Mount Kilimanjaro

The tallest peak in all of Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro rises 19,340 feet above sea level. As one of the planet's "Seven Summits", it is a huge draw for mountain climbers. Ice-capped and majestic, Mount Kilimanjaro is a legendary mountain, receiving mention in many an African-related story or document. It has been revered for centuries by locals, and upon first glance of it, you will likely be mesmerized. Mount Kilimanjaro is the world's tallest free-standing mountain, and it appears to rise up out of nowhere from the flatter surrounding scrubland. Because Mount Kilimanjaro rises so high and so near the equator, visitors who climb Kilimanjaro or organize Kilimanjaro safaris will be treated to a range of climate types. Should you make it to the top of Kilimanjaro, which is known as Uhuru Peak, you will be sitting on top of the world, at least in Africa anyways. Signs at the top let you know that you are somewhere special, with "World's Highest Free-Standing Mountain" and "One of World's Largest Volcanoes" among the written reminders.

Mount Kilimanjaro is found in northeast Tanzania, not far from the Kenya border, so it's often included in Kenya vacation package itineraries. It makes for a nice compliment to Mount Kenya, which presents its own stunning landscape. Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano, and as such, current researchers tend to focus more on the glacial activity at the summit, rather than the volcanic goings-ons inside. The meaning of the mountain's name is not known, but it is possible that Kilimanjaro means "Mountain of Greatness", which seems a most just label. The Wachagga people of Tanzania offer up no significant name for the Mount Kilimanjaro massif, and one might assume that it's less about the name to them, and more about the overall aura. For those who want to climb Kilimanjaro, you'll be happy to hear that it is one of the world's most easily-accessible high-mountain summits. More times than not, just donning the proper clothing and grabbing a walking stick is all you'll need to summit, though you will want to make sure to acclimatize yourself as you go. Most people climb slowly to avoid altitude sickness, spending at least 5 nights here during the process.

As the saying goes, it's not all about the end (summit) when you climb Kilimajaro, it's also about the journey. The climatic changes are utterly stunning, and there aren't many other places in the world where the tropics give way to an Arctic atmosphere. The Mount Kilimanjaro National Park is great for Kilimanjaro safaris. Should you book one of the Kilimanjaro safaris, you can expect to spot leopards, elephants, and buffalo, as well as other intriguing animals. There are also nature trails found on the lower slopes and reaches of Mount Kilimanjaro, and you might try to visit the Chala crater lake during your trip. There are trekking routes to the summit of Kilimanjaro that are certainly easy enough for most, but you will need cold-weather clothes. The Kilimanjaro accommodation choices are limited to campsites and huts inside the park boundaries, with hotels and more campsites found in Moshi Town and the village of Marangu.

December through February is generally considered the best time to climb Kilimanjaro or book one of the Kilimanjaro safaris, as this is the warmest and clearest time of year here. July through September also promises less rain, though it is colder during these months, so you may make a note of that. It is a good idea to bring altitude sickness medicine if you plan to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, especially if you plan to climb relatively quickly. Many summit attempts at Mount Kilimanjaro are undertaken at night, which makes for an easier climb due to the frozen scree (broken rock terrain). If you have time, you can climb Kilimanjaro during your Kenya vacation, then perhaps be off to the Masai Mara or the Kenya beaches. The Kilimanjaro safaris give visitors who are short on time the chance to effectively kill two birds with one stone during their Mount Kilimanjaro climbing (trekking) adventure.

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