Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the most awe-inspiring mountains of the world. The 5896 meters tall mountain with its snow capped peak stands right on top of the Equator. Unlike the other renowned mountains of the world, Mt Kilimanjaro can be scaled without any technical training. The ease of climbing the mountain makes it a popular destination for trekkers.
Mt Kilimanjaro trekking trips are led by licensed guides. The treks start from Mount Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania. The lower slopes of the mountain are covered with abundant vegetation, ranging from alpine meadows to the tropical rainforest. Several wild animals including, leopards, buffaloes, elands and monkeys live in these forests. The lower slope of the mountain is also the home of the Chagga and the Maasai tribesmen.
Treks following the Marangu Route last for about five to six days. This is the most popular and perhaps the easiest trekking route. This is the only route where huts fitted with beds and mattresses are available for trekkers to sleep in the night. Drinks, mineral water and chocolates are available at the camping sites.
The Machame route is longer than the Marangu Route and might take about a week to reach the mountain peak. This is the most picturesque route, providing some stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Unlike the Marangu campsites, the camping grounds of Machame are not very comfortable. You have to bring your sleeping bags to rest here.
The Umbwe route is shorter but the most strenuous hiking route. Only experienced mountaineers should follow this trail. You will spot several caves along this route, where you can rest and even sleep in the night.
The Shira Route, Rongai Route, Mewka Route and Lemosho Routes, despite their scenic beauty, are less popular routes to Mt Kilimanjaro.
Although, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro is not as arduous as climbing the peaks of the Himalayas or the Alps, but nonetheless, you should be adequately fit to undertake the trek. Regular walks and workouts in gym will help to prepare you physically for the hike. You should drink at least 3 to 4 liters of water everyday on the hike.
Time to trek
Mt Kilimanjaro can be trekked throughout the year. However, it is advised to avoid the rainy season, when the path becomes slippery. Best time to undertake the trekking trip is from late June to October and between late December and early March.