Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro: Mountain Overview

When it comes to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, good mental preperation goes a long way in helping you to get ready for the challange, and as it's the tallest mountain in Africa (on the border of Tanzania and Kenya) it's quite a challange! The more you know about Mount Kilimanjaro the better prepared you'll be. You'll find all you need from the quick links to the right, including key facts and figures, weather on the mountain when to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

Whats so special about Mount Kilimanjaro? At 19,340 feet (5895m), Mount Kilimanjaro rises above all other mountains on the African Continent. This great, dormant volcano is the tallest freestanding mountain on earth and one of the fabled Seven Summits, the tallest mountain on each continent. The mountain is contained within Kilimanjaro National Park and is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro is comprised of 3 separate peaks. Shira (12,999ft / 3962m) to the west is the oldest and the original volcano. Mawenzi to the east (16,798ft / 5120m) was formed by a later volcanic eruption and finally towering between the two is Kibo, the youngest and tallest of the three. It is thought that the last large eruption of Mount Kilimanjaro was so violent that it blew a hole in the side of Kibo’s crater, forming what we now call the Western Breach – the hardest approach to the summit. As the lava flowed west down the mountain it filled the massive crater of Shira, leveling it out and forming the beautiful Shira Plateau. Even though the mountain sits on the plains of Africa just 3 degrees south of the equator Kibo has a snow-capped cone all year round. Mount Kilimanjaro is made up of 5 distinct vegetation zones giving climbers plenty to look at as they make their way to the summit.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro today

A porter carrying provisions in a basket on his head on Mount Kilimanjaro

A porter carrying provisions in a basket on his head with Kibo in the background

Today there are 6 well maintained routes to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro that see over 20,000 climbers each year. A typical climb covers 50km-60km and takes approx 7 days if you're taking proper time to acclimatize. Mount Kilimanjaro is a guided climb; it is not possible to climb the mountain without a guide. Like the Sherpas of Mount Everest, many men from the local Chagga tribe work as porters on the mountain. For many folks, Mount Kilimanjaro is their first high-altitude climb or a life-long ambition so it's nice to know you don't have to worry about setting up camp or cooking each night and even better that you don't have to worry about carrying your pack between camps each day. It's the excellent guides and friendly, helpful porters that make well organised climbs of Mount Kilimanjaro go so smoothly and with such sucess, these guys but in some serious work to make sure you have the time of your life.

Who can climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

Anyone who is reasonably fit and determined can attempt the climb. Men and women of all ages have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro so if you’re up for it, get in touch with our team or book your climb online. Mount Kilimanjaro is a big mountain and the overriding factor in the success of a climb is not a climber's fitness but time given for acclimation. We always include at least 1 extra day on all of climbs for this reason. For those who climb Mount Kilimanjaro, it is a monumental achievement that will never be forgotten or repeated. We don’t want you to have turn back from near the summit with altitude sickness.

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