Climbing the Mount Kilimanjaro is the most thrilling experience any active traveler seeks from Africa. Travelers are keen in search for unusual hiking experiences should consider a must-do while on safari in Tanzania.
The Kilimanjaro Mountain is of no doubt Africa’s highest mountain and the world’s tallest freestanding mountain. Boasting of its everlasting snow-cap, this magical mountain straddles in the scenic Kilimanjaro National Park, North of Tanzania at altitude of about 5895 meters towering over East Africa.
Mount Kilimanjaro is a true jewel of Africa and hiking through it lets you explore and experience its different ecosystems that range from tropical rain forests to alpine desert zones. Hiking through this majestic mountain is no doubt a bucket list adventure in most hikers’ minds.
The best routes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro
Taking the best Kilimanjaro route is what allows you get to its scenic summits. There are many amazing routes to lead you up Mount Kilimanjaro and choosing, you have to be very keen taking into account routes that get you the best of an authentic wilderness experience, routes that can easily take you to the summits, safety and pocket friendly when it comes to trekking costs. Each route rewards hikers with distinct experiences and they include;
- Machame Route-a short route to climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. It takes hikers about 7 days or more.
- Lemosho Route-takes you about 8 days but incredibly rewards you with amazing views.
- Rongai Route which takes you from the North of this magical mountain to the east border between Tanzania and Kenya. Hikers descend via the Marangu route.
- Northern Circuit -links hikers to the Northern part of Mount Kilimanjaro and the Western side. It is the best route with amazing views.
- The Mweka Route is the only route used for descending from the Kilimanjaro’s summits that is for all the western routes.
- The Shira Route-this is one of the most beautiful routes to hike to the summit of Kilimanjaro Mountain. It gets hikers magical views over the Mount Meru and the scenic great rift valley as well as wildlife, grassland, moorland and many other things.
How long does it take to hike Mount Kilimanjaro?
The length of the hike varies significantly depending on the route you take. The fastest ascent may take hikers about 4 nights or even 6 to 8 nights.
Most importantly, any intending hiker should do adequate exercise to acclimatize him or herself with the altitude of this majestic mountain.
Best time to hike Mount Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro is best to hike in December, January, February and June, July, August. These are the dry months of the year in Mount Kilimanjaro and hiking through this mountain is a bit easier the fact that the trails are drier.
Most hikers prefer hiking to the summits of this mountain in the dry months especially January, February and September. January to March, it is very cold compared to June to October. Hiking through Kilimanjaro’s slopes around January, February, March is a bit good. The wettest months of the year in Kilimanjaro Mountain occurs in March, April and November. Hiking or descending from Mount Kilimanjaro in the wet season isn’t recommended.
For any plans to explore Mount Kilimanjaro do not forget to pack essential items to make your hike memorable. In your packing list, you need first aid kit, good camera with extra batteries, passport, valid insurance documents, warm clothes, sleeping bag, trekking poles, waterproof pants, gloves, waterproof hiking boots, rain jacket, energy giving snacks, plenty of bottled drinking water, sunscreen, yellow fever vaccination card, toiletries and many more. When packing, be mindful of the nature of the adventure and ensure that you pack lightly. In case of heavy luggage, there are porters to help you.
Where to stay before and after hiking Mount Kilimanjaro
There are many accommodation options for hikers to spend a night before and after exploring Mount Kilimanjaro. They include among others; Arusha Coffee Lodge, Kibo Palace, Arusha Hotel, Tulia Lodge, Moivaro Coffee Lodge, Karama Lodge, Planet Lodge.
How to get to Mount Kilimanjaro
Hikes to Mount Kilimanjaro begin from Moshi or Arusha Town, about 45 kilometers off Kilimanjaro Airport.
Ground transportation to this mountain requires a good 4×4 car rental in Tanzania. You can also opt for direct flight services to Kilimanjaro International Airport where you can spend about one hour to drive to where hikes begin.
There are many domestic flights which are conducted within Tanzania from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro Airport.