Mount Kilimanjaro with a characteristic snow-capped summit is Africa’s highest mountain. Normally the peak of this mountain is covered by clouds, although on clear days you can enjoy breathtaking sights of the peak which is the highest roof in Africa. Mount Kilimanjaro is the biggest unconnected mountain in the entire world, projecting over its surrounding plains to close to 5 kilometers vertically. The Kilimanjaro, also referred to as ‘Kili’ is one of the must-see tourist destinations while on an East-African safari circuit. This you can merge with tours through Arusha National Park or alternatively opt for exclusive photo shots of elephants wandering in the adjacent Amboseli National Park found in Kenya.
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro
The panorama offered by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is almost irresistible to first time travelers into Tanzania. The finest months to visit this mountain are actually January, February as well as September. In addition, July plus August can also be ok although they are rather colder. This mountain climb necessitates no exceptional training or hiking equipment, although you must allow time for acclimatization to do away with altitude sickness, which is majorly characterized with severe headaches. With that in mind, climbing the Mount Kilimanjaro is no big challenge. The hike normally runs for about six to seven days. Nonetheless you must well prepare not only physically but mentally and financially as well.
Vegetation to find while Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro
Among the features that make this climb very attractive is the reality that Mount Kilimanjaro possesses five different vegetation zones that vary from the countryside, farmed lower slopes to the montane forest. The middle altitude is covered with heath plus moorland, as well as the alpine zone that contains majorly only lichen. Moving further higher to the peak is bare with somewhat less plant life. Hikers trail through all these vegetation zones as they try to summit the mountain.
Who first Hiked Mount Kilimanjaro ?
According to fairy tales, the very first person to climb the Kili was King Menelik I; son of King Solomon plus the legendary Queen of Sheba. On the other hand the very first Europeans to summit Mountain Kilimanjaro were Ludwig Purtscheller plus Dr Hans Meyer. However, today over 20,000 people annually attempt to summit the mountain. Fortunately the country has put in place several efforts to ensure that they curb erosion along the most traveled routes.
Peaks of Kilimanjaro
Kilimanjaro comprises of three peaks that include the Shira Peak at 3,962 meters high that collapsed close to one million years back in time, the Mawenzi Peak at 5,149 meters high and then the Uhuru Peak at 5,985 meters high. Mount Kibo is the volcanic section of the mountain and is not only the highest but the steepest as well. Shira’s caldera was eventually filled with lava following the violent eruption of Kibo close to 360,000 years back in time, and this resulted into the formation of the current day Shira plateau.
Even though Kibo is today dormant, scientists had predicted that the molten magma in 2003 was currently just 400 meters beneath the peak crater. In addition, the local myths tale of volcanic activity that occurred just 170 years back in time. Even though no activity is anticipated in the near future, a number of collapses plus landslides have been reported on the slopes of the Kibo Mount and there are actually fears that may be the Kibo volcano will at one time collapse, triggering a massive eruption.
Kilimanjaro Trekking Routes
There are a number of routes that lead to the summit of the mountain and these vary in the level of difficulty, ascending time, physical attractiveness as well as wildlife profusion. Below are a few highlights about these routes.
Marangu Climb runs for about 7 days
This is the most commonly-traveled route and actually 90% of the total hikers that ascend this mountain use this route. Despite the big number of people that trail it, the route is very impressive.
Machame Climb goes for about 8 days
This route is actually more challenging as compared to the Marunga but with less travelers and offers wonderful panoramas as you ascend. Nights are usually spent in tents which are normally carried by porters up the mountain.
The other routes include: the Umbwe Climb which goes for about 7 days, the Shira Climb that goes for close to 7 days and then the Rongai climb that normally lasts 7 days.
Where To Stay ?
Parkview Inn Mosh
Protea Hotel AishiMachame
The Arusha Hotel
Royal Crown Hotel
Buffalo Hotel, Moshi