Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the World’s highest free standing structure at an altitude of 5896 meters (19,336 feet) above the sea level. Hiking on the rooftop of Africa is the adventure of a lifetime, and anyone who is physically fit can scale this snowcapped mountain.
Mount Kilimanjaro is located inside the Kilimanjaro National Park outside of Moshi town in a beautiful accessible village of Marangu where the headquarter of the park is located. There are different routes to the top involving different villages and scenarios. These routes includes Marangu route, Machame route, Rongai route, Lemosho route, Umbwe route, Shira route and Mweka route which is used for descent only.
With all these routes to the top Mount Kilimanjaro is however not only the highest free standing peak in the world but also highest accessible point. The chagga who inhabit the area of the mountain has not yet managed to give the meaning of Kilimanjaro with the exception of kipoo (now known as Kibo) for the familiar snowy peak that stands imperious, overseer of the continent, and the summit of Africa.
The vegetation of Mount Kilimanjaro varies accordingly with the nature of the altitude you are, basically from tropics to the Arctic. At the level of 2700 m the cultivated foot slopes give way to lush montane forest, inhabited by leopard, buffalo, elephant, antelope and other primates. As you ascend the moorland zone show up where a cover of giant heather is studded with other worldly giant lobelias. Above 3900m, the zone changes to alpine desert which support little life to the fauna and flora. Popular signboards of no water here are experienced in this zone as you trek Kilimanjaro. The final vegetation is of winter wonderland of ice and snow and the magnificent beauty of the roof of the Africa.
Unlike other snow caped Mountain in the world, Mount Kilimanjaro is not a technical climbing mountain and need less equipment on trekking. Walking stick, proper clothing, sun glass, enough drinking water and determination are the key to a successfully Kilimanjaro climber. A successfully climber is the one who prepare himself/herself properly before ascending and ask as many questions as they can during trekking as well as been attentive to the Kilimanjaro mountain guide.
Mount Kilimanjaro is regularly ascent in five days using Marangu route, but for those who wants to make a record they can do less provided that they should pay for a minimum of five days. Climbing Kilimanjaro is a breathtaking activity and mostly its recommended for an extra day for acclimatization. Acclimatization day gives an alpine more chance to reach on the roof of Africa as experience the climatical changes gradually. Other routes offer a minimum of five days as Marangu and others six days such as Machame route.
The team which will take you to the mountain will comprise a cook(s), mountain guide and mountain porters. Depending on the nature of the group but a minimum of two porters per person carrying less than 15 kg of your luggage, cooking facilities and sleeping tents depending on the route selected. One guide for four to five people with one assistant guide and one cook. Additional of the team members will be done according to the situation of the group and luggage taken to the mountain.
While climbing Mount Kilimanjaro the Marangu route is referred as the luxurious route due to the fact that it has huts for accommodation, European toilets and sufficient water tape. Other Mount Kilimanjaro routes are subjected to the mobile camping tents whereby all the facilities are carried by your porters and in most cases they will trek faster than you for the preparation of accommodation, food and water on your arrival.
Mount Kilimanjaro is accessible while you are in Tanzania only and above mentioned route are the only official routes up Kilimanjaro. Mount Kilimanjaro is operated by Kilimanjaro National Park Authority (KINAPA) and obtains its main offices in Marangu village. Trekking/Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro normally starts in the morning around 9:00 a.m to 10:00a.m that you should be at the entrance gate for the registration as well as park fees payments. Please observe all the national park regulation especially environmental issues. On your successfully trekking to Uhuru Peak (5895 m), Stella Point or Gilman Point you will earn your climbing certificated from KINAPA offices.