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The Kilimanjaro, the ascension to the highest peak of Africa.

For many tourists, a safari to the Serengeti or Ngorongoro is the highlight of their trip to Tanzania. But these emotions are nothing beside the ones you will feel when you reach the peak of the mythical Kilimanjaro.

Preparation

An ascension of the mythical peak of Kilimanjaro cannot be undertaken lightly. It is a project that must be planned and prepared well in advance. Even if the 5895 metres of altitude present no particular difficulties, you must be aware that it is not a leisurely stroll and that you must be in good physical condition and well trained. Before leaving home you should run regularly and do some mountain hiking.

Apart from this obvious advice that will help you reach the highest summit of the African continent, the choice of the agency that will help you carry out this magnificent project is also very important. Don't hesitate to shop around and gather information about the degree of seriousness and the competence of the organisation and its guides. And don't forget that the climb entails a certain cost, so beware of offers that are too good to be true. Only the degree of seriousness and the good reputation of your contact should be taken into account.

And don't forget the quality of the mountain equipment. You'll need good hiking boots and warm clothing to withstand the glacial temperatures at the summit. In addition, it is difficult to know whether you will suffer from acute mountain sickness, so it is a good idea to get your doctor to prescribe the necessary treatment before you leave, just in case.

A word about the ideal season: the best periods for the adventure are in January and February or between July and September. Are you ready for the finest adventure of your travelling life? So it's decided - you're off for the 5895 metres of altitude of this mythical peak.

The Kilimanjaro

Which route to choose

The choice among the different routes that lead to the summit is essential. The success of your climb also depends on the route you choose. Try to adapt it to your ability and wishes.

The shortest, the most popular, and therefore the busiest, is the Marangu route. It is nicknamed the "Coca Cola Route" and will take you to the top in 5 days. It is considered to be the easiest route, but given the number of trekkers, it is not the most pleasant.

The Machame is hardly more difficult but much more beautiful. It will take 6 days to reach the mythical green expanse that announces your arrival at the summit. The scenery is more varied and as the return trip does not take the same path as the ascension, there is a broader range of landscapes. This route has the additional advantage of allowing for better acclimatisation. It is an advantage that is far from negligible.

Other routes like the Umbwe, Lomosho or the Shira are less frequented, wilder and absolutely superb. They are also much longer and are reserved for excellent walkers.

It's up to you to choose the one which corresponds best to you, and in every case do not hesitate to choose the extra acclimatisation day that the guides always propose. It will significantly increase your chances of success.

David Debrincat
459 contributions
Updated 21 April 2016
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