Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Every hiker wants to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa at 5896m (19,344ft). It’s actually the highest freestanding mountain in the world, a volcano rising 4600m (15,000ft) above the giraffes and elephants roaming the plains.

No independent hiking is allowed. You must sign on with a trekking company — minimum cost in 2006 is US$800 on the Marangu Route. Over 80% of people choose Marangu often disparaged as the tourist route, or the Coca Cola route. This is the easiest, fastest and quickest line. And the only route where you have the option to sleep in huts.

If you can afford it, opt instead for one of the more challenging tent routes: Machame or Rongai.

The other major consideration is altitude sickness. Unlike the Andes and the Himalaya, it is difficult to acclimatize here. Best strategy is to climb lower Mt. Meru just before you start Kilimanjaro.

The snows of Kilimanjaro are melting. Get there soon.

Mt. Kilimanjaro on


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