MOUNT KILIMANJARO NATIONAL PARK

Tanzania is home to the highest mountain in Africa. Mount Kilimanjaro (5895 meters), Located in northern Tanzania, in the Mount Kilimanjaro National Park. Also is the highest free standing mountain in the world. Despite its height Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s most accessible high summits, with most climbers reaching the peak (Uhuru Peak) with proper gear and determination. Also known as “The Roof of Africa” and people travel from all over the world to conquer her.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a virtual climatic world tour, from the tropical rain forest on the lower slopes, alpine heath, bare alpine desert and finally the wintry summit zone of snow and ice, just 3 degrees south of the Equator. Mount Kilimanjaro has six trekking routes Umbwe, Shira, Lemosho, Rongai, Machame, and the Marangu Route which is the easier one. Depending on which route one wants to take, the climb of Mount Kilimanjaro can take between four to seven nights on the mountain. The most popular routes are Marangu and Machame. On the Marangu Route, accommodation is in alpine huts while on Machame Route it is camping throughout. While expert guides and porters will accompany you on your climb, no technical equipment is required on these routes.

MOUNT KILIMANJARO ROUTES DESCRIPTION

Also known as the “Coca Cola Route” or “Tourist Route” as it is the most popular route on the mountain and also the easiest.  The accommodation on the way up and down is provided in mountain huts with all the basic necessities. There are 60 bunk beds each (for 60 people each) at Mandara Hut (2750m) and Kibo Hut (4725m), and 120 bunk beds (for 120 people) at Horombo Hut (3807m) which is also used for descent. Climbers are supplied with mattresses and pillows, but sleeping bags should be brought along. There are communal dining halls, washrooms and toilets. It usually takes 5 days/4nights for the round trip. The trek can also be taken in 6 days/5 nights to add acclimatization with an extra day at Horombo Hut. The supplementary cost for an extra day is indicated separately as an option.

The Machame Route is known as the "Whiskey Route" and is the second most popular route on the mountain. The trek begins in the south-west area of the mountain. The descent is down Mweka, on the south-east side of the mountain. Because of the ascent in the west and descent down the north, Machame offers great vistas of Mount Kilimanjaro. Additionally, Machame visits stunning places such as Shira Plateau, Barranco, and Lava Tower. Machame is ideal for those who want a more difficult climb and are confident in their ability to hike over extended periods of time on sometimes steep terrain.

The accommodation on the way up and down is strictly camping (mobile tents) only.  The Machame route is normally completed in a minimum of 6 days/5nights on the mountain by for more acclimatization can take to 7 days/6nights.

The Rongai Route is the only route that approaches Kilimanjaro from the north, near the Kenyan border. Rongai's ascent profile is very similar to that of Marangu. It is one of Kilimanjaro easier routes. The climb to the top is gradual and steady. However, unlike Marangu, this route has low crowds and passes through remote wilderness areas. It is probably the only route where seeing wildlife in the first few days is possible.

Rongai is the best route for people who are looking for a decent quality experience and are perhaps not absolutely confident about their fitness and those who want to enjoy a quieter hike. It is also preferred when climbing during the rainy season because the north side of the mountain receives less precipitation is usually for five-night climb.

The Lemosho Route Approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the west and descent is down Mweka in the south-east.  Is perhaps the least used initial ascent route on Kilimanjaro, partly because of its remote location and likewise the difficult roads leading to the trailhead. The road to the trailhead is only accessible by 4-wheel drive vehicles and can be impassable during wet periods. The trailhead is at relatively high elevation and thus we start slow and easy on this route. Though considered a difficult route, the added days on the lower slopes of the mountain make this the best route for altitude acclimatization. Buffalo, Elephant, Black and White Colobas Monkey sightings are possible on the first day trekking through the forest, and the trail is often overgrown from lack of use. Lemosho is considered the most varied and the most beautiful because it begins in the rainforest and many changes of scenery and spectacular hike across the Shira Plateau make this trek truly special. Then combines with the Machame route to share its viewpoints around the southern circuit and has low traffic until it combines with Machame

The route is the longest distance to trek up Kilimanjaro, so fitness certainly plays a role in the enjoyment and success of this trek. The Lemosho route takes 8 days / 7 nights on the mountain. Overall, the distance covered and the intensity of the final few days make this trek a good choice only for the experienced hiker. There are no huts on this route, the accommodation is mountain tents.

The Shira Route is a difficult route that begins in the west, at Shira Gate. What is unique about Shira is that the first section of the trail is not hiked, but rather driven. Therefore, climbers using Shira will miss out on hiking up one of Kilimanjaro ecological zones, the rainforest.

An off-road vehicle transports climber to the Shira gate, located at 11,500 feet, where the hike begins to Simba Camp. Complications from altitude can occur due to failed acclimatization. The descent is down Mweka in the south-east. Scenically, Shira is beautiful because it crosses the spectacular Shira Plateau, and then combines with the Machame route to share its viewpoints around the southern circuit. Shira has low traffic until it combines with Machame. Shira is ideal for those who are confident in their ability to acclimatize to altitude, and to walk over steeper paths for extended periods.

The Umbwe route, which is based in the south, is a 6-day / 5-night tour and is said to be the most scenic and difficult one offered on Kilimanjaro. The first two days are extremely steep, muddy and generally strenuous making it only suitable for well-trained mountaineers. An acclimatization day is rarely offered on the standard programme, but can be added whereby giving the climber an extra day in the Karanga Valley. The descent is down Mweka, on the south-east side of the mountain.

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