And there, ahead, all he could see, as wide as all the world, great, high and unbelievably white in the sun, was the square top of Kilimanjaro.” – you can read in The Snows of Kilimanjaro, the novel of Ernest Hemingway. And if nothing else about this mountain, but the title – therefore the concept of having snow on the top of this peak – is widely known.
The Roof of Africa, the highest peak of Tanzania and the continent is a dream of many, who arrive to the foot of the mountain with the wish to reach the summit until there’s still some snow up there. Many researchers say, that the snow cap will disappear without a trace in the mid of this century.
Kilimanjaro consists of three volcanic cone, Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira, and its highest point is Uhuru Peak (5.895 m). Early explorers targeted its summit already in the 1860s, but needed to turn back at the then snow line, later from the caldera of Kibo. The first successful ascent was celebrated in 1889, boosting the popularity of the mountain. Nowadays around 20 thousand people are trekking in the National Park around the peak and attempt to reach the summit every year – providing working opportunity to the numerous local guides, porters and chefs.
But don’t let its popularity fool you – even though it is not a technical climb, the elevation of Kilimanjaro may seriously challenge you. Acclimatization is a key factor to success, and it already starts when selecting the route towards the summit. To reach Uhuru Peak you can choose of 7 official routes: Lemosho, Machame, Marangu, Mweka, Rongai, Shira and Umbwe – but you may find titles such as Coca Cola or Whiskey route, that cover the most popular and crowded treks. The expected comfort level can be an important criteria when choosing your ideal trek – on some routes only camping sites are available, while on others mountain huts with limited capacity are an option as well.
Whatever route you choose, Kilimanjaro is a unique mountain with fantastic energies, and the time spent on the summit is a memory that lasts for a lifetime.