Kilimanjaro is remote, alluring and, simply put, awe inspiring. Starting off on the dusty plains of equatorial Africa and trekking to near arctic conditions at the summit; you will pass through tropical rain forest, moorland and alpine desert onto snow and ice. Your fist trip to this mountain will be nothing short of dramatic.

Located in Northern Tanzania and bordering Kenya, Kilimanjaro dominates the landscape. This, the worlds largest fee-standing mountain is in fact an extinct volcano and must be one of life’s most impressive sights. This mountain attracts nature enthusiasts as well as mountain climbers with the its distinctive eco-systems; also the accent to this majestic peak is a non-technical climb. Having said this it also affords a full mountaineering experience, as the assent has its challenges and rewards. You must be in a strong physical condition attempt the climb which typically takes five days. It is better, if you are able, to coordinate your assent to the summit with the light of the full moon.

As the climb is classed as non-technical often climbers will underestimate the fineness level required to enjoy their trip and to succeed in climbing to the summit. You should be comfortable in walking four to eight hours per day. The accent to the summit being the most demanding day of all; usually taking eight hours on the steep accent to Uhru Peak and another seven hours on the decent; this requires both strength and endurance. The secret, if there is one, is in taking the climb slowly; Kilimanjaro stands at an extreme high altitude and all too often this is underestimated; Uhuru Peak stands at 5,680 meters above sea level. Best Times to go really depend on what you want as Kilimanjaro can be trekked all year, with advantages and disadvantages each month. Mid December to March are the warmest months and fairly free from clouds. April and early May has heavy clouds, rain and even occasional snow blizzards; the mountain has few climbers this time of year. By late June to the end of August it is very cold at night with a clear sky above 3000 meters and fantastic views. September and October the mountain is warmer with October usually having little or no rain and mild temperatures. November to mid-December has the short rains with the possibility of thunderstorms in the afternoons – and occasional heavy snow towards the summit.

Kilimanjaro offers thrilling adventure taking you to the highest point in Africa. It is accessible to all but the mountain demands to be treated with respect. Try to climb with a company that embraces fair trade practices and responsible tourism. Train in the months leading up to your climb and enjoy so as to enjoy this unique experience in the unique setting.

About the Author

For further information on Kilimanjaro, Tanzania and Zanzibar see using tourism to fund community initiatives focused on the education of the young and the medical care for the whole family. Using tourism to change lives

Written by: Ian Williamson