The world’s tallest freestanding peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, attracts at least 50,000 climbers each year. Mount Kilimanjaro, at 19,341 feet, is located in Tanzania. Needless to say, if you’re thinking about climbing Kilimanjaro, you should prepare for it. Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the Seven Summits of the Planet (the highest mountain peaks on each continent). It’s also the easiest to climb successfully. It’s an easy hike that doesn’t require any previous mountaineering experience.
Even so, it’s a difficult climb. You’ll walk up to the summit for five days or more across a complex landscape. You must also be mentally prepared, physically fit. Hiking, biking, or maintaining a particular exercise routine are all excellent ways to prepare for hiking Mount Kilimanjaro. You should have high-quality high-altitude clothing and camping equipment. However, there are few opportunities to do short hikes on the mountain without going all the way to the top.
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is, predictably, the best way to experience it. A four-wheel drive can carry you up to 11,000 feet, but this is rare except for climbers on the Shira trail. It would be far too risky to actually be dropped off at the top by helicopter due to the altitude. Since they miss the initial acclimatization phase, even hikers who begin at 11,000 feet are at a high risk of altitude sickness also called acute mountain sickness (AMS).
Here’s what you need to know about planning your Kilimanjaro climb.
Where Is Kilimanjaro Located?
Mount Kilimanjaro is situated in Tanzania’s northern region, within the Kilimanjaro National Park. It’s near Kenya’s border, and you’ll need a permit to visit. Trekkers must hire an official guide company to climb the mountain.
How High Is Kilimanjaro?
Mount Kilimanjaro is the world’s highest freestanding peak. Its highest elevation, Uhuru Peak, is Africa’s highest point 5,895 meters above sea level.
Mount Kilimanjaro Routes to Consider
Since the climb takes five to ten days, anyone hiking Kilimanjaro should plan on spending at least a week in Africa. Climbers to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro can choose from seven different routes.
Umbwe: is the most challenging path up Mount Kilimanjaro and is only recommended for experienced hikers. Those who take the Umbwe route have the least chance of summiting since they would attempt it at night.
Lemosho: is a lesser-known path up Kilimanjaro. The views and chances of summiting are still great, but the Lemosho route isn’t nearly as busy as the Marangu and Machame routes. Though Lemosho can be completed in six days, it is preferable to extend it to nine days.
Shira route is close to Lemosho’s ascent. The key difference is that climbers begin at a much higher elevation—Shira Gate, at over 11,000 feet, is the starting point.
The Northern Circuit: is the newest as well as the longest path up Mount Kilimanjaro in terms of distance. Since climbers spend more time at each elevation, the path loops up the mountain, making it easier for them to acclimate to the altitude. The climb takes nine days and offers spectacular views.
Rongai: is Kilimanjaro’s only northern approach, starting near the Kenyan border and taking seven days to complete. Rongai, on the other hand, forces climbers to descend through Marangu.
Choose your guide for Mount Kilimanjaro
When is the Best Time to Visit Mt. Kilimanjaro?
April, May, and November are the wettest months in Tanzania. Climbers and others hoping to see stunning views of the mountain should stay away from it throughout these months. The Rongai route is the only northern face trek, so it’s a good option if you’re climbing in a rainy season month—or even a month bordering on the rainy season. Mount Kilimanjaro’s north face receives the least amount of annual precipitation.
From June to October, Mount Kilimanjaro is at its peak. It’s the hottest time of year to climb Mount Kilimanjaro—though it’ll never be warm in the “arctic region” at the top.