The Amazing Story of Mount Kilimanjaro

Download Travel Details >

PRIVATE & SMALL GROUP TOURS TO THE WORLD'S BEST DESTINATIONS

Join Us For A Safari In Tanzania

How Was Mt. Kilimanjaro Formed?

mount kilimanjaro peaking through cloudsKilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa and one of the tallest mountains in the world. It is also one of the largest volcanoes on Earth. The mountain is located in Tanzania, about 160 miles south of the equator. Kilimanjaro is also a popular destination for hikers. Each year, approximately 35,000 people attempt to climb the mountain on Kilimanjaro guided hikes. However, only a small percentage of climbers reach the actual summit, due to the difficulty of the climb.

The mountain is made up of three volcanoes: Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. These volcanoes are part of the African Plate, which began to shift 750 million years ago to form the East African Rift. Eventually, the volcanoes erupted, and the resulting flow of lava pushed rock and sediment upwards, which is how Mt. Kilimanjaro formed.  Today, Shira and Mawenzi are considered “extinct” volcanoes, while Kibo is simply dormant. Thousands of hikers attempt to climb Kibo each year, hoping to reach the famous Uhuru Peak, which sits 19,685 feet above sea level.

Did You Know? Six Fun Facts About Kili!

  • Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain on the African continent and the highest free-standing mountain in the world.
  • Almost every kind of ecological system can be found on Mount Kilimanjaro, including cultivated land, rain forest, heath, moorland, alpine desert, and an arctic summit.
  • Approximately 35,000 people attempt to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro annually. Approximately two-thirds are successful. Altitude-related problems are the most common reason climbers turn back.
  • Every climber who has summitted Uhuru Peak has recorded his or her thoughts about the trek in a book stored in a wooden box at the top.
  • The oldest person ever to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro was 87-year-old Frenchman Valtee Daniel.
  • The fasted verified ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro occurred in 2001 when Italian Bruno Brunod summitted Uhuru Peak in 5 hours 38 minutes 40 seconds. The fastest roundtrip was accomplished in 2004, when local guide Simon Mtuy went up and down the mountain in 8 hours and 27 minutes.
group of zebras under tree in savannah

En Route To Adventure In Tanzania

Mount Kilimanjaro is a popular tourist destination and is known for its beautiful views. The mountain is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including elephants, lions, and leopards. The summit of Kilimanjaro is also the site of a unique ecological zone, where alpine plants and animals can be found. Climbers take on the challenge of summiting Kili with Kilimanjaro guided hikes to see the beautiful views and experience the unique diversity of flora and fauna found along the route to the top.

But even before they begin their climb, hikers are faced with the dilemma of how to get to Mt. Kilimanjaro. The mountain’s remote location on the equator poses a challenge for visitors, both domestic and international. Here are some tips for making your trip to this climbing mecca easy and without hassle.

  • S., European, or U.K.-based hikers can book a flight from your nearest airport hub to Amsterdam. From there, you can catch a KLM flight with Royal Dutch Airlines to Kilimanjaro National Airport.
  • From Kilimanjaro National Airport, take a shuttle bus to Moshi Town or Arusha. Moshi and Arusha are typically used as starting points for Kilimanjaro guided hikes.
  • From your hotel in Moshi or Arusha, you can take a shuttle bus to Kilimanjaro National Park.
  • Alternatively, international travelers can fly into Nairobi in Kenya and then take a shuttle bus to Kilimanjaro National Park to meet their guide.

Do You Need A Guide To Hike Mt. Kilimanjaro?

Kilimanjaro is a popular tourist destination and is known for its beautiful views. The lofty heights of its peak pose an irresistible challenge to climbers, who flock to the mountain in the hope of conquering the arduous trek. However, unlike many other climbs across the world, trekking Kilimanjaro without a guide is strictly prohibited. Anyone who wants to climb Kili must hire a guide service to take them to the summit. This means that Kilimanjaro guided tours are one of the most popular types of guided tours in the region.

In addition to the physical endurance you need to reach the summit, altitude sickness and below-freezing temperatures make this climb difficult. Having a guide to monitor your health and provide insight into the ever-changing weather conditions helps increase your chances of summiting Kilimanjaro. Plus, guide services also include at minimum two porters, who will help carry your gear and food up the mountains, lightening your load and helping ensure that you make it to the top. Top-tier tour operators will cater all meals on the mountain and make sure your national park fee is included in the cost of the hike.

Picking The Best Route To Kili’s Summit

How to get to Kilimanjaro, and to its summit, is a good question for your guide. There are seven routes cut into the side of Kili’s slopes, all leading to Uhuru Peak. Some of the routes take longer, meaning you will be out in the elements for a longer period of time, while other routes ensure that you’ll be up and down the side of the mountain in under a week. However, a quick ascent is not always the best way to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. For an inexperienced or intermediate climber, a longer route may be recommended. Longer climbs with built-in acclimatization days are suggested for novice trekkers, and help to guarantee a successful summit. Tour operators offering Kilimanjaro guided hikes will be able to assess your fitness level and make recommendations about the route that is right for you.

Download tour brochures for your Tanzania tour dates and pricing.