The name “Kilimanjaro” is a rather unusual word for any language. It becomes attractive to almost all people from an early age. Therefore, children have a dream creeping into their minds to see this place with their own eyes. This is what the highest mountain in Africa is called.
The symbol of the country is not only the mountain itself but also its white peak. It rises above the tropical steppe. The height of the mountain is 5895 meters, and the thickness of the base is 60 kilometers. In clear and warm weather, the azure tone of the foot of the mountain mixes with the landscape, due to which there is a feeling that the top simply hangs above the ground. Often, this impression is enhanced when clouds come. In this case, only the top remains visible, since clouds cover the underside of the mountain.
A separate climate has been created at the base of the mountain due to its huge size of the mountain. First of all, the wind tears off drops of moisture in the form of precipitation, as it meets a large obstacle. Full moistening of the soil has a more diverse flora. It is for this reason that the flora on the mountain is many times richer than on its nearby lowlands. Exotic plants grow at the bottom of the mountain, and then, up to a height of about 3000 meters, the mountains are covered with jungle, above – mosses and reindeer moss.
The Crown of Tanzania
In ancient years, Kilimanjaro acted as a landmark for tourists, and the very first manuscripts about the mountain date back to the 13th century. For the first time, the mountain was described by sailors from China, who happened to be off the coast of Africa. It was they who told about the snow-white peak that rises above the ground.
For many years, compatriots perceived this information as fiction. Few people could believe the idea that an ice peak could take place almost at the equator. Only in the 19th century, after an expedition in 1889, it was marked on geographical maps.
Nowadays, the entire territory near the mountain is considered a protected area. Its area occupies about 7,500 square meters. This status was assigned to the Territory after Tanzania was declared an independent country. This happened in 1961. The reserve has been on the UNESCO list since 1987. Interestingly, initially, three volcanoes formed one mountain. Volcanoes have merged due to a large number of eruptions over the years. The oldest volcano is Shira – the western part of the main mountain. At first, the volcano was much higher, but due to a serious eruption, it was subjected to collapse. The current height is 3810 meters.
Maven – a newer volcano – adjoins the foot from the east. Its height is 5334 meters. Kibo is the newest and highest volcano, representing the final view of Kilimanjaro. This volcano helped to give the peak a rather flat shape with polar ice.
Unfortunately, the mass of snow decreases significantly every year. Some scientists believe that the reason for this process lies in global warming, and another – is in the heating of the volcano. In any case, we must admit that the snow cover on the mountain has become much smaller recently. There is a threat that in about 200 years the snow may completely come off its peak.
How to conquer Kilimanjaro?
Every year, a lot of travelers come to Tanzania to try themselves as climbers and climb the greatest peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. It cannot be said that climbing a mountain is a simple activity. On the way to committing, several obstacles are quite difficult to overcome. However, most fans of mountain travel manage to climb such an attractive mountain.
The volcano Mavenzi is the most difficult to climb because to conquer this section of the mountain, you need skills in climbing snow, ice, and rocks. It is easier to climb to the top of Kilimanjaro, Uhuru Peak, but here you will need time to adapt. For most people, the main obstacle is the height to which you need to climb because at some point some tourists find it difficult to breathe, and vomiting and headaches appear.
According to travelers, this is the most difficult test on the way to the top of the mountain. In this regard, the hike is carried out for several days. The first time summit of Mount Uhuru was conquered by Hans Mayer in 1889. One hundred years since this event was widely celebrated. The first attendant was present at this celebration, who helped the very first mountain climbers. It is noteworthy that on that day he was 118 years old. Nowadays, half of the tourists who started manage to get to the very top. Two-thirds reach a height of 5681 meters.
For those who are afraid of such a height, a special program has been prepared: Machame, Marangu, and Rongai routes. The most popular and oldest route is the Marangu route, which many used to call the “Coca-Cola Way”. Choosing this hike, tourists do not need to stock up on tents, because sleeping places are prepared in advance. Here we mean 3 mountain huts. Mandara Lodge is located at an altitude of 2700 meters, Horombo – at an altitude of 3700 meters, and Kibo – at an altitude of 4700 meters. These are specially equipped rooms for rest and sleep, there is also a dining area. Mandara accommodates 80 people, the rest of the huts – a slightly smaller number of people. It cannot be said that living in huts is comfortable, but acceptable. People are on the road for about 5-6 days. Each route is designed for a different number of days. For example, the Machame route is provided for 6-7 days. It is more complicated than the others, but there are no restrictions for any group of people.
The Rongai route is considered one of the most interesting. During the hike, people walk along the northern slope of Mount Kilimanjaro. It is in that area that you can best consider the animal and plant world. Such a hike takes about 5-6 days.
Each route has its specifics and rules that every tourist is obliged to follow. For example, there are such paths on which it is impossible to go strictly down. You can only climb them. There are 5 such paths on the mountain. The three routes are only allowed to descend, while the Marangu route is intended for both descent and ascent.
When passing 4 kilometers on each route, tourists rest against the Kibo Ring, after which the ascent begins already to the very top of Kilimanjaro, as well as the mouth of the Kibo volcano. At this point, travelers have the right to make a choice: either follow the Barafu trail, follow the Western Path of the Breach, or follow the path that will eventually lead to the volcano basin.
And now, tourists are the cherished goal. They can look inside the volcano and touch the eternal ice. Feelings at such a moment are very difficult to convey in words. Tourists are incredibly happy that they decided to go this hard way to feel genuine delight and happiness from the indescribable beauty around.
To choose the right route, it is best to resort to the guide’s advice. Climbing the mountain without an escort is strictly prohibited. In the town of Moshi, which is located near Kilimanjaro, you can visit a travel agency where guides offer their services. The tariff can include both the usual joint ascent of the mountain and help with cooking and clothing. The choice of a tourist depends primarily on the preferences of the traveler, as well as on his financial capabilities.
All travel agencies work throughout the year. Consequently, tourists can go hiking at any time of the year, but it is important not to forget about the weather conditions because there is a rainy season in Tanzania. The rains are not conducive to a favorable ascent of Kilimanjaro. It is believed that the best months for recovery are July and August. There are usually no heavy downpours during these months. Tourists may well come here in 2 periods: the first – January – March, the second – August – October. Do not forget about the temperature conditions, which vary depending on the area of the mountain. While at the base of the mountain the temperature can exceed + 30 degrees, at an altitude of more than 3000 meters the temperature can be only about + 5. + 15 degrees. At night, the temperature may drop below zero. It turns out that at the beginning of the journey it is comfortable to be in shorts and a T-shirt, and, being on top, you need to wear a jacket and jeans. Therefore, when you are going to Tanzania, you need to take care of both light clothes and warm ones.
What else to do on Kilimanjaro?
There are a large number of short excursions on Kilimanjaro in case some tourists do not want to carry out a long mountain hike. With the help of such excursions, you can get an idea of the “crown of Tanzania”.
In addition, several other entertainment options are offered here:
- Hiking in national parks such as Tarangire and Serengeti. These are the largest reserves of picturesque nature in Africa.
- Hunting wild animals by jeep through the wilds and savannah. The cars are equipped for photo and video filming, and there are also lifting hatches in each car.
- A trip to the village where the Chagga tribe lives. This is a cultural voyage, during which you can get to know the way of life of the residents. During the trip, you can also see fields with coffee and bananas.
However, experienced tourists are advised to climb the mountain, because there are all the conditions suitable for this. In general, this is the only mountain in the whole world that can be climbed without mountain climbing experience. Undoubtedly, after the ascent, any traveler will be proud of himself for a long time. He will be able to experience completely new emotions and feelings.