This famous landmark is also Africa's tallest peak...
Mount Kilimanjaro, at around 6,000m towers over the plains of Eastern Africa and is one of the most iconic volcanoes in the world. As Africa's highest peak it is always on the lists of those visiting the continent that are keen on walking and mountaineering. The slopes themselves are fairly innocuous and so it is usually the altitude that is the issue for most with the starting point at around 1,400m and the average climbing time being around 3 days.
Located to the east of Arusha and north of the small town of Moshi, Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the most iconic sights in Africa (if the cloud is not there and if you are looking from Amboseli National Park in Kenya!). To go ahead and climb this towering peak is endurance test worthy of anyone and is the reason why many thousands of travellers flock here every year.
Roughly speaking the volcano is made up of a central cone with the slopes on its western flank running down to the Shira Plateau. On the right hand side the slopes of the crater run down and back up to the peak of Mawenzi at around 5,100m. While this peaks is rarely attempted it is possible to spend a night at the Mawenzi Tarn that sits in the peak's shadow.
On the most of the climbs up to the summit take between 4 to 7 nights, with the likelihood of summiting increasing significantly with the amount of time and a recommended 5 or 6 nights. The walking itself is fairly simple with an average day consisting of around 4-5 hours of walking to a slightly higher altitude to then spend time acclimatising. The attempt, however, is not easy and the final 48 hours on the mountain involves over two thirds continual walking to get from around 4,200m up to the summit and back down to around 3,100m.
Most of the attempts on the volcano will have a day of preparation before and a recovery day afterwards and the hotels are either based in Moshi or off the main road that runs from Moshi to Arusha. While not for the faint hearted, climbing "Kili" is one of the more achievable high peaks on the planet and, with a good level of fitness and sensible approach, is a very worthwhile pursuit.
At a glance... Kilimanjaro
- Size approx 5,880 meters high
- Location Northern Tanzania, NE of Arusha
- Recommended time 4 to 6 nights
- Time to visit Year round
- Activities Walking