Mount Kilimanjaro with its picturesque summits and volcanic cones (Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira) stands at 5,893 metres or 19,334 ft above sea level and its the highest mountain in Africa. A mountain climbing adventure of such proportion is such an exhilarating experience, reaching the peak (the Uhuru Peak / Kibo Peak) simply means you standing on the roof of Africa, on top of the world.
Indeed, Mount Kilimanjaro is the 4th largest mountain in the world. Succeeding the ascent to the roof, namely, Kibo 5,893 m (19,334 ft); Mawenzi 5,149 m (16,893 ft); and Shira 3,962 m (13,000 ft) is the dream of many world adventurers. Greatly esteemed as one of the 7 world summits, a mount Kilimanjaro expendition is a must for a complete mountaineering challenge. Uhuru Peak is the highest summit on Kibo's crater rim. Scores of young adults including African students, seniors, professionals have made to the top. Why not you?
There are several routes by which to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, namely: Marangu, Rongai, Lemosho, Shira, Umbwe and Machame. Of all the routes, Machame is by far the most scenic albeit steeper route up the mountain, which can be done in 6 or 7 days. The Rongai is the easiest camping route and the Marangu is also relatively easy, but accommodation is in huts. As a result, this route tends to be very busy, and ascent and descent routes are the same.
Marangu Route:- Marangu is by far the most popular route to the summit of Kilimanjaro. This could partly be as a result of the fact that the Marangu is the least expensive route, but more so, perhaps the fact that it is possible to do the Marangu route in 6 days, thereby getting to the summit one day earlier than on the Machame route.
Machame Route:- Sometimes called the Whisky Route. This is a popular route up steep paths through magnificent forests to gain a ridge leading through the moorland zones to the Shira Plateau. It then traverses beneath the glaciated precipices of the Southern Ice fields to join the Barafu Route to the summit.
Umbwe Route:- The Umbwe route is one of the shortest routes to the Southern Glaciers and the Western Breach. It is probably the most scenic, non-technical route on Kilimanjaro. It is quite taxing, primarily due to the relatively fast ascent to higher altitude, but the rewards are plentiful. Very steep route best suited to experienced trekkers
Lemosho Route:- This is the longest and most remote route to Kilimanjaro. After beautiful forests and moorlands it crosses the Shira Plateau to meet up with the Machame Route. Groups may be accompanied on the first day by an armed ranger as the forests around the Lemosho Glades are rich in buffalo, elephant and other game.
Rongai Route:- This remote and less frequently used route is the second easiest route to Kilimanjaro. The approach to the mountain is from the less-forested north side and the descent is by the Marangu Route. There are several variations, the one described is a longer route taking in Mawenzi Tarn.
Shira Route:- The Shira route, approaches Kilimanjaro’s summit from the west and crosses the caldera of Shira Volcano before heading beneath the southern ice fields of Kibo. The route is seldom used by other trekkers and so your initial two days on the mountain are less crowded than on most other routes.
As said, Mount Kilimanjaro as Africa's highest mountain is real most awesome sight. Your photos of snowcapped mountain and bushlands rolling around the mountain are real assets to grace your memoirs. It is surrounded by rain forest and is home to many animals such as Elephants, Buffaloes, Rhinos, Leopards, and Monkeys. Monkeys and Elands are the only animals that can be seen at the summits of Mawenzi and Kibo Peaks.
The snow-capped peak, the dream of scaling the summit, watching dawn break and gazing out over the vast African wildlife, plains and bushland is an experience not to be missed. Kilimanjaro can be trekked at any time of the year, however, there is usually a lot of rain during April, May and November which makes trekking even more challenge.
The main trekking seasons on Kilimanjaro correspond with the mountain’s two dry seasons (an imprecise term, the weather being occasionally inclement during these periods too) namely January to mid-March and June to October.The January to March season tends to be colder and there is a much greater chance of snow on the path at this time. The days, however, are often clearer, with only the occasional brief shower. It is usually an exceptionally beautiful time to climb and is often a little quieter than the other peak season of September to October, which coincides with the main academic holidays in Europe and the West. In this latter season the clouds tend to hang around the tree-line following the heavy rains of March to May. Once above this altitude, however, the skies are blue and brilliant and the chance of precipitation minimal (though still present).
Although the June to October season tends to be busier, this is not necessarily a disadvantage. For example, if you are travelling independently to Tanzania but wish, for the sake of companionship or simply to cut down on costs, to join up with other travellers for your Kilimanjaro trek, then the high visitor numbers in the June-October peak season will give you the best chance of doing this.
Of course one can trek up Kilimanjaro in the rainy season but not only is there a much higher chance of trekking in the rain, the summits of Kibo and Mawenzi are likely to be wreathed in thick cloud too. Indeed, several agencies even suspend their operations in November and December, deciding that any trek up Kilimanjaro is foolhardy at this time and the rewards for the trekkers considerably less. Curiously, however, Christmas and New Year, when the weather is far from perfect, have been the most popular times for climbing Kilimanjaro.
Day 1: Arrival - Moshi
Transfer from Nairobi Or Kilimanjaro Airport to your hotel closeto the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Day 2: Machame Gate (1490m) - Machame camp (2980m)
After breakfast and morning briefing you will be driven to Machame gate about 5 kms from the hotel. Your packed lunch will be taken en route. The 7 hour hike begins with your entourage to Machame Camp. We now leave the park gate and walk through the rain forest on a winding trail up a ridge. Lower down, the trail can be muddy and slippery. Gaiters and trekking poles are a good idea here. We continue a short distance until we reach the Machame Camp
Dinner and overnight stay at Machame Camp.
Day 3: The Scenic Ascent: Machame camp (2980m) - Shira2 camp (3840m)
Hiking time: 6 hours | Distance: About 9 km's | Habitat: Moorland
Important Note: - To give value to climbers, our professional guides recommend avoiding Shira1 Camp because of among other reasons - congestion.
After breakfast you climb for an hour or so up a steep ridge to the top of the forest and then 2 hours a gentler gradient through the moorland zone. After a short lunch and rest, you continue up to a semi-circular rocky ridge known as Picnic Rock onto the Shira plateau.
By now you will be able to see the Western Breach with its stunning glaciers. You are now due west of Kibo and after a short hike you will arrive the Shira campsite at 3 840m. Picnic lunch enroute. Dinner and overnight stay at Shira Camp
Day 4: The Valley Crossing: Shira2 (3840m) - Barranco camp (3950m)
Hiking time: 6 hours | Distance: About 15 km's | Habitat: Semi desert
Important Note: - To give value to climbers, our professional guides recommend avoiding Lava Tower because of climbing safety reasons.
From Shira plateau, our target is to ascend to Barranco Camp. Lunch is served in a designated area. This is a tough day so far and is most important for acclimatization and will help your body prepare for summit day.
There will be great opportunities to take some beautiful photographs of the Western Breach and Breach Wall. The camp is situated in a valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall, which should provide you with a memorable sunset while you wait for the preparation of your dinner.
Day 5: Dazzling views of the Ice Fields: Barranco camp (3950m) - Karanga camp (4000m) -Barafu Camp (4550m)
Hiking time: 5-6 hours | Distance: About 13 km's | Habitat: Alpine desert
From Barranco camp, famous for its' giant groundsels (Senecio species), you ascend the Barranco wall and hike glacial valleys to Karanga camp. Today is a relatively short day hiking and lunch is taken at Karanga camp. In the afternoon a walk can be taken with your guides for great views of the Southern walls of Kibo and deep glacial valleys.From Karanga, we ascend directly to Barafu camp. We shall have plenty of time to relax before the summit bid. Desolate alpine desert and at times strong winds rip over this camp and yet in the evening splendid views of Mawenzi peak are the norm. A relatively early dinner is taken before heading to rest for the evening.
Overnight Barafu Camp (breakfast - lunch - dinner)
Day 6: SUMMIT ATTEMPT: Barafu camp (4550m) - Uhuru Peak (5895m)-Mweka (3100m)
Hiking time: 8 hours to Uhuru Peak | 7/8 hours to descend to Mweka | Distance: About 7 km's ascent - 23 km's descent | Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
You will rise around 23h30, and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the night. You will head in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. This 6-hour walk to Stella point is for many climbers, mentally and physically the most challenging on the route. At Stella Point (5685m) you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see (weather permitting). From Stella Point you will normally encounter snow all the way on your 2-hour ascent to Uhuru Peak. The time you will spend on the summit will depend on the weather conditions. Do not stop here for too long, as it will be extremely difficult to start again due to cold and fatigue. Enjoy your accomplishment and a day to remember for the rest of your life. The walk back to Barafu from the summit, takes about 3 hours. Here you will have a well earned but short rest and collect the rest of your gear, before heading down to Millenium Camp. The route is not difficult and will take you down the rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually into the forest. The camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Dinner and washing water will be prepared
Day 7: Descent: Millenium Camp (3100m) - Mweka Gate (1980m)
Hiking time: 3 hours | Distance: About 15 km's | Habitat: Forest
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