Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest peak in Africa, and most people will be climbing it for that reason alone. Which is a shame really because there is more to Kilimanjaro than just it’s height.
It’s such a scenery-laden hike, filled with all kinds of unique flora and fauna, and all sorts of otherworldly geological formations, that I don’t know why people want to rush to the top as quickly as they can, particularly as rushing the trek significantly increases the risk of altitude sickness and an unsuccessful attempt at summiting. The quickest routes (such as the most popular route of all, the 5 – 6 day Marangu Route, also known as the Coca-Cola route) are also the least scenic.
My recommendation is to do as I did, and take one of the slower, more-scenic routes, such as the Lemosho Route; it’ll increase your chances of making it to the top of Kilimanjaro, and you’ll enjoy yourself much more along the way.
Commence the hike on Day 1 in the wet forest at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro. Ascend to the enormous extinct crater known as the Shira Plateau on Day 2. Continue across the crater on Day 3.
Enter the extreme alpine zone. The day begins with a long, slow climb to the Lava Tower at 4,642m elevation, then a descent through Lost World environments to Barranco Hut.
Start the day by scaling the Great Barranco Wall, then descend into and climb back out of the discordantly fertile Karanga Valley.
Today is all about acclimatisation – an entire day spent above 4,000 metres elevation – in preparation for tonight’s attempt at the summit.
The long, hard climb to the summit, complete with ice storms, equatorial glaciers, and lots and lots of vomit.