Mount Kilimanjaro National Park stands high and majestic in the dear blue African sky, with its huge dome of snow. Mt. Kilimanjaro is the highest free standing mountain in the world and a challenge to all mountain climbers, whether experienced or first timers.
There are two main routes up Mount Kilimanjaro, the Marangu route, popularly known as the ‘beer’ route and Machame the ‘whiskey’ route.
The Marangu route is the most often climbed. Accommodation is in typical mountain climbing huts, with shared rooms and facilities controlled by the National Park authorities. On this route, you will meet parties of climbers traveling in each direction. On summit day, successful climbers will reach Gillmans Point and then proceed to Uhuru Peak at the very summit of the mountain. The Machame route is particularly renowned for its stunning scenery.
There are other routes like Lemosho route, a very scenic route up the mountain, Umbwe route, Mweka route mostly for descending the mountain, and the less used Rongai route mostly accessed from the Kenyan Side. There is also the Shira route beautiful and less used.
Kilimanjaro can be climbed by any physically fit person and no climbing experience is necessary. A Kilimanjaro Climb can be done at any time of the year. There are two rainy seasons – late March to mid June and October to November – and the best months are January to March and July to October as the days are usually cloudless. During the day the temperature at 4000m tends to be 15°C and at night falls to -10°C. At the summit, temperatures are about 5°C during the day and drop to between -18°C and -22°C at night.
Embwe route is the most difficult route, very steeper and sometimes slippery buts its the most fascinating route. It offers hiking through the rainforest sometimes past fallen trees, scenic ridge with striking view of the huge Baranco valley. The route joins with others routes (Machame, Lemosho route) at Baranco camp which sometime is crowded. Ascension to the summit is from Barafu up to the highest point Uhuru peak at Sunrise. Descent is always via Mweka Route
Machame Route approaches the summit through the forest from the west and joins the other trekking routes before traversing beneath the southern ice fields of Kibo. The rainforest is extremely beautiful. Known as the “Whiskey” route ,Machame route is a popular hiking route on Mt. Kilimanjaro
The Lemosho route is one of the newer routes on the mountain, and a superb choice for your climb. The route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the west, beginning with a long drive from Moshi to Londorossi Gate. The Lemosho route is an unspoilt, remote, little used and beautiful way up to the Shira Plateau. The route is one of the few where groups may be accompanied on the first day by an armed ranger, as the forests around the Lemosho Glades are inhabited by buffalo, elephant and other wildlife
Marangu route is also known as the ‘Coca-Cola’ route or the Tourist Route”, because it is the most popular route up the mountain. It has a well defined path, which has been well set out and where most obstacles have been modified to make them ‘climber friendly. It is considered to be the easiest path on the mountain, given its gradual slope. It offers you the relative luxury of being able to sleep in huts along the entire route. Mineral water, soft drinks, chocolates and beers are also sold at all the camps on this route.
Best time to go:
Clear skies and warm conditions from December to February. One can also climb the mountain from July to September though the weather is dry and cold.
Rule of the thumb:
Walk slowly and take your time to acclimatize and increase your chances of making it to the summit. Enjoy the mountain and earn your certificate.
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