“Crown of Tanzania” – Mount Kilimanjaro (from Swahili – “mountain that sparkles”). It is impossible not to recognize it – towering directly above the flat plains, covered at the top with a snow cap, it has become a real symbol of the country. Every year, about 15 thousand people “storm” Kilimanjaro and only 40% reach the top.
Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa (5890 m), the diameter of its base is 60 km. For Tanzania climate and geography, please check TopPharmacySchools.
For those who feel that they may not have the patience for a full-fledged ascent, the nearby Serengeti National Park, one of the largest nature reserves in the world, is ready to open its beauties. Another oasis of African colorful nature is Tarangire National Park, located on the banks of the Tarangire River, which flows from north to south.
Weather in Kilimanjaro
Kilimanjaro has a distinct rainy season. The air temperature can change dramatically depending on the altitude, as well as the time of day. So, for example, on the lower plains at the foot of Kilimanjaro, the average temperature is +30 ° C, at an altitude of 3000 m – frosts and +5… 15 ° C. At night, the temperature at the summit drops below zero.
Climbing Kilimanjaro can be done throughout the year, but it is believed that the best time is from August to October and from January to March.
An amazing feature – climbing Kilimanjaro is accompanied by all types of climate of our planet, from humid tropics to freezing snowy peaks.
Tour to Kilimanjaro
To visit the Kilimanjaro National Reserve, you need to find a travel agency accredited in the Kilimanjaro National Park in the nearest town of Moshi and buy a tour from them for about $ 1,000. Professional guides, porters and even chefs are ready to accompany you on this adventure, which usually lasts 5-6 days. The best period for climbing is from December to February or from June to October.
The reward waiting for you at the top of the mountain will pay off all your hiking work. First, you will see the unique eternal ice (Kilimanjaro is located three degrees south of the equator). Secondly, within the inner Reusch Crater (1.3 km in diameter), signs of volcanic activity can be seen, including smoke and the smell of sulfur. Thirdly, if you look down from the top, you can see 7 well-marked paths, along which climbs to the peak of the world natural landmark are carried out.
The three easiest routes of Kilimanjaro – Marangu, Rongai and Machame – can be climbed by almost anyone without climbing training.
Five of these trails are climb-only (meaning you can only walk up them, but descending from the top of these trails is prohibited by Kilimanjaro National Park regulations). Another trail Mweka (Mweka) is only for descent. And another trail Marangu (Marangu, or “Coca-Cola way”) is used for both ascent and descent. All these trails at an altitude of 4 km are crossed by a circular trail – this is the Kibo Ring, dividing into the North Kibo Ring and the South Kibo Ring.
Three trails from the roundabout lead to the caldera of Kibo Peak Crater: the Western Breach Trail (also known as the Glacier Arrow Trail), the Barafu Trail, and an unnamed third trail from Kibo Hut to Gilmand Point (from here you can look into Kibo Crater).
Approximate prices for organized tours:
- Group 4-5 people – 3600 USD /person
- Group 6-7 people – 3450 USD /person
- Group of 8 people and above – 3300 USD / person.
The highest point is the Uhuru Peak of the Kibo Volcano (5,895 m), which belongs to the “Seven Peaks” (five-thousanders). The peak was first climbed by Hans Mayer in 1889. The other two peaks are the extinct Mawenzi volcanoes in the east (5,149 m, the third highest in Africa) and to the west of the main mountain lies Shira (3,962 m), the oldest of all volcanoes.
Climbing Mawenzi requires climbing skills on rocks, snow and ice. But the climb to the higher Uhuru peak is considered quite simple, although it takes time to acclimatize. On the three easiest routes: Marangu, Rongai and Mashame, almost anyone can climb without climbing training. Other routes, such as the “Polish Glacier” and the “Western Gap”, require special equipment.
There are six main climbing routes leading to the foot of Kibo Peak:
- the underutilized Shira route,
- Lemosho route,
- route Machame (Machame),
- route Umbwe (Umbwe),
- the Marangu route, or “Coca-Cola Way” (Marangu) and
- northern route Rongai or Loitokitok (Loitokitok or Ron).
Which trail to choose depends on your initial route choice. If you want to climb the more difficult and interesting path “Glacier Arrow Route”, you need to start climbing along the Shiva, Lemosho, Mashame and Umbwe routes. If an easier route from Kibo Hut is preferred, then the Marangu (Coca-Cola) or Rongai route is worth choosing. You can also create your own author’s route, but for this you will have to take permission in advance from the park management (KINAPA). Get ready for additional costs and paperwork.
5 things to do on Kilimanjaro
- Capture the moment when the clouds rise up, filling a huge space and Mawenzi peak disappears before your eyes. Such a spectacle can only be seen during the tropical rainy season.
- Drive a jeep along the picturesque foot of the mountain. Land Rover or Toyota Land Cruiser with a lifting roof, specially equipped for video and photo shoots, will take you through the tropical jungle with a breeze.
- Get acquainted with the life of the people of the Chagga tribe, who grow the well-known coffee, maize and bananas in the territory called “Shamba”.
- Explore the surroundings from the beautiful Uhuru Peak, the panoramas from which are guaranteed to be picturesque and luxurious.
- Climb on foot at least to the peak of Gillman Point, the lowest on Kilimanjaro.
Marangu route or Coca Cola route
It takes 5-6 days and is the oldest and traditionally the most popular. This is the only route that does not require a campground (camping). There are three mountain lodges along the way: Mandara Hut (2700m), Horombo Hut (3700m) and Kibo Hut (4700m).
The 6-7 day route Machame is gaining popularity, although it is considered more difficult than Marangu.
It lasts 5-6 days and starts from the north side of Kilimanjaro. Despite the fact that the route is little known, the path promises to be exciting and interesting, encounters with exotic African animals are possible. It starts in the town of Loytokitok, so its second name is Loytokitok.
The 5-6 days of the Umbwe route promise to be challenging in your hiking practice. Steep slopes, dense jungle, camp is set up in the Kibo crater to somehow restore strength. If you follow the Barafu trail, the campsite is called Barafu Campsite.
Lemosho Route and Shira Plateau Route
It will take about 5-8 days. Not particularly popular due to the difficult initial stage, and the beginning of the Shira Plateau route can only be reached by a four-wheel drive truck or jeep.
Descent from Kilimanjaro
In order to regulate the number of people passing through each of the routes, the Kilimanjaro Park Authority (KINAPA) has introduced certain rules that determine the routes of descent from Mount Kilimanjaro: those who ascend from the south or southwest (that is, along the routes of Mashame, Umbwe, Lemosho and Shira) should descend along the Mweka trail. And if you climbed the mountain from the southeast or north (i.e. the Marangu or Rongai/Loitokitok route), you must descend the Marangu route.
Climbing Kilimanjaro does not require any special physical, and even more so technical training, because the main reason for failures in conquering the summit is the symptoms of altitude sickness. The prescription is Diamox (used for quick acclimatization), but it is better to check the reaction to it in advance.