Mt. Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa

Posted by  Daniël Cronk   in  ,      6 years ago     1568 Views     Comments Off on Mt. Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa  

Updates: 10-May-2015:
I had plans to update this regularly during the course of the planning, but that has clearly not happened. The most recent updates really only include picking up some additional items on my lists below. I really need to get my new hiking boots soon so that I can start breaking them in. The last thing I want is to wait too long or else I will have another Patagonia fiasco. Now that spring is among us again I have started running outside and have been just doing some general weight lifting to improve my body strength a couple of times a week. I booked my shuttle from Nairobi to Moshi with Anirobi Moshi Shuttle Bus, the cost will be $40. This week I will be posting my passport off to the Tanzanian Embassy for my visa. This should go out on Wednesday.

Something that I have wanted to do for many many years is to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, one of the highest, free standing dormant volcanoes in the world and at 19,340 ft (5,895 m), Mt. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa. It is composed of 3 distinct volcanic cones: Kibo 19,341 ft (5,895 m), Mawenzi 16,893 ft (5,149 m) and Shira 13,000 ft (3,962 m).It is often considered to be one of the easiest "mountains" to climb.

There are 6 official routes by which to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro: Marangu, Rongai, Lemosho, Shira, Umbwe, and Machame. I am currently planning the Lemosho route, which grants panoramic vistas on various sides of the mountain and is considered one of the more scenic routes. It can be climbed between 6 and 8 days and provides a more acclimatized journey, thus increasing my chances of reaching the top.

Over the course of the next few months I will begin to plan for this trip, with a planned departure towards the end of  September 2015. This page will serve as a guide for my trip and possibly to help others along the way on their journey to the Roof of Africa.

About Mount Kilimanjaro:
Reaching a height over 19,340 feet (about 5,895 m), rising high above the African plains stands the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro ... The highest peak in Africa and the worlds highest freestanding "mountain."

This awe inspiring structure is actually a stratovolcano composed of three smaller, dormant volcanoes: Kibo (Uhuru Peak: 19,340 ft / 5,895 m), Mawenzi (16,893 ft / 5,149 m) and Shira (13,000 ft / 3,962 m) that formed millions of years ago, when lava spilled from the Great Rift Valley, which stretches from Northern Syria to Mozambique in Southern Africa. The two smaller peaks of Mawenzi and Shira are said to be extinct, however the great peak of Kibo's last major eruption was a mere 360,000 years ago, while the most recent activity recorded just 200 years ago. Activity is obvious by the fumaroles (opening that emits steam & gas) within the great crater.

The name Kilimanjaro is of great debate and there exist a number of theories: the most popular being Kilima (hill or little mountain) and Njaro (ancient swahili meaning white or shining).

What makes Kilimanjaro so unique is that for a "mountain" of its size, straddling the equator, it is capped in a white glacier. In 1880, the summit of Kibo was completely covered by an ice cap. However, over a period from 1912 until present, the glaciers have more than 80% disappeared. Of the ice cover still present in 2000, approximately 26% had all but disappeared by 2007 and current projects anticipate that the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro will be ice free by the year 2022 to 2033.

The first recorded ascent of the mountain was in 1861 by the German officer, Baron Carl Claus von der Decken and a young British geologist, Richard Thornton; however, they only made it to 8,200 ft (2,500 m). Then again in 1862, von der Decken along with Otto Kersten, made a second attempt, this time reaching a height of 14,000 ft (4,280 m). It wasn't until October 6, 1889 when Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller reaching the summit of the Kibo peak.

Mount Kilimanjaro Quick Facts:
Height: 19,340 ft (5,895 m)
Size: 60 miles x 40 miles (100 km x 65 km)
Location: Tanzania, near Kenyan border in East Africa
Volcanoes: Kibo, Mawenzi, Shira
Ecosystems: Bushland, Forest, Heath, Alpine, Arctic
Nearby Cities: Moshi, Arusha
Nearby Airport: Kilimanjaro International Airport
Popote Africa Adventures
The company I have chosen to trek with up to Uhuru Peak is Popote Africa Adventures. They are a relatively new company that has been put together by an ex-porter turned guide, Sabino.

Lemosho Distances
Lemosho Route Elevations
Suggested List of Gear & Supplies Needed (Have) for Trek [equipment review]:
balaclava sleeping bag liner
boots, hiking sleeping mat
bootlaces socks, wool & regular
earplugs x 3 sets sunhat
gaitors sunglasses (polarizing)
hat, fleece sunscreen
hat, wool t-shirt x 3 (antiwicking)
jacket, fleece thermals
jacket, winter trekking pants x 2
moleskin walking sticks x 1 pair
raingear water bottle (platapus)
sleeping bag (-10°c) water purifying tablets
Antibacterial Soap Toothbrush / Toothpaste
Deodorant Travel Towel
Moist toilet towels Waterless Soap
Toilet paper
Medical Kit:
Antiseptic / Antibiotic Cream Elastic Joint Supports
Anti-malarial Ibuprofen / Naproxene
Bandages Immodium
Bandaids lip balm (chapstick)
Compeed (blisters) Rehydrating Solutions (Dioralyte)
Diamox (?) Throat Drops
List of things to Do:
Tanzanian Visa [$100 for double-entry, 1-year validity]
Kenyan Visa
[$20 for max 3 day stay, 6-month validity], on arrival
Request time off from work
Purchase airline tickets (miles?)
Research transportation between Nairobi & Moshi or Arusha
Books & References:
  • Kilimanjaro - Trekking guide to Africa's highest mountain (3rd & 4th edition)
  • Lonely Planet: Tanzania
  • Kissing Kilimanjaro: Leaving it all on top of Africa
  • Nova: Volcano above the Clouds
  • Climbing Mount Kilmanjaro (S. Carmichael)
  • Kilimanjaro: One Man's Quest to Go Over the Hill
Web Resources:
Anmol's Kilimanjaro Trek       part 1           part 2
Louis Snowden's video blog
Neil & Palma's Trek up Kilimanjaro
Chris' (a travel and guitar addicted German guy) Kilimanjaro Adventure


I am very passionate about traveling. My goal is to visit as many places and experience as many things as I can during my short journey on this earth.