Explore Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Explore Mount Kilimanjaro a currently inactive strato-volcano in northern Tanzania, near the border with Kenya. At 5,895 meters above sea level, Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest peak and the world’s highest free-standing mountain. As such – and aided by its relatively easy ascent – Kilimanjaro has become a major destination for mountaineers and trekkers from around the world.
Although positioned close to the Equator (330 km south), Mount Kilimanjaro is famous as Africa’s snow-capped mountain looming over the plains of the savannah. In recent years, however, the snows have been fast disappearing. Kilimanjaro National Park protects the area above 2,700 meters, on the mountain and includes the moorland and highland zones, Shira Plateau, Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. The Park also has six corridors or rights of way through the Kilimanjaro Forest Reserve. The Forest Reserve, which is also a Game Reserve, was established in 1921; the Park was established in 1973 and officially opened in 1977.
The landscape on Kilimanjaro is very beautiful. The mountain can be divided into 5 climatic zones, each with its own fauna and flora. The lower reaches of the mountain are dominated by evergreen forests. At approx. 3,000m the landscape starts to change into a shrub land setting. At around 4,000m the landscape becomes very arid and rocky, similar to a lunar landscape. The fourth zone consists of a very fine glacial scree / silt dessert setting. The top of Kilimanjaro is partially snow-capped with large glaciers interspersed between the volcanic craters. The glaciers have been receding over the past 40 years, though.
Flora and fauna
The mountain is rich in flora and fauna. You get to see the various climatic conditions starting from the bushland on the bottom of the mountain to the arctic ice region on top of the mountain. You have the tropical rain forests, the evergreen forests, the moorlands and the alpine desert regions in between. It is something like walking from the equator to the arctic pole in a matter of days. You get to see some unique plants and flowers on the mountain which is specific to Mt Kilimanjaro. Though there is not much of wildlife on the mountain, you can see some wild buffaloes, elephants and leopards while traversing through the Lemosho Route. You are accompanied by armed rangers in the initial day of the trek while going via the Lemosho route.
Come prepared & maximise your experience!
So what does sufficient Kilimanjaro preparation include? To state the obvious: the fitter you are, the more you will enjoy your trip and the higher the likelihood of a successful summit. You’re probably going to climb Kilimanjaro once in a lifetime, so if you’ve decided to take the adventure on, be sure you make most out of it! The climb is definitely an adventure to remember… expect breathtakingly beautiful views, fresh mountain air under clear skies, but also a physical and mental challenge.
Due to Mount Kilimanjaro’s proximity to the equator, this region does not experience the extremes of winter and summer weather, but rather dry and wet seasons. January and February are the warmest months, April and May are the wettest months, June and July are the coolest months, and August and September are the driest months. January, February, and September are considered to be the best months to climb Kilimanjaro in terms of weather.
The closest International Airport is Kilimanjaro.
The cost of equipment, visas, vaccinations and medications are often forgotten by prospective climbers. In general you will spend anywhere between $500-$1,500 on equipment as most climbers need to buy an extreme weather sleeping bag, a duffle bag, suitable clothing and other climbing accessories.
You may also need to get a Yellow Fever vaccination as this is a mandatory requirement to enter Tanzania if you are travelling via an endemic country such as Kenya. You might want to get booster injections for Hepatitis A and other related diseases. Tanzania is a malaria zone, and the type of malaria in Tanzania can be lethal. While mosquitoes do not occur at altitude (over 1,800 meters) where you will be spending most of your trip, you will be exposed before and after the climb. Therefore, it is highly recommendable that you take malaria tablets.
Finally you will be required to get a Tanzanian visa. You can get the visa before departing or on arrival in Tanzania.
To climb Kilimanjaro you have to use a licenced guide. If you are not well-versed in the logistics of Kilimanjaro climbs then the only realistic way to trek Kilimanjaro is through a tour operator. No-frills 5 day, 4 night treks up the Marangu Route are being offered from around $1,100. However, if you are not accustomed to altitude, it is highly recommended you take a 7 or 8 day trip which start at over $1,600 depending on the route. Be aware that fees not only vary due to route and length of climb, but primarily depend on the quality of the tour operator and service delivery. Do your research and ask as many questions as possible before you decide on a tour operator. Responsible tour operators who treat their staff ethically and employ professional guides who are trained to look after your well-being are more expensive. At the above starting prices, it is not possible to operate a climb profitably, legally, and without exploiting your porters.
Tipping for guides and porters is standard. A single climber will have on average one guide, three to five porters and a cook. As a group size increases the climbing support team increase at a similar ratio. The Kilimanjaro National Park (KINIPA) stipulates a minimum ratio of one guide for every 2 climbers and a maximum weight per porter of 20kg. Tour operators are meant to comply with these standards. In general, you should budget $20-$25 a day for guides, $15-$20 a day for assistant guides, $15 a day for your cook and $10 a day for each porter. Depending on the length of your climb and the size of your group, your total tip budget should be at least $250-$500.] It is recommended that you calculate how much you will be tipping your support team before arriving on the mountain and prepare individual envelopes for each climbing support member which you distribute at the end of the climb. The gear used by the porters is mostly substandard and is often not at all fit for the trek. If you can spare some of your gear it would be greatly received by your porters or guides.
What to see. Best top attractions on Mount Kilimanjaro
- Apart from usual known adventure Kilimanjaro climbing, there are a lot more to see in Mount Kilimanjaro. On western side of Kilimanjaro on lemosho route travelers can do 2 days or day trip for wildlife tours and game drives.
- In mount Kilimanjaro there are natural waterfalls to see like Materuni waterfalls and Kinukamori waterfalls. Near or at these Kilimanjaro waterfalls, there are birds, monkeys and lots of wild animals. At slopes of mount Kilimanjaro there are volcanic lakes like lake Chala and culture tour to explore Chagga tribe at slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro
- Kilimanjaro National Park Hiking day trips are available for those who do not aspire to climb to the top of Kilimanjaro, yet wish to experience the parks’ distinct ecosystem, spot some wildlife and get a glimpse of the summit closeup.
What to eat
The various food requirements are met by the porters and cooks who come along with you on the mountain. However, the quality of the food depends on the reputation of the tour operator you are climbing with. The quality of the food tends to go down towards the end of the trek due to reduction in rations carried by the porters and also due to the food becoming stale by the end of the trek. It is recommended to carry along some high energy food like chocolates and nuts for surviving and successful completion of the trek. It would be worthwhile to carry along some ready made noodle packets and like items for cooking them at the end of the trek.
What to drink
Staying hydrated on the mountain is very important. A key reason why people suffer from Acute Mountain Sickness is because they become dehydrated. You should aim to drink at least 3L of water a day. Your guides will provide you with water on Day 1 of the hike and from then on porters collect water from streams on the mountain. It is important that you purify this water using water purification tablets. It is recommended to add high energy powders to improve the taste and give you an added boost. Also, a lot of oral rehydration salts (ORS) are recommended for preventing dehydration while trekking on the mountain.
It is permitted to camp on Mt Kilimanjaro for as many days as you want by paying the designated fees to the Kilimanjaro national Park authorities and camp in any of the nearest camps like the Machame Hut or the Mweka Hut.
GSM mobile phone coverage is available on the summit of the mountain. Various networks like Vodacom, Zaintel and Tigo operate in the region and can be accessed from various high points on the mountain. However, with no electric supply on the mountain, it is advised to carry portable mobile travel chargers along for accessing the mobile services atop the mountain.
Several immunizations are recommended for yellow fever, tetanus, typhoid, polio, Havrix (Hepatitis A Vaccine), and an anti-malaria prophylactic.
During a trek on Kilimanjaro it is likely that more than 75% of trekkers will experience at least some form of mild altitude sickness caused by a failure of the body to adapt quickly enough to the reduced level of oxygen in the air at an increased altitude.
This type of altitude sickness is known as altoxia, a term which is used almost exclusively on Kilimanjaro, since this is the only commonly trekked mountain where these extreme altitudes are encountered so quickly.
Choosing longer routes is preferable when selecting a safe approach to the summit. Both the Lemosho Route and the Northern Circuit provides climbers with longer climb times allowing better options to acclimate to altitude variations while Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. As with any high altitude climb, taking the necessary time to allow your body to properly adjust to elevation change is essential.
Preparing for kilimanjaro trekking adventures need update current information about nature of Kilimanjaro formation, weather at Kilimanjaro,volcanic rocks, kilimanjaro elevation on particular route of choice, Kilimanjaro climbing routes details, safety and security, forest and wildlife, acclimatization and even price cost to climb kilimanjaro. These information can be found online for free and through inquire online contacts. More go here Mount Kilimanjaro blog:- About Mount Kilimanjaro and Tanzanite
There are seven main factors that affect the incidence and severity of Kilimanjaro altitude sickness:
- Rate of ascent
- Altitude attained
- Length of exposure
- Level of exertion
- Hydration and diet
- Inherent physiological susceptibility
- Use of oxygen systems or drugs
Always be prepared and use a tried and tested kit list. Make sure that you do your homework and that you have all the essentials. Keep up to date on the weather on Kilimanjaro. Conditions can be unfavorable and dangerous to favorable and pleasant, and a well planned trip has to take the weather patterns into consideration.
Tipping and Ethical Climbs
What is Kilimanjaro tipping? When you explore Kilimanjaro tipping is an essential and customary way of paying your mountain crew. It recognizes their hard work in helping you summit. It is considered a universal custom on Kilimanjaro.
Official tourism websites of Mt. Kilimanjaro
For more information please visit the official government website: