How High Is Mount Kilimanjaro In Meters

How High Is Mount Kilimajaro In Meters

Hiking to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest peak – is on the bucket lists of adventurers around the world. But how high is the mighty Mount Kilimanjaro, really? The towering peak stands at an impressive 5,895 meters or 19340 feet above sea level, making it one of the highest mountains on Earth. Let’s dive into the science behind this challenge of heights, its history and its current relevance.

Mount Kilimanjaro, located in the African nation of Tanzania, is the highest mountain on the continent and the world’s highest freestanding mountain. It’s made up of three distinct volcanic cones, called Kibo, Shira, and Mawenzi. The dormant Kibo is the highest peak, whereas Mawenzi and Shira reach an altitude of 4,896 and 3,977 meters respectively.

The mountain is typically divided into seven zones uphill, based on altitude and climatic conditions. Starting from the top, every 500 meters mark off a “zone” on the mountain. The highest is the arctic “arctic zone” or the “death zone”, which starts at 5,500 meters and peaks at 5,895 meters. Being able to climb the different zones within Mount Kilimanjaro has been a feat since the 1870s when western explorers such as Dr. Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller first attempted to summit the mountain.

From the moment the explorers realized how high the mountain was and the difficult trek it involved, there has been an incredible interest in conquering its peaks. Mountains have been traditionally associated with physical and spiritual transformation, and many have seen the mountain as being an important place of power. Thus, mountaineers from all over the world have traveled to Lake Kilimanjaro to attempt to summit this “roof of Africa”.

Apart from being a record-setting achievement, summiting Mount Kilimanjaro is also a great way to experience the unique flora and fauna of the mountain, with plants like heathers and other shrubs on the mountainside, as well as animals such as elephants, antelopes and buffalo near the base. On the highest portion of the mountain, it can feel like a mystical world due to its diversity of landscapes, from rough volcanic rocks to jagged mountain ridges.

The challenge at hand is serious – the altitude, brutal weather conditions and physical endurance tests make it a feat. Moreover, at higher altitudes, the air becomes thinner and it can be difficult to keep going due to oxygen deficiency. Many experienced mountaineers and researchers advise trekkers to enjoy the achievement of reaching each base camp and to take frequent breaks and acclimatization days.

The climbing of Mount Kilimanjaro is not only a physical feat, but also a great opportunity to explore, experience and admire mountaineering culture. There is nothing quite like reaching the top, and the views and experiences along the way only sweeten the top. The sense of accomplishment after conquering this giant is indescribable.


The weather on Mount Kilimanjaro is unpredictable, with temperatures ranging from −20 °C to over +40 °C. The peak of the mountain is exposed to cold temperatures, strong winds, rain and snow. Even summer months can bring hail and thunderstorms, so trekkers should be ready for any weather condition.

On the lower elevations, the weather can be warm and dry. Depending on the season and the location, temperatures can reach +30°C. When going further up, trekkers should brace for colder temperatures, especially at night. The coldest nights are experienced on the higher mountain regions.

On the higher mountain regions, the prevailing winds are strong and can affect visibility. Fog and mist can also be very limiting when making your way to the top, so it’s important to rely on the weather forecast and adjust your plans accordingly.

Despite the varied weather patterns, the most important thing climbers should take into consideration is how their bodies react to the struggle of having to climb in such high altitude. Altitude sickness usually occurs when climbers are ascending too fast, so taking your time and enjoying the journey is always the best strategy.

Once trekkers reach the summit, they should enjoy the clear skies and better visibility of the surrounding area. The breathtaking views of the African plains, glaciers and distant volcanoes are worth the climb, even if for a few moments.


Trekkers need reliable and appropriate gear to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Appropriate suits, thermal and windproof layers, a rain poncho, headlamp, waterproof bag, first aid kit and walking sticks or poles are essential. Furthermore, experienced mountaineers suggest investing in comfortable trekking boots, crampons and insulated gloves to provide better protection and increased safety.

After choosing the right gear, the next most important thing to consider is food. The climb to the summit can take up to five days, so it’s important to stock up on snacks and food with a long shelf life. Pack high-energy bars and snacks like nuts, raisins and chocolate.

Take plenty of water and cover, since dehydration and hypothermia can be major risks when it comes to Kilimanjaro expeditions. Choose light and nutritious meals that can be cooked in the wilderness, for a more enjoyable experience.

Safety equipment is also essential for the climb, since risks such as slips, slips and falls are more likely when trekking at higher altitudes. Invest in quality safety ropes, helmets and other safety features that could save you in case of an emergency.

Health Risks

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro exposes trekkers to health risks that are unique to high altitude mounts. Most common are acute mountain sickness (AMS), high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and high altitude cerebral edema (HACE). All these conditions are serious and can be life-threatening.

Symptoms of AMS include dizziness, headache, fatigue, shortness of breath and nausea. If left uncontrolled, AMS can lead to more serious conditions, so it’s important to pay attention to the warning signs and adjust the climb speed according to your body’s needs.

To avoid AMS, it’s important to stay well-hydrated and eat nourishing food. Also, climb slow and adjust the altitude according to your body’s reaction to the change of altitude. Moreover, trekkers should listen to their bodies, identify the signs and symptoms, and report them to their guides.

Finally, it’s important to take the climb seriously, by researching and preparing for it. Choosing an experienced guide with a good safety record that is familiar with the mountain’s terrain is key for a safe experience.


Signing up for a Kilimanjaro climb should always be preceded by some training. Trekkers should prepare both physically and mentally for the journey, since it can often be a difficult and exhausting experience. To get in shape for the climb, it’s important to incorporate exercises such as cardio, stretching and strength training into your routine.

Cardio exercises such as running and cycling can help improve your lungs’ and heart’s capacity to deal with the higher levels of oxygen, found in higher altitudes. High-intensity exercises enhance your muscle’s abilities to work longer under the strain of carrying a backpack and the bulky layers of clothes. Finally, stretching and flexibility exercises such as yoga and tai chi can enhance your balance, so that you can manoeuvre more easily in steep terrain.

Mentally, it’s important to be aware of your personal limits and to always be self-aware. When you establish self-awareness, you can adjust your pace and choose the best route for you. This can help reduce the risks of altitude sickness, fatigue and related injuries.

In general, it’s always best to start training a few weeks prior to the climb, to build strength and endurance for the challenge ahead. Trekkers should be aware that on the high-altitude environment, the human body needs a lot more time to rest and recover. So, take your time and listen to your body every step of the way.


Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a thrilling and life-enriching adventure. As part of the experience, trekkers should also be mindful and respect the environment, protecting the mountain’s beauty and its fragile ecosystem. This includes taking all the necessary steps to reduce one’s environmental impact.

This includes packing out any and all trash, fuel and food that was taken up the mountain. Trekkers should also be mindful of their water consumption, as water is scarce on the mountain. Moreover, trekkers should always stick to the trails and not touch or damage the protected plants and wildlife found on the mountain.

The mountain’s environment is fragile and takes longer to regenerate from damage caused by tourists than other ecosystems. Lastly, trekkers should respect other fellow travelers on the mountain and help each other out whenever possible. The spirit of mountaineering should always be kept alive and passed on to future generations.


With the increasing number of climbers attempting to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, the mountain continues to face impacts from human activities. One of the most pronounced and prevalent consequences are the impacts of climate change, with glaciers such as the Furtwängler Glacier and the Rebmann Glacier melting at an ever-increasing rate, threatening one of the most iconic and striking features of the mountain.

This decline in the glacier volume causes significant disruption to the local ecosystem and highlights the urgent necessity of sustainable touristic practices that reduce the impact of tourism on the mountain and its surroundings. Some initiatives such as the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) have implemented programs to facilitate the sustainable development of the mountain.

KPAP is a non-profit organization working to support porters and other local guides on Kilimanjaro, by providing them with appropriate gear, medical aid, and education assistance. Through initiatives such as these, the mountain’s communities can benefit from sustainable tourism, while preserving its ecosystem and its beauty for future generations.

Community Impact

The communities living near Mount Kilimanjaro are mainly made up of the Chagga, Gogo and Datooga tribes. Since the beginning of mountaineering as a popular sport, these communities have been integral in providing equipment, services and support to climb the mountain. Moreover, thanks to the income generated through climbing, many of the local communities have been able to improve the quality of life in their villages.

The Chagga people, who inhabit the lower slopes near the city of Moshi, specialize in farming and beekeeping, providing locals substantial incomes and boosting the local economy. The Datooga people living in the dry South East part of the mountain have endured a difficult life and have taken advantage of the climbing activities by creating an economic system of hospitality for climbers. The Gogos, who live near the peak, have been historically trading with the Chagga, and are now establishing small touristic businesses to benefit from the increase of climbers.

Overall, treading the mountain’s trails is a truly rewarding endeavor. The stunning views, local wildlife, friendly faces, diverse cultures and the sense of accomplishment are only some of the benefits visitors experience when tackling Mount Kilimanjaro.

Herman Shaw is a passionate traveler and avid photographer who has seen many of the world's most awe-inspiring monuments. He has developed expertise in various aspects of world architecture and culture which he enjoys sharing with his readers. With deep historical knowledge and insight, Herman's writing brings life to these remarkable artifacts and highlights their importance in the grand scheme of human history.

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