In the northeast of Tanzania, on the border with Kenya, only three degrees from the equator, Kilimanjaro rises from the vast open plains. Because of its unusual look, and an easy access to the top, Kilimanjaro represents a magnet to climbers, naturalists, travelers and explorers over the centuries. The experience of being on the roof of Africa is exhilarating!
With the height of the 9,340 feet (5895m), Mt. Kilimanjaro is a metaphor for the compelling beauty of East Africa. Not only is this the highest peak on the African continent; it is also the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. The mountain, in fact, consists of three volcanoes: Shira, Mawenzi and Kibo, and the most recent activity on them was about 200 years ago.
Almost every kind of ecological system is found on the mountain: alpine desert, cultivated land, rain forest, heath and moorland.
Kibo is the best preserved crater, and its Uhuru peak is the highest peak of Kilimanjaro, which is always covered with snow. However, the eternal glaciers, almost 12,000 years old, are now in danger of global warming. Since 1912 until today, nearly 80% of snow disappeared and is presumed that they will completely disappear by 2033.
Things to do
Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s most accessible high summits, and approximately 25,000 people attempt to summit on it annually. Approximately two-thirds are successful, because Uhuru peak is accessible to anyone who is moderately fit, and from equipment does not need a little more than a walking stick, proper clothing and determination. The youngest climber was eleven years old, and the oldest person was 87-year-old Frenchman Daniel Valteova.
It is not possible to climb Mount Kilimanjaro without a guide. Many men from the local Chagga tribe work as porters on the mountain, they even cook food for you, and carry things. You have six routes available, and the excursion costs approximately from $ 1,000 to more than $ 5,000, depending on the type of climbing you have in mind.
To make this an even more desirable destination, in the vicinity of the mountain there is a Kilimanjaro National Park, near the town of Moshi, who covers an area of 291 square miles and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can enjoy a variety of flora and fauna, including some unusual animals such as white colobus monkey, mountain hyrax, elephants, leopards, mongooses, and a number of other animals.
If you decide to go for hikes, keep in mind that most of these tour takes three days and require you to sleep in mountain camps. Although you expect lots of climbing over rocks and tree roots, this will allow you to see craters, giant ferns, wildlife and plenty of scenic views.