The Many Ways to Conquer Mount Kilimanjaro
You have many choices of activities to go on vacation. You can go to the mega-amusement park and spend the whole day on your feet, standing in line and paying for over-priced food. Or you can go to Europe and visit centuries-old churches and buildings, only to find out the whole continent is full of them. Or you can go to an overcrowded resort and come down with dengue fever. You can go on vacation or you can go on an adventure. All the amusement parks, resorts, and museum are tailor-made for the tourist in mind. But what about undertaking a vacation only a few have done? How about crossing off a certain blank box off your bucket list and climbing a mountain. That can be done by getting away from civilization and venturing to Africa.
The country of Tanzania, which is on the southeastern end of the continent, features Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa -- it stands 19,341 feet above sea level. It is a volcano, albeit a dormant one and it is distinguished by having three separate cones or peaks. Kibo or Uhuru, the highest, along with Mawenzi and Shira make up the peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro. Despite being a dormant volcano, gases do emit from the cracks and fumaroles of Kibo. Kilimanjaro is considered one of the “Seven Summits”, a name given to the highest points in every continent; And to climb all of them is considered a massive feat. For the everyday adventurer, Kilimanjaro can be conquered by taking several routes. These routes involve varying degrees of hiking, climbing, grades, and drops -- so one must be physically able to take on such a challenge. All of the routes are marked and constantly used by travel groups and professional tours; You will not be trailblazing nor cutting any new paths to Kilimanjaro.
Frequently Used Routes
The most popular of routes to the summit is the Marangu route. It is described as the most popular tourist route. It approaches the summit from the southeast. With easy, gentle gradients, a beautiful rainforest section and moorlands, it is comfortable and basic. At 72 kilometers by automobile and foot, be prepared for a 5-7 day trek. As there are frequently used the route, there are also less than frequently used ones. These are treks and climbs that one may need to acclimate themselves with. And acclimate means getting used to the high elevation and breathing at plus 10k altitude. The Shira route starts at 11,800 ft; It approaches from the west side of the mountain and it features lusher flora sections and a more challenging climb.
The outdoor retailer REI has their own travel division where they sponsor their own trips to Tanzania to tackle on Mount Kilimanjaro. At close to $6,000, one can enjoy the trek to the summit of the mountain and also partake in a safari and the local flavors of adjacent cities. Although Africa may be labeled as the “dark continent” or the great unknown, it is friendly and safe for tourists to visit and to challenge the peaks of Kilimanjaro.
Please confer with your travel agent or adventure travel agencies about which trails are the longest/safest/hardest. Understand that selecting the wrong route may end in injury, sickness or a failed climb. High elevation and physical exertion can be doubly difficult on an individual unprepared for a climb.