Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, is located between latitude 2o50” and 3o10”E, about 330km South of the Equator, Northern Tanzania. Its size is 1688Km2 and comprises of two dormant [Kibo 5,895m a.m.s.l and Mawenzi 5,149m a.m.s.l] and one extinct [Shira 3,962m a.m.s.l] volcanoes respectively. It is the World’s highest free standing mountains that rise on the undulating surrounding plain that averages around 1000m above sea level.
History Of Kilimanjaro
It was declared as a National Park in 1973, officially opened for tourism in 1977, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987 and Natural Wonder of Africa in 2013. The Park Headquarters is at Marangu, about 44 Km from Moshi town and 86km from Kilimanjaro International Airport.
Climbing to Kibo peak takes 5 to 8 days depending on the route. The more days, the higher the possibility to conquer the summit. An extra day in any station above 3000m above sea level during the climb is highly recommended for adequate acclimatization. Six mountain trails can take a climber to the highest point in Africa, each route offering different attractions and challenges.
Paragliders should feel home at Mount Kilimanjaro as freeflying the Worlds biggest free standing mountain is now under operation.
Camping in the crater provides unique visitors’ night experience. While inside the crater tourist can visit the unique bench-shaped glaciers, the formation that can only be found at Mount Kilimanjaro.
Mawenzi Technical Climbing
Mawenzi is the second highest peak on Mount Kilimanjaro. The rugged peak of Mawenzi (5,149 m) lies to the East. The top of its Western face is fairly steep with many crags, pinnacles and dyke swarms. Its Eastern side falls in cliffs over 1,000m high in a complex of gullies and rock faces, rising above two deep gorges. The terrain of Mawenzi peak makes it unreachable but by technical roped ascents (supplied by an individual client). Technical climbers can hike the present seven sub-peaks namely Nordecke 5136 m, Hans Meyer 5149 m, highest point, Purtscheller 5120 m, Borchers 5115 m, Klute 5096 m, Latham 5087 m and Londt point 4945 m depending on the time and season of the year.
There is a chance to cycle inside the park. There are two routes, one for summit bound visitors (Kilema route) and second one for non summit visitors (Shira plateau). These routes are equipped with picnic sites and resting points.
Mount Kilimanjaro cycling is named as a “Worlds’ most challenging mountain cycling” and also “Worlds’ longest mountain downhill ride” with a difference of 4000m within a strip of 34Kms!
There are total of 13 picnic sites along the hiking routes (Rongai starting, Kisambioni, Lauwo, wona, last water, Jiwe la Ukoyo, Machame half way, Jiwe la Mbula, Baranco junction, Morum, Uwanja wa ndege, Mgongo wa Tembo, Daraja Refu, Kilimamchele) that offer a spectacular view of the attractions found in and outside the park. They are best places for taking packed meals on your way to the roof of Africa.
Best time to visit
Mountain climbing can be done throughout the year. However, the best time is mid June-October and December-mid March. The climate is mainly influenced by the prevailing trade winds. There are two rainy seasons in a year. The wet season is from March to May during which it rains around the mountain base and snow accumulates on its peak. The dry season is from late June through September during which the nights are cool and the days completely clear.
During the short rainy period of October – December there is rain during the day whereas the nights and mornings remain clear with excellent visibility. January and February are usually dry, warm and clear with brief rain showers that provides for good climbing conditions.