Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano in Tanzania. It is 5,895 meters above sea level and therefore the highest mountain in Africa.
It has five different climate zones:
- Bushland / Lower Slope:, 800 m – 1,800 m (2,600 ft – 5,900 ft);
- Rainforest Zone: 1,800 m – 2,800 m (5,900 ft – 9,200 ft);
- Heather / Moorland: 2,800 m – 4,000 m (9,200 ft – 13,100 ft);
- Alpine Desert Zone: 4,000 m – 5,000 m (13,100 ft– 16,400 ft);
- Arctic Zone: 5,000 m – 5,895 m (16,400 ft – 19,300 ft).
You can climb Kilimanjaro through different routes:
- The Marangu Route: the only Kilimanjaro climb route that offers hut accommodation.
- The Machame Route: the most popular climbing route up Kilimanjaro.
- The Rongai Route: the easiest route on Kilimanjaro.
- The Shira Route: this one catapults you to some serious altitude on the first day.
- The Lemosho Route: hands down the most beautiful Kilimanjaro climb route, but expensive.
- The Umbwe (Western Breach) Route: the most difficult and demanding route on Kilimanjaro, and the most spectacular.
The difficulty varies on the route selected. I went for the most challenging option, which is the Umbwe Western Breach route.
It has been reputed to be the toughest and most dangerous route to the summit. This is quiet accurate! This section to the crater is the shortest and steepest and require some scrambling. Additionally, there are rock falls.
It’s the steepest route with little opportunity for acclimatisation and so it’s only for the experienced high-altitude climber. It’s unpopular among Kilimanjaro mass climbers. So I was mainly alone with my guide and our crew.