Mount Kilimanjaro is the crown of Tanzania. With an altitude of 5,895m (19.340ft), it is the highest peak in Africa, the highest freestanding mountain in the world, and one of the largest volcanoes. The base of the immense mountain has a diameter of about 70 km. On a clear day its impressive formation can be seen from more than 160 km away, and although it is only three degrees below the Equator, the peak is permanently covered with snow and ice.
Elephants, leopards, lions and colobus monkeys are among the residents of the Mount Kilimanjaro National Park. The encircling rain forests ensure the fertility of the lush, lower lying countryside, where the Chagga cultivate their coffee, maize and bananas.
Mount Kilimanjaro can be climbed most of the year, although it is inadvisable during the rainy season during April and MAp, and during the short rains during November. The summit of Kilimanjaro is definitely a challenge, and there are risks involved, but it can be reached by any reasonably fit person who enjoys hiking. Accomplishing reaching the summit will be an experience of a lifetime! The youngest person to make it was seven years old - the oldest seventy-eight!
While thousands of people scramble to the top of Kilimanjaro each year, there are also trails off the beaten track and more technical climbs for the experienced mountaineer. There are five principal hiking trails you can choose to take to climb the mountain: Marangu, Mweka, Umbwe, Shira and Machame. The most popular route is the Marangu route - which takes about five days and involves walking around 85 kilometres.