Kilimanjaro Mountain

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest free-standing mountain in the World. Mount Kilimanjaro with its three volcanic cones, "Kibo", "Mawenzi", and "Shira", is a dormant volcano in Tanzania. It is the highest mountain in Africa, about 5,895m above sea level. Despite its height Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s most accessible high summits, with most climbers reaching the peak (Uhuru Peak) with little more than a walking stick, proper clothing and determination. And those who reach Uhuru Point, the actual summit, or

Gillman’s Point on the lip of the crater, will have earned their climbing certificates. The first European known to have reached the summit of the mountain were Hans Meyer in 1889. The mountain is part of the Kilimanjaro National Park and is a major climbing destination. The mountain has been the subject of many scientific studies because of its shrinking glaciers and disappearing ice fields.

Fastest ascent and descent

The fastest ascent-descent has been recorded by the Swiss-Ecuadorian mountain guide Karl Egloff (born 16 March 1981 in Quito), who ran to the top and back in 6 hours and 42 minutes on 13 August 2014. Previous records were held by Spanish mountain runner Kilian Jornet (7 hours, 14 minutes on 29 September 2010) and by Tanzanian guide Simon Mtuy (9 hours, 21 minutes on 22 February 2006).

There are seven official trekking routes by which to ascend and descend Kilimanjaro: Lemosho, Machame, Marangu, Mweka, Rongai, Shira, and Umbwe. Of all the routes, Machame is widely proclaimed as the most scenic, albeit steeper, route. This was true until the opening of Lemosho and Northern Circuit routes, which are equally scenic if not more. The Machame route can be done in six or seven days, Lemosho can be done in six to eight days, and the Northern Circuit routes can be done in seven or more days. The Rongai is the easiest and least scenic of all camping routes. The Marangu is also relatively easy, but this route tends to be very busy, the ascent and descent routes are the same, and accommodation is in shared huts with all other climbers.

People who wish to trek to the summit of Kilimanjaro are advised to undertake appropriate research and ensure that they are both properly equipped and physically capable. Though the climb is technically not as challenging as when climbing the high peaks of the Himalayas or Andes, the high elevation, low temperature, and occasional high winds make this a difficult and dangerous trek. Acclimatization is essential, and even the most experienced trekkers suffer some degree of altitude sickness.

There is so much more to Kili than her summit. The ascent of the slopes is a virtual climatic world tour, from the tropics to the Arctic. Even before you cross the national park boundary (at the 2,700m contour), the cultivated footslopes give way to lush montane forest, inhabited by elusive elephant, leopard, buffalo, the endangered Abbot’s duiker, and other small antelope and primates. Higher still lies the moorland zone, where a cover of giant heather is studded with otherworldly giant lobelias.

Above 4,000m, a surreal alpine desert supports little life other than a few hardy mosses and lichen. Then, finally, the last vestigial vegetation gives way to a winter wonderland of ice and snow – and the magnificent beauty of the roof of the continent.

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