Great African adventure travel begins with the climbing of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The rush you get from conquering the highest location on Africa standing on the snow-capped peak peering over the valley knowing you did it is unlike any other. All of the sudden, the grueling five-day hike is all worth it. Just as soon as we arrive, it is time to descend, but that does not matter – you have made it.
Located in the East African nation of Tanzania, Mt. Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa ranging over 19,000 feet. There are multiple routes that can be taken varying in degree of difficulty, traffic and scenery.
Marangu, Rongai, Machame, Shira and Limosho are the routes that can be taken. The least difficult routes are longer (6 days, to and fro) which allow for the climbers to become more acclimatized, therefore making your chances greater of making it to the top. These longer western routes also allow you to start your summit day at a more reasonable hour.
The most popular route for tourists is the Marangu (also known as the “Coca Cola” or “tourist”) route, which is located on the eastern side of the mountain. Marangu is supported by comfortable solar-powered; sleeping huts at every camp, these camps for overnight stopover and rest at Mandara, Horombo and Kibo camps.
Ascent of the Marangu route begins after breakfast with a briefing detailing what you will encounter and the days will entail. After the briefing, there is a 45-minute drive to the Marangu Gate where registration with the national park takes place, and the hiking begins…
Day one ends at the Mandara camp for a short night’s rest just to get up early the next morning to make way to the Horombo camp while trying to cope with the take one step forward, one-half a step backwards “progress” until reaching Horombo camp for another short night sleep and early wake-up to make way for the Kibo camp.
The Kibo camp is the last camp before ascending to the highest point of Kilimanjaro, the Uhuru Peak. Adrenaline flows as completion nears and then it happens, you have made it. This nearly one week of agony is forgotten. After taking pictures and enjoying the scene, you will then descend back to Kibo camp for lunch and trek back to Horombo for an overnight stay and rest. Early morning after breakfast, you will continue with your descent to Mandara camp and finally back at the Marangu Gate, where typically you will head to your hotel in Moshi town for an overnight rest and then on to more adventure travel, cultural tours, or game drives in the parks.
There is a sense of accomplishment, even a moment of invincibility, which fills your senses. You have done it accomplished some of the greatest adventures by climbing the highest point on the continent of Africa.