A Beginner’s Guide to Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Tanzania is considered to be East Africa’s travel gem, and is affectionately known as the “Gem of Africa” and the “Tropical Pride of Africa,” due to it being home to 10 natural wonders of the world. And while it is foremost famous globally as being home to the highest peak in the African continent (and the highest free-standing mountain in the world) Kilimanjaro. Overall, as a destination, it is one with many hats and reasons to explore.

Tanzania is no doubt a traveller’s paradise with seemingly endless options to not only explore its natural facets but there is also a lot going on when it comes to more relaxed and recreational visits. In addition, the country is blessed with beauty in its diverse landscapes, magnificent wildlife, and unique cultural heritage.

So, on top of the pilgrimage to the peak with Kilimanjaro tours, there is much more to Tanzania to make the journey a wider bucket list destination with exotic beaches, and Africa’s wild animal reserves giving wider draws for adventure, honeymoons, safaris, or just relaxation and rejuvenation. There is something for everyone in Tanzania.

Otherwise, in more recent years, Tanzania has become a huge tourist destination for its handy position and vantage point as the gateway to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Creating a rather unique and niche international audience, pursuing this journey of a lifetime, a pursuit of fitness and endurance in conquering Mount Kiliminjaro.


I am Mount Kiliminjaro

Standing at 5,895 meters above sea level and a World Heritage Site, this majestic dormant volcano is located near Moshi on Tanzania’s northern side, close to the borders of Kenya and Uganda.

With its snow-capped peak and surrounding pasturelands, the top of Mount Kiliminjaro is one of Africa’s most popular trekking destinations. However, its rugged cliffs and cold climate are unaffected by the fertile lands below, where nearby towns and local farmers cultivate bananas, coffee, cassava, and corn.

Due to Kilimanjaro’s high elevation (1910 m or 6,562 ft above sea level) and chilly temperatures (0°C or 32°F at the top), it’s a perfect destination for adventure travellers who want a winter destination without the cold weather.

The tallest peak in Africa rises above rolling hills and lush vegetation, protected by a vast forest that feeds eastern Africa’s largest elephant population. This protected area is the perfect spot for hikers to start their climb through the vast miniature ecosystem before reaching coastal plains and meadows.

The lowland forests of Kilimanjaro present several attractive trails for hiking through a rain forest. Still, the best place to get a close encounter with banana and coffee plants is at the plantation villages built by European settlers and you get to experience it all at an economical travel budget of 2000-3000 USD per person only.


The Quick Route to Mount Kilimanjaro

Fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport if you wish to visit Kilimanjaro (JRO). Mount Kilimanjaro National Park is located southwest of the airport.

If you wish to visit Tanzania, then the port city of Dar es Salaam and the island of Zanzibar are connected to various destinations in and around the region via Air Ocean freighters, passenger liners, ferries, and steamers.

Train services in Tanzania are limited, and if you want to travel to Kilimanjaro by train, the nearest train station is at Arusha, which is around 83 kilometres away. To get from Arusha train station to Kilimanjaro, one must use a bus or cab.


Popular routes to reach Mount Kilimanjaro

There are seven adventurous routes to reach the stoic and captivating peaks of Mount Kiliminjaro, namely Rongai, Machame, Umbwe, Marangu, Shira, Lemosho, Mweka. First, however, we will discuss the most popular routes for your convenience.


Marangu

It is the shortest path and some of the huts offer Coca-Cola, it is known as the Coca-Cola Route and the only option that allows you to stay in huts rather than tents.

The Marangu path to the top of Kilimanjaro is by far the most popular. Depending on whether you choose to spend an extra day acclimating to the altitude, the typical duration is either 5 or 6 days.


Machame

Many people prefer it because it offers spectacular views and a diverse range of habitats. The Machame route is chosen by about half of all climbers, including the most experienced climbers. Because of its ease of access and shorter itinerary, it is also one of the most affordable options.

Given its reputation for being a difficult climb, the Machame path is also known as the Whiskey route. Unlike the Marangu Route, which has a gentle gradient and hut accommodations, climbers on Machame travel steeper paths for longer durations while staying in tents.


Lemosho

As Tanzania’s tourism business grew, the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority built extra trails up the African continent’s tallest peak, allowing climbers to visit more regions of the park. 

Furthermore, by integrating longer distances, longer time on the mountain, and fewer height rises, these latter trails were more intelligently built to aid acclimatisation for the climber. This category includes Lemosho, a relatively new route.


Where to Begin?

The big name in Kilimanjaro (No.1 on Tripadvisor), as well as local adventure experts in wider Tanzania, Altezza Travels are set to ensure you have a smooth and seamless ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro as well as the introduction process. Regardless of your personal fitness level, age or experience, they provide you with all the necessary pre-acclimatization and fitness support along with adequate manpower and expert guides who will see to your safety and comfort.

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