Tanzania: Mount Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa, making it one of the Seven Summits. Located in Tanzania and just 330km away from the equator, it is very popular with both experienced hikers and first time adventurers because it is considered to be the easiest of the seven summits. Scaling the mountain requires no technical skills or equipment, such as rope, harness, crampons or ice axe. Therefore, it is a hiking or “walk up” peak, not a mountaineering or climbing peak.
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 above sea level. When early explorers reported seeing glaciers on the top of Kilimanjaro, people did not believe them as they thought it was impossible for ice to form so close to the hot, equatorial sun.
Nowadays, approximately 30,000 people climb Kilimanjaro every year. It is reported that 50% of climbers fail, mostly due to altitude sickness. Additionally, many people climbing Kilimanjaro are first time backpackers. They do not adequately prepare for their climb in terms of having the right gear, doing enough training, and hiring a reputable guide service.
Due to Mount Kilimanjaro's proximity to the equator, this region does not experience the extremes of winter and summer weather, but rather dry and wet seasons. Therefore, the best time to climb Kilimanjaro tends to be the warmest and driest months, from July to October.