What it’s really like to Scale Mount Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa's tallest mountain and the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. Uhuru peak is the highest peak on Mount Kilimanjaro which stands all the way up to around 19,000 feet, actually just over it.
Trekking Mount Kilimanjaro is a huge adventure. It's the tallest mountain in Africa and the tallest volcano on any continent. Definitely lives up to its nickname the Roof of Africa.
Located in Tanzania just a few degrees south of the Equator near the border with Kenya, Mount Kilimanjaro is at the tail end of the 4000 mile long Great Rift Valley, a massive geological fault that's slowly ripping apart East Africa and can be seen in the gorges, bluffs, lakes, and volcanoes of the region.
Since Kilimanjaro was first climbed in 1889 by a German named Hans Meyer, it's become one of the most popular high-altitude treks in the world.
There are two main trekking seasons that coincide with Kilimanjaro's two dry seasons: December to March and June to October. Although you can climb Kilimanjaro year-round. Climbing in the rainy season April & May is exactly how it sounds, rainy, therefore wet, cold, and unpleasant but still trekkers prefer to use Marangu Route during this time of year since you can sleep in the mountain huts instead of camping on the ground hence avoid the rain.
Mount Kilimanjaro Trekking
Your trekking adventure will begin by driving up to the starting point together with your crew members in a small van. On the way to the gate, you will see quite a lot of agriculture, many villages people at the slope of mount Kilimanjaro growing carrots, coffee, banana trees and potatoes and the soil on the slopes of the volcano is actually really good. Once reach the starting point, this is where everybody kind of signs in as well as register your Passport Id number and also this is where the porters have to weigh their bags and confirm they have the right weight which is limit of 20kg per porter according to Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP).
You will have an incredible lunch box meal before starting the trek. It is good to fuel your body by eating since is the best way to combat altitude sickness as well as to stay hydrated. You can stuff your face real quick, drink much water, and then the trek will begin. The trailhead is right there, and it goes up.
You will begin the hiking by walking in the Forest Zone. This is kind of the base of the mountain, even though you will be already out around 6,000 feet. But it's pretty cool up in the treetops. You can see colobus monkeys running around. But as you get farther up, you will see less and less wildlife.
At the end of the day you will get a little bowl of water for cleaning up, washing the face, and you will just kind of saying goodbye to the sweat and the sunscreen and then later you will go to have some dinner together with your guide who will brief you about the trek in the next morning and then hit the sack early.
Basically that is how your daily routine will look like while on the mountain. Simply, Eat, Drink, Walk and Sleeping.
When Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro take it slowly. "Pole, Pole" as we say in Swahili means "Slowly, Slowly ". The longer you take, the higher your percentages of making it to the summit.
You may ask yourself what is the most impressive part of the climb, It is actually the four distinct ecological zones. The Rainforest from 7,000 and 9,000 feet. The Moorland Zone at 10,000 feet. The Heather Zone at 13,000 feet and the Alpine Desert at 15,000 feet where plants experience summer temperatures during the day and winter temperatures at night. Above that is a land of rock and ice then to the summit, and above that only sky.
As much of an accomplishment as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is, it can not be possible without the day by day effort done by the porters, chefs, and guides who do everything in their power to get you to the summit and make it as comfortable as possible. So don't skimp. When it comes to tipping, bring an extra three hundred to four hundred US dollars for your porters, chefs, and guides because let's be honest, without them, there's no way you can make it to the top.
Legally, porters required to have a load limit which is maximum of 20kg and they have to measure in a scale. Each porter has to weigh their bag and make sure that that weight limit is below. Why measure weight limit, first, It's in the porters' best interest to have a lighter load, and second It employs more people. Obviously, Mt Kilimanjaro is a big tourist draw, which means it's good for the economy and for the local population. So the porters get a job and by limiting the weight means more porters get more employment.
Another most exceptional part of the Kilimanjaro trek is that the food which is made by mountain chef is just amazing. You will have an incredible dinner every day of your trek including different meals and a bunch of vegetables as well as delicious soups. In the morning you will have English breakfast and fruits while during lunch, in the middle of the trek, you will have a very nice meal like fried chicken and French fries or related meals. You will not understand how the team do it but you will end up appreciating the hard work of the cook.
This mountain will surprise you in so many ways. And the coolest part of this trek is just how you walk through so many diverse ecological zones in one epic trek and every single day will be something new, something that you have never experienced before, seeing plants and animals that you have never seen before. It's captivating, this mountain is magnetic. It draws you up even though it's extremely challenging. And the higher you go, the harder it gets.
When it is time to summit Mount Kilimanjaro then you got to blow the water back down into the tube or use a bottle that is allowed to use in the mountain because your nipple will freeze, quite literally. And then you have to take your bag off every time when you want a sip of water, so carrying a bottle of water during the summit is highly advised.
The reason for leaving so early in the morning during the summit night. First is that because of the cold temperatures which will be kind of freeze the rocks together and make for a better climbing surface so you can't really linger here. Second is to avoid the sun rays which can be powerful since is being filtered out especially when it gets in the morning. During your summit, you will see headlamps very far up the mountain in front of you and some behind you as well, but you will feel good while on the way.
It will be one of the most beautiful, harsh, and savage sunrises of your life. You will be going for a solid two hours. Beautiful sunrise starting to get colour in the sky. You can also spot Mount Meru over there in distance if the weather permits. What a way to start the day. Pretty crazy and rewarding to be up at the Uhuru Peak, It's absolutely beautiful. There are very few environments like this on our planet. And it feels like you are on a different one. Be one of them and join this amazing and best hiking adventure in Africa. Contact us for more details about trekking Mount Kilimanjaro.