Kilimanjaro’s location in relation to South Africa is somewhat misleading. South Africa is located south of Kilimanjaro, but it is on the other side of the continent. To the west of Mount Kilimanjaro lies Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa, and the mountain itself lies in the northern part of Tanzania, the United Republic of Tanzania.
A more detailed reason why Mount Kilimanjaro is not located in South Africa is due to its distance from the country. If you were to draw a straight line from South Africa to the highest point of Mount Kilimanjaro, it would measure 2,706 miles—which is much too far for it to be part of South Africa.
Travel expert and seasoned adventurer, Janice Baker, says “it’s common for newcomers to the continent to think of Kilimanjaro as part of South Africa. While it is not geographically within the country’s borders, a trip there would likely still include a stopover in Johannesburg,” she continued.
Mount Kilimanjaro offers unique opportunities to adventurers of all skill levels. Whether you’re a first-time climber or a novice trekker, it’s an incredible location for a lifetime exploration . It’s possible to enjoy the mountain’s spectacular scenery without ever setting foot on its slopes or undergo a challenging journey that could lead to its summit.
There are also countless fascinating sites along Mount Kilimanjaro’s merry path waiting to be explored. One of the most prominent ones is Maundi Crater, which is located near its summit. This massive caldera — or “dead volcano” — is surrounded by five miles of emerald green rainforest that provides a unique environment for plants and wildlife.
For the more daring traveler, the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro offers even more excitement. It’s home to the Kibo Uruhu Peaks, which are the three highest sections of the mountain. These peaks, Uhuru Peak in particular, are sought after by climbers and hikers who are determined to get to the summit of the African giant.
Mount Kilimanjaro is a unique environment due to its many climates. On its lower slopes, the mountain is warm and tropical, with lush vegetation and wildlife. As you ascend, the temperature and terrain cools down and breeds cold, hardier vegetation and extreme temperatures.
On the highest peak of Uhuru, temperatures can drop down to -10°C and snow can be seen even during the warmer months of the year. The combination of these cooler temperatures coupled with bright, starry nights and a spectacular view of the African plains, make it a climber’s paradise.
Accessing the Mountain
You can access Mount Kilimanjaro through two main routes, both of which start and terminate within Tanzania. The first and most popular route is the Marangu Route, which takes a leisurely five days to reach the summit.
On the other hand, the more strenuous and longer Machame Route, can take up to a full week and is much more technical in nature. This route is better suited for climbers who are looking to summit Kilimanjaro, unlike the Marangu route, which is traditionally aimed at sightseers and leisurely hikers.
It’s important to keep in mind that climbing Kilimanjaro isn’t just a leisure activity and involves proper planning and preparation for a safe and enjoyable experience. You should always contact a certified and experienced tour guide to help ensure your safety and to make your Kilimanjaro experience a truly memorable one.
One common misconception about Mount Kilimanjaro is that it can be conquered without the need of any technical equipment or expertise. Nothing could be further from the truth. Unlike some of the lower hills around the area, climbing Kilimanjaro involves specialised mountain gear and experience and is far from an ordinary hike.
Experience mountain guide, Robert Evans, also added that “Climbing Kilimanjaro is a tough endeavour, even for those who have some climbing experience. The mountain’s unpredictable weather, high altitudes, and rocky terrain can be unforgiving and dangerous,” cautioning that the climb cannot be undertaken lightly.
When planning a trip to Mount Kilimanjaro, it’s important to consider the time and money it takes to reach the summit. Since climbing Kilimanjaro is a big undertaking, a well-planned itinerary is essential to make sure that you’ll have enough energy and resources to reach the summit.
Altitude sickness is a major concern for Kilimanjaro climbers and without the proper knowledge and precautions, it can be a serious issue. All climbers should pay attention to the signs and symptoms of altitude sickness and know how to recognise it and prevent it from happening.
The best way to prevent altitude sickness on Mount Kilimanjaro is to make sure to ascend slowly, drinking plenty of fluids along the way. Uphill hikes should not be undertaken too quickly, and rest days should be taken whenever necessary. In extreme cases, returning to a lower elevation may be necessary to relieve the symptoms of altitude sickness.
For the more daring adventurers who are determined to conquer Kilimanjaro, proper physical, mental and technical preparation is essential. Rob of Explore With a Difference suggested “In order to get to the summit of Kilimanjaro, it’s important to plan ahead and make sure you have the knowledge and equipment necessary for a safe and successful climb.”
The most important preparation for the journey is to make sure you are physically fit. To prepare for Kilimanjaro, experts recommend a few months to a year of consistent training and regular cardio exercises.
Additionally, it’s important to have the right technical equipment such as warm, weatherproof clothing, a strong and reliable backpack, good quality tent, and properly fitting waterproof mountaineering boots. Keeping a positive mindset on the mountain is also essential to help you power through the more challenging sections of the climb.
Although it may not be the first thing on your mind when you’re thinking about your Kilimanjaro climb, it’s important to consider your budget. Generally speaking, Kilimanjaro climbing can range from 500 to 2000 dollars depending on the operator, the route chosen and the number of people in the group.
The cost for a Kilimanjaro climb also depends on the type of accommodation, experience of guides and the number of porters. If you plan on taking the Machame Route, it will cost you more than the Marangu Route. It’s important to know that budget climbing is usually not recommended for the challenging seven-day Machame Route.
When it comes to safety, you should always work with an experienced and certified tour operator, preferably one that is associated with the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP). The KPAP helps to protect porters working on Kilimanjaro and encourages responsible tourism and good working conditions.
It’s also important to remember that Kilimanjaro is a big mountain that demands respect and care. Even the most experienced climbers can fall victim to its harsh conditions, so it’s important to be aware of the risks and be prepared for the worst.
Kilimanjaro may have its fair share of challenges, but its rewards are equally plentiful. With its magnificent landscapes and beautiful wildlife, it’s truly a mountain like no other. So, if you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure, Mount Kilimanjaro is the place to go.