Short Guide to Climbing Mt Kilimajaro


Kilimanjaro ©Koen Muurling/Flickr

As Africa’s highest mountain, Mt Kilimanjaro is a popular climb, and quite a challenging one, too. But unlike the great peaks in the Himalaya, which are only accessible to the very best climbers, Kilimanjaro can be conquered by any fit person with a bit of luck and ambition. It is also less dangerous to climb Kilimanjaro. Which is not to say that Kilimanjaro is less of a climb. The fact that it is a free-standing mountain (not part of a massif or mountain group), allows Mt Kilimanjaro to be admired in its full height and size.

Planning a climb on Kilimanjaro might require some time and money, but remember that this has all the chances to become the adventure of a lifetime. You can find some useful facts and tips in our short guide to climbing Mt Kilimanjaro:

Important facts and figures

The altitude of Kilimanjaro is quite impressive 5895 m above sea level, but even more impressive is the fact that the prominence of the mountain is of 5885 m. This means makes Kilimanjaro unique in the world, as the mountain with the greatest apparent height. Although Kilimanjaro has the typical conic shape of a volcano, you should know that the mountain consists of three different cones, each with several peaks. The highest of them is the Uhuru peak on Kibo cone. At 5895 m, Kilimanjaro is also high enough for altitude sickness to appear, which means that climbers must take time to adjust and must be in a good physical condition. You should also know that the park administration (Kilimanjaro is part of a national park) requires a fee for every climber, per day.


Kilimanjaro ©Koen Muurling/Flickr

Choosing the ideal route

There are 8 possible (official) climbing routes to Kilimanjaro. Choosing the ideal route depends on how much time you’ve got, how fit your are, whether you prefer to camp or stay in huts etc. For example, Umbwe route offers the quickest ascent, while Rongal is much more accessible. Lemosho is considered to be the most scenic of all routes, however Machame is preferred by most climbers.

high altitude camp

Kilimanjaro camp ©Stig Nygaard/Flickr

What to bring

The ascent on Kilimanjaro takes between 6 and 8 days. During your ascent, you will encounter different types of vegetation and be subjected to a wide range of temperatures, so it is important to have equipment suited for all types of weather (from sunglasses to gloves). In general, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro won’t require anything beside the usual mountain gear: boots, tent, sleeping bag, waterproof poncho, walking stick etc. Have plenty of water, as nothing is more important in preventing altitude sickness.

team of climbers

Kilimanjaro climbers © Gib’s page/Flickr


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