Did you know that Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano, and it last erupted about 200,000 years ago?
There’s so much you likely don’t know about this fascinating and unique mountain. If you’re planning a trip to Tanzania in East Africa, you cannot miss this magnificent place.
Sure, there are lots of reasons not to go. It seems remote, difficult to climb, and you might think it takes ages to get to. And there are plenty of other cool things to see on a vacation to Tanzania, right?
Yes, but none of those other attractions compare to witnessing and climbing this wonder in real life. Here are some of the top reasons why you should add it to your Tanzania travel checklist!
1. It’s the Highest Mountain in Africa
And that’s only one of Kilimanjaro’s many accolades. You already know that it’s a dormant volcano, but it’s made up of three different peaks. The main one is Kibo but the other two, Mawenzi and Shira, are smaller extinct volcanos.
At 5,895m, Kilimanjaro is also the highest free-standing mountain in the world. And it’s one of the Seven Summits, which are the highest mountains in each continent. Not bad!
2. See Amazing Wildlife
Lots of people decide to take a trip to Africa to see the Big Five game animals on the continent. These are the lion, leopard, elephant, black rhinoceros, and buffalo.
Climbers hoping to see elephants should trek up the Rongai route.
But there are so many other amazing animals to see when climbing Kilimanjaro or exploring the areas around the mountain.
Thanks to the rainforest climate at the base of the mountain, here are some of the animals you might spot:
- Serval car
- Colobus monkey
- Tree Hyrax
The best way to see animals is on a safari as your guide will know all the best places for sightings and will keep you safe.
All national parks in Tanzania (including Mount Kilimanjaro National Park) are “free to roam” parks. This means the animals you see on a safari in the country are wild, as all animals should be.
But there are no dangerous predators in this part of Tanzania. That’s another very good reason to include a trip to Kilimanjaro National Park on your African vacation itinerary!
3. Witness Many Natural Wonders
As you climb Mount Kilimanjaro, every 1,000m offers a brand new climate. At the base where civilization lives, there is an average temperature of 70 – 80 F, which seems about right.
But then you trek through a rainforest climate, moorland, alpine desert, and arctic ice at the top. For a mountain almost on the equator, this is an almost unbelievable variety of climates.
This makes Kilimanjaro a great mountain for scientists to study for many reasons, including the effects of climate change. The glaciers on the mountain are around 11,700 years old, but they will disappear within the next 20 – 30 years.
It’s sobering to be able to witness global warming before your eyes, and the experience is bound to stay with you.
And there is also plenty of unique flora to see on Kilimanjaro too. Giant lobelia flowers only grow in the highest mountains of East Africa. And it won’t surprise you to learn that Dendrosenecio Kilimanjaro is a cactus-looking plant that only grows on Kilimanjaro.
There are way too many more plants to mention. But this is a unique place, and you won’t struggle to find new plants each day on this mountain.
4. Great Infrastructure for Climbers
Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the “easiest” of the Seven Summits to climb because you don’t need to be a mountaineer to tackle any of the treks.
There are seven routes up to the summit of Kilimanjaro and two routes down. Each route takes a different number of days, ranging from five to nine days. The higher the number of days, the more likely climbers will reach the summit of Kilimanjaro.
The mountain is also so easy to get to. Kilimanjaro International Airport sees thousands of climbers traveling from Europe every year. And the mountain is right on the Kenyan border and only 130 miles from Nairobi.
On the ground, there are lots of sleeping huts, hotels, gear rentals, and lots of porters and restaurants.
5. Contribute to the Local Economy
Speaking of porters, it’s essential to give back to the local community when you travel. But it’s vital to spend more in impoverished countries like Tanzania, in particular.
Tourists visiting and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro contribute millions of dollars every year. This allows the creation of jobs for tour guides, kitchen staff, and trekking companies.
6. Tick an Achievement off Your Bucket List
You’ve no doubt seen those photos of happy, red-faced climbers standing at the summit of Kilimanjaro in front of the wooden sign. And the fact that you are reading this right now indicates that you’ve thought about visiting and climbing Kilimanjaro.
Are you really going to take a trip to Tanzania and not follow through?
To climb a mountain as iconic and challenging as Kilimanjaro is a story you can dine out on for years. You can tick something major off your bucket list, and it might give you a new sense of purpose.
You Cannot Miss Kilimanjaro on Your Trip to Tanzania!
Taking a trip to Tanzania will push you far out of your comfort zone. It will allow you to meet people and do things you wouldn’t do under normal circumstances.
Even if you do not climb Mount Kilimanjaro, seeing it will no doubt be one of the most humbling experiences of your life for all the reasons listed.
Make the effort. You might regret it if you don’t.
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