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Quoting Ernest Hemingway
As wide as all the world, great, high, and unbelievably white in the sun, was the square top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Mount Kilimanjaro, at 5,895 metres, is the highest peak in Africa. It also has the distinction of being the tallest free-standing mountain (i.e. not in an mountain range) and the tallest "walkable" mountain in the world.
Mount Kilimanjaro lies on the border of Tanzania and Kenya, just south of the Equator. To the west lies the Great African Rift Valley, created by tremendous tectonic forces which also gave birth to a string of other volcanoes. One of these, Mount Kenya, was originally much higher than Kilimanjaro.
The three summits of Mount Kilimanjaro, Shira, Kibo and Mawenzi are all of very recent origin. Shira and Mawenzi both have suffered considerable erosion and only jagged peaks remain. Kibo, the central, youngest and highest peak has survived as an almost perfect cone.
It is unknown if any of the natives in the area had ever climbed the mountain all the way to the top. Europeans first arriving in the area heard tales of brave souls sent up the mountain to bring back the silver on it's slopes. They reached the silver slopes and gathered up the silver, but upon coming down the mount found the silver had turned to water.
Dr. Hans Meyer was the first European to summit the mount on the 5th of October 1889.
Most people travelling to Kilimanjaro will travel to Arusha.
Mountain climbs can be arranged in Arusha, or through a tour company in a visitors home country. Most legitimate tour operators in Tanzania will be members of the Tanzania Association or Tour Operators (TATO).
© All Rights Reserved Hammy
Rongai is the only route over on the northeastern side of the mountain, starting close to the Kenyan border. It is not as popular as other routes, probably because it was closed for many years due to border skirmishes between Kenya and Tanzania. The route has re-opened (no more skirmishes) and is gaining popularity.
There are no cabins on the Rongai route, so camping is done in tents.
On a six day climb, the itinerary would be:
Climbers, especially in the later stages of a trek, will likely suffer some form of AMS. Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), is a condition caused by ascending to high altitudes, usually above 8,000 feet (2,400 metres). Most people have some effects from altitude, and suffer mildly from AMS. More serious cases can progress into High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) or High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).
For details on symptoms, prevention and cure, see the Altitude Sickness page in the general health section.
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