7 Reasons to Fall in Love with Kilimanjaro

Reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak on the African continent at 5,885 m, is an object of fascination for thousands of outdoor enthusiasts. Conquering the Roof of Africa is really an adventure of a lifetime. Before you set off, make sure you prepare well and pick one of Kilimanjaro hiking routes that can best meet your interests and opportunities. Scaling Kilimanjaro is not just a climb — it gives hikers numerous opportunities for personal discoveries, it inspires and unites people. In this article, we’ve gathered the top seven reasons why conquering Kilimanjaro can become the most adorable experience of your life.

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1. It’s an awesome personal achievement

Although it is widely considered that Kili is technically easy to scale, climbing Africa’s highest peak is challenging as well. Yes, climbing the great Kili is more like a walk up, however, it takes at least six or seven days to get to the top. It goes without saying that such a long trip is a test on your endurance, persistence and will power. Sleeping in a tent, carrying a backpack and wearing hiking boots for a week is not a thing everyone can easily handle.

In addition, Mount Kilimanjaro has its own weather system: you start your journey in a hot and humid rainforest, and the temperatures gradually drop until you reach the snow-capped peak. No matter the season, you’re also likely to experience snow, rain and high winds. Finally, the summit night is the hardest part of the climb, it’s physically demanding, you climb in the dark in freezing temperature. But who cares if you’re heading to meet sunrise on the Roof of Africa? The feeling of personal achievement is immensely rewarding, indeed.

2. Kilimanjaro is truly unique

You might have climbed hundreds of mountains, but Kilimanjaro will always stand out among your other achievements due to its incomparable uniqueness. Just imagine: lying only about 330 km south of the equator, it is topped with a layer of snow and glaciers. Kilimanjaro is the highest peak on the African continent and belongs to the iconic Seven Summits — the highest points of each continent. Plus, it’s the world’s tallest free-standing mountain, and it’s actually a volcano. Kili has three volcanic cones, two of which, called Mawenzi and Shira, are extinct. The tallest cone, Kibo, is dormant, which means that it can erupt.

3. Kilimanjaro remains almost untouched

Local authorities take care that Kilimanjaro National Park is clean. To reduce dumping on the trail, the rangers weigh the bags coming on and off Kilimanjaro, and groups of hikers are given substantial fines in case the bags come down too light. Modest outhouses along the way are sufficient to provide privacy and keep the mountain clean. What is more, there exist only seven treks up to Uhuru Peak, and no roads. All of these factors help the mountain remain pristine despite relatively heavy traffic.

4. It offers exceptionally diverse scenery and wildlife

Due to Kilimanjaro’s position near the equator as well as its high elevation, the mountain boasts five climatic zones, which means diverse landscapes and wildlife. Hikers cross farmlands, rainforest, moorlands, alpine deserts and finally, the arctic zone at the top.

Most of the mountain’s wildlife is concentrated in the tropical rainforest on its lower slopes. It’s easy to see (and hear) plenty of birds, several species of monkeys, and olive baboons here. Leopards, mongooses, zebras, hyenas and elephants also live on the mountain’s lower slopes, but sightings are very rare. This humid zone is perfect for plants: you will see huge tree ferns, sycamore trees, junipers, as well as moss also known as “old man’s beard”.

If you are lucky enough, you might spot a four-striped grass mouse, a red-eyed dove or a white necked raven in the moorland zone. The vegetation here includes the strange giant groundsel, Senecio trees, Lobelias and the colourful red hot pokers.

Kilimanjaro is home to some plants that can’t be found anywhere else on Earth, for instance, Dendrosenecio, a unique plant that reminds of a pineapple, a cactus and a palm tree at the same time. Interestingly, the tallest and one of the oldest trees in Africa is on Kilimanjaro. At a whopping 265 feet (81 meters) this Entandrophragma excelsum is also the sixth largest tree in the world.

5. It’s a perfect escape

There is no wi-fi and electricity on Kilimanjaro, and the cell service is quite spotty. While many view it as a disadvantage, we believe that it’s a perfect chance to escape from your busy life, especially if you live in a big and hectic city. Why not get a digital detox and connect with nature? Kilimanjaro will give it to you!

6. The infrastructure will exceed your expectations

Surprisingly, Mount Kilimanjaro is remote (just a quick reminder: it’s located in Tanzania, in East Africa) and accessible at the same time. Why accessible? Because there are regular flights from Europe that fly straight to the Kilimanjaro airport, and ground transportation is quite decent too. Not to mention, there are good hotels and gear rentals around the mountain. If you’re not into sleeping in a tent, one of the routes includes huts with bathing facilities along the trail. Finally, local porters will carry your stuff, set up your tent and cook meals for you.

7. You contribute to the local economy by climbing Kilimanjaro

Tanzania is one of the world?s poorest countries, tourism being one of the major sources of revenue. Although Tanzania has many other tourist attractions, an immense part of Tanzania?s total revenue from tourism is derived from a single region: Kilimanjaro and the Northern Safari Circuit. In other words, Mount Kilimanjaro attracts a huge number of tourists, which greatly stimulates the local economy. Although working conditions are oftentimes quite difficult, the climbers make a difference by using local tour agencies and providing a lot of local porters, guides and cooks with jobs.

The Bottom Line

All in all, climbing one of the highest peaks in the world can become an experience you will never forget. You’ll fall in love with its incredible scenery, unusual wildlife and the feeling of a personal accomplishment the iconic Kilimanjaro will reward you with. Without any doubt, Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the top places one should definitely add to their bucket list, and the team at Follow Alice can help you make your trip comfortable and trouble-free.

Founding Editor
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