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Wreathed in vaporous clouds, steeped in resplendence, the towering Mount Kilimanjaro is the pride of East Africa, and a must on the bucket list of adventurers and wayward wanderers alike. Whilst climbing Kilimanjaro is a respectable feat, the Mountain of Light is not as entirely insurmountable as it is purported to be. We give you a breakdown of the where, when and how of climbing Africa’s tallest mountain—also the tallest free-standing mountain in the world.
Located near the town of Moshi in Northern Tanzania, the Mount Kilimanjaro National Park is 128 kilometers [80 miles] from Arusha and within an hour’s drive of Kilimanjaro Airport. Approaching the boundary of the National Park, which spans 1668 square kilometers [640 square miles] of luscious montane forest, the breath-taking Mount Kilimanjaro rises up from the surrounding coastal scrubland to a commanding 5,895 meters. Kilimanjaro is certainly the main attraction in the area, but the surrounding forest—a green oasis home to elephant, leopard, buffalo and numerous other small antelope and primates—is not to be disregarded.
What to Know Before Considering the Climb
Climbing Kilimanjaro requires proper training and a good level of health and fitness, but one does not need to be tremendously fit to tackle the giant. An adequate fitness training program that includes hiking trails in your home country is vital, but climbing Kilimanjaro is not tantamount to running a marathon. Companies operating guided hikes up Kilimanjaro, such as Climbing Kilimanjaro and Ultimate Kilimanjaro, offer fitness plans to aid you in ensuring that you are fit enough to make the climb. Insofar as the actual climb is concerned, the mountain offers six usual trekking routes to the summit and other more-demanding mountaineering routes for experienced climbers, with nature trails on the lower reaches.
When to Climb Kilimanjaro
The best trekking seasons for Kilimanjaro are January to March and June to October respectively. January to March is generally colder, with the possibility of a snowy summit, but the slopes are often quieter during this time. Due to the fact that the June to October trek coincides with the summer holidays in the United States, United Kingdom and Europe, the routes can get significantly busier during this time. March, April and November are peak raining season and are thus not ideal for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
For more about climbing Kilimanjaro, be sure to check out the Mount Kilimanjaro National Park official site. If you have surmounted the mighty Kilimanjaro and have any tips for your fellow climbers, please do post such in the comments below.
Photo Credit: http://www.tanzaniaparks.com/kili.html
Words by Illona Meyer
The STREAM AFRICA Team