Mount Kilimanjaro Tanzania- Climbing Kilimanjaro , Rwenzori Mountaineering Services.

Welcome to the ultimate guide to help you plan climbing Kilimanjaro mountain in tanzania featuring information like when is the best time to visit, hiking routes and recommended tour operators.

In the recent era of Traveling the world, your not considered a hikers unless you have hiked mount Kilimanjaro , mount Kenya and then Finally Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda . Mount Kilimanjaro is a currently inactive strato-volcano in northern Tanzania, near the border with Kenya. At 5,895 metres (19,340 feet) above sea level, Kilimanjaro is Africa's highest peak and the world's highest free-standing mountain. As such - and aided by its relatively easy ascent - Kilimanjaro has become a major destination for mountaineers and trekkers from around the world after rwenzori Mountains hike in Uganda .

Mount Kilimanjaro is located in the north east of Tanzania in Kilimanjaro national park. It is the tallest mountain in Africa standing at the height of 5895 meters and is Africa’s most climbed mountain. It is a volcanic mountain with three cones which make the mountains peaks; kibo, shira and mawezi Kibo being the highest point. Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller were the first known people to have reached the summit in 1889.

There are 7 routes which mountaineers use to hike the mountain; Machame, Marangu, Lemosho, Rongai, Mweka, Umbwe and Shira routes. Machame route is known for the beautiful scenery it offers, albeit steeper route. Lemosho and Northern Circuit routes are even more scenic than the latter. The Rongai is the easiest and less scenic of the routes. The Marangu is as well easy but it can get really crowded both ascending and descending also relatively easy, but this route tends to be very busy and the huts are to be shared with all other climbers.

Due to the ice and glaciers on the peaks, the mountain is a source to various rivers and streams with the major rivers being Pangani and Lumi. The mountain has various vegetation zones which change with altitude. The lower zones have thick vegetation which is a home to various animals like; buffalo elephants, bushbucks, duikers, monkeys and many others. It is as well home to bird species.

For those planning to hike the summit, you are advised to make sure that you are physically fit for the hike and well equipped. Almost all hikers suffer from altitude sickness, so as you hike you will need to acclimatize. The high winds, cold temperature, and moving through the ice make the whole experience so challenging.

Landscape

With most of the old lowland forest now cultivated and settled, the first experience of the mountain environment begins with the dense vegetation of tropical montane forest between 1850m and around 2800m.

The landscape on Kilimanjaro is very beautiful. The mountain can be divided into 5 climatic zones, each with its own fauna and flora. The lower reaches of the mountain are dominated by evergreen forests. At approx. 3,000m the landscape starts to change into a shrub land setting. At around 4,000m the landscape becomes very arid and rocky, similar to a lunar landscape.

The fourth zone consists of a very fine glacial scree / silt dessert setting. The top of Kilimanjaro is partially snow-capped with large glaciers interspersed between the volcanic craters. The glaciers have been receding over the past 40 years, though

When is the best time to visit Kilimanjaro Mountain for climbing tour

Among the top most frequently asked question about mount Kilimanjaro is when is the best time to climb, when to go for tanzania hiking tour or when to hike Kilimanjaro mountain. Due to Mount Kilimanjaro's proximity to the equator, this region does not experience the extremes of winter and summer weather, but rather dry and wet seasons. January and February are the warmest months, April and May are the wettest months, June and July are the coolest months, and August and September are the driest months. January, February, and September are considered to be the best months to climb Kilimanjaro in terms of weather.

The journey from the gate to the peak is like traveling from the equator to Antarctica in a matter of days. This is because the routes to the Uruhu peak cross different ecological zones. Throughout the climb, temperatures vary considerably with the altitude and time of day. Mount Kilimanjaro has five major ecological zones, each approximately 3,280 feet (1,000 m) in altitude.

Each zone is subject to a corresponding decrease in rainfall, temperature and life as the altitude increases. At the beginning of the climb, at the base of the mountain, the average temperature is around 70°F to 80°F (27°C to 32°C). From there, the temperatures will decrease as you move through Mount Kilimanjaro's ecological zones. At the summit, Uruhu Peak, the night time temperatures can range between 0°F to -15F (-18°C to -26°C). Due to Mount Kilimanjaro's great height, the mountain creates its own weather. It is extremely variable and impossible to predict. Therefore, regardless of when you climb, you should always be prepared for wet days and cold nights.

Other Safari destinations as climbing Kilimanjaro add on include the visit to ngorogoro crater , masai mara, and Serengeti Wildlife Experience while on a Tanzania Safari adventure holiday , gorilla trekking with Rwenzori Mountaineering services.

Sample Hiking Safaris & Tours to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

There are seven routes officially sanctioned for climbing Kilimanjaro and two routes used for descent. These are: Machame, Marangu, Rongai, Lemosho,Umbwe, Shira, Northern Circuit, Mweka (descent only)

Below are itineraries for these routes. Marangu Route Commonly called the Coca-Cola Route, because it is considered the easiest route and vendors sell Coca-Cola at some of the huts. Marangu is by far the most popular route to the summit of Kilimanjaro. Typical duration is either 5 or 6 days depending upon whether you elect to spend an extra day for acclimatization to the altitude.

  • Day 1: Marangu Gate (1980 m) - Mandara hut (2700 m). Hiking time: 5 hours
  • Day 2: Mandara hut (2700) - Horombo hut (3720 m). Hiking time: 6 hours
  • Day 3: Horombo hut (3720 m) - Acclimatisation day (if necessary)
  • Day 4: Horombo hut (3720 m) - Kibo hut (4700 m). Hiking time: 6 hours
  • Day 5: Kibo hut (4700m) - Uhuru Peak (5895 m) - Horombo hut (3720 m). Hiking time: 8 hours to Uhuru - 6 hours to descend to Horombo
  • Day 6: Horombo hut (3720 m) - Marangu Gate (1980 m). Hiking time: 6 hours

Machame Route Some call this the most beautiful route up Kilimanjaro. Where accommodation on the Marangu route is in huts, the Machame route offers strictly tents only. This makes Machame (also referred to as the "Whiskey route") better suited to the slightly more adventurous hiker, however rewarding him/her with a scenic splendor such as not seen on the Marangu route.

  • Day 1: Machame Gate (1490 m) - Machame camp (2980 m). Hiking time: 4-6 hours
  • Day 2: Machame camp (2980 m) - Shira camp (3840 m). Hiking time: 6 hours
  • Day 3: Shira (3840 m) - Lava Tower (4630 m) - Barranco camp (3950 m). Hiking time: 7 hours
  • Day 4: Barranco camp (3950 m) - Barafu camp (4550 m). Hiking time: 7 hours (frequently broken into 2 days) to allow for acclimatization)
  • Day 5: Barafu camp (4550 m)- Uhuru Peak (5895 m) - Mweka (3100 m). Hiking time: 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak: 7/8 hours to descend to Mweka (frequently broken into 2 days with an overnight stay at Mweka camp)

Lemosho Route Little used and more remote than other routes. The route is one of the few where groups may be accompanied on the first day by an armed ranger, as the forests around the Lemosho Glades are rich in buffalo, elephant and other big game animals.

  • Day 1: Londorossi Gate (2100 m) - Mti Mkubwa camp (2750 m). Hiking time: 3 hours
  • Day 2: Mti Mkubwa camp (2750 m) - Shira 2 camp (3840 m). Hiking time: 6/7 hours
  • Day 3: Shira (3840m) - Lava Tower (4630m) - Barranco camp (3950m). Hiking time: 7 hours
  • Day 4: Barranco camp (3950 m) - Barafu camp (4550 m). Hiking time: 7 hours
  • Day 5: Barafu camp (4550 m) - Uhuru Peak (5895 m) - Mweka (3100 m). Hiking time: 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak 7/8 hours to descend to Mweka
  • Day 6: Mweka camp (3100 m) - Mweka Gate (1980 m). Hiking time: 3 hours
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A variation on the Lemosho Route inserts two extra days in the itinerary for acclimatization and also to avoid having to climb up to the summit in the dark.

  • Day 4: Barranco (3950 m) to Karranga Valley (4000 m). Hiking Time 4 hours. This segment takes you up the infamous 'Barranco Wall.'
  • Day 5: Karranga Valley (4000 m) to Barafu camp (4550 m). Hiking Time 3 hours
  • Day 6: Barafu camp (4550 m) - Uhuru Peak (5895 m) - Crater Camp (5640m). Hiking Time about 8 hours
  • Day 7: Crater Camp (5640 m) - Mweka (3100 m). Hiking time: 7/8 hours to descend.

Rongai Route The Rongai route provides ascent up Kilimanjaro from the northeastern side of the mountain, along the border between Tanzania and Kenya.

  • Day 1: Rongai Gate (1950 m) - 1st Caves camp (2600 m). Hiking time: 5 hours
  • Day 2: 1st Cave (2600 m) - Kikelewa Cave (3600 m). Hiking time: 6/7 hours
  • Day 3: Kikelewa Cave (3600) - Mawenzi Tarn camp (4330 m). Hiking time: 3/4 hours
  • Day 4: Mawenzi Tarn camp (4330m) - Kibo hut (4700 m). Hiking time: 4/5 hours
  • Day 5: Kibo hut (4700 m) - Uhuru Peak (5895 m) - Horombo hut (3720 m). Hiking time: 8 hours to reach Uhuru - 6 hours to descend to Horombo
  • Day 6: Horombo hut (3720 m) - Marangu Gate (1980 m) . Hiking time: 6 hours

Umbwe Route The Umbwe Route is steeper and shorter than the Machame Route. Once at the Barranco Hut you continue on with the other Machame hikers. The descent is down the Mweka trail. Since it is a very short and direct route, it is not recommended for people with little altitude experience.

  • Day 1: Drive to Kilimanjaro National Park Umbwe Gate, Hike to Umbwe Cave Camp (2850m). Hiking time: 5/6 hours
  • Day 2: Umbwe Cave Camp (2850m) to Barranco Camp (4000m). Hiking time: 4/5 hours
  • Day 3: Barranco Camp (4000m) to Karanga Camp (4050m). Hiking time: 3/4 hours
  • Day 4: Karanga Camp (4050m) to Barafu Camp (4700m). Hiking time: 3/4 hours
  • Day 5: Barafu Camp (4700 m) - Uhuru Peak (5895 m) - Mweka Camp (3090 m). Hiking time: 5/7 hours to reach Uhuru - 5/6 hours to descend.
  • Day 6: Mweka Camp (3090m) to Mweka Gate (1680m). Hiking time: 3/4 hours

Northern Circuit Route The Northern Circuit Route is is a new unique route and the longest trail on Mount Kilimanjaro. It goes through the untouched northern slope and begins in the West of Mount Kilimanjaro at the Londorossi Gate with excellent views from all sides of the mountain. The trail is less popular and thus good for people looking for a quieter route.

  • Day 1: Drive to Londorossi Park Gate (2,385m or 7825 ft)and climbing to Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,700 meters or 8858 ft)feet). Hiking time: 5/6 hours. Distance 8 Km or 5 miles.
  • Day 2 :Climbing from Mt. Mkubwa Camp to Shira Camp 1 (3,500 m or 11483 feet). Hiking time: 3/4 hours.
  • Day 3: Climbing from Shira Camp 1 to Shira Camp 2 (3,840 meters or 12,600 feet). Hiking time: 5/6 hours.
  • Day 4: Climbing from Shira Camp 2 to Lava Tower (4,600 meters) and then north to Moir Camp (4,200 meters). Hiking time: 5/7 hours.
  • Day 5: Climbing from Moir Camp (4,200 meters) to Buffalo Camp (4,020 meters). Hiking time: 5/7 hours.
  • Day 6: Buffalo Camp (4,020 meters) to Rongai Third Cave (3,800 meters). Hiking time: 6 hours.
  • Day 7: Climbing 3rd Cave (3,800 meters) to School Hut (4,800 meters). Hiking time: 5 hours.
  • Day 8: School Hut (4,800 meters) to Uhuru Peak (5,895 meters) and then onto Millennium Camp (3,950 meters). Hiking time: 7 hours.
  • Day 9: Millennium Camp (3,950 meters) to Mweka Gate (1,640 meters). Hiking time: 5 hours
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