10 Reasons to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro
1: It is a world iconMount Kilimanjaro is not just Africa’s highest peak and the world’s tallest free-standing mountain. It is also one of the Seven Summits of the world. Rising at 5,895 meters above sea level, Mount Kilimanjaro features a snow-capped peak all year round. With three volcanic cones namely Mawenzi, Shira and Kibo, the wonder of Kilimanjaro never palls. Mawenzi and Shira are extinct volcanoes in which Shira has collapsed, creating the picturesque Shira Plateau. Kibo, the highest peak, is dormant and is believed to erupt again one day. Its last eruption was 360,000 years ago.
2: It is climbable by people from all walks of lifeMount Kilimanjaro is the easiest and most undemanding to climb all the Summits. It is considered beginner-friendly, with intermediate as well as difficult treks, too. What’s great is that climbers don’t even need any special training, technical skills, special** gears or even previous trekking experience to reach the top. According to Guinness World Records, the oldest to ever reach Kilimanjaro’s summit was 86 years old and the youngest was 6. Naturally, it has lured many people, including families, all over the world. No wonder it’s called “every man’s Everest.” Being an easy mountain to trek, Mount Kilimanjaro is never boring. In fact, thrill and challenges and awe-inspiring scenery await trekkers every breathing moment. Mount Kilimanjaro features 7 routes, each with different trekking grades. This makes it more convenient for trekkers to choose a route that’s best for them, considering their experience, ability and number of days available. Here are the different routes to climb Kilimanjaro:
- Marangu (5-6 days; Difficulty level: Low) – “The only one with hut accommodations”
- Machame (6-8 days; Difficulty level: Medium) – “The most popular”
- Lemosho (7-8 days; Difficulty level: Medium) – “The most scenic”
- Shira (7-8 days; Difficulty level: Medium) – “The one with the highest starting point”
- Rongai (6-7 days; Difficulty level: Low) – “The easiest”
- Northern Circuit (9-10 days; Difficulty level: High) – “The newest and longest”
- Umbwe (5-6 days; Difficulty level: High) – “The shortest, steepest, hardest”
3: It is home to one of the most fascinating animals on earthAs if the scenery and breathtaking experience are not enough, Mount Kilimanjaro features evasive and yet beautifully intense wildlife. It hosts about 140 mammals, 25 carnivores and massive numbers of birds, and what’s even more intriguing is that mainly because of its high altitude, the mountain supports animals that are wildly unique and can barely be found anywhere else on the world. Most animals can be found on the lower slopes, on the mountain zone. Buckbucks, elands, tree hyraxes and cheeky primates like baboons and blue monkeys are common but if you’re lucky enough, you can also spot colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, honey badgers, bushbabies and even black rhinos. On higher places, high-altitude spiders, duikers, and mice species can be found although quite elusive. Large mammals like giraffes, buffaloes, leopards and lions sometimes wander around the heath and moorland terrains as well as the Shira Plateau. When you reach further up the mountain, you can expect more exotic animals. Unique flora can also be sighted including plants that are only found on the Seven Summits. One of the most fascinating life forms that you can see high in Kilimanjaro is the beautiful Kilimanjaro tree.
4: It is very well maintainedThe infrastructure around the mountain is superb. Roads and trails are well-marked, ground transportation is good, gears for rent are of great quality and best of all, Mount Kilimanjaro is clean (as opposed to Everest which is filled with trash). Park Rangers, as well as guides, porters and the rest of their teams, have really done a good job in maintaining the cleanliness as well as the wild nature of the mountain.
5: It is a world on its ownDid you know that while the entire United States enjoy 7 climatic zones, Mount Kilimanjaro enjoys 5? Looking into the journey beyond the magnificent snowy summit, Mount Kilimanjaro guarantees an experience that is out of this world. Like walking from the Equator to the North Pole in just a span of days, the scenic changes in vegetation and climate creates that feeling of “traversing through different worlds within just a few hours.” Here are Kilimanjaro’s 5 climatic zones:
- Cultivation: Farmlands, small villages, coffee and fruit plantations
- Rainforest: Most wildlife can be found here
- Heather-Moorland: Shrubs and unique flora are everywhere
- Alpine Desert: Barren and unique landscapes featuring volcanic rocks in varied shapes and sizes, and also extreme temperatures
- Glacier Summit: An arctic zone
6: It offers superb personal accomplishment
Many people come to climb the iconic mountain to mark important events in their lives such as retirement, marriage, graduation and many more. But aside from these remarkable milestones, Mount Kilimanjaro gives you a good reason to smug for months. After all, you’ve been on top of the world, haven’t you? Well, not only were you able to successfully reach one the highest summits in the world, but you are also able to write your name on a hidden notebook tucked in a wooden box on Uhuru Peak. This makes your accomplishment part of history – something that lives on forever.
7: It guarantees awesome photo opportunitiesMount Kilimanjaro is a paradise for photographers and nature lovers. It offers breathtaking sceneries, amazing flora, and fascinating animals that whether you’re aiming to capture wildlife, plants or beautiful vistas, Mount Kilimanjaro has all of them – no filter needed.
8: It helps greatly its local economyThanks to Kili’s 40,000 climbers each year, its local economy is thriving and is, in fact, generating about $20 million a year. As a result, guides, porters, cooks, food producers, travel agencies or operators, hotel staff, local merchants, etc. provide local jobs in a region that sadly remains one of the poorest in the world.
9: It is both remote and accessibleMount Kilimanjaro features a remote wilderness that’s incredibly alluring. In fact, it sits very near Serengeti, one of the world’s wildest safari park. But, despite Kili’s wild nature, it remains very accessible to travelers around the globe. In fact, visitors can easily fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) in Arusha, Tanzania if they want to visit Kilimanjaro. From Arusha, the mountain, which is located inside Kilimanjaro National Park, is just about 45 minutes drive away. Another alternative route is for visitors to fly via charter plane. Or, they can fly into other airports and then catch a domestic flight to Kilimanjaro.
- Travelers can fly into Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam, southern Tanzania. From DAR, many options are available to get to Kilimanjaro – from domestic flights to riding a public bus.
- Travelers can fly into Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) in Nairobi, Kenya. Like DAR, a whole slew of options is available in reaching Kilimanjaro. Plus, this route is also known to be cheaper.