MOUNT KILIMANJARO CLIMBING - KILIMANJARO HISTORY
Mount Kilimanjaro was formed during the most recent faulting of the Rift valley two to three million years ago, an event that also led to the formation of Mount Kenya. Kilimanjaro was certainly an active volcano 100,000 years ago when the the crater below Kibo Peak was formed. The glaciers around the peak probably began to form some 11,700 years ago. However, it is thought that due to global warming they will have melted within another 20 years.
It is possible that the snow-capped Mountains of the Moon described the Greek geographer, Ptolemy, in the second century AD referred to Mount Kilimanjaro. In the sixth century Chinese sailors returned home with tales of a great inland mountain, but Kilimanjaro remained something of an enigmatic legend to non-Africans well into the nineteenth century.
In 1848, the German missionary, Johannes Rebmann, while venturing inland in a bid to convert the tribes to Christianity, sighted the snow-capped mountain from Tsavo but his report was met with ridicule until 1861 when Dr Otto Kersten and Baron Karl Klaus von der Decken scaled the mountain to a height of 4300 metres. The first Europeans to reach the summit were Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller in 1889. Mawenzi peak was first climbed in 1912.
The mountain has retained a legendary and almost mystical aura throughout the twentieth century. In 1938 Ernest Hemingway enhanced this when he wrote his classic novel, The Snows of Kilimanjaro. On 1st January 2000, a thousand people watched the first sunrise of the new millennium from the peak.
CHOOSING MOUNT KILIMANJARO ROUTES FOR MOUNT KILIMANJARO CLIMBING & TREKKING TOURS
Mount Kilimanjaro - Marangu Route -
The main tourist route and by far the most popular route and some claim the easiest route to Uhuru Peak. The 5-day option, which is available on this route, makes it the least expensive route on the mountain. A 6-day option with an extra day of acclimatisation is however also available. This is the only route, which provides comfortable sleeping huts, equipped with beds and mattresses at every campsite. Mineral water, soft drinks, beer and chocolates are also sold at every camp. All the camps on this route have radio contact with the Park Headquarters.
Mount Kilimanjaro - Machame Route
This is probably the most scenic and most beautiful route to the summit. The 6-day route is however physically more challenging than the Marangu route. The day walks are longer and steeper, however the summit night is one hour shorter. The scenic traverse of the Western Breach offers some stunning views! Only tented accommodation available, which can be less comfortable and will require a good sleeping bag and hiking mattress.
Mount Kilimanjaro - Umbwe Route
This route is one of the shorter but also one of the more difficult routes to reach Uhuru peak--but quiet spectacular. Umbwe is known for its caves. The first night you actually sleep at the Umbwe Cave Camp with two more caves that can be visited on route the following day. Also sometimes used as a descending route.
Mount Kilimanjaro - Shira Route
The Shira Plateau is one of the most scenic and most fascinating areas on Kilimanjaro. Depending on the weather conditions you can drive by 4 wheel drive vehicles, to within a 1/2 hours walk of Shira Hut (4000m). Even this drive is very spectacular indeed and offers some magnificent views of Mt Meru and the Great Rift Valley in general. Game is often sighted and the road features some striking vegetation changes ranging from forest, grassland, heath to moorland. The fast ascend by vehicle to about 4000m will require additional acclimatisation, after which it will be possible to ascend Uhuru Peak either via the Western Breach or via the Barafu hut.
Mount Kilimanjaro - Mweka Route
This route can only be use as a descending route for all the western routes.
Mount Kilimanjaro - Lemosho Route
It is a remote, unspoiled and very beautiful route to the Roof of Africa. The forest around the Lemosho Glades is rich in big game animals such as elephant and buffalo, which may sometimes require a game ranger to accompany climbers on the first day. This route is however a long route which requires 7-days for a comfortable completion, which also makes it more expensive.
Mount Kilimanjaro - Rongai Route
You can start this route from both the Tanzanian side of the border or from Rongai in Kenya, but all park fees and arrangements must be made at the Marangu gate. The route may only be used for ascend and the Marangu route must be used for descend. There are several big caves along the route, which are used by the porters to overnight for the first two nights.
Mount Kilimanjaro - Western Breach / Arrow Glacier
An alternative final ascend route which can be taken from all of the western routes, sleeping at magnificent Arrow Glacier on your summit night. The western Breach poses a very difficult walk up steep scree with some rock scrambling occasionally required. Snow cover makes scree easier but an ice axe is then required. It is also possible to sleep an extra night inside the Kibo Crater!