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Mount Kilimanjaro with its snow-capped crown at 5,895 metres above sea level is the highest mountain in Africa. Although much higher than the Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest peak at 4,810 m, the summit is accessible to both professionals and keen amateurs. But it is still quite a climb that normally takes at least 6 days.
Those who undertake the challenge await a great adventure on the slopes of this free-standing mountain, which is actually a dormant volcano with three cones. The ultimate climb goes to the summit, but there are also day hikes to the first hut. The easiest trail, the Marangu Route, is known as the ‘Coca-Cola route’, with comfortable huts for lodging and plenty of spots that sell water and food. The greatest danger is altitude sickness, but that can easily be avoided by climbing slowly.
Avid climbers choose the Umbwe Route, known as the most challenging one. Iron determination and legs of steel are a prerequisite for this trail. But no matter which route you choose, all will take you through 5 different climate zones, starting with tropical rainforest and ending in the snow. The highest point, Uhuru, lies on Kibo, one of the 3 peaks in the crown of the mountain. For hundreds of thousands of years, glaciers have given this beautiful crown a beautiful white colour, but due to global warming these are melting fast. Scientists estimate that these glaciers may disappear by 2060. And for many climbers this is one more reason to no longer postpone their trip.
Once you have completed your climb and returned to the foot of the mountain, it is time to enjoy the many much more relaxing activities in the surrounding Kilimanjaro National Park. Visit the Shira Plateau - this impressive tableland is only accessible by 4-wheel drive and is known for its rich fauna and breath-taking views. Another great option is a trip to the bright blue Chala Lake; the sunrise is a spectacular sight here. Or enjoy a soothing massage at one of the spas at the base of the mountain in the small town of Moshi. No matter what you choose to do, watching the sun go down over the savannah as you sip a delicious cocktail is a fabulous reward for your efforts.