How high is Kilimanjaro?

The most widely accepted figure for the height of Africa’s Highest M0untain is 5895m (19,341ft). This is the figure you will find printed on the certificates handed out to those who successfully reach the summit, Uhuru Peak. Surprisingly, however, there is significant evidence, the mountain does have two other main peaks. Mawenzi, the ‘second summit’, is 5149m high (16,893ft); while the third ‘summit, Shira Ridge, is 3962m high (12,999ft).

Where is it located?

Kilimanjaro is in northern Tanzania, right against the border with Kenya, in East Africa. Don’t make the mistake, as many people do, of thinking it’s in Kenya. It’s not: it is wholly within Tanzania. Though it’s an easy error to make. After all, some of the best photos of the mountain were taken from a vantage point in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park. (I’m thinking in particular of those images of the mountain with elephants in the foreground.) The Kenyan Tourist Board is not above putting pictures of the mountain in its brochures either – a practice which infuriates the Tanzanians.

Why mountain Kilimanjaro is famous in Africa Continent?

The mountain’s main claim to fame is that it is the highest Mountain in Africa. For that reason, it is often called the Roof of Africa. This also means it is one of the so-called Seven Summits – the highest mountains on each of the seven continents. It is also said to be the highest free-standing mountain in the world. In other words, it’s not part of a mountain range but stands all by itself in the heart of the East African plains. It is also one of the world’s highest ‘walkable’ mountains, where no technical climbing skills are required to reach the summit.

How do I get to the Mountain??

The mountain has its own airport (Kilimanjaro International Airport, IATA airport code JRO). Currently around seven airlines fly into JRO, including KLM, Kenya Airways, Turkish Airlines, Ethiopian, Qatar Airways, Flydubai (partners with Emirates) and Rwanda air. Your trekking company will then transfer you to a hotel in Moshi or Arusha, and from there (usually the next day) will take you to the mountain to begin your trek.

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You can also arrive overland, of course, with the mountain town of Arusha connected by bus to Kampala in Uganda and Nairobi in Kenya, as well as Tanzania’s largest city, Dar es Salaam (from where buses travel to/from other neighbouring countries).

What kind of weather conditions will I experience?

Wide-ranging temperatures from +30c to – 15c typically once you are on the mountain the day time temperatures range from 5c to 15c and typically it is – 5c to – 10c on the summit of Kilimanjaro, once the sun comes up it gets warmer and can be warm coming down from the summit. While you are in the rainforest it can rain quite a bit or not at all, so you need to be prepared. It can also rain anywhere on the mountain and this will depend on the time of year you climb the mountain. It can also be cloudier making it feel colder. Be prepared for every type of weather on Kilimanjaro.

How hard is to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

Mount Kilimanjaro is not a technical climb and the trails aren’t demanding. Every day, besides the actual summit, is like an ordinary hike with a gradual incline leading closer towards the peak. However, walking 4-7 hours a day for 7 days straight can be challenging on your body and the last thing you want are sore legs before you even start the days walk. The stronger and fitter you are, the more you’ll enjoy the climb

Which is the best route to climb Mt Kilimanjaro?

There are various routes to choose from, ranging from 5-9 days. Each offers its own pros and cons with regards to pricing, days and camping/huts. However, it’s better to extend your trip and opt for a 7 or 8-day hike as this allows for your body to better adapt to the altitude. I chose the Machame route which is a very popular trail, with 45% of visitors choosing it to climb Mt Kilimanjaro. Otherwise known as the whiskey route, it offers a scenic path through 4 diverse landscapes and climatic zones. Another reason for the Machame routes’ popularity is due to the acclimatization schedule, where you climb higher during the day and go back down to sleep at a lower level. This helps your body better adapt to the altitude and elevation and hence it has a high success rate. Although you are able to complete this route in 6 days, it is recommended that you choose the 7-day option. This extra day lowers the risk of altitude sickness and better prepares your body for the summit climb. However, due to its popularity and high success rate, it is a busy trail. You can expect to see many people on the Machame route and it can be quite polluted.

What is the biggest problem most people face?

Their own fear, having a positive frame of mind is so important. If you have done all the preparation and training,  you should feel confident in your own ability and your gear. Other people find it hard to adjust to camping life. It is important to get into a routine, once you get into camp, clean up change clothes. Set up your tent, sleep bag, and mattress and get comfortable. Tackling each day at a time is a great way to focus on. Just focus on each days walking as it comes and enjoys the journey rather than focusing on the top. You will get there.

What kind of clothing?

You need to have a wide range of clothes. 15kg is your weight limit for the porters to carry. You will carry rain gear (for the many days on the trek), fleece, or down jacket, camera and 3 liters of water, You can get away with shorts up to high camp, but most people prefer trekking pant with a Gortex shell and thermal underwear for summit night. You will need sock liners, wool socks and a couple of light layers for the first 3/4 days of the climb. Wicking layers, Light and heavier fleece layers. Get in touch and we can supply you with a full kit list. Make sure you have trainers to change into once you reach the camp each day. Merino wool from Smartwool or Icebreaker are great layering products and I highly recommend them.

What about food and water?

You should be drinking 4 – 6 liters per day, Your body dehydrates faster at altitude and you are exercising so keep drinking, your body is creating more red blood cells to carry oxygen faster around your body. Your blood thickens and therefore hydration plays a key part in keeping you healthy and your body working effectively at high altitude. You can use Disprin or Asprin in your water to thin out your blood, which will help you as you move higher on the mountain. The food is carefully chosen on different days depending on the exertion required. Loads of carbs, protein and necessary food to get your up and down with the fuel needed to sustain you. We have a full menu available on request once you sign up to one of our Kilimanjaro trips.

Are there any toilet or shower facilities on the climb?

The toilets that are available on the slopes consist of nothing more than four walls and a hole in the ground. These toilets aren’t cleaned around the clock and you can find them in quite a horrid state. Another option is to hire a portable toilet that’s set up at you campsite for the evening. Although this comes at an extra cost you won’t have to hold your breath and your nose, and it gives you more privacy. The final option that’s always available is to get in touch with the great outdoors so to speak. While ‘getting in touch with nature’ is all good and well, please respect the environment, by taking any toilet paper you use and placing it in a plastic bag, so you can dispose of it later. With rudimentary toilet facilities – you guessed it – a nice warm shower is a luxury on the slopes of Kili. Wet wipes come in handy and are highly recommended to quickly freshen up. There is also the option of a humble bucket and face cloth should you feel the need to clean up a bit. One thing is for sure though, your first shower after a 6 – 8-day climb is going to feel out of this world