Who does not know the Kilimanjaro or also known as Uhuru Peak. That mountain with perpetual snows in central Africa (not the only one ...), which became famous thanks to the movie “The snows of Kilimanjaro“, Starring Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner. It is a mountain dream with the days counted, whose snow is disappearing by leaps and bounds. Their 5895m They make it the highest mountain in Africa and in turn the highest volcano. Easy to climb, there are many marked routes that help to reach the top in 4 or 5 nights.
The Marangu route
We decided to make the most famous trekking to Kilimanjaro Volcano, the route Marangu, popularly known as The Coca Cola route. It has an initially simple profile, with stages of 1000 meters of unevenness, ending with the hardest due to the altitude. Despite the most shocking of all of it, it is the mountain refuge that awaits us at each end of the stage. A mountain refuge in the middle of Africa? Yes, tourism has come here and has been stomping. Moreover, it is an important source of income for the Government of Tanzania, since it is necessary to pay an approximate amount of 50$ a day, within the limits of the National Park.
And beware, this is not the only expense we will have, since it is mandatory to hire the services of a Guideas well as a carrier per person. All included in the package… Not counting the tip “mandatory”To be paid at the end of our ascension. At least, the costs of the shelter as well as the full pension is included, since there is no other option. An important fact is that water is not included, moreover, buy what you can load before trekking. In the shelters it is at a gold price and this price will increase as you win stages. You can take water pills or use the old trick of bleach, but all this will no longer be useful over time, since from 4000m there is no water anywhere. Welcome to the alpine desert.
By the way, for those tight pockets and don't mind chatting in the language of Shakespeare During the whole trip, I strongly recommend you to hire these services directly in Tanzania. You will save about 25% of the cost. And as a last point, in our case we decided to extend the route 1 more day, in order to acclimatize ourselves as well as possible.
Route to Kilimanjaro
Stage by stage
To get into the ascension detail, the guide came to pick us up from the city ofMoshi, although collection is also possible in Arusha, the most densely populated city with the most accommodation. From here, and with the bottles of water that we could load ..., we approached in 4 × 4 until the entrance of the Kilimanjaro National Park, where registration is mandatory and where we will meet our porters. When they were so charged, they urged us to transfer all the cargo to them, which does not seem quite right since they were too loaded (water, food, mountain equipment, ...), so we decided to deliver them only sleeping bags and mats.
If you saw how many people were going ... Your soul would fall to the ground. Without any weight, as if they were going for a walk. !So any!!!!
Then, we started the route from the 1970m to the 1st base camp, called Mandara Hut located at 2700m altitude.
1 First stage
Particularly this stage was the most rewarding, 8 kilometers of road in which we were seeing throughout the stage large number of animals, such as ginnets, monkeys, various kinds of reptiles, birds,… , etc. The reason is very simple, the tropical forest begins at 1000m altitude, ending at 3000m.
One of several kinds of monkeys in the area.
Arriving at the shelter and seeing that the stage was very short, we decided to walk a couple of hours around. It was a good idea since there are several craters around the area, in addition to the beautiful vegetation that covers some of them.
2 Second stage
Starting from Mandara Hut With direction to Horombo Hut, about 12 km away, the first alpine stage awaits us. Practically after leaving the different volcanic cones that border Mandara, the vegetation disappears and the desert landscape begins. The stage is not excessively hard and it is the first day that we begin to see people who have finished the ascent or not, at Kilimanjaro.
From here we will begin to see Kilimanjaro and Mawenzi (5100m), traveling companions until the end of the route.
Arriving at the camp Horombo (3720m) we see some plants, tremendously leaden since their size is not usual. This size is due to the altitude and they are very curious, especially when the vegetation is almost non-existent.
The camp was composed of several rows of cabins, trained for 4 or 5 people. Obviously do not expect a 5 * hotel, but to protect ourselves from the cold night (several degrees below zero), we can say that they are more than comfortable. A luxury detail is that in the morning, the porters brought warm wipes next to a bowl of water. A detail, due to the absence of hot water.
In this camp we spend 2 nights, in order to acclimatize to the altitude. Horombo It is located at 3800 meters of altitude.
3 Third stage, acclimatization
This stage does not have much history. We make an acclimatization route up to 4400m of about 8 kilometers, without reaching any place in particular. We found only several points, where the views of Kilimanjaro were quite good.
Kilimanjaro - 5th day
I remember that at this stage there was a couple from Malaga who took it as if it were a race ... They paid it well, since they thought that being so soft this stage could go very fast ... error. The two were completely demolished.
Serpas near one of the camps
4 Fourth stage
We left Horombo Hut very early in the direction of Kibo Hut located at 10km. We knew it was a slow stage, due to the altitude. We could not accelerate, in fact if the guide saw that we were going too fast, he told us in Swahili Pole Pole, or what is the same, slowly slowly. We were also aware that on the last night we should have slept as much as possible, since in Kibo Hut we would sleep very little.
Kilimanjaro - 4th day
Kibo Hut is located at 4700m, almost the same height as the Mont Blanc. It is quite arid and there is not much to see around. Here the water is very expensive so watch out for it ...
We started asking people coming down from Kilimanjaro. It seems that 50% of people who climb stay at a point called Gilman's Point, located at 5600m. Here enough people fall, both for the height and the effort made. It is curious that everyone who reaches that point is given the diploma as if he had gone up to Kilimanjaro.
5 Fifth stage
Day D arrived, 1200m of slope ahead and 6km to the top of Kilimanjaro, the day you do top or not. We leave at 2 in the morning, in order to ascend the skirt of the volcano with the best conditions. At this time, the sand that accumulates and makes ascension difficult is practically frozen. The weather is good, and we see several groups of people equipped with their fronts.
At this stage, we must be warm. Temperatures are below zero throughout the stage.
We started climbing very slowly, we passed 5000m with ease. Arrived at 5400m, we have the first unforeseen. My travel companion, Javier Blanquer He suffers from altitude sickness and decides to stop. He begins to vomit slightly and his condition prevents him from continuing. After 30 minutes, it improves, but progresses very slowly. I decide to move forward alone and he stays with the guide in case he has to return to the Shelter.
Came to Gilman's point and from here there is still enough for the top of Kilimanjaro. I continue the road and start slightly at dawn. Suddenly the famous Snows of Kilimanjaro They appear in front of me. More than snow, we can call them ice, since what is visible are the glaciers in continuous retreat. A delight, but at the same time it makes me sad.
From the glaciers, you can see the summit, a straight line of 2 kilometers to my goal. This stretch is endless, the desire to arrive is impressive. It has not yet dawned and I summit. The feeling of relief and happiness is not intimidated by the mild headache. I don't see Javier reach the top and I decide to return to the shelter after 15 minutes.
With the annoying headache, I decide to go down quickly. During the descent, I did not cross Javier when drawing a different route. The one that if I meet is a tourist Japanese With strong symptoms of altitude sickness. Your guide urges me to speak with the Japanese and force him down. I talk to him and honestly I don't think he paid much attention to me. It will never come.
I arrive at the shelter and there is no one. I am the first, so I take the best bunk and get to rest. Several hours later, Javier arrived, who did summit. We both got it !!!
Glaciers on the summit
Javier Blanquer at the summit
From here we descend directly to the fieldHorombo Hut, 2000m of slope down. It destroys knees, since from the top there are 15km.
6 Sixth and last stage
There is not much to review, we go down towards the entrance of the National Park, located 20km away, to collect our diplomas. We already wanted to start our next trip.Diving in Zanzibar.
When to go?
The question should be redone. It is better to say When not to go. In this case it is clear, of March to June, given the great amount of rains that rush the Kilimanjaro National Park area.
How to get?
The cheapest option to get to Kilimanjaro is to catch a flight to Nairobi (Kenya) and from the airport hire a shuttle to Tanzania. This Shuttle will leave you in Arusha Or surroundings. Try to hire the shuttle in advance just in case. The web with information about the shuttle availablehere.
Where to hire services to climb Kilimanjaro?
We will not recommend any agency, but we strongly recommend that you hire it with local agencies once you arrive in Arusha or Moshi, it is much cheaper.
What to wear
Simply winter clothes, as in any trekking with low temperatures. However, the snow / ice material is not necessary, because it will barely touch it.
Temperatures can reach 10/20 degrees below zero, so good shirts and thermal tights, windbreakers, gore tex, hiking boots, gloves, hat, sunglasses, sun cream, leggings in some cases, ..., etc, is the minimum you should carry.
Can anyone upload?
Any person with an acceptable physical condition can do so. If you are able to make the road to Santiago, I am sure you could climb Kilimanjaro. However altitude sickness is a lottery that affects regardless of fitness. It usually affects more young people than older people.
How much does it cost to climb Kilimanjaro?
Prices rise every year from 700$ that cost in 2006 until 1.500$ which can cost in 2019. Keep in mind that it is dribble and the more people cheaper.
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