Climbers who reach the summit of Kilimanjaro will encounter 5 climatic zones. The cultivation zone is warm and humid, but as you rise higher through the rainforest, heath, and moorland, conditions get progressively colder and drier until you reach the arctic zone.
This is no easy hike and requires a lot of dedication. Here are a few reasons why you should consider it:
It’s the Rooftop of Africa
The awe-inspiring, snowy summit of Kilimanjaro is a dream for many, and the sense of accomplishment upon reaching the peak can be life-changing. This is why it is so popular for first-time adventurers to take on this epic mountain climb.
The Kilimanjaro landscape is a unique and stunning combination of various ecological zones. From rainforest to desert and arctic, the mountain offers hikers the chance to experience a wide array of wild species in their natural habitat.
While climbing Kilimanjaro is not difficult in technical terms, the altitude is the most challenging part. As such, climbers need to train for their Kilimanjaro trek in the months leading up to their trip. Running, swimming, cycling and targeted muscle exercises are all good ways to prepare for the challenge. However, nothing beats actual hiking! Hiking on the local hills or mountains in your area can help you build up endurance, pacing, and acclimatization.
It’s the World’s Highest Mountain
While there are a few taller mountains in the world, Kilimanjaro is the highest free-standing mountain. Most of the other tall peaks, including Everest and McKinley in North America, are part of a range.
It was a missionary, Johannes Rebmann, who first documented the existence of Kilimanjaro back in 1848. However, the Royal Geographic Society dismissed his claim at the time.
Despite these initial challenges, the first people to summit Kilimanjaro did so in 1889. The duo of geologist Hans Meyer and alpine climber Ludwig Purtscheller made it to the summit of Kibo, atop the great saddle of Shira and Mawenzi.
Over 25,000 people attempt to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro every year. However, only about two-thirds are successful. The biggest reason for this is due to altitude-related issues. However, this statistic can be improved by choosing longer routes that give climbers more time to acclimatize. In addition, by avoiding alcohol and taking prescribed medications.
It’s a Natural Wonder
The highest peak in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s natural wonders. The mountain has seven climate zones and a varied flora and fauna. Those who trek to its top will see exotic living forms including the delicate elephant flower and groundsel plants. But don’t forget to take medication against Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), which affects an estimated 77% of climbers.
The mountain has long drawn local and international travelers, globe-trotters, and die-hard climbing enthusiasts to its trails. Whether or not you reach the summit, scaling this mountain is one of the most exhilarating experiences you can have. It’s the kind of experience that will remain on your bucket list for a lifetime. This is why it has remained a popular (if not the most popular) mountain for hikers and trekkers. And it will continue to draw adventure seekers from around the world who are eager to tick a mighty feat off their list.
It’s a Cultural Experience
The lower slopes of the mountain are farmed by the local people and a hike through these communities is a fascinating cultural experience. You can also see some of the wildlife like bush pigs and mongoose, or visit the Shira plateau which is endowed with remains of volcanic activity from over 500,000 years ago.
Another interesting aspect of Kilimanjaro is that it boasts five different climate zones. The weather near the base of the mountain is tropical and as you climb up the slopes it gradually becomes cooler. As you continue to ascend you pass through heath and moorland zones before reaching the alpine desert zone and finally, the ice cap at the summit.
People come to climb Kilimanjaro for a variety of reasons – they’re looking for a physical challenge, they want to raise money for charity, maybe they’re trying to overcome a midlife crisis or they simply want to tick a huge achievement off their bucket list. But for almost everyone, the experience is incredibly rewarding and something they will never forget.