Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

Lonely Planet Travel Editor Tom Hall is on a mission to discover 52 of the most awe-inspiring places to visit across the world. This week he delights in Africa's tallest peak - Mount Kilimanjaro.

Mount Kilimanjaro

High and mighty, Kilimanjaro is a true giant, topped with snow despite its location amidst rolling farmland and forest a few hundred miles from the equator. As great mountains go it has few rivals – and none on the African continent.

At 5896m it is Africa’s tallest peak by some distance, and its famous snows tempt trekkers from around the world.

Can anyone climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

As with any mountain expedition, climbing Kili is not for the faint-hearted. Though no technical climbing skills are required walkers need to be fit, well-equipped and accompanied by experienced guides.

It can be freezing and very wet on the mountain at any time, even though September is normally in the dry season.

Routes to the summit

The most popular route to the summit, the Marangu Route, is also the shortest. Other routes are less popular so attract fewer crowds and show you different sides of the mountain. Watch out though for tricky conditions and difficult sections of these routes, in particular the steep, scenic Umbwe Route. If the big walk is beyond you there’s still great walking on the lower slopes of Kili.

Planning your Kilimanjaro trek

Treks are organised either from the UK or with an agency in Arusha. Budget five-day, four-night Marangu Route treks start at under £600, with six-or seven-day treks on other routes going up to around £1000.

Further information

Kilimanjaro and other Tanzanian national parks are summarised at Tanzania Parks. Climb Mount Kilimanjaro is the best of several informative sites which also offer treks up the mountain.

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