The free-standing snow covered peak of Kilimanjaro towers above all else in Africa. With numerous routes to the top every would-be mountaineer can find their path to summit the highest peak in Africa. Whether you choose the “Coca Cola” route and sleep in huts, the more traditional route and camp in tents, or choose a technical approach with cramp-ons and ropes, the peak of Kilimanjaro is attainable by any fit individual with an iron will. Climbing 4,405m / 14,452’ you’ll pass through dense jungle, barren wastelands and a sunrise framed in a breathtaking glacier. Upon completion you can reward yourself with a safari into Africa’s national parks where the sights, sounds and smells of lions, elephants, giraffes, are just a taste of the variety of life unshackled by zoos and man’s contamination.
Days Trekking: 4-6
Distance: 55km / 32mi roundtrip
Maximum Elevation: 18,925 Crater Rim 19,540 Summit
Starting Elevation: 6,500 ft.
Approximate Elevation Change: 13,100ft one way
Price Range Outfitter: $600 - $1,500
Challenge Level: Difficult
Days Trekking: 6-7
Distance: 55km 32mi roundtrip
Maximum Elevation: 18,925 ft. Crater Rim 19,540 ft. Summit
Starting Elevation: 6,000 ft
Approximate Elevation Change: 13,540 feet one way
Price Range Outfitter: $800 – $2,000
Challenge Level: Difficult
- Climb one of the famous “Seven Summits”
- See a spectacular sunrise from the crater rim
- See the imposing Glaciers surrounding the summit (before they are gone)
- Combine a safari on the nearby Serengeti Plain
- Visit a nearby Masai Village
When to Go
There are two seasons in which there is likelihood of dry and reasonable trekking conditions. The first season is from January to mid March with an alternative season from June to October. However, to travel to Africa and not join a safari is a sin. While any of the national parks are spectacular in their own right, why not time your trip to coincide with the migration of the wildebeests. The stampede of countless animals is an experience that should not be missed.
Guided vs Independent Treks
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is tightly regulated. You must go with a guided group.
Mount Kilimanjaro is located on the northeast border of Tanzania, 320 kilometers / 200 miles south of the equator. While most people climb the great mountain from the Tanzanian side, situated within Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, it is also possible to climb it from the Kenyan side as well.
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There are many challenges to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro, but with care and proper preparation it is an achievable and exhilarating accomplishment. The single most obvious challenge is the altitude. Climbing to almost 6,000 meters is a laborious, lung-straining task. It is the highest walkable summit in the world. Compared to the Everest Base Camp Trek, you are rushed up the mountain at twice the pace of elevation gain. However, it is just a walk with no technical climbing required. So, if you are fit and handle altitude reasonable well you should be okay. The second issue is staying healthy. Even though we were very careful, we still managed to have intestinal problems. We were not alone, so be careful and carry good medications!
Access / Local Information
The main access city is Arusha, Tanzania. From there your trekking company drives you the 130 kilometers / 80 miles to the start of the trek.
Eyewitness Account - Kirk Markus - Breathing is Fundamental
My personal trip to Kilimanjaro started in my imagination many years before, but, its physical manifestation began in Capetown South Africa in June 1994. I had just chucked my job and bought a one way ticket to Africa to find out how the other 80% of the world lives. Two and a half months later I would be standing nervously at the Machame Gate at the base of Kilimanjaro. more...
Day to Day Account - Jeff Salvage - First Big Challenge
On my trip to Kilimanjaro I was once again playing the leader role. This time my travel companion
was my neighbor Chuck. In his mid 40’s, father of three girls, he got infected with trekking
fever when I returned from Everest with tales of adventure. While he truly wanted to head to
Nepal, he “settled” for a summit trip to Africa’s rooftop. The story continues...