Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Rising directly from the plains, Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa's highest freestanding mountain and, at 5,895m (19,340ft), is the highest mountain in the world which can be climbed without technical equipment. From cultivated farmlands on the lower slopes, it rises through lush rainforest to alpine meadow and finally across a barren lunar landscape to its unique twin summits where you watch the sun rise majestically over Africa. It is an easy climb but, due to the altitude, it takes a reasonable amount of fitness and time to acclimatise, and you need a few days to do it. We use a very reputable company with experienced guides who receive regular training and have all the right kit to ensure your safety as well as theirs. There are lots of different companies offering climbs up Kilimanjaro, but it is worth paying a little extra to be in safe hands and so you get the most out of your climb. Below are a couple of suggested climbs, which can be done privately or as part of a group on set dates throughout the year. Near to Kilimanjaro National Park is a community conservation area which shares the same eco system as Amboseli, and has a lovely camp off the beaten track where you’ll enjoy lots of community interaction as well as game viewing.
It is a three-hour drive from Arusha to Hemingway’s Camp, but it is well worth the drive to find yourself in this truly wild part of Tanzania. Hemingway’s is a semi-permanent camp with spacious and tastefully furnished tents set under Acacia trees, with comfy beds and flush toilets. At the base of a volcanic cone known as ‘lookout hill’, the camp has great views. The dining tent has several large bean bags where you can relax in the afternoon and enjoy the views, and the camp is a superb spot for sundowners with its outlook towards Mount Kilimanjaro. The camp works in partnership with Olmolog Maasai community who act as guides and hosts, which gives you the opportunity to meet the Maasai in their homeland and to make a contribution to this community tourism initiative. Since the conservancy has been set up, game numbers have been rising, especially the elephants moving across from Amboseli.
Kili is a serious mountain and there are many ground operators in Tanzania who say they can get you to the top but as there is such stiff competition, many companies cut corners. There is also a huge conservation issue regarding the mountain, for example, the damage to the environment, the amount of rubbish left behind and the number of latrines which have to be dug. Farside Africa works with a reputable company who we trust to look after you and take you safely to the top of Kilimanjaro. They may be more expensive but they look after their clients extremely well and, just as important, they look after their guides and porters, who have good equipment and go on regular courses on first aid, safety and evacuation procedures. We tend to encourage a longer ascent of the mountain to give you time to acclimatise and as a result a very high number of our clients reach the summit.
"This was an excellent trip - very well organised and executed, fantastic equipment and food, friendly and helpful staff, and quite simply excellent! Our guides, camp crew and porters made it a very enjoyable and memorable week. I would recommend Summits Africa to anyone who was considering climbing Kilimanjaro as this is by far the best and most enjoyable trip that I have been on in any continent. It was also great to see that Summits Africa were really looking after the guides and porters properly."
Chris, Australia & Jason, Netherlands
"Summits Africa looked after us so well. The team made every effort to make us as comfortable as possible and it was impressive how accommodating they could be in what is a tough environment. The guide was excellent, making us feel safe and secure as well as sharing his understanding of the mountain. The chef was truly amazing, making the best spaghetti bolognese ever! It was amazing having a hot meal at lunchtime, set up in the shade - it was the little things that kept us going."
Vicky W, Edinburgh
There are a number of different routes up Kili. Our favourite two routes are Lemosho and Machame, which are less popular routes, so you will not see so many other people. They are over 8 days, so there is time for acclimatisation, and you can either join a set date departure or we can arrange tailor-made climbs for couples or private groups using these routes or any of the other routes up. Costs depend on the size of the group and the number of days on the mountain.
Machame is considered by many to be the most beautiful and scenic route up Mount Kilimanjaro, passing through tropical montane rain forest to the snows of Kilimanjaro. The set date departures have been set to coincide with the full moon and the best weather conditions. On every climb, you will have a large, trained staff including the chief guide, an assistant guide, cook and porters. The camp is superbly outfitted with thick foam mattresses for all the igloo tents, a toilet tent, tables and chairs, and there are high frequency two-way radios for communication with base.
This climb is ideal for those wanting more privacy, a slower climb, or a more scenic route. The traversing of the Shira plateau can be especially spectacular, and this route also ensures the best of the Machame route. Again. the dates have been set to coincide with the full moon and the best weather conditions, and on every climb, you will have a large, trained staff including the chief guide, an assistant guide, cook and porters. The camp is superbly outfitted with thick foam mattresses for all the igloo tents, a toilet tent, tables and chairs, and there are high frequency two-way radios for communication with base.