Our grading system explained
- Expedition Grade
The tallest freestanding mountain in the world, rising some 4,800m above the surrounding plains and standing 5,895m above sea level, Kilimanjaro began life many hundreds of thousands of years ago as a volcano or, in fact, three volcanoes – Shira, Mawenzi and Kibo. Although long extinct the evidence of its earliest existence can still be seen today in ridges, craters, cones and the shiny black stone that characterise much of Kilimnajaro’s present-day slopes and summit.
Climbing Kilimanjaro became popular after the first successful summit of the mountain by Dr Hans Meyer in 1889. Since when thousands of people have climbed Kilimanjaro and it remains one of the biggest draws on the African continent. Requiring no technical climbing skills, it is an attainable achievement for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness and the ability to step one foot in front of the other.
That’s not to belittle the task of a Kilimanjaro climb as it’s a high altitude challenge that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The key to a successful summit attempt is good acclimatisation – taking the maximum time possible to negotiate its slopes. The route that gives the most gradual ascent of Kilimanjaro is the Lemosho Route, one of six different trails that starts with a relatively gentle ascent through deep forest thereby increasing the acclimatisation for trekkers. The Lemosho Route then slowly winds its way upwards taking 7 days in total to reach the summit. By starting out very early on summit day, most trekkers reach their goal as dawn breaks, giving spectacular views across the Tanzanian plains almost 5,000m below.
Another option to assist with acclimatisation is to climb neighbouring Mount Meru before tackling Kilimanjaro. Still a formidable peak in its own right at 4,556m, Meru offers the chance to see an abundance of wildlife on its lower slopes including zebra, giraffe, buffalo and warthog.
We even give you the opportunity to climb Kilimanjaro by the light of the full moon which helps illuminate the way in the early morning darkness of your summit day. See our detailed holiday itineraries for further information and full moon departure dates.
Whether you opt for our Kilimanjaro Summit, 5,895m/19,340ft - Lemosho Route or our Summits of Meru & Kilimanjaro trek, you can be assured of the best routes, the best acclimatisation and the services of highly experienced guides to help you climb Kilimanjaro and reach the ‘roof of Africa’.
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