What makes the Mount Kilimanjaro trek one of the world’s best?
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a dream for many dedicated hikers the world over, but just what is it about this Tanzanian summit that attracts so much attention? Here are a few reasons why I think the Kilimanjaro trek is one of the best on the planet for mountain lovers.
As the tallest walkable peak on the globe, it’s not hard to see why hiking enthusiasts are keen to have a go at reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro. Uhuru Peak (the highest point) stands at 5,895 m, presenting quite a challenge to experienced walkers.
The fact that you don’t need any specialist equipment – just good walking gear – means that anyone with a moderate level of fitness has a good chance of reaching the top, especially if they attempt to climb Kilimanjaro with a reputable and experienced tour operator
There are actually two facets to this point – the diverse landscapes you pass during a trek and the fact that there are six trails leading to the top.
From the point of view of scenery, you’ll experience everything from forests and moorland to alpine desert and snow-covered wilderness, so each day you can look forward to seeing something new.
As there is a selection of trails to follow to the top of Kilimanjaro, you can easily climb the mountain more than once without feeling as though you’re covering old ground – and this also gives you the option of choosing a route that is a bit quieter.
The busiest paths (generally) are Marangu and Machame, while the Rongai, Shira and Lemosho tracks are usually less frequented. The Umbwe route also doesn’t tend to get crowded, but it is considered to be one of the toughest trails to take due to the quick ascent you make on this path.
It’s full of wildlife
Mount Kilimanjaro sits within the Kilimanjaro National Park and is home to a range of creatures that you would usually associate with Africa – leopards, elephants, buffaloes and various species of antelope all inhabit the reserve.
As you walk, you’ll have the chance to spot some of these fascinating animals, particularly in the early stages of your ascent when you’re walking through the forest. Colobus monkeys are often seen in the trees, while antelopes and buffaloes are sometimes found just above the timberline.
Having a host of interesting animals to look out for as you wander adds another dimension to this amazing trek.
One of the main reasons to attempt to climb a mountain is for the challenge and, although Kilimanjaro is walkable, that does not mean it’s easy. Due to the significant height you’ll reach on your ascent, none of the routes are a walk in the park – they all present their difficulties.
Acclimatisation is the key to successfully reaching the top of the peak, so if you are worried about this, pick a route that takes a bit longer and ascends a bit more slowly.
All this means that you’ll need to be moderately fit and have some experience of hill and mountain walking if you not only want to succeed on the trek, but also to enjoy it. It’s well worth taking the time to prepare properly before you jet off to Tanzania, as this will ensure you can appreciate the scenery and wildlife as you walk.
If you’ve climbed Kilimanjaro, what do you think makes it so special?