Kilimanjaro -The Roof of Africa

KilimanjaroRising majestically above the fields of the African Savannah, the tall peaks of the Kilimanjaro mountain have beckoned trekkers for almost 30 years. Kilimanjaro is one of the worlds most popular walkable mountains, home to almost every ecological system : rain forests  moorland, heath, alpine desert, arctic summit, you want it ? Here is the place to find it !

There, ahead, all he could see, as wide as all the world, great, high, and unbelievably white in the sun, was the square top of Kilimanjaro. And then he knew that there was where he was going”Ernest Hemingway: The Snows Of Kilimanjaro. 

They say a picture is worth 1000 words, but to completely cover the subject of Africa one would need at least dozen pictures. This is why I have decided to focus on various sub zones of the African Continent each week. The subject for this week, as you’ve probably already noticed is that of the Kilimanjaro Mountain, namely its hiking routes.

At the moment there are six known trek routes – Lemosho, Shira, Rongai, Machame, Marangu and Umbwe each acceding from different cardinal points. Every hiker chooses his course after careful consideration regarding scenery, difficulty, traffic and altitude acclimatization aspects.

The Marango Route, also known as the “Coca-Cola” route is the easiest, most well known route available from the six. It is also the only one equipped with sleeping SHELTERS but if you take into consideration the quality of the scenery you will be very disappointed because there is not much to see. A route advised only for seasoned travelers, with beautiful scenery is the Machame Route. It is a six day hike, although experts recommend an additional day reserved for altitude acclimatization. It is also the most popular route available, and one of the most used.

A newer and highly recommended route is the Lemosho route. It’s the perfect mix of panoramic vistas, low traffic and high summit success rate. The Lemosho was especially designed to create the opportunity to see as much of the Kilimanjaro sights as possible and is truly an unique hiking experience. The Shira Route is Lemosho’s sibling , coming in from the west and with nearly identical characteristics. Lemosho is the initial Shira route which was later rethought to better suite travelers with acclimatization problems. The two develop separately for a short portion and they then meet up at the Shira 2 Camp and continue on the same circuit.Coming in from the North is the Rongai route. This circuit is ideal for people in search of a more intimate setting because it has low traffic but it is quite difficult. It is appreciated for passing through true areas of true untammed wilderness.The last of the available paths is the Umbwe Route. It is known and one of the most difficult routes and it isn’t recommended to inexperienced travellers because it is very steep and it offers no time to get used to the climate conditions.

The Kilimanjaro is becoming increasingly popular to hikers all over the world with a circulation of almost 25.000 trekkers annually  It is hard, indeed, but the experience is worth it. The majority of people who managed to climb it have kept Journals, and in almost every journal, irrespective of difficulties, people exhorted hikers to come if they had the chance.

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