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Mount Kilimanjaro National Park

 

The highest mountain in Africa, snow-capped, and the world’s highest free-standing volcano. It comprises of two dormant volcanoes (Kibo 5,895m/19,340ft a.m.s.l and Mawenzi 5,149m/16,893ft a.m.s.l) and one extinct volcano (Shira 3,962m/12,998ft a.m.s.l) respectively. The origin of the word is not well known but it is said to be a combination of the Swahili word Kilima meaning “Mountain” and the KiChagga word Njaro, loosely translated as “Whiteness” giving the name “White Mountain”.

Its size is 1,712Km2 and was declared a National Park in 1973, officially opened for tourism in 1977, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987, and a Natural Wonder of Africa in 2013. Climbing to the top which is far up into the sky it’s a lifetime experience that no one can forget.

There are two rainy seasons in a year. The wet season is from March to May during which it rains around the mountain base and snow accumulates on its peak.

The dry season is from late June through September during which the nights are cool and the days completely clear.

The park is located at an altitude between 1700 m to 5895 meters with annual average rainfall ranging from 828 mm in the alpine desert to 2500 mm in the Montane forest.

Distance & Drive Time: Kilimanjaro International Airport – about 41km/25mi

The park can be accessed by road or flight via Kilimanjaro International Airport – about 45km to the west. The Park Headquarters and one of the ascending gates are at Marangu, about 41Km from Moshi town and 86km from Kilimanjaro International Airport. The other seven gates of Rongai, Machame, Londorosi, Lemosho, Kilema, Mweka, and Umbwe are located around the mountain base and can be reached by road.

The Park is endowed with a diverse variety of attractions ranging from terrestrial wilderness to permanent glaciers on the mountain peaks.

Three peaks

Kibo, the highest peak (5,895m) on Mount Kilimanjaro, is covered by snow throughout the year despite being close to the equator. Conquering this peak is an adventure of a lifetime.

Mawenzi Peak

Is the second highest peak which forms Mount Kilimanjaro 5,149m. It is rugged and maintains the features of glaciation

Shira peak

With an altitude of 3,962m, is the oldest peak that collapsed and forms a Shira plateau with outstanding scenic beauty on the mountain with several kinds of migratory large mammals such as buffaloes, elephants, and especially elands.

Zonation of Vegetation

Five eco-climatic zones take you to the equivalent of a trip from the equator to the arctic in a brief tour. As one climbs Kilimanjaro, vegetation and weather change in response to the changing elevation from the montane forest, heath and moorland, alpine desert, and the summit zone (arctic). The mountain peak is covered by snow all year-round

Montane Forest – A wide band of exceptionally beautiful montane forest encircles the whole of Kilimanjaro from about 1800 –2800m. The forest zone is worth a visit even if you are not climbing to the peaks. Marangu nature trails in particular take you through this forest belt which supports several plant species, including endemic plants like Impatiens Kilimanjari.

 

Lauwo Waterfall – Located along Marangu route 2.8Kms provides a spectacular experience while enjoying walking inside the thick montane forest.

Maundi Crater

Located just 15 minutes’ walk past Mandara huts on the Marangu route the crater provides a panoramic view of Lakes Chala, Jipe and Nyumba ya Mungu, all of which derive their waters from the Majestic Kilimanjaro.

Kifinika Cultural Site

This is a site along the Marangu route that is sacred by the local Chagga people. Historically, the site was used for cultural rituals.

Birds and Animals

The park harbors a total number of 140 species of mammals; 7 primates, 25 carnivores, 25 antelopes, 24 species of bat, and 179 bird species

Mountain Climbing to the Summit

Climbing to the Kibo peak takes 5 to 8 days depending on the route. The more days, the higher the possibility to conquer the summit. Six mountain trails can take a climber to the highest point in Africa, each route offering different attractions and challenges.

Mountain Cycling

Tourists have a chance to cycle inside the park. There are two routes, one for summit-bound visitors (Kilema route) and the second one for non-summit visitors (Shira plateau). These routes are equipped with picnic sites and resting points.

Mawenzi Technical Climbing

Mawenzi is the second-highest peak on Mount Kilimanjaro. Technical climbers can hike the present seven sub-peaks enjoying the view of cliffs, the complex gullies, and rock faces.

Paragliding

Tourists can fly from the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and tourists may use parachutes or wingsuits while undertaking this activity

Non-Summit Bound Climbers

Activities for non-summit bound climbers include:

  • Visit the waterfalls (Lauwo)
  • Visiting the Shira Plateau
  • Watching wildlife including high altitude birds
  • Walking through the Mountain Forest
  • Day walk to Maundi crater in the park, cultural sites such as Kifunika

Kilimanjaro Routes

Mount Kilimanjaro Guide

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is something atop the list of many travelers’ bucket lists. Each year, the iconic mountain attracts thousands who spend days attempting to reach her snowy summit.

However, with a little planning and preparation, you can greatly increase your chances of reaching “the Roof of Africa.” Here’s everything you need to know Climbing Kilimanjaro Guide to make the most of your trip:

 

Frequent Asked Questions

Mount Kilimanjaro is located in North-eastern Tanzania near the border with Kenya. It is the highest mountain in Africa and is situated within Kilimanjaro National Park. Kilimanjaro lies just 205 miles away from the equator – which is why so many people are surprised to find glaciers at the top.

There are a few different options for Getting To Kilimanjaro. The nearest airport to Kilimanjaro is the Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), and it is located between Arusha and Moshi. Most people stay in Moshi before climbing Kilimanjaro, as it is the closest municipality being a 45-minute drive from Kilimanjaro Airport.

Unfortunately, you cannot fly directly from the UK or US to Kilimanjaro Airport. But you can fly from any of the main airports in the area – Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, or Nairobi in Kenya. Bear in mind that you will need an extra visa if you go via Kenya.

Kilimanjaro is an eye-watering 5,895 meters (19,340 feet) above sea level. That’s 3.7 miles high! It is the highest free-standing mountain in the world, as it’s not part of a mountain range. Towering over the plains, the mountain’s three peaks are covered with a variety of vegetation, from the rainforests of the lower slopes to the alpine vegetation that occurs just below the peaks of the glaciers. Is one of the Seven Summits, being the fourth highest – after Everest, Aconcagua, and Denali.

Mt Kilimanjaro has four base camps or high camps

  • Kibo Hut/Camp (4,700 meters/15,4196 feet): Kibo base camp is used by hikers on the Marangu and Rongai routes. It follows a slightly steeper and longer path up the slopes of Kibo to the sub-summit, Gilman’s Point (5,685 meters/18,651 feet).
  • Barafu Camp (4,670 meters/15,321 feet): Barafu base camp is used by the hikers on the Machame, Lemosho and Umbwe routes. It follows a zigzag route up the slopes of Kibo to the sub-summit, Stella Point (5,739 meters/ 18,829 feet).
  • Arrow Glacier Camp (4,903 meters/16,086 feet): Arrow base camp is used by hikers on the western breach routes. It follows a rock and steeper and shorter path up the slopes of Kibo’s volcanic crater to the sub-summit, Crater Camp (5,800 meters/19.029 feet).
  • Crater camp (5,800 meters/19,029 feet): Crater base camp is the highest camp on Mount Kilimanjaro, and is situated in Kibo’s volcanic crater. Due to its altitude, one needs to properly acclimatise before sleeping at crater camp.

There are lots of compelling reasons to climb the highest mountain in Africa. These include:

  • It’s an accessible adventure. You don’t need extensive training and it’s suitable for first-time hikers, as well as more experienced mountaineers.
  • Porters do all the heavy-lifting. Great appeal lies in the fact that porters carry your big rucksack (you carry your daypack), tents, equipment, and food.
  • Easy to reach. Despite its remote location, Kilimanjaro is relatively straightforward to access, with a good surrounding infrastructure.
  • Supports the local economy. From guides, Kilimanjaro Porters, and cooks who join you on the mountain, to hospitality, tour agencies, and many other companies within the area.
  • Great personal achievement. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is undoubtedly an extraordinary personal achievement. It’s a chance to challenge yourself, and get away from the world for a few days.
  • Breath-taking natural beauty. The mountain is a truly spectacular sight and the view from the top is the best you’ll ever see. Watching the sun rise over the Roof of Africa will forever be one of my fondest memories.

Around 30,000-40,000 people attempt to Climb Kilimanjaro every year.

Kilimanjaro Climb Cost vary quite considerably depending on season, route, and the tour company you book with. You can also choose between group climbs or private climbs according to your budget.

Many people look for to know Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro Cost. But if you have done some research, then you have already found that. And you probably have also discovered that there are a wide range of prices charged for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro by different outfitters.

Generally, the Kilimanjaro Climb Cost ranges between is $2000 to $6000, the price varies from cheap, budget operators to large Western travel agents selling outsourced climbs at an inflated price. There are various, unavoidable fixed costs to any tour operator and if a climb seems too cheap, you’ve got to ask yourself why.

The overall Kilimanjaro Routes Success Rates is 75%. But this hugely varies depending on the climbing route. Kilimanjaro Success Ratings – Mount Kilimanjaro Climbing offers a true Adventure Experience during Your Tanzania Tours. Around 30,000 -40,000 people are Climb to the Summit Every Year but it is not an easy task.

It makes sense to plan your climbing adventure with summit success rates in mind, but it is also important to understand what “Kilimanjaro Success Rate” mean in the context of a mountain, especially Kilimanjaro.

Success rate is not the only factor to consider when choosing a route on Kilimanjaro, but it is a very important one! However, a success rate on a route should be considered alongside climbing experience, previous acclimatization and fitness level of climbers, all of which Kilele climb discusses in this article.

So, you’ve decided to take on the challenge of tackling Africa’s highest peak? Next, you need to think about the best time to climb Kilimanjaro, in terms of weather, trekking conditions and popularity.

You can climb Kilimanjaro year-round but it’s best to avoid the wet and cold months. Kilele Climb generally advise that the best time to climb Kilimanjaro is during the warmest and driest times of year, from December to mid-March and mid-June to the end of October. However, although these are considered to be the best times to climb the mountain in terms of weather, they are also the busiest months.

Kilele Climb suggest climbing Kilimanjaro in January-February or July-September, when warmer temperatures and clear skies are most likely. But these are also the most crowded months. Climbing in March or October, just before each of two rainy seasons, is the best hedge to avoid both crowds and foul weather.

The Lemosho Route Success Rate is around 90% on the 8-day itinerary that we provide and on the 7-day package it is around 85%. The Kilimanjaro Routes Success Rates are highest on the northern circuit route. This is the newest and the longest route, taking 9 days to summit Kilimanjaro.

Picking the right Route on Kilimanjaro is one of the most important things for your climb. The route you pick is going to determine whether you will reach the summit successfully. And it will also affect how much you will enjoy the entire journey.

Best Season to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro are traditionally December through to March, and June through to October. At this time temperatures in Moshi, at the base of the mountain, are typically around 22 degrees C and summit temperatures around – 7 degrees C.

It is generally advised to try and avoid November and April / May, which are when the short and long rains come. However, there is a caveat as the seasons are shifting and the timing of the rains is definitely less predictable when compared to the past and of course you must be prepared (as per any mountain) for rain (and higher up snow) at all times of the year.

If you were to climb in a period when the weather would traditionally be wetter, then the northern slopes are not only less travelled but they’re also less affected by the rains. Therefore, if you’d like to go at a quieter time then November and April / May deliver less people and if you use the Rongai Route, which starts on the northern slopes, it’ll be drier than the Umbwe RouteMachame Route or Lemosho Route that cross the southern flanks during the traditional rains.

It is very common to attempt the summit during the night, as you can reach the top in time for the sunrise. You will be woken up at approximately 11pm for ‘breakfast’. After putting on every piece of clothing you have with you, it’s time to start the ascent. With nothing but your head torch to light the way, you’ll walk ‘pole pole’ – very slowly. Due to the high altitude, oxygen is limited and it’s important to stay at a slow and steady pace.

Read through the above? Still want to climb Africa’s Highest Mountain? Don’t know where to go from here? Then read on…

If you’re looking to organise your own Tanzania Adventure, then the next thing to read is our Countdown; this is Kilele Climb’s step-by-step Climbing Kilimanjaro Guide to planning for your trip. This tells you exactly what to do when planning your own expedition – and when.

After that, you may want to go through our site in greater detail. You’ll find that it’s divided into three main sections, which together provide you with all the basics you need to know to plan and prepare properly for your Mount Kilimanjaro Climbing.

KILIMANJARO FOOD.

We also pride ourselves in providing quality food at each meal. Your body needs fuel for your Kilimanjaro climb, and like a car, you can either fuel with regular or premium. You will be provided a three-course meal, three times a day, providing nothing but the best available. We have runners coming up the mountain with fresh food throughout the trip so you are provided with quality nutritious meals throughout the entire trip up and down the mountain.