Many trekkers know of Kilimanjaro’s fiery past; the three peaks—Shira, Mawenzi, and Kibo—were once all active volcanoes. Over thousands upon thousands of years, they erupted continually, building the mountain ever-higher, until one by one they went extinct: first Shira sputtered out, then Mawenzi. Kibo, ever the overachiever of the bunch, decided to keep its options more open; the tallest of Kili’s peaks is considered dormant, but not dead.
Perhaps unsurprisingly , Africa’s most famous mountain has long-since been merchandised, and one of the most beloved products to bear its name is Kilimanjaro Premium Lager. The country’s best-selling beer, Kilimanjaro is basically the Budweiser of Tanzania. A similarly light, fizzy lager (best served ice-cold), “Kili” is a favorite at just about every bar around the country.
A climb up Kilimanjaro isn’t just a physical challenge, it’s a botany lesson; as you travel through the various climate zones, the flora changes dramatically, from fields of coffee in the foothills to tiny patches of the hardiest lichens near the top.
Ngorongoro once rose much, much higher than the 7500 foot rim. Photo: Andy Biggs Today, the Ngorongoro Crater’s rim rises just 7,500 feet above sea level; visitors might experience chilly nights, and anyone peering from the rim down to the crater floor, which sinks 2,000 feet below, might have a momentary sense of vertigo…but then…
One particular formation on Kilimanjaro has been fascinating and awing climbers for decades, now: Lava Tower. The tower is around 300 feet tall, and previously, climbers were able to hike up it (a scramble that could be treacherous on icy days).
Kilimanjaro is especially remarkable as an incubator for isolated, mutated, or rare species found almost nowhere else. One of the most striking of those species is the giant groundsel varietal Dendrosenecio kilimanjari.
Porters carry not only trekkers’ luggage, they carry the sleeping, dining, and toilet tents; the chairs trekkers rest on in camp; the gear needed to cook up meals, and the food that goes into them. So how much does all that extra stuff come out to?
Situated near the fault-line of two tectonic plates, Kilimanjaro began to build itself up around 750,000 years ago, via thousands of years of lava explosions from the volcanic cones of Shira, Mawenzi, and Kibo.
You can, and should, train for your climb, but you can’t “train” for altitude. We’ve found that people do exceptionally well with 9-10 days on Kilimanjaro, resulting in Thomson Safaris 98% summit success rate.