Dec 202013

Mount Kilimanjaro has no shortage of amazing visually stunning sights. The climb from the trailhead to the summit of Kilimanjaro rises from 6,000 ft to 19,340 ft, crosses five ecological zones, and offers plenty of spectacular things to see.

Here’s a list:

1. Rainforest

Kilimanjaro routes begin in the lush rainforest, which receives approximately 80 inches of rain annually, mostly during the rainy season months of April through May and November.

2. Colobus Monkeys
The Colobus monkey lives on the treetops in Kilimanjaro’s rainforest. Their name comes from a Greek word referring to the stumps on their hands they have instead of thumbs.

3. Zebra Rock

Zebr Rock is a popular landmark on the Marangu route. Over time, mineral rich rain water flowing over the black lava formed white streaks on the rock wall resembling a zebra.

4. Dendrosenecio Kilimanjari Plants
The rare flora species Dendrosenecio Kilimanjari have evolved and adapted themselves to the unique and unpredictable weather of Kilimanjaro in order to survive.

5.  Shira Plateau
The Shira Plateau is located on the western side of the mountain. The plateau is actually a caldera, a collapsed volcanic crater, created 500,000 year ago that was later filled with lava debris from another eruption.

6. White Necked Ravens
White necked ravens are commonly found lurking around campsites and huts looking for some leftover food. They get their name from a patch of white feathers on the back of the lower neck.

7. Plane Crash Site
In November 2008, a small passenger plane carrying four tourists and the pilot crashed on Kilimanjaro at 14,200 ft. The wreckage remains on the mountain on the saddle between Uhuru and Mawenzi.

8.  Porters

The Kilimanjaro porters carry all the gear so you don’t have to. These hard workers are a key success factor for climbers to reach the top.

9. Lava Tower
Sitting at 15,900 ft, Lava Tower was caused by a volcanic eruption dating back between 150,000-200,000 years ago. Climbing the tower is a fun activity for people feeling extra adventurous.

10. Mawenzi
Mawenzi is an older peak then Kibo, formed by a volcanic eruption that subsided before Kibo peak was formed. Mawenzi has no ice because it is too steep to allow glaciers to stick to it.

11. Full Moon
One of the most popular times to climb Kilimanjaro is during a full moon. Climbing at this time with a clear sky will improve your visibility, especially during the summit attempt.

12. Glaciers
Kilimanjaro’s 10,000 year old glaciers have drastically disappeared by 85% over the last 100 years. Because of this rate of decline, many experts expect the glaciers to completely disappear in the next 50-70 years.

13. Kilimanjaro Sunrise
Many climbers especially enjoy the spectacular sunrise while heading up to the summit. It is viewed from above the clouds, as climbers approach Uhuru Peak in the early hours before the dawn.

14. Kibo Crater
There are three volcanic cones on Mount Kilimanjaro: Shira, Mawenzi and Kibo. Kibo crater is the main crater and the largest, located near the summit of Kilimanjaro.

15. Uhuru Peak
At 19,340ft, Uhuru Peak is the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro. The word Uhuru means “freedom” in the Swahili language. The green signage pictured above replaced the original wooden signs that were on the mountain for decades. Then the park decided to go back to the wooden signs a couple years afterwards.

Mar 252013

545138Ultimate Kilimanjaro, the #1 Kilimanjaro guide service, has added more group climb dates to its 2013 expedition schedule due to growing demand.

Mount Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania, is the tallest free standing mountain in the world and is the highest mountain in Africa.

“Our early season climbs filled up so quickly,” said Expedition Coordinator Marie Veve. “We had to turn away customers because we just didn’t have the space.”

Ultimate Kilimanjaro guides more than 1,000 climbers to Africa’s highest peak annually, offering group climbs and private climbs year-round. Group climbs are limited to only 12 climbers.

“We’ve added more group climbs for the rest of 2013 to keep up with our bookings. Right now we have the highest number of scheduled expeditions than we’ve ever had. Inquiries about our 2014 climbs have been steady as well. It’s going to be a busy year,” said Veve.

The popularity of climbing Kilimanjaro is now at an all-time high. Based on Tanzania National Park statistics, in the past ten years the number of climbers on the mountain has nearly doubled – from 28,000 tourists in 2003 to 52,000 tourists in 2012. It’s a far cry from the Kilimanjaro’s early tourism days, when there were barely a thousand visitors back in 1965.

The increase in tourism to Mount Kilimanjaro can be attributed to a few main reasons. First, there has been tremendous growth in the travel industry, particularly adventure travel, as a whole. More and more people are seeking to spend their vacation time doing outdoor activities and are travelling outside of their own country.

Second, Mount Kilimanjaro has been the adventure of choice for various high profile events. In 2009 and 2010, BBC and MTV filmed and televised separate Kilimanjaro charity climbs by United Kingdom and American celebrities, resulting in tremendously successful fundraising and widespread interest in the mountain itself.

The thrill of the mountain does not seem to be letting up. Last year, there was an attempt to launch a hundred paragliders from the summit. And this year, there is a group planning on mountain biking down Kilimanjaro. The publicity of the events keeps the peak in the public’s eye and will continue to draw tourists.

Lastly, it is well known that the days are numbered for the iconic glaciers on the mountain. Mount Kilimanjaro has three main ice fields. Scientists predict that the ice on the western slope will be gone by 2020 and the two glaciers near the summit will be gone by 2040.

“First-hand accounts from our guides indicate that the volume of ice is visibly shrinking every season. People want to climb Kilimanjaro and see the glaciers before it is too late,” said Veve.

Mount Kilimanjaro can be climbed in as little as five days, but seven or more days is highly recommended for proper acclimatization to the high altitude. Kilimanjaro climb prices range from $1,915 to $2,155 for the group climbs on seven and eight day routes, including hotel accommodations pre- and post-trip.

Jul 132011


Kilimanjaro outfitters begin their trips from two main Tanzanian cities – Moshi and Arusha.  The simplest way to travel to these destinations is by flying into Kilimanjaro International Airport, sometimes referred to as KIA (airport code: JRO).  Once you arrive at the airport, it is simple to take a taxi or private vehicle to Moshi or Arusha. Both cities are less than one hour away and the cost of a taxi is approximately $50 per vehicle.

The prices of flights into Kilimanjaro International Airport vary widely, from about $1400 to more than $4000. We advise our clients to purchase tickets at $2,000 or lower – which is a fair price.  (KLM flies to Kilimanjaro International Airport regularly.  Vayama is a good source for domestic Tanzanian flights.)

Most times, it is cheaper to fly into Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (airport code: NBO) in Nairobi, Kenya. However, to get from Nairobi to Moshi or Arusha, you would need to purchase a Kenyan visa, stay overnight in Nairobi, and then take a bus or private vehicle to Tanzania. The drive takes 7-8 hours. So once you factor in these costs, plus the additional time (one or two travel days depending on if you depart from Nairobi), it is much more practical and less stressful to fly directly into Kilimanjaro International Airport.

Dec 122008

Air Tanzania, Precision Air, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Air and other local carriers that serve Tanzania are sometimes difficult to deal with.  Their websites might be down, do not allow online booking, and telephone calls and e-mails frequently go unanswered.

A dependable way to book domestic or regional flights to or from Tanzania is through Vayama. This powerful travel search engine is easy to use and gives many pricing and timing options when planning your trip itinerary.  It’s a great resource that I recommend to our clients.

Aug 302008


There are not many choices when it comes to flying into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO).  Most people fly with KLM, a Dutch airline that offers daily service from the USA (through partner airlines) via Amsterdam.  Regional flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport are available through Ethiopian Airlines, Air Kenya or Air Tanzania.  Recently, British Airways has announced that they will launch a new route to Kilimanjaro International Airport.  The CEO stated that they plan to start a direct flight to the region, giving visitors another option when planning their travels.