DestinationsAfricaAll You Need to Know to Conquer Kilimanjaro – The Highest Mountain in Africa
All You Need to Know to Conquer Kilimanjaro – The Highest Mountain in Africa

All You Need to Know to Conquer Kilimanjaro – The Highest Mountain in Africa

Africa has always been a prominent tourist destination attracting many young people visit. On top of that, it is impossible not to mention the highest mountain in Africa, Kilimanjaro. For those who love climbing, Kilimanjaro will be the safest and most enjoyable choice. But for those who have never set foot or heard of it, let’s learn about this mountain together with the explanation.

About Kilimanjaro Mountain

mount Kilimanjaro from Amboseli National Park, Kenya
A view of Mount Kilimanjaro from Amboseli National Park, Kenya.

Location and Height

Mount Kilimanjaro is located in northeastern Tanzania, near the border between Tanzania and Kenya. Specifically, it’s in the south of the equator. The highest mountain in Africa has its coordinates 3.0674°S 37.3556°E.

Kilimanjaro is a stratovolcano but is currently inactive. Kilimanjaro is considered one of the seven highest mountains in Africa. Indeed, it’s the highest one with the Uhuru Peak at an elevation of 5,895m (19,341 feet) above sea level. Besides, this mountain is known as the largest free-standing mountain in the world with an altitude of 4,900m (16,100 feet) from the foot of the mountain.

Plants at the African Highest Mountain

Plants on Mount Kilimanjaro are extremely unique and diverse. It is like an island in the Afromontane sky. Kilimanjaro is biologically diverse and has few endemic species. Dendrosenecio in the bunchgrass, and tussock bush grasslands are prominent endemic species. Also, there is another flora that is adapted to the alpine environment.

At an altitude of 7-10m at the foot of the volcano, the flora is a vast field of bananas and coffee. At an altitude of 3,000 m (9,843 ft), Kilimanjaro is diverse with suitable forest types and over 1,200 vascular plants. The southern wet slopes are alpine Ocotea forests. The northern dry slopes are heavily developed Cassipourea and Juniper forests. Up to an altitude of 4,100m (13,451 feet) is the Erica Subalpine forest represents the highest altitude cloud forest in Africa. The climate here is harsh, so the plants are mainly mosses and ferns.

Glacier on the Tallest Mountain in Africa

The higher the altitude, the colder the temperature. Especially, on the western and southern slopes, the glaciers flow down, making the top of Kibo completely covered with ice. Except for the inner cone, the entire crater depression is covered with ice. Thus, the Kilimanjaro glacier is 11,700 years old. For about 3 centuries from 2200 BC, glaciation existed and was covered by a long drought environment.

glaciers on the top of mount Kilimanjaro
The tens of thousands of years glaciers on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro are told to be shrinking.

However, now more than 80% of the ice cover on Kilimanjaro is gradually disappearing. The number gradually increased to 26% in 2007, causing the area of ​​ice to shrink and thin. The risk that Kilimanjaro will no longer be ice is very high, predicted to end in 2022 – 2033.

Interesting Kilimanjaro Facts You Will Want to Know

  • Kilimanjaro was first discovered by a European named Johannes Rebmann on May 11, 1848.
  • Mount Kilimanjaro is said to be the easiest mountain to climb in the world. This place always attracts a large number of visitors, especially with the participation of many climbers. The first interesting point lies in its name Kilimanjaro – considered a symbol of Africa’s independence. It is a place where wild nature resides.
  • People coming here are always impressed with the names “coca-cola” and “whiskey” routes. Because these are the trails, many tents are set up to sell soft drinks and alcohol. This makes it an interesting place to attract tourists.
  • Mount Uhuru, located on the highest peak of Kibo, is where climbers want to conquer the most. Although it is an arduous journey, it is not complicated with technique and experience.
  • It’s exciting to find a great travel destination, isn’t it? It is really for young people who love to explore, especially want to conquer the high mountains. So the highest mountain in Africa Kilimanjaro is being sought by many people. Not only attracted by the diverse beauty of flora but also satisfy your passion.

Conquering Kilimanjaro – The Highest Mountain in Africa

In fact, the Kilimanjaro Mountain range is created by 3 separated volcanoes: Shira, Kibo, and Mawenzi. In detail, the lowest one is the 3,962m high Shira. Next is the 5,149m high Mawenzi mountain. Finally, in the middle is Kibo at 5,895m above sea level. Furthermore, the Uhuru peak in Kibo is the highest peak that every adventurer wants to conquer when coming to Kilimanjaro.

trekking Kilimanjaro mountains in Africa
A group of adventurers is on their way to Uhuru peak.

Climbing Routes to Kilimanjaro Uhuru Peak

Alongside the beautiful mountains in Africa with the top trekking routes, Kilimanjaro also has wonderful climbing routes that bring the best experience and moments to adventurers:

Marangu Route: a popular and short route in just 6 days. Also, the cheapest and the most crowded one because it’s short and stays in the camp, which is warmer and has electricity instead of going to the tent style and having to have an extra tent for the porter. By the way, it’s also known as the “Coca-cola” route.

Machame Route: also known as the “Whiskey” route, the second most popular route after Marangu one. It’s relatively easy due to camping high and sleeping low. It can be finished in 7-8 days.

Lemosho Route: this route has quite a few people go. The road through the forest is quite beautiful. On the fifth day, you will join the road to Machame. Some people choose this one as it is not too crowded and you will have a more different experience than others.

Shira Route: your trek will start at a height of over 3,500m. This route requires a good climbing ability to finish. It’s less crowded than the Machame route, but it’s more expansive.

Rongai Route: very few people go because it starts in the North, where the start point is far from the city and the scenery is not very good.

Umbwe Route: the shortest bow but requires technique because climbing and clinging to rocks quite a lot. Alongside, it is the most beautiful route.

Northern Circuit: the longest route that takes you about 8-9 days to finish. Yet, you have more experience with nature and are great for acclimatization. As a result, this is one of the routes with the highest success rate.

Night camping on the highest mountain in Africa
Night camping on the highest mountain in Africa.

An Example of the Machame Route Itinerary

Depending on the health conditions, budgets, etc., adventurers have different choices of routes to reach Kilimanjaro peak. Anyway, it’s all about your experience when trekking and the joy after conquering the highest mountain in Africa. Therefore, choose wisely and carefully, and here is the example of the Machame route, the most popular one, for you to plan your trip:

DayDestinationAltitudeDistanceTime LengthTerrain
1To Machame camp1,743m – 3,026m11km5-6 hoursMontane forest
2Machame camp – Shira camp3,026m – 3,847m5km4-5 hoursFarmland
3Shira camp – Lava tower – Barranco camp3,847m – 3,983m10km5-6 hoursSemi-desert
4Barranco camp – Barafu camp3,983m – 4,673m9km6-8 hoursAlpine-desert
5Barafu camp – Uhuru peak – Mweka camp4,673m – 5,895m – 3,060mUp 5km – Down 13kmUp 5-7 hours – Down 5-6 hoursLimestone and rock
6Mweka camp – Mweka gate3,060m – 1,653m10km3-4 hoursForest

Kilimanjaro Weather and the Best Time to Climb

From December to mid-March, and from mid-June to October is said to be the best time for Kilimanjaro ascent. In specific, you should consider going on Jan, Feb, Jul, Aug, and Sep. It’s when the weather on the mountain is dry with fewer clouds that you can see nature. Also, the atmosphere is comfortable during the day and cold at the night. In contrast, it’s the busiest period when the destination has a lot of adventurers come to conquer the highest mountain in Africa. Therefore, you should carefully prepare your trip to make sure you enjoy and experience the most.

adventurers conquer the highest mountain in Africa in a good day
Experienced adventurers choose the good days to conquer the tallest mountain in Africa.

Tips for Your Trip to Kilimanjaro Summit

  • Avoid low-end companies and make sure to check tour-operator reviews and success rates before you book.
  • Book in advance for peak season trips with the safest climbing conditions.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance is essential. Make sure your plan includes medical coverage and emergency evacuation.
  • Drink more water, eat as much as possible, and walk slowly to get your body familiar with the high altitude.
  • Allow time for a longer trip to maximize your chances of reaching the summit.
  • Be sure to bring cash to tip your guide and your porter, who will bring up to 30 lbs/15 kg of your personal gear for you.
  • Learn your limits and don’t try to push them. When it comes to Kilimanjaro, slow and steady really win the race.

What to Prepare to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

  1. All equipment can be rented at Kilimanjaro. However, it’s always better to prepare in advance for the best products. For example, warm clothes such as leather coats and leather pants (all clothes should choose a waterproof type), thermal suit, thick cotton socks, neck scarf, ear cap, gloves, windproof clothing, raincoat, sunglasses, and artificial tears to prevent dry eyes,…
  2. Waterproof high-leg trekking shoes. Make sure you find a good one that is suitable for your body and the mountain’s conditions.
  3. Trekking poles that are good uses in different terrains.
  4. Water storage that can hold at least 2 liters. You should try to drink as much water as possible, about 4 liters per day while climbing mount Kilimanjaro.
  5. A thermos water bottle is very important because the water will freeze below 0oC.
  6. Moisturizer and sunscreen should be used regularly to avoid peeling, sunburn, and heat burn.
  7. Sleeping bags and insulation pads help in keeping warm very effectively as the trekking tour operator only provides tents and sleeping pads.
  8. Bring some of your favorite snacks to eat better if you are bored of Tanzanian food, mountain climbing needs to eat a lot to have strength.
  9. Prepare medicine to help the body adapt to altitude: Acetazolamide 500mg, taken before going to an altitude of 3,000m, 1 tablet at night before sleeping, and 1 tablet in the morning. Effervescent vitamin C helps increase resistance. Oresol is mixed with drinking water to rehydrate. Note: you may want to ask doctors or specialists for more info about using these medicines.
  10. Personal music player (mp3 player) to create excitement while climbing and fight the sleepy when climbing to the top at the night.

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Khoi Nguyen builds The Broad Life with a desire to inspire people go exploring the world and live a more interesting, experience, and adventurous life. This blog shares the stories, pictures, and experiences at destinations where he has traveled to.


  • Beth

    Climbing that peak would be an absolutely amazing experience! I’d love to do it one day.

    • Khoi Nguyen

      Definitely! There are so many things to enjoy in this route.

  • MyLitBag

    I love this! I’ve watched so many documentaries of people who have hiked Kilimanjaro and I’ve always been fascinated. I would love to do this but honestly don’t think I am capable.

    • Khoi Nguyen

      Perhaps you can set your targets at the camps across the routes to see if you are capable. Otw, you can still experience the trek and every beautiful things there even you don’t get to the peak.

  • Fransic verso

    It’s been a while I have been in an adventure like this. And reading this post, It makes me want to go to one.

    • Khoi Nguyen

      I hope this post creates an effort for you to do an adventure. It will be great!
      And don’t forget to share with me your experience when you do.

  • TweenselMom (@TweenselMom)

    Wow, it takes a lot of skill and bravery to climb these kinds of mountains. Thanks for sharing!

    • Khoi Nguyen

      Actually, you don’t need so many skills for Kilimanjaro, a good and strong health is more needed.
      Otw, you can go to the camps to enjoy the area.

  • Ntensibe Edgar

    Wow…I didn’t know about the Coca-cola route on the mountain! It’s good to know more about it. I only get to see it when we are driving to and from the border with Tanzania and Kenya.

    • Khoi Nguyen

      Perhaps you may try to trek and experience the route. I think you will enjoy there so much.

  • jen schreiner

    WOW! WOW! WOW! You must sure need to be prepared for tackling such a beast. Great guide. Thank you

  • Irena

    WOW! Sleeping under those stars and seeing such an old glacier would be out of this world. What a great experience, thanks for sharing

  • Neely Moldovan

    WO! This would be such an amazing experience!

  • A Nation of Moms

    I can’t begin to imagine hiking such a massive mountain! This would certainly be an amazing accomplishment.

  • Knycx Journeying

    Oh my gosh, the Kilimanjaro Mountain is absolutely stunning and thanks a lot for so many useful tips for the hike! I think the article is very useful to many people who plan to go soon.

    • Khoi Nguyen

      Thanks a lot for your comment! Yes, I hope this article will be useful for any adventurers planning to conquer Kilimanjaro.

  • Faith Stephenson

    This trip really looks so fun and amazing! I love this kind of trip. Woo-hoo

  • zagranica

    The author demonstrates critical thinking in analyzing the subject matter.

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