Ascent preparations, practicalities and trekking routes to the 'Roof of Africa'
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Guidebook describing all the trekking routes on Kilimanjaro (5895m), one of the Seven Summits. With 6 ascent routes, 3 summit ascents, the Circuit Path and descent paths, the guide also provides comprehensive information on preparation and access, a route on Mt Meru, as well as information on accommodation and other facilities.
- Two dry seasons - mid-December to March and July to early October
- Flights into Nairobi in Kenya, Dar es Salaam or Kilimanjaro International Airport; outfitters normally based in Arusha or Moshi
- Kilimanjaro is a big mountain, but the normal trekking routes are not technically difficult. Altitude and acclimatisation are the main problems and AMS can kill if not taken seriously.
- Must See
- Dawn over Africa from the summit, the natural environment, the Crater
At 5895m, Kilimanjaro is Africa's highest point and the highest freestanding mountain in the world, yet it is possible to reach its summit, Uhuru Peak, without any technical climbing ability. However, that is not to say that it is an easy undertaking: each year, many people fail in their attempt, often due to poor preparation or insufficient acclimatisation. Those who do make it to 'the Roof of Africa' are richly rewarded, enjoying outstanding views, the unique experience of being 'on top of the world' and, of course, a tremendous sense of achievement.
Alexander Stewart's guidebook is packed with advice to maximise your chance of reaching Uhuru Peak. The first chapter covers preparation and practicalities, offering guidance on how to choose a route and an outfitter, along with extensive information on travel, equipment, health considerations, guides and porters and ethical trekking. The second chapter tells the story of Kilimanjaro and the people, plants and wildlife of the region, presenting a fascinating insight to enrich your trip. This is followed by a description of the six main ascent routes – the Marangu, Machame, Umbwe, Lemosho, Shira and Rongai Routes, plus three summit routes, two descent routes and the circuit path which circumnavigates the mountain.
As a result of its height and location six hours from Nairobi, trekkers climbing Kilimanjaro move from the lush tropics, through temperate climes, alpine moorland and barren high-alpine desert to the permanently snow-capped, volcanic summit – and back – in the course of five or six days. The stunning natural beauty of the scenery, the warm and friendly locals and the unique sense of achievement make for a truly unforgettable experience.
Preparations and practicalities
Choosing a route
Costs and budgeting
When to go
Permits and visas
Money and currencies
Selecting an outfitter
Guides and porters
Environmental and cultural considerations
Using this guide
The story of Kilimanjaro
People of the region
Origin of the mountain’s name
Kilimanjaro National Park
Geology and volcanology
Animal and plant life
Route X Mount Meru Momela Route
Route A Marangu Route
Route B Machame Route
Route C Umbwe Route
Route D Lemosho Route
Route E Shira Route
Route F Rongai Route
Route G Southern Circuit Path
Route H Northern Circuit Path
Summit ascent routes
Route I Normal/Marangu Route
Route J Barafu Route
Route K Western Breach Route
Route L Marangu Route
Route M Mweka Route
Appendix A Accommodation
Appendix B Useful contacts
Appendix C Further reading
Appendix D Language glossary
There are a number of maps of Kilimanjaro itself available, both in Tanzania and abroad. Specialist map shops in the UK, such as Stanfords (branches in London and Bristol,
The map of Kilimanjaro-Kibo by Sandra Greulich and Sacha Wettstein was published by Climbing Map in 2008. It is an excellent 1:80,000 map that combines topographic coverage of the mountain with an enlargement for the Kibo crater, a list of GPS waypoints, profiles of the main routes and street plans of Arusha and Moshi.
German publisher Harms Verlag produces a map of Kilimanjaro National Park and the surrounding area at 1:100,000 scale, with Kibo shown as an inset at 1:50,000. Ascent and descent routes are clearly marked, with huts and camps indicated along with altitude.
The Ordnance Survey produced an attractive map of Kilimanjaro at 1:100,000 scale in the early 1990s, although the overlaid route maps are not entirely reliable. Unavailable in the UK since the end of the 1990s, this map can still be found in Moshi and at the park gates.
One of the most readily available maps is the attractive, hand-drawn New Map of the Kilimanjaro National Park, drawn at a scale of 1:125,000, produced by Giovanni Tombazzi and published by Maco Editions in 1998. Although it provides a good overview of the mountain and the routes, it is not so useful as a topographic map.
If you are simply in Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro, then you will have little need of a general road map of the country. Your outfitter will transport you to the trailhead and ensure that you are collected from the end of the track as well.
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Alexander Stewart is the Online Marketing Manager for WEXAS, the World Expeditionary Association. He has a particular interest in Africa and a passion for mountains. All his adult life he has walked in them, written about them and photographed them. Kilimanjaro made a significant impression on him during his first ascent in 1999, and he has often been drawn back to the 'Roof of Africa'.View Guidebooks by Alex Stewart
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