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About Mount Kilimanjaro
 
Soaring to an altitude of 5895 meters (19336 feet) above sea level, Mount Kilimanjaro is the world's highest free-standing mountain and the tallest mountain in Africa. Trekking the rooftop of Africa is the adventure of a lifetime, and anyone with at least a moderate level of physical fitness can summit this snow-capped mountain.

Mount Kilimanjaro forms the majestic centrepiece of Kilimanjaro National Park, which is located outside of Moshi and has its park headquarters in the beautiful and easily-accessed village of Marangu. There are different routes to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro starting from different villages and showcasing different scenery. These include the Marangu, Machame, Rongai, Lemosho, Umbwe, and Londrossi Routes. A seventh trail, Mweka Route, is usually used for descent only.

The exact origins of the name Kilimanjaro are still unknown, as the word means different things in different local languages. In Swahili, "kilima" means a hill, and "njaro" means greatness. In the language of the Chagga people, who live around the base of the mountain, njaro can mean a caravan, and also can be used to refer to a fearsome thing (Njaro was the name of a demon who was believed to live on the summit). In the language of the Maasai people, who live in the plains surrounding the mountain, njaro also means "a place from which water comes", and indeed Kilimanjaro and the rivers flowing from it are a key water source for surrounding populations.

Geologically, Kilimanjaro has resulted from the gradual separation of tectonic plates that forms the East African Rift Valley. Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano.
As you climb higher, you will notice the vegetation changing as the altitude increases, giving the feeling of travelling from the tropics to the arctic over just a few days. The lush, montane forest seen on the lower slopes when you begin your climb gives way to the moorland zone, covered with heather and giant lobelia. Above 3900m, the moorland changes to alpine desert, where very few plants or animals are able to survive due to colder temperatures and low rainfall. Finally, you will reach the summit zone, where you will walk across glacier-studded barren ground, sometimes covered with additional snow, as you make your approach to Uhuru Peak at the top of Africa.

Unlike most other high altitude climbs, summiting Mount Kilimanjaro requires less equipment, and you will not need technical mountaineering skills. Proper clothing, adequate drinking water, and determination are the real keys to reaching the summit. A successful climber is one who prepares her/himself well before ascending, asks as many questions as they can, and is attentive to the instructions given by their guides.

The time it takes to trek up Mount Kilimanjaro depends on the route chosen, and many routes include the option to take an extra day for a more gradual ascent. Climbers attempting to summit via longer routes tend to have greater overall success rates because they have more time to acclimatize to lower oxygen levels as the altitude increases. Therefore, if your budget and time constraints allow, it is recommended that you take an extra day on routes where it is available to increase your chances of reaching the summit and to have more time to enjoy being on the mountain.

Accomodations also differ depending on the route you choose. Climbers taking Marangu Route sleep in dormitory-style huts and have access to European toilets and running water at the majority of the huts. On the other routes, accomodation is in tents that are set up and taken down each day by your porters, who will walk ahead of your group to make sure that tents, food, and water are ready for you upon your arrival at your next camp.

Your support team on Kilimanjaro will include a mountain guide plus one or more assistant guides for groups of 2+ climbers, porters, and one or more cooks. There is a minimum of 2 or 3 porters per climber (depending on if you choose to take Marangu route or one of the camping routes) and they will be responsible for carrying most of your luggage, all of the cooking equipment and food, and tents on the camping routes (by regulation, each porter can carry no more than 20kg total). Your trek will normally begin around 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning after all equipment and supplies for your group have been weighed (to ensure that each porter is carrying an appropriate amount of weight). Registration of climbers with the park is done at the entrance gate while this process is being completed.

Mount Kilimanjaro is operated by the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority (KINAPA), which has its main offices in Marangu village. Please observe all national park regulations at all times during your climb.

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