Why climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

climbing mount kenya view from amboseli national park

Not only is Kilimanjaro the highest peak in Africa, reaching an elevation of 5,895m (19,340ft) above sea level, but it is also the world’s tallest freestanding mountain, a long-dormant volcano that towers almost 5km (3 mi) above the hot and dusty ash-strewn plains from which it rises. Viewed from the base, Kilimanjaro’s distinctive silhouette is one of Africa’s most breathtaking scenic highlights, right up there with Victoria Falls, and the snow cap that illuminates the jagged glacial peaks is all the more remarkable for lying a mere 400km south of the equator,

Kilimanjaro is highly attractive to hikers for being the highest mountain anywhere in the world that can be ascended by ordinary tourists without specialised mountaineering experience or equipment - an accomplishment that requires a fair level of fitness, some determination, at least five days, and reasonably deep wallets. For most hikers, summiting snow-covered Uhuru Peak, the highest point on the continent, is a true bucket list dream, and the main objective of the hike. But the ascent is also very scenic, and it climbs through a diverse series of vegetation zones notable for their rich flora and fauna.

Summiting Kilimanjaro, for most who accomplish it, is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But dedicated hikers are frequently drawn back to Kilimanjaro again and again, not least because there are a great many ascent and descent routes from which to choose, and each one of them offers a very different scenic perspective on the majestic mountain.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

day 1

Moshi, arrival
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

day 2

Find your feet to Machame Camp
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

day 3

A nice day to New Shira Camp
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

day 4

Up to Lava Tower and down to Barranco Camp
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

day 5

Over the great Barranco wall to Karanga Valley
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

day 6

To Barafu for a few hours rest
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)


day 8

Celebrations
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

day 9

Fly Home

View Full Itinerary

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Climbing Kilimanjaro in June

Credit: andBeyond Early June is the tail end of the wet season and even though rainfall is unlikely to be too high, post-rain conditions on Kilimanjaro may be slippery and waterlogged underfoot. It gets dryer towards the end of the month, which is usually a pretty good time to climb Kilimanjaro, before the main high season tourist influx. As is the case throughout the year, be prepared…

Why climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

Not only is Kilimanjaro the highest peak in Africa, reaching an elevation of 5,895m (19,340ft) above sea level, but it is also the world’s tallest freestanding mountain, a long-dormant volcano that towers almost 5km (3 mi) above the hot and dusty ash-strewn plains from which it rises. Viewed from the base, Kilimanjaro’s distinctive silhouette is one of Africa’s most breathtaking…

Climbing Kilimanjaro on a budget

High park fees and logistical costs mean there is no such thing as a cheap Kilimanjaro climb. The best way to keep down costs is to form or join a group of four or more like-minded hikers, and to stick to the Marangu Route, which is more popular and busy than the other options, but also less logistically complicated. Even so, a Kilimanjaro climb is likely to seem pretty expensive by my…

Best time to climb Kilimanjaro

As might be expected of an isolated massif of its immense magnitude, Kilimanjaro supports a microclimate - indeed, several different altitude- and rainfall-related microclimates - that bears little resemblance to conditions on the surrounding plains. Precipitation is largely associated with moist trade winds that blow inland from the Indian Ocean towards Kilimanjaro’s southeastern…

Luxury Kilimanjaro tours

Luxury is a relative term when applied to a Kilimanjaro climb. Overnight options boil down to hunkering down in a sleeping bag in a hiking tent or a basic mountain hut, and if you want to summit the great mountain, there is no escaping the steep uphill hikes, nor the cold on the upper slopes, nor the likely affects of altitude. In one sense, the most luxurious way to climb the mountain is…

Climbing Kilimanjaro in May

Credit: Modern Day Marco May is very wet and although rainfall is lower than April, the ground may be waterlogged and forest trails will still be very slippery. Climbing Kilimanjaro is best avoided in May, though it does have the advantage of being very uncrowded. If you do hike at this time of year, best to choose the Rongai Route, which ascends the dryer northern slopes. Even then,…

Popular Kilimanjaro National Park Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

Landscape | Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

For the average climber, Machame is probably the most reliable route to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and the roof of Africa...

Mountain View | Two Peak Challenge: Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro (13 days)

Two Peak Challenge: Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro (13 days)

Summit two of Tanzania's iconic mountain ranges in under two weeks...

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