For a variety of purposes, Kilimanjaro is well-known. First and foremost, since it is Africa’s highest point and one of the Seven Summits. Second, the mountain has a permanent ice cap that is shrinking, which is rare for a country with such a warm year-round climate. Third, in 1936, Ernest Hemingway published “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” a short story that was adapted into a film in 1952.
There are a number of reasons why most enthusiasts have Kilimanjaro on their bucket list. The idea that it is the world’s highest free-standing summit is perhaps the most evident of these factors.
It could be because Kilimanjaro is Africa’s crown jewel among the seven summits (the highest peak in each continent). You would really want to visit a mountain with so many different habitats ranging from rainforests to alpine deserts to the arctic.
It may also be the allure of an African safari experience, including those mentioned in John Henry Patterson’s journals. The true beauty of Kili, however, lies in its intricacies. They commence even before you reach the mountain’s base, when you enter Tanzania’s rural areas.
Here you become fascinated with the Swahili people’s charming expressions, which you will remember forever. Their upbeat demeanor and easygoing rhythm will only add to the enjoyment of the journey ahead of you.
Tanzania is a country that has seen relative stability in comparison to its neighbors. The people credit their first president, Julius Kambarage Nyerere, affectionately known as “Baba Wa Taifa,” with bringing them peace (the father of the nation).
From campfire songs and soul-soothing laughs to gentle evening goodbyes of “lala salama,” or good night there’s always something for everyone.
When is the Perfect Time to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro?
Tanzania is iconically tropical, with wet and dry seasonal variations laid over a hot, muggy weather. Kilimanjaro sits 300 kilometers south of the equator.
Tanzania has two rainy seasons: one that lasts from November to mid-December and another that lasts from March to May. During these seasons, Mount Kilimanjaro climbing routes are known to be wet and muddy.
If you are less concerned with monsoonal climate and more concerned with peace and less traffic, these are the best times to climb because there are far less people.
Since it coincides with European summer vacations, the months of July to October are the busiest on the mountain. It’s drier and cooler than the Christmas season, but expect some chilly nights.
June is an ideal time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro if you want to experience similar weather but with far less crowds. It is just before the summer holidays but nonetheless still high Mount Kilimanjaro climbing season.
The months of December through February are a little bit warm and have a better visibility. However, since the short rainy season will last into December, it may still be damp. Such periods often happen to fall during the Christmas season, so things can get hectic.
Which Mount Kilimanjaro Climbing Route is Right for You?
The path you take up Mount Kilimanjaro will primarily determined by your level of experience, health, budget, time available, and personal preferences. On most trails, the number of trekking days as well as food and comfort choices is adjustable.
You will be paying for experience, which entails doing it the right way. Good guides can have adequate facilities with other factors like climate and climbing experience, good food, and a reasonable time period to allow for rest and adjustment being important
When climbing Kilimanjaro, you have a choice of seven routes.
The Coca-Cola route is the other name for Marangu.It’s a really touristy route that gets its name from the tiny cottages where you can sleep and buy bottled cola. The only route with resting huts is this one.
The path on your Mount Kilimanjaro climbing is a gradual ascent that most people consider to be the most straightforward way to climb the mountain.
The whiskey route is also the other name for Machame. It’s a more difficult ascent than Marangu, and it is somewhat crowded.
As you travel through the mountain’s various habitats, the path provides breathtaking views. The walk offers excellent acclimatization opportunities, with high elevation days followed by low elevation camps at night.
Rongai is also thought to be a more gentle path. Since the path reaches the peak from the far north, there is much less chance of rain, so you’ll be able to remain dry.
It takes far longer to get to the starting gate than most other hiking, which would add to the cost, but it is far more remote, giving you a better chance of seeing wildlife.
Shira begins at a height of 3,600 metres. This gate will be much elevated than the others, and this is a major contributor to altitude sickness, particularly when you drive up to it rather than hiking and acclimating. On the second day, it follows the Lemosho road, and on the third day, it gets into Machame.
Lemosho was developed as a substitute for Shira. This has a lower gate, which helps climbers to acclimate to the elevation more slowly. It’s a more rugged path with chances to see animals, like elephants, along the way. On the third day, it also enters Machame.
The Northern Circuit route is a relatively new route compared to the others. Instead of taking the busier eastern path, it starts on the Lemosho route, passes the Shira plateau, and afterwards loops around the northern slopes.
Many people regard Umbwe to be the shortest, steepest, and also most challenging path. First day entails some strenuous climbing. The Machame route is typically joined on the second night at Barranco camp by the majority of operators.
How to Get to Mount Kilimanjaro
Treks to the summit of Kilimanjaro usually begin in one of two major northern cities. Arusha is located to the south west of the mountain, while Moshi is located to the south.
There’s a lot to see and do in these places, including massive waterfalls, monkey forests, and volcanic waterholes… not to mention a few of the worlds most beautiful and flora and fauna rich national parks!
Both towns are easily accessible from Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). There are numerous buses and flights available from Dar es Salaam, and also flights from both the island paradise of Zanzibar and bordering Kenya.
Most Mount Kilimanjaro climbers stay in town for a few nights to prepare for the hike and familiarize themselves with the region, but always be wary of this because it may cause you wish you had booked a longer journey so you could stay longer.
What Would You Need in the Way of Clothing and Equipment?
Don’t let the fact that Kilimanjaro is a walk-up mountain fool you into thinking its simple. Planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro is essential, particularly if you have a limited amount of time or are taking a more difficult path.
Porters can transport food and cooking utensils, and also your sleeping arrangements. Many climbing agencies have more than enough surplus equipment if you’d like, but individual gear that has been tried and true is invaluable.
- Hiking boots that are waterproof and breathable, as well as more than enough thick socks. These must be tested and checked even before hiking starts, as the last scenario you would want to do is discover they are undesirable and unpleasant two days in.
- A nice waterproof pouch and hydration sack – one that can carry all of your personal belongings. This should include camera, head torch, clothes and the food you are given for the day.
- Thermals for hiking on cold nights (and some climbing days).
- Even if you’re hiking in the warmer months, you should wear waterproof/windproof pants and a shell because the weather can easily turn cold.
- Hiking pants and clothing that dries quickly. For the first and last days of the treks, zip-off trousers are ideal.
- Whenever the temperature decreases, you’ll should have a fleece or down jacket. It’s easy to overlook these things when you’re sweating just at foot of a tropical mountain. It could be as low as -30 ° C at the peak.
- Gloves and a beanie
- Many people overlook the importance of sunscreen and sunglasses. Other days can be really exposed, so you wouldn’t want to get sunburned during your period upon this mountain.
- It’s a good idea to have a warm set of clothes for the evenings. They keep you warm and allow you to split up the time you spend in your climbing gear.
- Bring simple toiletries, such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, as with any trek, but not too much you strain to bear the weight.
- For both the evenings and peak night, bring a head torch.
- A simple medical set containing necessities such as plasters and second skin could be extremely useful. You don’t need any more blisters!