Kilimanjaro is not a difficult mountain to climb, a challenge certainly, but not unachievable. It the Kilimanjaro climb is essentially along uphill trek, the challenge really comes in at the top, when the air thins and breathing becomes trained. Climbing Kilimanjaro is akin to walking into space, where you can only use half your lung capacity because the air is so thin. This is not dangerous, but just tough going. People of all ages climb Kilimanjaro, the youngest person was successful on the 21 January 2008 Keats Boyd from Los Angeles. If a seven year old can do it, the chances are so can you. Not that climbing Kilimanjaro is a piece of cake, obly about 40% of climbers are successful in actually climbing Kilimanjaro. The rest tend to fail on the final day, when they have to scramble up a very steep scree slope in the middle of the night to catch the sun rise from the peak. At this altitude many suffer from minor symptoms of AMS (acute mountain sickness) and this is the main factor that influences peoples decision to turn back. People of all ages Climb Kilimanjaro with Xtreme Gap Year.
You can attempt it all year, there are definitely some preferred seasons to attempt the climb however. The main trekking seasons on Kilimanjaro correspond with the mountains two dry seasons namely January to mid-March and June to October. This doesn ´t mean you can ´t climb Kilimanjaro at other times of the year, however if you are travelling alone and wanting to go with a group then these 2 seasons are the best time to climb Kilimanjaro.
People do both, you can climb in a group or you can go it alone (with the back up of porters and an guide), however you will find climbing in a small group is a much more rewarding experiences. On the mountain is great when you all have a common goal, those that climb Kilimanjaro in a group often find they can support each other and offer words of encouragement when the going gets tough). This is especially important at the top when the air thins and you have a pounding headache and that little voice in your head is questioning how much you want to achieve your goal. Every muscle in your legs will be aching and you might just be tempted to turn back (60% do). Having someone else there to look out for you is always helpful. If you Climb Kilimanjaro with Xtreme Gap, you will climbing in a group.
There are different routes you can take up Kilimanjaro, some people like to go off the beaten path with Lemosho route, this is alot more sparse than the more popular Marangu route, nicknamed the coco cola route. The Marangu Route is generally cheaper to climb and you will meet more people enroute, which is actually pretty cool as it becomes quite a social event on the overnight stops in the huts. People disc using the events of the day and swapping stories.
The Rongai route ascents Kilimanjaro from the north eastern side of the mountain, along the border between Tanzania and Kenya. This route retains a sense of un spoilt wilderness and offers a different perspective on Kilimanjaro by approaching it from the north. Climbing Kilimanjaro is possibly one of the greatest gap year challenges available in Africa.
Kilimanjaro is located in the North East of Tanzania, near the Town of Moshi. Accessing Kilimanjaro is easiest when you fly into Kilimanjaro international, although some people who want to climb Kilimanjaro head there from Nairobi. This is several hours drive which can be accomplished on various different forms of transport, from luxury buses, private cars to matatus (Taxi buses) that are rammed full of too many people, chickens and other livestock. If you want a 20 hour adventure (and a very saw bum, choose this option.)
Yes and no, it all depends how determined you are to climb Kilimanjaro. As we mentioned before, any one can actually climb Kilimanjaro, even a child of 7 years old has been successful, however most do fail. This can be prevented however with the correct preparation and of course dedication to get to the top!
The climb itself is more like a long uphill trek at altitude. Similar in effort to the Inca trail in peru, it is certainly a challenge, but not unachievable! As the days goes by and you slowly gain altitude you will notice the landscapes change quite dramatically, from a tropical trainforrest and banana plantations down at the foot of the mountain, to unique flora further up the mountain that has adapted to living on the mountain over millions of years. Towards the top the landscape becomes more luna like with dust and rock formations giving way to the impressive Uhuru peak, the highest point in Africa.
People rarely miss out on the opportunity to visit the Masai Mara, Serengeti and Ngororgoro craters when climbing kilimanjaro on a Tanzania gap year. Being some of the best game parks in Africa and a short drive away from Moshi, a combined climbing and safari package is usually the best way to go.
Please see the routes and climbing options below, and if course feel free to get intouch if you would like advise from a specialist how has climbed the mountain.