Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest freestanding mountain on earth. Crowned with an everlasting snow-cap, this majestic mountain can be found inside the Kilimanjaro National Park of Tanzania, at 005.00 degrees south, 036 degrees east, 5895m a.m.s.l.
Kilimanjaro. The name itself is a mystery wreathed in clouds. It might mean Mountain of Light, Mountain of Greatness or Mountain of Caravans. Or it might not. The local people, the Wachagga, don’t even have a name for the whole massif, only Kipoo (now known as Kibo) for the familiar snowy peak that stands imperious, overseer of the continent, the summit of Africa.
Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is the highlight of most visitors’ experiences in Tanzania. Few mountains can claim the grandeur, the breathtaking views of Amboseli National Park in Kenya, the Rift Valley, and the Masaai Steppe, that belongs to Kilimanjaro. Hiking on the ‘rooftop of Africa’ the highest point on the continent at 5896 metres is the adventure of a lifetime, especially because, if paced well, everyone from seasoned trekkers to first-time enthusiasts can scale the snowy peak. For more information, see the ‘Mountain Climbing‘ section under ‘Things to Do.
Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s most accessible high summits, a beacon for visitors from around the world. Most climbers reach the crater rim with little more than a walking stick, proper clothing and determination. And those who reach Uhuru Point, the actual summit, or Gillman’s Point on the lip of the crater, will have earned their climbing certificates.
And their memories.
Climbing Kilimanjaro does not require any technical skills or special equipment, just some physical fitness and determination. People from all walks of life, from a 10 year old child to an 85 year old man, have successfully summited. But the challenge should not be taken lightly. You need to understand what lies ahead.
About Kilimanjaro National Park
Size: 1668 sq km 641 sq miles).
Location: Northern Tanzania, near the town of Moshi.
- 128 km (80 miles) from Arusha.
- About one hour’s drive from Kilimanjaro airport.
What to do
- Six usual trekking routes to the summit and other more-demanding mountaineering routes.
- Day or overnight hikes on the Shira plateau. Nature trails on the lower reaches.
- Trout fishing.
- Visit the beautiful Chala crater lake on the mountain’s southeastern slopes.
- Huts and campsites on the mountain.
- Several hotels and campsites outside the park in the village of Marangu and town of Moshi.
- Climb slowly to increase your acclimatisation time and maximise your chances of reaching the summit.
- To avoid altitude sickness, allow a minimum of five nights, preferably even more for the climb. Take your time and enjoy the beauty of the mountain.