Kilimanjaro. No one knows the origin of the name for certain. It may mean ‘Mountain of greatness’ or ‘Mountain of caravans’, but it could mean something different altogether. Whatever the meaning of her name, one thing is for sure - climbing the highest mountain in Africa has been at the top of many an adventurers list of ‘things to do before you die’ since the first successful summit in 1889.
Luckily, Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s most accessible high summits and climbers can choose between one of the seven official trekking routes to ascend and descend. The picture of elephants marching against snow capped Kilimanjaro epitomises the image of Africa.
At 5,895 metres, this massive volcano is the highest free standing mountain in the world, rising in breathtaking isolation from the surrounding plains.
As you begin your climb, you will discover that there is so much more to Kilimanjaro than her summit. The ascent offers a tour of climates ranging from the tropics to the tundra. After leaving the bushland zone you will enter lush rainforest on the footslopes. Higher still lies the heath or moor land zone. These areas are home to wildlife such as buffalos, elephants and the elusive leopard.
A drop in temperature signals the start of the alpine desert zone and as you reach the last stretch of your climb the presence of snow will indicate your arrival in the arctic zone.
To reach the summit of Uhuru Point, you will need a fair amount of determination, but the memories and bragging rights of summiting Africa’s highest peak will last a lifetime.