Route to Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in all of Africa, is a popular and much-coveted destination for hikers and mountaineers around the world. It is located in northeastern Tanzania and stands at a height of 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) above sea level. Experienced mountain adventurers are always delighted by the challenge and unforgettable experience of conquering Kilimanjaro’s summit.
The base of Mount Kilimanjaro lies inside the Kilimanjaro National Park, a protected area of incredible natural beauty which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its importance as a conservation and tourism hotspot. Hiking through the mountains and surrounding forests means tourists get to appreciate some of Tanzania’s unique wildlife and vibrant vegetation.
The hike to the summit of Kilimanjaro is no easy task – it can take anywhere from five to nine days (or even longer, depending on your group’s pace). Hiking out and back can vary in duration depending on which route is chosen, as there are six official routes (and two additional routes via public transportation). The most popular are the Marangu, Machame, and the Rongai routes, which are known for their stunning alpine views.
The Marangu Route, also known as the ‘Coca-Cola’ route, is a relatively easy but lengthy hike which takes five to six days. This is the only route which offers sleeping huts for hikers along the way, and offers a less physical challenge compared to other routes. The Machame Route is a perfect balance of physical and mental strength, as it takes six to seven days to complete and offers most of the beautiful views of the mountain.
The Rongai Route is the least traveled and known to be the easiest route up the mountain. It is closest to the Kenyan border, and recommended for those who are short on time as it can take five to six days to reach the summit. It offers majestic views of the northern side of the mountain and passes through remote moorland and lush forest.
No matter what route adventurous explorers choose, each will require a degree of physical and mental strength. All routes involve steep ascents and descents, extreme temperatures, and terrain that involves walking up and over rocks and shifting scree.
The hike to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – an experience of a lifetime. And with the right preparation, attitude, and guidance, it is a highly rewarding challenge suitable for hikers of all kinds.
Logistics and Preparation
When choosing a route, it is important to factor in the distance that you must hike over the course of the journey, the level of difficulty, and the duration. Each route also has specific logistics that need to be taken into consideration, such as when and how to arrange park permits, how much food and water you will need, and which clothing items are suitable for the trail.
Hikers should also make sure to have the necessary gear, such as proper hiking boots, waterproof jackets, hats, and gloves. Tanzanian weather varies wildly at high elevations and can go from hot and humid at the starting point, to bitterly cold and windy as you ascend.
It’s also a good idea to be prepared for altitude sickness, which is a major concern for everyone hiking it, especially for those who are not physically fit. Too much and not enough rest days, lack of food and water, and intense physical exertion are some of the leading causes of altitude sickness, so it’s important to be aware of the warning signs and take necessary precautions.
It is highly recommended that hikers take the time to properly acclimatize to the altitude, as they will need energy to safely hike through rocky terrain, as well as mental strength to stay motivated and focused. Proper hydration, nutrition and rest are essential in order to maintain peak health and performance.
Finally, be sure to hire an experienced local guide who can provide helpful information about the terrain, vegetation, altitude levels and safety regulations. An experienced guide will create an itinerary for the tour, provide a porter team, and ensure that all regulations are respected.
The experience of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is more than just a physical challenge; it’s an act of courage and an achievement. Once you’ve made it to the summit, you’ll get to enjoy views that extend to the horizon, out to majestic Mt Meru, Kenya, and all the way to the Congo. You’ll have gained an unforgettable life experience, but you will also take home with you lessons of courage and determination.
Climbing Kili is undeniably a life-changing experience both on and off the mountain, as you get to appreciate the beauty of wilderness, the grandeur and power of nature, and the strength of your own body and mind.
It is a great opportunity to develop your personal leadership skills and learn to collaborate with experienced guides and protectors of the mountain. The trails you follow are often the same paths that have been used for centuries by the Chagga people and the wildlife that lives in the Kilimanjaro area.
You will build stronger relationships with your guides and will be able to explore and appreciate the unique culture and traditions of the local people. At the same time, you’ll also get to discover the incredible wildlife and flora that thrive in the area. This is a truly unique and educational journey, one that will leave a lasting impression on you.
History and Religion
The changing landscapes of Kilimanjaro offer an array of captivating sights, but the region has its own unique history and religion too.
In the village of Marangu, located at the foot of Kilimanjaro, tradition tells us that a supernatural being called ‘Ngai’ resides atop the mountain. This is an ancient belief held by the Maasai tribespeople and has been passed down from generation to generation since time immemorial.
Kilimanjaro has long been a source of inspiration for both locals and other adventurers, and its breathtaking beauty can be enjoyed from its many stunning viewpoints. The entire hike is an experience of a lifetime, culminating in one of the most breathtaking sights in the world – the views of tropical Africa from the peak.
No matter how you choose to make this climb, whether you take the Marangu, Machame or Rongai route, the spectacular views you’ll find will be unforgettable. Many of the routes offer a chance to get to know the Kilimanjaro region, its people, and its history a little bit better, and to enjoy its unparalleled natural beauty.
Creating Lasting Memories
Hiking to the summit of Kilimanjaro is more than just a physical feat; it is an emotional one as well. It is a humbling experience that will create lasting memories and immeasurable joy. You will be in awe of nature – the physical landscape, how simultaneously infinite and ephemeral it is, and the lessons it holds.
You will also learn how to travel and live with nature and learn to respect and cherish it more. It’s amazing to be out in nature and to feel as if you are one with it. Plus, you’ll have great stories to tell when you come back home.
The sense of accomplishment that comes with conquering Kilimanjaro is incomparable. You will have accomplished the ultimate challenge of pushing yourself to the peak of a mountain – it’s an experience no amount of money can buy.
The journey to the summit of Kilimanjaro is long and difficult, but the sense of accomplishment and awe that you get from the experience is worth all the hard work.
Health and Fitness
Before embarking on the hike to Mount Kilimanjaro, it is important to prepare physically and mentally by building up strength and endurance. This means starting an aerobic and strength training program ideally two or three months before the hike.
A typical training program should include cardiovascular activities, such as running and cycling, as well as strength-building exercises like weights and yoga. This will help prepare your body for the physical demands of the hike – such as lengthy climbs, traversing uneven terrain and ascending steep inclines.
It is also important to use supplemental techniques such as taking breaks, using poles or sticks for balance, and gradually increasing the intensity of your hikes. Increasing the intensity over time helps you to acclimatize to the altitude, and allows you to enjoy a pleasant and safer hike.
Finally, a regular diet of healthy foods and adequate hydration throughout your training and the hike itself are essential for optimal performance.
The mountain trails of Kilimanjaro are accessible to just about anyone. The only criteria is having the physical and mental ability to summit the mountain.
When choosing a tour company, it is important to make sure they can provide the level of support that you need. The tour you choose should be able to supply transportation, accommodations, meals, guides, and other services.
The key to a successful and safe climb is to make sure you are well-prepared and to find a reputable local guide. Before embarking on the climb, be sure to check all the necessary legalities and protocols, arrange permits and sign up for the necessary insurance coverage.
It is also important to read reviews and searches for customer opinions, view community post cards, and contact past clients in order to make an informed decision about which tour company to book.
Climbing to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro will change your life. It is not only a physically demanding but also a rewarding and meaningful journey. You will see and appreciate the beauty of Tanzania, steep yourself in its culture and traditions, and develop lasting relationships with guides. It is an unforgettable experience that will push your physical and mental limits, and create memories that will stay with you forever.