Challenging Mount Kilimanjaro

Published: 09th December 2010
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Mount Kilimanjaro rises emphatically from a rolling plain from hot savanna to a barren and frigid snow-covered peak. The highest mountain in Africa, it is one of the largest free-standing mountains in the world. Every trekker and mountaineer in the world finds climbing Kilimanjaro delightful. Trekking Kilimanjaro is an experience of lifetime.

Kilimanjaro stands approximate 205 miles south of the equator, on the border of Tanzania and Kenya. Its location near the Indian Ocean, and its great size and height make huge impact on the local climate, vegetation, animal life and climbing conditions. Kilimanjaro is made up of three extinct volcanoes: Kibo 19,340 feet (5,895 meters), Mawenzi 16,896 feet (5,149 meters); and Shira 13,000 feet (3,962 meters).

Kilimanjaro is a sleeping volcano situated quite close to where three tectonic plates of African continent meet. The mountain is managed by the Tanzania National Park Authority, through the local administration of the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority. All attempts for Kilimanjaro expedition must be registered at either Londorossi (Shira and Lemosho Routes), Machame (Machame and Umbwe Routes), or Marangu Gates (Marangu and Rongai Routes) with the authority.

Knowing about the climate in Kilimanjaro would be good before you make your plan. The rainiest period here is March to June. As most months of the year have few rainy days, it is possible to climb in relatively good conditions year round. You would do good to avoid the expedition during the rainy period. During this period, clouds tend to pile up over the summit, raining heavily. Even when no rain falls, visibility can be limited. by cloud cover even when no rain falls. The temperature at this time of year is usually warm. However, at the summit, the temperatures are always freezing. The dry season, starting in June and lasting through July, is very cold at night. The positive point is, you would find sky clear of clouds. In August and September, although the temperature is cool, you can have completely clear days.

There are several routes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. The Marangu Route offers trekking on gentle forest and moorland paths up to 4700 meters. The trek leads to Gillman's Point which is followed by Uhuru Peak. Trekkers get accommodation in huts. Machame and Umbwe Routes offer tougher challenge. Steep jungle paths, scrambling and airy ridges lead lead one atop the mountain. Trekkers spend their nights in tents. The Mweka Route is usually taken to descend. Other routes are the Shira, Nanjara and Rongai (Oloitokitok) routes. Rongai Route is taken by those looking for a less demanding route but away from the busy Marangu Route.. If you are specially fond of natural beauty and wildlife, take the remote Lemosho Glades Route.

Although Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s largest topographical features, you do not require any technical skills or specialized equipment to go. Climbing the mountain does not require the use of slow and arduous Himalayan-style siege tactics, or of supplemental oxygen. So even if you are not an expert in mountaineering, you can climb Kilimanjaro successfully. Kilimanjaro expedition is a perfectly manageable challenge which you fulfill in a week's vacation. However, it would be advisable to do some fitness and endurance training at home beforehand before you arrive for the expedition.

For Kilimanjaro trekking, you are advised to collaborate with a local operator who organizes Kilimanjaro climbs and charity treks. They would arrange whatever is necessary for climbing up the mountain.

The author is currently associated with Private Kilimanjaro, who are an experienced operator in Tanzania offering trekking Kilimanjaro services.


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