How Difficult is it to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro?
About 50,000 climbers set out each year to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. There are several well-marked trekking routes that lead to the summit. Although none of these hiking routes require mountaineering skills, climbing to the “roof of Africa” is both physically and mentally demanding and should not be under estimated. About 35% of those who set out to climb Mount Kilimanjaro turn back before they reach Uhuru peak.
Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the highest peaks in the world. There are some extremely difficult Kilimanjaro routes available, but those can be left to the professional alpine climbers and experienced mountaineers. There are a few hiking routes which moderate hikers can follow successfully.
With adequate preparation and training any reasonably fit person above the age of 12 can reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro successfully. In fact, the oldest person to date to reach Uhuru peak was a Frenchman, Valtee Daniel, at an age of 87!
Physical and mental preparation are the keys to success. Vacation 2 Africa has over 20 years of experience helping our clients plan their Kilimanjaro safaris. We can help ensure that your Kilimanjaro hike is enjoyable and that you reach the Kilimanjaro peak successfully.
Kilimanjaro Topography and Climate
Kilimanjaro rises from plains at approximately 2000 meters, right up to 5,895 meters. An ancient volcano, it now lies dormant except for some tell-tale signs of fumaroles in the ash pit. Two other peaks, namely Mawenzi and Shira, flank the main peak of Kibo. These peaks form spectacular photographic backdrops when viewed from various vantage points along the routes to the summit.
The different routes to the summit pass through five ecological zones. These zones include the cultivated lower slopes, Montane forest, heath and moorland, alpine desert and the ice capped Kilimanjaro peak. The lower slopes of the mountain are mainly used for agricultural purposes.
The Kilimanjaro climate is ideal for the production of coffee, an industry that Tanzania is famous for. Further up, a rain forest belt encircles the mountain up to about 2,000 meters. As you proceed higher, you pass through the heath which changes into moorland, semi-desert at altitude, progressing into total desert and finally into an alpine region with permanent ice glaciers. The higher slopes are covered with scree, loose stones resembling gravel, making it more difficult to navogate. The main glaciers edging their way down the slopes of Kibo are Heim, Rebmann, Decken, Arrow and some additional smaller ones. These glaciers form the permanent ice cap of the mountain.