"Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro" Top 5 Page for this destination Kilimanjaro National Park by fishandchips

Kilimanjaro National Park Travel Guide: 163 reviews and 320 photos

Roof of Africa

Kilimanjaro towers above the Great Rift Valley, possible birthplace of humankind and is visible from many miles away on a clear day. Kilimanjaro is the home of the Chagga Tribe and is the highest walkable mountain in the world. There are several routes you can use to climb Mt Kilimanjaro those being Marangu, Rongai, Lemosho, Shira, Umbwe and Machame. Of all the routes, Machame is apparently the most scenic though steeper route up the mountain (also known as the Whiskey route) and can be done in 6 or 7 days. Rongai is the easiest camping route. Marangu (aka Coca Cola route) is also easy with accommodation in huts. As a result Marangu tends to be very busy and ascent and descent routes are the same. At 5895M high the air is rather thin at the top and not all who make the attempt get to the top.

The mountain has had people living on and around it since at least 1000BC with stone bowls found to support this. The area has been referenced to as early as 45AD by Periplus in section 18 and by Ptolemy of Alexandria who described a 'great snow mountain'.

Several climate zones

As you slowly walk up Kili you will got through several climate zones - starting with rain forest through to the snow zone at the top. The vegetation obviously also changes and is one of the interesting aspects of Kili - especially around the Horombo Hut (Marangu) where the plant life gives an other world feel to the place.

Given that you are going from very warm to very cold conditions it's important to prepare fully and be ready for anything. It's vital you have adequate gear to manage getting to the summit. I've mentioned much of this in my packing tips though do remember that you're walking so don't skimp on footwear (boots & socks). You don't need a down jacket though they are handy for evenings at campsite. Lots of layers are best - remember that you can always take items off if you are hot. My jacket was a lightweight packable goretex jacket (to keep out water and wind) and it did me fine. When combined with layers of Marino Wool, Polyprop and fleece (all light weight) I was very comfortable the whole time.

For a look at current conditions have a look at Kilicam. For a different look you can also try the Kili Marathon run at the end of February each year!!

It takes team work

A walk up Kili is not complete without guides and porters who move packs, cooking gear and food up the mountain. They will mostly be local Chagga tribesmen though you will also see the occassional female porter.

In addition to your tip, don't forget to bring extra gear (tops etc) to give the porters!! This is both very welcome for the porters and a good way to lighten your load before buying souveniers on your homeward leg!

I've tried to capture my experience going up Kili as best I can and I've got quite a lot of other info for anyone who has extra questions.

I did the Marangu route as it linked really well with my travel plans including a Safari. It was a great experience with highs and lows (both figuratively and literally!) during my 6 days on the mountain.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Easy to do if you've done the training and are determined
  • Cons:The altitude can get you no matter how well prepared you are
  • In a nutshell:See the Roof of Africa!
  • Last visit to Kilimanjaro National Park: Sep 2009
  • Intro Updated Dec 29, 2009
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fishandchips

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