Mount Kilimanjaro lies on the border of Tanzania and Kenya, just south of the Equator. To the west lies the Great African Rift Valley, created by tremendous tectonic forces which also gave birth to a string of other volcanoes. One of these, Mount Kenya, was originally much higher than Kilimanjaro. The three summits of Mount Kilimanjaro, Shira, Kibo and Mawenzi are all of very recent origin. Shira and Mawenzi both have suffered considerable erosion and only jagged peaks remain. Kibo, the central, youngest and highest peak has survived as an almost perfect cone.
Although East Africa and nearby Olduvai Gorge is thought to be the cradle of mankind it is unlikely that early man would have been attracted to the steep and cold slopes of Kilimanjaro at a time when it was probably very active and dangerous. A Wachagga legend talks of Mawenzi receiving fire for its pipe from his younger brother Kibo. The Wachagga who live on the fertile volcanic soils around the base of the mountain probably only came to the area about 300 years ago thus this legend suggests very recent activity. Another of their legends talks of demons and evil spirits living on the mountain and guarding immense treasures. Stories are told of a king who decided to go to the top, few of his party survived and those who did had damaged arms and legs.
Arab and Chinese traders and historians make mention of a giant mountain lying inland from Mombasa or Zanzibar but few early traders ventured into the interior of the continent. Slave traders passed below it and sometimes raided the villages of the Wachagga but it was not till the middle of the 19th century that a more serious interest was taken in the mountain and attempts were made to scale it.
In 1848 Johann Rebmann a missionary from Gerlingen in Germany while crossing the plains of Tsavo saw Mount Kilimanjaro. His guide talked of baridi - cold, and of tales how a group of porters were sent up the mountain to bring back the silver or other treasures from the summit. They came back only with water.
Rebmann's report stimulated great interest in Germany and in the following years several expeditions were organised; first by Baron von Decken then later by Dr. Hans Meyer who finally stood on the highest point on the 5th of October 1889.
Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, now attracts many thousands of walkers each year.
On the 1st of January 2000 over 1000 people reached the summit to see the sun rise over a new Millennium.
Kilimanjaro Weather and Climate
Lying just south of the equator Kilimanjaro is affected by the passage of the Intertropical Convergence Zone, which brings with it the main rainy periods. The highest rainfall occurs between mid March and early May, and slightly less between the beginning of November and late December. Maximum rainfall occurs in the forest belt and on the south side of the mountain where it reaches 2000mm. per year. Precipitation on the summit is about 100mm. per year; this coupled with the very porous ash soils results in the Saddle being considered a high altitude desert. Rain and, higher up, snow, can however be encountered at any time of year - even in the driest periods (January, February and September). Normally the drier seasons are associated with clear, dry weather which can last for weeks on end. The best weather is generally encountered in the mornings, and convectional rainfall, if any, tends to come in mid-afternoon. After long periods of dry weather some of the higher streams dry up.Temperatures vary considerably with height and time of day. On the plains surrounding Kilimanjaro the average temperature is about 30°C. At 3000m frosts can be encountered at night while day time temperatures range from 5 to 15°C. Night time temperatures on the summit can be well below freezing.
The Lemosho Route is an unspoilt, remote, little-used and beautiful way up to the Shira Plateau.
It can either be used to gain the Western Breach route or followed by the Kibo South Circuit to ascend by the easier Barafu Route.
The route is one of the few where groups may be accompanied on the first day by an armed ranger as the forests around the Lemosho Glades are rich in buffalo, elephant and other big game animals.
The standard route takes 7 days on the mountain; however since the route is quite
long a party wishing to ascend more slowly can comfortably take 8 days on the mountain by camping at Karanga Valley before going on to Barafu.
A strong party can complete the trip in 6 days via the Western Breach when this route is re-opened - this is a tough option.
This route is fast gaining in popularity and is considered to be one of the easiest routes up the mountain.
It is the only route starting from the north side of the mountain at Rongai, a small village close to the Kenya border.
The climbing conditions are drier on the northern side of the mountain and there are
spectacular sweeping views over the broad flat
Overnights are spent camping in tents.
The summit is reached via the east side of Kibo and the descent is via the Marangu route.
One day longer on trek, climbing a natural, rather than manmade path, the Machame
Route is a more demanding but much quieter and scenic route up the mountain. Overnights are spent camping in tents which are carried and pitched by the accompanying porters.
Highlights of this route are the Shira Plateau, Barranco wall and the Karanga Valley
reaching the summit via Stella Point.
For more route options contact us!