Where: North East Tanzania, near Africa’s east coast
Best Season: July – October or December – March
Best Sights: Awesome views of the barren landscape
Remember to bring: Guide and altitude sickness preventatives
At just under 19,000 ft, Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and one of the highest volcanoes in the entire world. Many visitors to Tanzania rise to the challenge of conquering ‘Kili’s’ snow-capped summit which is an iconic picture-postcard image of Africa. Though it was only discovered by European explorers in the mid 19th century, local tribes have always regarded the mountain with awe and respect, believing that the summit was protected by spirits.
Although the going is tough, as long as you’re fit and armed with the right equipment, most trekkers can make it to the summit in five days. What’s more, the route doesn’t require technical climbing experience and trekkers can reach the top without the need to rope up.
New regulations introduced in 1991 prohibit independent trekkers from ascending Kilimanjaro. You’ll need to organise your trip through a tour company: expect to pay several hundred dollars for a reliable guide, food, equipment and porters.
As with all treks at high altitude, beware of the symptoms of altitude sickness. If you experience nausea, fatigue, headaches or dizziness descend to a lower altitude immediately. Every year fatalities occur when trekkers don’t allow themselves time to acclimatise.
Official website of the Tanzanian Tourist Board
Steven & Theresa Woo
Personal account of a Kilimanjaro climb in 1999
main image: Aerial view of Mount Kilimanjaro in December 2009 by Muhammad Mahdi Karim