Climbing Kilimanjaro: How To Get To The Roof Of Africa

Climbing Kilimanjaro: How To Get To The Roof Of Africa

By Mike Cardoza | Lifestyle Contributor on December 12, 2018
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Climbers on Mount Kilimanjaro | G Adventures
Climbers on Mount Kilimanjaro | G Adventures

Many visitors try to climb Kilimanjaro every year. Climbing can be done in different groups or organized in various ways, but it can always be done with official guides and porters.. Here are some basic concepts that should be known before climbing Kilimanjaro.

The peak of Mount Kilimanjaro Africa
The peak of Mount Kilimanjaro
When to Climb Kilimanjaro?

There are two factors to consider when choosing a climate: the flow of weather and the visitors that we will find along the way.

Avoiding the rainiest season (March, April and May), during the rest of the year there are no significant variations in terms of meteorology, which makes it possible to climb Kilimanjaro in any other month of the year. The best months may be January and February, because they are the driest and warmest. Another good time is from June to September, although the temperatures are lower and there are more people (European and North American vacations coincide.) In December (Christmas and New Year) the number of people trying to ascend also increases.

The temperature varies depending on the height, descending from 20ºC to 1000 m. until -15 / -20ºC from the summit.

In the lower areas of forest it is usual for temperatures to be pleasant. Overcome this area is often found very cold nights and sunny mornings, with the possibility of rain or snow at any time of year. The thermal difference between day and night will become more pronounced as you ascend, until you reach the summit where the cold usually only allows a brief lapse of time to enjoy your ascension.

Difficulty Level

The climb to Mount Kilimanjaro can be closer to a prolonged trekking or hiking activity than to an alpine ascent. Not all routes are the same but the common feature is that no knowledge of climbing or progression on ice is required, with the exception of some steps in the Barranco Valley area (Machame, Umbwe and Lemosho routes).

In general, the roads are marked and have a proper maintenance; the most complicated steps are found in the higher areas, with steep slopes and the presence of loose gravel that makes the ascent slow and laborious.

According to this the main difficulties are the accumulated distance and unevenness, and altitude sickness. In the Kilimanjaro every day progress is gaining altitude and this requires physical preparation and mentality to not rush and know how far you can get.

The peak of Mount Kilimanjaro
The Uhuru peak of Mount Kilimanjaro
Accompanying Staff

The team that accompanies the climber is usually composed of:

  • 1 climber: 1 guide, 3 porters and 1 cook
  • 2 climbers: 1 guide, 6 porters, 1 assistant and 1 guide
  • 3 climbers: 1 guide, 9 porters, 1 assistant and cook
  • 4 climbers: 2 guides, 9 porters, 1 assistant, 1 cook and 1 waiter

If the climbing is done through the Marangu route, the team consists of a guide and one cook for every 8 climbers; one assistant for every 3 climbers and two porters for each climber

Note: The climber only carries a small backpack with the necessary material for the road. A team of porters carries luggage, stores, kitchen and common equipment. The weight is limited to 15 Kg. Per carrier and in case of exceeding this amount extra carriers can be hired.

Routes of ascent

The most common routes used to reach the summit of Uhuru Peak are Marangu, Machame, Lemosho, Marangu and Rongai. And it is the latter that we recommend because acclimatization is easier, it is a little traveled route and why it is the one with the highest rate of success. The other routes are equally interesting and some of them share sections with each other.

Rise By The Rongai Route

The Rongai Route is still much quieter than the most popular Kilimanjaro routes, the Marangu Route and the Machame Route, so it is a good option for those seeking a more personalized experience. The northern slopes of Kilimanjaro tend to be much drier than the southern slopes, so it is unlikely that we will find rain during the expedition.

It has the advantage that the slope is less than other routes of ascent. It allows a better and greater acclimatization to changes in height. The views over the savannah are impressive. There are no technical problems. The group of guides, cook and porters take care of everything. It is a “five star” promotion. There are between 3 and 5 porters per person. It can be done throughout the year.

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