What to know about Africa’s highest point-Mount Kilimanjaro

Imagining how, when and why go to Africa’s highest point? Here is a brief guide for those planning Tanzania mountain hiking safaris to Mount Kilimanjaro.

Mount Kilimanjaro-Tanzania mountain hiking safaris destination

Mount Kilimanjaro-Tanzania mountain hiking safaris destination

Taking pride in being the highest point in Africa 5,895m (19,341ft), Mount Kilimanjaro is within the East African region in the country of Tanzania (East Africa’s largest country, 947, 303km2). Mount Kilimanjaro lies along coordinates 03004’33’’S and 37021’12’’E south of the equator. In Tanzania, the mountain rises in the Kilimanjaro region north east of the country near Moshi town. With a lot of preciousness and being a national treasure, the mountain is in a protected area within Kilimanjaro National park 300km (190m) south of the equator.

Mount Kilimanjaro is a stratovolcano on the parent range of the Eastern rift mountains about three million years old with its last eruption between 150,000-200,000 years ago. Kilimanjaro mountain is the highest free-standing mountain in the world (not a peak of mountain ranges but it stands high alone). The mountain has three (3) distinct volcanic cones hiked by tourists on mountaineering safaris in Tanzania which are Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira. Kibo is the highest peak at 5,895m with Uhuru peak as the highest summit on Kibo’s crater rim, Mawenzi is 5,149m (16,893ft) and shira is 4,005m (13,140ft) with a broad plateau at 3,800m (12,500ft). Mawenzi and Shira peaks are extinct whereas Kibo is dormant and could probably erupt again, it’s the largest cone more than 15m (24km) wide. Mawenzi and kibo are separated at 4,400m (14,400ft) by a saddle plateau.

Internally, the volcanic structure is ill known given the lack of large scale erosion that could have exposed the interior for analysis. The vegetation on this high mountain is varied and diverse with altitude as you hike during a Tanzania safari ranging from thick lowland forest cover to the alpine meadows in the snowy peaks, the lowland slopes are majorly covered with farmland of coffee, banana, cassava and maize.

How to plan for  Tanzania mountain hiking safaris.

With that said about Mount Kilimanjaro, its certain that the popular tourist activity on Mount Kilimanjaro is Tanzania mountaineering tours and before the hike there is need for planning, here is how it can be done.

Keep in mind to choose the best time or date for a Tanzania mountain hiking tour to Mount Kilimanjaro. The best time of the year for hiking Mount Kilimanjaro is during the dry months of January/February or August/September when the mountain is not so much slippery. The park however, is open to hiking all year round.

Remember to choose the best climbing route to Africa’s closest point to the clouds. Climbing routes vary in length and difficulty. Climbing to the peak and getting back is a day’s activity but days differ according to difficulty. All routes except Marangu route require camping. Hiking could take between 5 -7 days but you can have an extra day for adjustment to ease your way to the peak.

You are already decided and ready to take the challenge to see Africa from the top, but wait, have you chosen your tour operator to help with the preparations. Choose the best agency that will help from advice to actual climbing help and provide a registered guide since you can’t take a mountaineering safari to Tanzania without one.

For hiking, Long distance trekking and hiking experience is helpful since this eases the trek. But this doesn’t restrict any tourist from hiking, tourists including children of 7 years have than this before, you just have to be daring and well prepared.

Being the highest point in Africa, just by the laws of nature there is reduction of oxygen with increase in altitude. Oxygen in high altitudes composes of only 20% and this is the reason for altitude sickness which hinders reaching to the peak. A tourist needs to learn how to beat altitude sickness before getting on the trek.

On how to get to Mount Kilimanjaro, you can access the mountain by road or by air. There is an airport close to Kilimanjaro between Arusha and Moshi known as Kilimanjaro Airport.

Getting to the top of the world’s second largest continent is each trekkers dream. Whether you’re a first-time trekker or a passionate high-altitude mountain climber dare to get to Mount Kilimanjaro’s top.