Mount Kilimanjaro – Climbing or Trekking Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa. And at 5895 metres, it’s also the highest walkable summit in the world. Alluring glimpses of the magnificent snow-capped summit of Kilimanjaro from the plains below contradicts the unique reality. Part of the fascination of the climb is the mix of eco-climatic zones that you’ll hike though on your way to the summit. It begins with lush rainforest and then moves into montane forest, heath and moorland, alpine desert. And finally, bare snow and ice.
The one-way Machame Route climbs up the southwest of Mount Kilimanjaro. This is a more challenging but less frequented trail than the busier Marangu Route. It offers more of a wilderness experience. Kilimanjaro climbers should be fit and well exercised. The best months for the climb are July to September (cold but dry) and January to mid-March (clearer and warmer).
Those who prefer to gaze up at the icy dome of Kilimanjaro from afar can admire the mountain across the plains of Western Kilimanjaro. This is an exclusive game concession of floodplains, hills and acacia woodland. Here you’ll find plenty of elephant and interesting antelope such as lesser kudu. It’s just across the border from Amboseli National Park in Kenya. But its a much less commercial experience. So the interaction with local people is a more authentic experience. Plus, as you are outside national park restrictions, you can take guided walks and enjoy night game drives, which might even yield sightings such as striped hyena.
Close by lies Arusha, a bustling town in the foothills of Mount Meru. Arusha is the starting point for many Tanzania safaris, being home to Kilimanjaro International Airport about 40km to the north-east. Depending on your flight connections you may need to stay overnight near Arusha, Either at the start or end of your safari. Popular Arusha hotels include Serena Mountain Village, Mount Meru Game Lodge, Arusha Coffee Lodge and other coffee plantations. Ten minutes drive from Arusha is the Lake Duluti Lodge on a scenic crater lake.