With a summit at 19,341ft, Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world. It’s a popular destination for climbers all over the globe, due to being one of the most accessible mountains of the Seven Summits. Climbers with very little mountaineering experience visit Kilimanjaro each year.
Although not technically challenging, high elevation and low temperatures still make Kilimajaro a difficult climb. Climbers need to be physically fit, ideally with experience in acclimatization.
Over 20,000 people climb Kilimanjaro each year, falling in love with the mountains varying ecosystems. Each day of the climb is like being in a different world, experiencing alpine deserts, rainforests, and even arctic conditions.
Quick Facts about Mount Kilimanjaro
- In 2017, the world’s highest altitude football match took place at Kilimanjaro. It took the teams six days to climb 5756m. They then played the game in a volcanic crater.
- Every year, two-thirds of climbers attempting to summit Mount Kilimanjaro are successful. Those who aren’t successful tend to struggle with the high altitude and have to turn back.
- In 2014, Swiss-Ecuadorian Karl Egloff made history by completing the fastest ascent and descent of Kilimanjaro. It took him just 6 hours and 56 minutes. He even ran up the Umbwe Route!
History of Kilimanjaro
The lower regions of Kilimanjaro have been home to African tribes for hundreds of years. Nowadays, the Chagga (Wachagga) people inhabit Kilimanjaro, growing bananas, corn, tea and coffee on the fertile grounds.
Mount Kilimanjaro originally came to popularity due to being a talking point amongst scientists and geologists. When it was sighted that Kilimanjaro had a snowy cap, there was a lot of disbelief over snow falling on the equator!
In 1889, Hans Meyer became the first person to successfully reach the Kilimanjaro summit. Ever since this historical moment, thousands of people have explored the mountain. It has particularly become a hot-spot for charity challenges.
Experience Required for Climbing Kilimanjaro
Although one of the Seven Summits, Kilimanjaro is classed as non-technical, meaning climbers are not expected to have technical skills to reach the summit. Many people, regardless of their age or mountaineering experience, have successfully climbed Kilimanjaro.
The climb might not be technical, but all climbers will need to take part in strength training; both physically and mentally. You will be climbing to extreme altitudes, especially on summit day where you will climb for eight hours.
If you don’t have much experience with mountaineering, then it’s recommended to take part in an intense six-month training scheme.
Mount Kilimanjaro Routes
There are six routes to choose from when it comes to climbing Kilimanjaro. Out of these six, the Marangu, Machame and Rongai routes are the most popular.
The Marangu climb is popular due to being the only route which offers hut accommodation. Those with little camping experience tend to enjoy this luxury.
The Machame route is one of the busiest routes, but all with good reason. It is a slightly more difficult route but has higher summit success rates than Maragnue. In terms of statistics, 60% of climbers make it to Kilimanjaro’s summit on the Machame route.
For those who prefer an easier climb, the Rongai route is recommended. This is the only route which approaches Kilimanjaro from the north. This side of the mountain is far dryer, but not as scenic.
More demanding routes go by the name of Shira, Lemosho and Umbwe. These three routes will test your body’s strength against acclimatization, but many say the spectacular views make it all worth it.ition off on the right foot.