Adapted from Wikipedia.com
Kilimanjaro in northeastern Tanzania includes the highest peak in Africa at 5,895 meters. It is a giant stratovolcano, not currently active, with fumaroles that emit gas in the crater on the main summit of Kibo. Scientists concluded in 2003 that molten magma is just 400 meters below the summit crater, although new activity is not expected.
The highest point is Uhuru Peak on the volcano Kibo (5,895 meters). As the highest point in Africa, Uhuru Peak is one of the Seven Summits. The summit was first reached by the Marangu army scout Johannes Kinyala Lauwo, who climbed it nine times before realizing there was a crater. Lauwo served as a guide for the first ascent by non-indigenous climbers, German Hans Meyer and Austrian Ludwig Purtscheller, on October 6, 1889. Two other peaks are also extinct volcanoes: Mawenzi (5,149 metres), the third highest peak in Africa (after Mount Kenya) and Shira (3,962 m). Johannes' Notch is named after Lauwo. In 1989 Lauwo was presented with a house at Ashira Marangu by the West German government in recognition of his role on the Meyer expedition. His relative, Trilas Lauwo (1952- ) was the first Tanzanian woman to reach the summit via the Mweka route in 1972.
The climb to Uhuru Peak is considered by climbers to be a relatively straightforward endeavour; however, ample time must still be provided for proper acclimatization to prevent altitude sickness. The three easiest routes, Marangu, Rongai and Machame can be climbed by a person of good health, and require no mountaineering experience. Many who climb employ altitude-sickness medication and find this to be helpful in preventing the pounding headaches that plague many travelers. Those who travel on the Marangu route usually take 4-5 days to complete their climb. Huts with cooking facilities, bathrooms, and (sometimes) electricity are available at the end of each day's journey. The final part of the climb, from Kibo hut at 15,500 ft. to the summit, is generally undertaken at night, because the scree is frozen together, making the climb significantly easier. JOURNEYS suggests climbing Kili by the less-traveled Shira and Rongai Routes. It is possible to take extra days on the climb for better acclimatization, but most people find that 5-7 days is sufficient.
At the summit, there is a sign posted by the Tanzanian government. The sign (printed in English only) reads, "Congratulations! You are now at Uhuru Peak, Tanzania, 5,895 m. AMSL. Africa's Highest Point. World's Highest Free-Standing Mountain. One of World's Largest Volcanos. Welcome."
Kilimanjaro is also the highest point in the world to be covered by a GSM mobile phone network. The service is provided by Vodacom.
Most people who clcimb Kilimanjaro with JOURNEYS also choose to include a celebratory willdlife safari or trip to Zanzibar after the climb. The total time for just a Kilimanjaro climb including travel to and from the USA is a minimum of 9 days. Most travelers take 10-14 days for the overall Kilimanjaro plus safari experience.
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