Mount Kilimanjaro Trekking Tanzania

Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s tallest and free standing mountain, unlike other national parks in the northern tourist area, Kilimanjaro offers an opportunity to explore and stand on Africa’s highest peaks. The park is located in Tanzania just near the South Kenyan border, rising from farmlands, rain forests, to the alpine snow capped summits where the whole African continent can be viewed at glance at an elevation of 5,895 meters above sea level. Being one of the accessible tall mountains by many climbers around the world, the incline of the lower slopes is a typical climatic world tour climbing through the 5 distinct vegetation zones.

Most climbers reach the summit by strength of mind, proper clothing and a simple walking stick. Several routes leading to the top are all walk-able but for the physically fit climbers.

Cost of Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro

Generally speaking, it is not cheap to climb mount Kilimanjaro as hiking tour may range from anything between $1900 to $2,400 however there are some local tour operators who may sell their itineraries for as low as $1,200; please do not book with them.

To make you better understand this high cost, this price is spread over a number of expenses such as:

Conservation fee which is $70 per day which will total to $560 for 8 days

Camping / hut fees which are $60 / $50 per night and this will be $400 / $350 for 7 night

Porter fees: Porters are available for hire to help support you by carrying heavy backpacks. Porters are paid US $10 per day, cooks US$ 15 per day and US$20 for guides per day; so local wages for the guide, cook and porters may be between $80 and $130

Rescue fees: this is paid irrespective of whether you have been rescued or not and it is $20 per person per trip

Note that fees inclusive of all packages differ depending on the choice of the hiking route and time taken to complete that route.

Activities for Mount Kilimanjaro Trekkers

The primary activity on Mount Kili is trekking (Mountain Climbing), and all Tanzania safari climbers must be accompanied by licensed guides and visitors who may not be well versed with Mount Kilimanjaro trekking should organize with particular tour operator. There are six hiking routes that lead to the top of the summit which demand a relative level of fitness and determination. Different routes have different hiking duration and mostly tents and huts are offered as accommodation up the mountain. Nature trails are also available including overnight on the lower slopes of the mountains. The beautiful Chala Crater Lake can be visited on the extreme southern slopes of the mountain.

On the Western part of Kilimanjaro using Lemosho route game drives can be arranged to encounter various species of wildlife such as buffalos and elephants, natural waterfalls can also be seen teemed with birds, monkeys and on the lower slopes visitors can explore the local people and their traditional cultures, the Chagga tribe inhabits lower slopes of the mountain.

Mount Kilimanjaro Routes

There are six (6) different routes that can take you up to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro as highlighted below

The Lemosho Route: this route takes 8 days to complete the round trip offering hikers enough time to acclimatize. Accommodation is offered in tents that are pitched on the various campsites. It has a success rate of 94% to the Stella Point and 88% to the Uhuru Summit; you will enjoy beautiful views as you traverse the different vegetation zones.

The Machame  Route: the Machame Route can best be hiked on a seven (7) days and five (6) nights and in fact it is the most famous among them all a reason that explains why it is normally very populated with high numbers of hikers during the peak season.

The Marangu Route also referred to as the Coca Cola Route is Mount Kili’s oldest route and the only one that offers accommodation in form huts (dormitories)

The Northern Circuit: this route takes 9 days and 8 nights to make a round trip to the top. Because of its long duration it offers hikers enough time to acclimatize, however there are some climbers who cover it in 8 days instead

The Rongai Route: this 6 day route is also much loved among hikers and it has a success rate of 88% to the Gilmans Point while 74% to the Uhuru Summit. Beginning on the northern side of the mountain, it offers beautiful views and some additional time to acclimatize while on the hike

The Shira Route: this 8 days route has a success rate of 93% to the Stella Point and 86% to the Uhuru summit taking hikers through the Shira Plateau wilderness, Moir Hut and Lent hills. It approaches the mountain peak from the west after traversing the Barafu Camp and via the Kibo ice fields. Because of the itinerary it follows, it is ideal for those seeking a hiking experience that is without crowds.

Altitude Sickness on Mount Kilimanjaro

While hiking Mount Kilimanjaro, there are chances that you could suffer from altitude sickness and at times the condition may turn out to be acute Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) which is affiliated with high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) as well as high altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE). The world acclimatization can be understood as the relationship between the level of oxygen in the air, altitude change and how the body is able o cope. The higher up the mountain you move, the less oxygen there is in the air, so in order to allow your body to cope with the reducing oxygen levels, you are advises to take the hike slow and un-rushed and give yourself time to these changes. In case you feel some of the symptoms such as continuous headache, dizziness or even nose bleed please inform your guide who will arrange for you to move on a lower altitude until the symptoms phase out. In case of acute instances immediate evacuation will be arranged for. So prior to the hike please make hiking practice as you take on walks on higher elevations.

Best Time to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

The mountain can be hiked all year round but preferably December to February is the dry and warmest months of the season that most climbers like because the weather is generally good. April, May and November tend to be rainy and wet colder conditions dominate characterized by frequent rains. Travelers should note that the mountain is near the equator thus does not experience extreme winter or summer conditions but moderately the normal African wet and dry seasons. Climbers will prefer the dry months of January, February and September. This is the time when much of the routes are clear with fewer rains which enables the hiking journey.

The wettest months are April, May and early August but still mountain climbing enthusiasts will pay no attention to the frequent rains but rather endure the challenging hiking routes that become slippery and muddy sometimes.

How to get to Mount Kilimanjaro

All climbs to the mountain start from Moshi or Arusha towns which are approximately 45 km away from the Kilimanjaro Airport; there are direct international flights that fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport, from Kilimanjaro Airport drive for one hour to the starting point of hiking. Transfers from the air port to your hotel and back you will have to pay additional costs. A number of domestic flights are also available within Tanzania which can be hired to fly from different Nairobi to Kilimanjaro Airport.

Ground transportation can also be arranged with shuttle buses transfers from Nairobi town to Moshi or Arusha towns which are closely located near the Kilimanjaro just about 45 km. Buses usually depart from Nairobi at 08:00 am and arrive 14:00 hours daily at US$ 35 per person. visitors who stay in Nairobi city can be picked up or dropped off in their hotels in the city centre. At an extra cost private transfers from Nairobi or Dar es Salaam cities to Arusha or Moshi towns can also be arrange for through a tour operator

Things to pack for Trekking Mount Kilimanjaro

Clothing: every climber must understand the nature of the mountain range in advance so as to get enabling equipments and climbing accessories including extreme weather sleeping bags, waterproof clothing, solid hiking shoes, walking sticks, gloves, sun glasses, hats to protect you from sun burn.

Health requirements: climbers must have yellow fever vaccination cards, or you advised to see a physician for related sickness such as malaria and acute mountain sickness since you shall spend days over a high altitude. Note that those prone to acute mountain are advised to take longer treks of up to 6 or 7 days but it depends on a certain route. Every climber should have a guide, a cook and porters depending on the kind of packaging a climber has and tipping is standard.

Combining Mount Kilimanjaro with the Northern Tanzania Safari Circuit

Specific National parks are visited for a particular interest in certain species of wildlife, figuring out an absolute classic African safari, northern Tanzania is the best place to be but more importantly is the timing of the great wildebeest migration in Serengeti national park, canoeing on numerous lakes and climbing the tallest mountain over the course of 5 to 6 nights of stay in the region. The region can be discovered by road or by air depending on the visitor’s itinerary.

The park can easily be accessed from several Airports such as Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Moshi Airports. Therefore it’s within a short traveling distance to each of the national parks.

The region hosts the tallest mountain on the African continent Kilimanjaro, in Serengeti where the annual wondrous Wildebeest Migration across the unfenced borders of Tanzania and Kenya where the great Serengeti and Masai-Mara National parks meet with endless plains of savannah.

Explore the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater with the world’s most threatened species of wildlife such as the rare and nearly extinct Black Rhinos and get an insight into the facts of human evolution footprints dated 3.6 million years ago in the archaeological sites of Olduvai Gorge.

Vegetation Zones on Mount Kilimanjaro

 Apparently Kilimanjaro is no longer an active volcano but it protects moorland and highland zones on great three peaks of kobo and Mawezi peaks, Shira plateau which make the landscapes eye catching with each of the climatic zone habiting different species of wildlife (plants and animals). The lower slopes are mostly dominated by ever green rain forests at about 3,000 meters giving way to the scrub like savannah grasslands that slowly disappears into arid and rocky landscapes at an altitude of 4,000 meters. The top of Kilimanjaro is snow capped by huge glaciers and ice caps sprinkled between crater lakes and peaks that tower above in the clouds.

Wildlife on Mount Kilimanjaro

The lower slopes of the mountain are teemed with herds of buffalos, leopards, elephants, monkeys and the largest African antelope the eland making the park an intriguing and naturally diverse region on earth where both climbers and wildlife enthusiast can enjoy the mystical nature. Kilimanjaro is very rich in terms of wildlife traversing through the five distinct climatic zones from bush lands to the snow peaks in just a number of days; climbers protected by armed rangers will encounter buffalos, elephants, leopards and rare species of plants including the giant lobelias.

 

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