How long does it take to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?
How long does it take to climb Mount Kilimanjaro? Mount Kilimanjaro is at altitude of 5895 meters and is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world.
The mountain which is located in the northern part of Tanzania has 3 volcanic cones such as Mawenzi, Kibo and Shira. Mount Kilimanjaro is in the north western direction from Arusha town which is a starting point for various safaris in Tanzania.
Moshi is the town which is found at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in the northern part of Tanzania. Tourists can also drive to Machame gate from Arusha which is another town located not far from the mountain.
Mount Kilimanjaro is also a UNESCO world heritage site which is visited by different tourists from all over the world interested in climbing the tallest mountain in Africa. The mountain is an attraction which is part of Kilimanjaro national park which is administered by Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA).
Other national parks in the northern parts of Tanzania include Serengeti national park, Lake Manyara national park, Tarangire national park, Arusha national park and the Ngorongoro conservation area. These destinations are part of the northern tourist circuit of Tanzania.
The question of how many days it takes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro is asked by many tourists as they plan their hiking experiences on the mountain. The number of days to climb Mount Kilimanjaro depends on various factors such as the route used during the climbing experience. It may take about 5 to 6 days or more to get to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
The hiking experiences on Mount Kilimanjaro which take less days to summit are recommended for the experienced hikers and for the inexperienced hikers more days of hiking are recommended in order to allow them to have a safe and comfortable experience on the mountain.
Routes which are recommended for both experienced and non-experienced hikers during climbing experiences on Mount Kilimanjaro include Lemosho route, Machame route as well as the Rongai route which take about 7 to 9 days of hiking.
The routes which take longer during hikes on Mount Kilimanjaro enable the hiker to get used to altitudes on the mountain and to transition smoothly during acclimatization. Hikers also get to enjoy the adventure on the mountain the longer they stay while hiking.
Among other factors to consider when taking into consideration the number of days which one takes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro is the health condition of the hiker. Altitude sickness and fatigue are among the health conditions which tend to affect the hikers.
Other routes which are used during hikes on Mount Kilimanjaro include Marangu route, Umbwe route and Shira route. This route is the oldest route and is also the only one which has hut accommodation at Horombo hut, Mandara hut and Kibo hut where hikers can rest and spend their nights while hiking.
The number of days which are recommended for hiking along the different routes on Mount Kilimanjaro is as follows;
- Lemosho route; for hiking using the Lemosho route about 8 days are recommended and these days include stops at Shira camp, the lava tower, Barranco camp and Barafu hut. The Lemosho route is also referred to as the southern circuit and is also considered the most scenic route on Mount Kilimanjaro. This route is recommended for hikers who are experienced.
- Machame route; 7 days of hiking are recommended for the Machame route which starts from the southern direction of the mountain and is known for being steep compared to other hiking routes. Hikers using this route descend via the Mweka route. This route is also a popular route on the mountain leading hikers through a rainforest.
- Rongai route; 7 days are also recommended for hikes along the Rongai route which starts at the northern foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. This route starts on the Kenyan side of the mountain with clear views of the mountain. This route also follows the same trail as that used by trekkers on Marangu route passing Gilman’s point to Uhuru peak.
- Marangu route; 6 days of hiking along the Marangu route have a better success rate compared to 5 days which can also be used for hikes along the Marangu route at Mandara hut, Kibo hut and Horombo hut.
The shortest number of days it takes for hikers to climb Mount Kilimanjaro is 5 days although the recommended number of days for a hike on the mountain is 7 days. Tourists also engage in day tours on the mountain just to get an experience of being on Africa’s highest mountain.
Getting to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro also rewards the hikers with beautiful views on the mountain which consists of 5 climatic zones such as the bushland zone, the rainforest zone, the moorland zone, the alpine zone and the arctic zone.
Porters, chefs/cooks, guides also accompany hikers during their climbing experience on Mount Kilimanjaro. The local community benefits from the destination by working as porters, guides and cooks for tourists during their hikes on the mountain.
Among the roles of the porters is to make the campsites ready for the tourists ahead of their arrival and setting up the tents where the hikers will spend their night during their hiking experience on Mount Kilimanjaro. Porters also carry the gear and other equipment which is needed during the hike which weighs about 15 to 20 kg which is carried on their backs or heads.
Tipping of the guides, porters, and cooks can be done at the end of the hiking experience on Mount Kilimanjaro as a way of appreciating them for their services. The tips can range from 10 USD to 25 USD per day depending on the hikers and the quality of services they have received.
How to get to Mount Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro is located in the northern part of Tanzania and can be accessed by flights as well as driving. Flights to Kilimanjaro international airport are recommended and this is followed by driving to Moshi town which is located at the foothills of the mountain.