Standing on Africa's tallest peak as the sun rises on the horizon is an unforgettable experience. In addition to being one of the Seven Summits, Mount Kilimanjaro is also one of the world's most famous mountains (the highest mountain peaks on each continent).
It’s also the easiest to climb successfully. It’s a non-technical hike that doesn’t require any mountaineering experience. But, it's still a tough climb.
A journey of at least five days is required to reach the peak, during which you will go through a wide variety of terrain. You'll also need to be in good physical shape, have the right mindset, and pack plenty of high-altitude gear.
What follows is a comprehensive guide to Africa's highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro.
Quick facts about Mount Kilimanjaro
Kilimanjaro is not only Africa’s tallest peak but also the world’s tallest free-standing mountain. The summit, named Uhuru Point, is 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) above sea level.
Where is Mount Kilimanjaro?
Mount Kilimanjaro is located inside Kilimanjaro National Park in the northern part of Tanzania. It lies near the border of Kenya, and you’ll need a permit to enter the park. If you want to climb the mountain, trekkers are required to use an official guide company.
How tall is Mount Kilimanjaro?
Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. Its summit, Uhuru Peak, is Africa’s highest peak. It rises to a height of 5,895 meters above sea level and is only 2,950 meters shorter than Mount Everest.
Is Mount Kilimanjaro the tallest mountain in the world?
Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. Its summit, Uhuru Peak, is Africa's highest peak. It rises to a height of 5,895 meters above sea level and is only 2,950 meters shorter than Mount Everest.
When is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro?
The best time to summit Kilimanjaro is during the dry seasons of January–March and June–October. The slopes are easier to climb, and you’ll have uninterrupted views of the landscape while you ascend.
If you want to avoid the crowds that climb during high season (June to September), book your trek between December and March.
The weather is colder in the evenings and you’ll have snow on the summit and little rain along the way.
How many people climb Mount Kilimanjaro every year?
It’s estimated that 35,000 people attempt to summit Kilimanjaro every year. However, only two-thirds are successful due to altitude sickness and other health problems that cause climbers to turn around.
If you want to improve your chances of successfully climbing the mountain, take your time reaching the summit. The longer your trek, the more time your body has to adapt and acclimatize to the high altitude.
Facts about Mount Kilimanjaro’s ecology
Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano. It has three volcanic cones, Mawenzi, Shire and Kibo. The only active one is Kibo (the highest peak), but its last major eruption took place more than 360,000 years ago.
Since 1912, the mountain has lost more than 80 percent of its ice cap due to climate change. It’s predicted that within the next 20 years, Kilimanjaro will become ice-free.
One of the things that makes Kilimanjaro unique is that it boasts five climate zones. At the base of the mountain is cultivated land and a rainforest characterised by tropical weather. As you ascend the slopes, the landscape turns from health and moorland to an alpine desert. At the summit, you’ll find a glacial zone and the inner crater’s Ash Pit – one of the largest in the world.