While on your safari experience to the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater or Tarangire National Parks, why not pop on over for a few days and take a hike!
Located in the northeast Tanzania, Mt. Kilimanjaro can be seen far into Kenya and Amboseli National Park. Kilimanjaro is part of the Kilimanjaro National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a major climbing destination. Mount Kilimanjaro comprises of three volcanoes named Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. Kibo being the highest peak among all three is the only live volcano which last erupted about 200 years ago.
This beast of an “ant hill” is one of the few places on earth that encompass every ecological life zone, including tropical jungle, savannah, desert to forest, subalpine plants. Not to mention being the highest mountain in Africa rising approximately 4,900m from its base to 5,895m above sea level! To give you an idea of this sheer size… Mount Everest is 8,848m – WHOAH! Now just because Kilimanjaro is in Africa doesn’t mean she’s all sunshine and warm all day long. At first sight, Kilimanjaro looks to have a peaceful white cap, nothing more than a dusting of icing sugar… when in actual fact huge glaciers, ice columns and pillars, tower in size – making the most fascinating climb of the upper slopes of Kibo.
Now before you go getting all excited, pulling on your old training shoes, this isn’t something you do on a whim. Kilimanjaro is not a peak that can be climbed on your own! It is mandatory to climb with a licensed guide and to have porters carry your equipment. You can be in the best shape of your life and fail to reach the summit. Altitude sickness is a real thing and can knock you out well before you reach 19,000 feet.
The first recorded ascent to the summit of the mountain was by Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller in 1889. Since then about 75,000 people climb Kilimanjaro every year over the six official routes to the summit, so it is by no means the most untouched mountain, nor is it the most arduous but overall Fitness and a full physical check-up is required beforehand. For the lesser active it is possible to do a route to the pinnacle of Kibo without relying on professional climbing equipment, just a very long trek from base to summit. This route is however still a serious endeavor that requires a realistic awareness of the potentially damaging effects of high altitudes and in some parts of the mountain basic scrambling skills comes in handy.
Climbing “Mt Kili” takes anywhere from five to nine days, depending on the route you choose and how much time you take to acclimatize to the altitude. This is definitely one for the bucket list!