. Depending on the weather conditions you can drive by 4 wheel drive vehicle, to within a ½ hours walk of Shira Hut (3 850m).
This drive is very spectacular and offers some magnificent views of Mt Meru and the Great Rift Valley in general. Game is often sighted and the road features some striking vegetation changes ranging from forest, grassland, heath to moorland.
The fast ascend by vehicle to about 4000m will require additional acclimatisation, after which it will be possible to ascend Uhuru Peak either via the Western Breach or via the Barafu hut.
4-6 days Ascent, 5-7 days including descent
The Rongai route ascents Kilimanjaro from the north-eastern side of the mountain, along the border between Tanzania and Kenya. This route retains a sense of unspoilt wilderness and offers a different perspective on Kilimanjaro by approaching it from the north.
The Rongai route’s premier advantage is that it is one of the quietest routes on the mountain. A disadvantage is the long travel time to the starting point of the route. The route also becomes busier when it connects with the Marangu route just before reaching Kibo hut.
The Rongai route descends along the Marangu route as well, however you still sleep in tents, and do not use the A-frame huts of the Marangu route.
NORTHERN CIRCUIT ROUTE
7-8 days Ascent, 8-9 days including descent
This route uses as its template one of the official routes – the standard Lemosho Route. However, instead of heading round the southern side of Kibo, the Northern Route heads round the little-used northern side on a path known as the Northern Circuit. It then heads to the summit via the School Hut and Gilman’s Point.
The reason we like this route so much is that we like to think we know what people are looking for from their Kilimanjaro climb: great views, adventure, the opportunity to see some of the local wildlife, and the chance to spend virtually each day of their climb in completely different scenery to the day before. We also know what trekkers regard as the number one disappointment on the mountain: hordes of climbers that swamp certain campsites and have turned certain routes into one huge unbroken queue of people stretching up the mountain slope. Also even though this route is pretty long it has an improved chance of reaching the summit.
1 day descent
This route may only be used as a descending route for all the western routes.