Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa, and is an iconic trek for anyone looking for a challenge. It is located in northern Tanzania, and is 19,341 feet in elevation. Standing atop this giant tangle of glaciers, snow, and rock can be an unforgettable experience. The journey to get there is no easy feat, nor is it for the faint of heart.
A typical Kilimanjaro trek takes a minimum of five days and can take up to seven days, depending on the route chosen. Climbers will generally average five to seven hours of trekking per day. The entire trek is approximately 63 kilometers, or 39 miles, and includes a vast range of terrain, from dense jungle to high alpine desert.
In order to make it to the summit, the climber must get through five general stages. The first stage includes trekking through lowland terrain such as forests and small villages. The following three stages involve traversing lush highland meadows, giant rock formations, and shifting sands, before reaching the fourth stage which is characterised by rocky, moonscape-type terrain. Once this is completed, the final stage is reached – the summit.
When it comes to the safety and success of any climb, it is important to consider altitude acclimatisation. A professional guide will be able to advise on the duration of each day and the altitude reached, as well as set the overall pace for the group and offer extra support should it be needed. This way, climbers can conquer the mountain without risking their lives as well as improve their chances of summiting.
Own Insights & Analysis
It goes without saying that the number of steps it takes to climb Kilimanjaro is largely dependent on the route chosen as well as the strength and stamina of the climber. When factoring in the various elements of terrain and geography as well as the altitude gain per day, it can be inferred that the task can be both mentally and physically demanding. That said, with the right mentality and preparation, completing the 5-7 day trek can be a rewarding and life-changing experience.
Course & Contour
The topography of Kilimanjaro is a crucial element when estimating the number of steps needed to ascend. As the mountain is made up of several distinct craters, volcanoes, and layers of rocks, each route will be different. Some will be able to offer a mostly gradual ascent while others may be more zig zag in nature. The north and south routes are typically considered the easiest, while the western and east routes tend to be more difficult.
Physicality & Fitness
When considering the physical and fitness components of the climb, it is worth noting that the duration and intensity of each day’s climb can vary depending on the route taken. Additionally, the amount of weight carried, such as supplies and camping gear, will add an extra layer of physical strain. Climbers should also factor in adequate rest days, as these are essential for acclimatising and reducing the risk of altitude sickness.
Nutrition & Hydration
As with any form of strenuous physical activity, nutrition and hydration are key factors in determining the success of a Kilimanjaro climb. Eating quality, high-energy foods and replenishing fluids throughout the day will help maintain energy levels, reduce fatigue and prevent long-term health issues. It’s also important to note that any sudden changes in diet or temperature can increase your risk of altitude sickness, so it’s best to consult with a professional guide before your climb.
Temperature & Climate
Another key factor to consider when climbing Kilimanjaro is the climate of the region. Temperatures can range from scorching during the day and freezing at night, so appropriate clothing and gear will be essential. Additionally, the higher you ascend, the more unpredictable the weather can become. For this reason, it is important to carry a head torch and always keep an eye on the changing weather patterns.
Altitude & Height
Altitude is perhaps the most important factor when considering a successful climb up Kilimanjaro. A professional guide will be able to determine the optimum route and length of each day in order to maximise the chances of summiting. It is also advised that climbers take time to acclimatise and adjust to their surroundings, as an unfamiliar climate can put additional strain on the body.