From Antarctica to Africa – surely the picture postcard of Kilimanjaro is familiar to us all – of all the seven sisters Kili has to rank up there as one of the most scenic. Photographed from the Serengeti plains with acacia and elephant in the foreground the sugar topped mountain is almost surreal.
Photo courtesy of David Lazar
Elephants and snow – something you won’t find on your trek to the other six sisters – Kilimanjaro in the distance.
Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa at 5,892 metres or 19,331 feet.
Kilimanjaro is getting to be a very popular mountain and there are many popular routes. The highest mountain in Africa this volcano rises above the jungle plains and actually has a very good vertical ascent. Kilimanjaro is unique in that during the ascent you will climb through all climatalogical zones. Starting in tropical rain forest through moss and desert to the snow on the summit.
You have to take a guide with you and and porters are available to hire. The actual ascent is unlikely to cost more than $1,000 but then there is the getting there and back. Budget $1,000 for the climb itself.
There are many hiking routes to reach Kibo’s summit (aka Uhuru Peak) and it is easier to explain these by first discussing the “around-the-mountain” circular trail that is comprised of the North Circuit Path and the South Circuit Path. There are 6 major forest/moorland routes that reach this around-the-moutain trail system and 3 hike/scramble routes that asend to the summit of Kibo. The 6 forest/moorland routes are (going clockwise with 12 o’clock = North): Rongai, Marangu, Mweka, Umbwe, Machame, and Shira. The 3 summit routes are: Normal (class 1-2 extension of Marangu), Barafu (class 2 extension of Mweka), and Western Breach (class 3 extension of Shira).
The Marangu Route on the East Side is the most popular with about 10,800 climbers per year while all other routes combined see less than 1,500 climbers per year.
January and February are popular months. July thru September are also the dry season and are “high” season. April to mid June tend to be the rainy season.
The mountain will not challenge you technically in terms of your climbing skills but you will be amazed by the number of people whp set out to conquer this massif but due to altitude sickness they have to turn about. Do not underestimate the effect of altitude and although this may look like a walk in the park it most definitely is not.
The video below from sundaytimesweb shows the conditions on the Machame route.
Go see the sun rise whilst sitting on top of Africa – that is the aim of every expedition with the last push to the summit starting at about midnight so you are on the summit for dawn – a sun rise you would never forget.