At 19,340 feet, Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. This dormant volcano is perched alone above the African plains, offering unprecedented, omni-directional views of the Maasai Steppe below. Cherished and revered by local peoples since the beginning of time, the mountain was not seen by Europeans until the 19th century. Early reports of Kilimanjaro inspired great curiosity and also fierce criticism in Europe: Few believed that a mountain so close to the Equator could be snow-capped. The riddle demanded empirical proof, and a race to the summit was on. Yet the immense mountain would not be scaled for another 40 years.
Attempts to reach the summit were thwarted for decades by the extreme altitude, disorienting clouds, hostile weather, and prevailing politics. Eventually, in 1889, two European explorers achieved the goal they had been planning for three years: To stand on the top of Kibo, the highest of Kilimanjaro’s peaks. To their astonishment—and to the dismay of a Euro-centric world—their conquest was diminished by their discovery on the slopes of campsite remnants left by native Chagga tribesmen. Apparently, local mountaineers routinely scaled the highest reaches of the mountain on hunting expeditions. Thus, one of the greatest mysteries to be uncovered by the intrepid foreign explorers was that the whole of Kilimanjaro was already within the realm of the African peoples who grew up in her shadow.
Kilimanjaro continues to attract climbers from all over the world. While the trek to the top is far from routine, modern equipment combined with smart altitude management have made the peak accessible to any physically fit and motivated adventurer. The climb is no less extraordinary than it was 125 years ago: Kilimanjaro offers a spectacular and unique excursion through different ecological and climatic zones, and views of Africa that must be experienced to be appreciated. Universally, climbers are challenged physically and fulfilled emotionally and spiritually. Kilimanjaro does not exist as a peak to be conquered, but rather a world to be experienced. She continues to divulge her secrets to those bold enough to approach her.
For those seeking this journey, Summit Expeditions and Nomadic Experience is pleased to offer Kilimanjaro climbs using four different routes to the summit. Please see the individual descriptions of our Machame, Rongai, Lemosho, and Lemosho Crater routes. As with all our trips, your adventure starts with overnight stays and the unique cultural experience in Mbahe Village on the Mtuy family farm in the foothills of Kilimanjaro.