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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   3 min read

Mount Kilimanjaro Park opened in 1977 and since then has attracted climbers and trekkers from just about every corner of the world. It’s now the wildlife climbers are after, but the views from the peak and the chance to climb to the top of Africa. This is one trip you have to take.

Mount Kilimanjaro stands 5,896 metres tall and is the highest peak in Africa and one of the most amazing sights on the continent. It’s on many traveller’s bucket lists for a reason! It’s one of the tallest volcanoes and one of the world’s tallest freestanding mountains as well.

Climbing up will take you through lush rain forests, alpine meadows, across barren landscapes that look like they’re from another world and up to the summits, Kibo and Mawenzi. If you’ve always wanted to climb Kilimanjaro, here’s what you’ll need to know before.

Getting there

Most all tours up Mount Kilimanjaro depart from Moshi, a buzzing town at the foot of the mountain. This is where the country’s Chagga Tribe are based and surrounding the town is where most of Tanzania’s coffee is grown. Alternatively you can start from Arusha but it tends to be more expensive than Moshi.

Flights to Kilimanjaro will take you to Kilimanjaro Airport (JRO), located halfway between Arusha and Moshi.

Are you ready to climb Kili?

Reaching the peak

Mount Kilimanjaro attracts thousands of climbers every year and it’s a popular choice because you can reach the summits without ropes or any real climbing experience but you will need to be seriously fit to reach the summit so it’s necessary to train beforehand. For most it’s a question of altitude and being able to adjust to it which will determine if you will make it up to the top or not.

If you’re not up for going all the way to the top, don’t worry! The trails on the lower slopes are amazing, through rain forests and you’ll also have the chance to discover the two tribes living there, the Maasai and the Chagga.

When to go: late-June to October, late-December-February are the best times to climb.

The fine print: You can only climb Kilimanjaro with a licensed guide which is best organised through a tour company. 5-day/4-night trips are the most popular choice and the trip usually includes all park fees, food, tents, guides and porters. There are five main routes up to the summits but inexperienced climbers should take the Marangu Route or the Machame Route. The Umbwe Route should only be tackled by experienced climbers and an additional day is need for acclimatisation.

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Mount Kilimanjaro calling! Is this Tanzanian destination on your must-visit travel list?

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Imgs: stignygaard, quakeup / Flickr cc.

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2 responses to “How to climb Mount Kilimanjaro

  1. Great tips! The snaps were beautiful and i loved your tips mentioned. It will really help me in my trekking.

  2. Thank you for sharing these tips, Katie. They are great! Most *lastminute tours depart from Moshi. Because of their no frills nature, tend to be cheaper. More prebooked tours depart from Arusha, which is good for combining with a safari as it is the gateway to the Northern Tanzania circuit. The 5-day/4-night option is primarily for Marangu route (i.e. sleeping in huts). Most climbers choose to take a longer route for better acclimatisation.

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