Mount Kilimanjaro is located in northern Tanzania near the Kenyan border and is a currently inactive strato-volcano. At 5,895 metres above sea level, Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest peak and the world’s highest free-standing mountain. Kilimanjaro is beloved destination for mountaineers and trekkers from around the world. It is also known and popular as Africa’s snow-capped mountain looming over the plains of the savannah. In recent years, however, the snows have been fast disappearing. Kilimanjaro National Park protects the area above 2,700 metres on the mountain and includes the moorland and highland zones, Shira Plateau, Kibo and Mawenzi peaks.
Most people know the story that Queen Victoria of England gave her grandson, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, Mount Kilimanjaro as a birthday present. But, this is true. Karl Peters, a German traveler in Africa and one of the founders of today’s Tanzania, sneaked into Tanganyika and persuaded various Chagga chieftains to sign treaties in which they agreed to cede their territories to his Society for German Colonization.
How to get there
The closest International Airport is Kilimanjaro and if you are coming from Europe, there are non-stop flights from Amsterdam.Since 2012 several International Airlines launched direct flight to Kilimanjaro International Airport, (Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways). If you are coming from Nairobi, Kenya, you can fly with Kenya Airways. Also, you can schedule shuttle buses, which take off at 8am and 2 pm daily.
If you are a mountaineer you already know that you will have to have good equipment. The cost of equipment, visas, vaccinations and medications are often forgotten by prospective climbers. You will have to spend $500-$1,500 on equipment as most climbers need to buy an extreme weather sleeping bag, a duffle bag, suitable clothing and other climbing accessories. You will also need to get a Yellow Fever vaccination as this is a mandatory requirement to enter Tanzania. Get injections for Hepatitis A and other related diseases. Tanzania is a malaria zone but mosquitoes do not occur at altitude (over 1,800 meters). You will be spending most of your trip above this altitude but will be exposed before and after the climb. Also, you will need a Tanzanian visa.
What to see
In Mount Kilimanjaro there are natural waterfalls such as Materuni waterfalls and Kinukamori waterfalls. Here you will see birds, monkeys and lots of wild animals. At slopes of mount Kilimanjaro there are volcanic lakes like lake Chala and culture tour to explore Chagga tribe at slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Kilimanjaro (Climb outfitter) is a Special Tour Operator that deals with travel packages on Kilimanjaro sight seeing tours, mountain climbing, route Kilimanjaro trekking, waterfalls tours, bird watching and so on.
What to do
Marangu Route Commonly is also called the Coca-Cola Route, because it is considered the easiest route and vendors sell Coca-Cola at some of the huts. Marangu is the most popular route to the summit of Kilimanjaro. It lasts for about 5 or 6 days depending upon whether you elect to spend an extra day for acclimatization to the altitude. This is the only route that offers huts versus tents.
Machame Route is the most beautiful route up Kilimanjaro. Some people call it the “Whiskey route” and it is better suited to the slightly more adventurous hiker, however rewarding him/her with a scenic splendor such as not seen on the Marangu route.
Lemosho Route isn’t the most popular and isn’t very used route. This is one of the few where 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 big game animals.
Accommodation and best season for visits
Lodging on the mountain is limited to designated campsites. Cave sleeping is no longer allowed. There are plenty of huts that are available, but generally not advisable. Mount Kilimanjaro‘s is close to the equator, and this region doesn’t have extreme changes in the season (summer or winter), but rather dry and wet seasons. January and February are the warmest months, April and May are the wettest, June and July are the coolest, and August and September are the driest months. January, February, and September are advised as the best season for climbing Kilimanjaro in terms of weather. The journey from the gate to the peak of the mountain is like traveling from the equator to Antarctica in a matter of days. Prepare suitable clothing for warm and extremely cold weather.