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Digital Subscriptions > Travel Africa > January-March 2016 (73) > CONQUERING Kili


What greater adventure can there be than to summit the continent’s highest peak? David Bristow reveals everything you need to know about planning this epic climb

Experience the Roof of Africa

AT 5895 METRES (or 19,341ft) high, Kilimanjaro — or kilimanjaro (meaning ‘mountain’ of ‘whiteness’) — is famously the highest peak in Africa and the world’s tallest freestanding mountain. As a result, it is also one of the most climbed, and you can expect to see troops of other trekkers just about every day of the year. Given the human pressure on the delicate montane ecosystem, it is as important to be gentle on your surroundings as it is to look after yourself. Climbing to the summit is no mean feat: it’s a challenging hike and a great (if not the greatest) African adventure.


The most popular paths up to the crater rim are the Marangu (or Coca-Cola) and the Machame (or Champagne) routes. The former has huts but the latter does not; instead, it’s camping all the way.

Unless you are a sucker for punishment, porters carry all your equipment and food, and guides lead the group. These guys have each climbed the mountain hundreds (if not thousands) of times and not only know the way but also the metaphorical ‘ropes’. Their mantra is ‘pole-pole’ (meaning ‘slowly’, not ‘slowly, slowly’). The more time you take, the better you will acclimatise. For more on this, turn to the Altitude and Attitude section on page 98.

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About Travel Africa

12 Great adventures to experience in 2016 • Conquer Kilimanjaro • Paddle the Zambezi • Walking in North Luangwa National Park • Meet a mountain gorilla • Visit a conservancy... get off the beaten track!