Kilimanjaro – The Roof of Africa

Ahhhh the memories.  wrapped up in lots of thick clothing, standing on a glacier and watching the sun rise up over the Serengeti.

In my opinion Kilimanjaro is the perfect climb to start with if you plan any high altitude ascents.  With a good backup team and good planning this can be one of the best ‘short’ high altitude ascents done in 6 or 7 days.

Unlike most mountains this one stands alone, rising out of the plains of Tanzania and into the sky. An epic sight that has to be seen to be believed. It is the highest free-standing mountain in the world.

How High Is Kilimanjaro

The mountain of Kilimanjaro stands at 5,893 metres (19,334 ft) at its highest point. It is the highest mountain in Africa and is situated in Tanzania.

It actually has 3 volcanic cones and craters that have come with volcanic eruption activity dating back over 2 and a half million years ago. The highest crater is called Kibo and the highest point of this crater rim is Uhuru Paek, the highest point.

Of course it is now a dormant volcano and the last volcanic activity was only around 200 years ago. In fact the last ‘major’ eruption was around 360,000 years ago!

I was lucky enough to be up on Kilimanjaro when some of the glaciers are still there. Epic surroundings as you slowly march to the summit around the crater rim. If I thought that I had seen great craters then just think that over 80% of the icy glaciers have melted away since a survey in 1912! If you want to see any then unfortunately you need to think ahead for soon as unfortunately, global warming is taking its toll.

As any traveller knows, photographs never make up for the feeling of ‘being there’ but the video slideshow, (below) of my trip is one that I can look at with fond smiles and thought.

The Terrain

As you saw in the video, due to its prominence and being near the equator you have almost every level of environment as you climb. The bottom is cultivated by local villagers. Then you have lush rain forest to start your trek up. As the trees disappear in the altitude levels the grasslands and alpine desert conditions appear like a Martian landscape. At the top, you could be an arctic conditions.

This makes for an amazing 6 or 7 day slow climb. Truly memorable and scenes you will never forget for your life. Reasons it is a week long climb rather than a long expedition as other mountains of similar heights around the world are. Eg my Aconcagua expedition. The terrain is walkable, you start high. Yes the African plains seem very flat but the curvature of the earth etc means this is already nearly 2000m.

Plus also due to the curvature of the earth, and being almost at the equator you have slightly more oxygen levels at 5000m than you would at 5000m at say, the Himalayas.

Teamwork, great attitudes, great sights and an amazing country (Tanzania) with it’s wonderful people help to make it an experience of a lifetime

This is one Mountain that gave me the ‘bug’ to go on and do more.  Altitude is not everything, the beauty and experience of the place is, for me.  A small hill, a huge Summit, doesn’t matter, give me a path, a top and great views with lovely people and I’m there.

Thank you for joining me here and I look forward to sharing many more of my memories plus exciting new adventures here in future

Written by Paul Steele

Paul is the founder and Editor of the site. An avid hiker and trekker. Travel, adventure and photography are passions that he combines to make his articles here. Likes to see the positive in everything.

29 Comments

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  1. Hi Paul,

    Just stumbled upon this post! Enjoyed seeing your video! I climbed Kili back in 2009. One of the most beautiful experiences of my life! Really tough though. I’ve been writing about it on my blog over the last few weeks and I felt like I was back there!

    You look like you had more fun though! I didn’t have a group! But it was amazing!

    Helen

  2. Truly enjoyed your little video and all the photos! I guess we all have that one hiking experience that will forever give us that bug. Mine def was hiking Patagonia for 5 days.

  3. WAOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUH c’est SUBLISSIME, il faut que je dise,j’aime beaucoup la photo et tout ce qui est paysage divers, les animaux, la nature en somme, je craque ! 😉

  4. I love it! Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro rests a top of my bucket list – as I’m sure it does on a lot of people’s lists!

  5. Hey congratulations for the new blog!! Awesome first post …Good wishes for the future, hope to see more of these coming in!! Cheers…

  6. Such a mesmerizing photo slideshow… I really regreted not climbing the Kilimanjaro when I was volunteering in Tanzania, money was my main issue but I guess I was scared too. Now I've promised myself the next time I'm back there, I'll make it a point to climb the Roof of Africa, wish me luck! 🙂

  7. Wow, impressive and captivating Paul. Thanks for sharing your visual memory from such an adventure all the way up through the Kili. I agree, photographs never make up for the feeling of 'being there' but I can imagine the rewards and satisfaction you may feel.

    Thanks again.

  8. Hi Paul,

    You always take me on a little adventure. How long did it take you to complete the adventure? I love all the smiling that went on on the journey. You make the world seem like such a beautiful place. Filling it with your wonderful ideas and pictures.

    Thanks for the post,

    Lanette

  9. Amazing! Beautiful slide-show. My husband did this same climb once. Impressive.
    x Joyce

  10. Thanks so so much for the kind words and feedback.
    Gina/Dian good point. I am seeking out code for email feed but at present I have the RSS feed up and running top right.

    Thanks bunches friends

  11. I love your Blog Sir Paul… Same like Gina.. Can we subcribe via email ? :)).. Congratz and happy hiking ! got to go back to work …

  12. Well, it’s about time!! 😉 So glad to see your moving and inspiring blog. I watched the slide show twice already! It looks like a phenomenal experience. I’m thrilled you were able to do it and I’m excited to be on board for Mera. Thank you for sharing and for your inspiration! Cheers and congrats! Gina

    P.S. Can we subscribe via email?

  13. What a beautiful blog, Paul. Congratulations!!! True, photographs can’t make up for the feeling, but one gets a pretty good idea of what it must have felt like over there. Looking forward to your next posts. Happy hiking! 🙂

    Caro

  14. Hi Paul,

    Now that you have stood on the roof of Africa, only the sky is the limit.
    Thanks for a great read with great pictures – and all the best for your next projects.
    To infinity and beyond!

    Michael (a fellow hiker)

  15. Sir Paul, just wanted to stop by and thank you for providing a window through which we can experience the many wonders of this world. All the best to you 🙂

  16. Hi Paul,

    This looks amazing, I have to do it. I need to start samll and work my way up I know but I will keep looking at this to inspire me Tracey T x

  17. Wahoo! Congrats on your new blog, Paul. I absolutely loved reading/seeing this, It brought back many memories of my own Kili climb!
    As always, Thank you for sharing – You Rock!!

  18. Hi Paul! Great first post! Congrats on the blog! ! I’m looking forward to your posts & pics of the "hownds" !! 🙂

  19. Thanks so much kind friends. It is because of great people like you I can learn to be able to share in this way.

    Paul

  20. Congratulations on your new blog Paul, it’s going to be great fun joining you on your adventures with your fine words and fantastic images.

    Good luck

    Tony

  21. Paul,

    Congratulations on the launch of this blog!!! I’m so happy for you and so proud to call you my friend. You are wonderful and wow – what a great writer!!! Thank you for sharing this with us all! It’s very inspirational!!

    Diana

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