Kilimanjaro, by any name, is a metaphor for the compelling beauty of East Africa. When you see it, you understand why. Not only is this the highest peak on the African continent; it is also the tallest free-standing mountain in the World, rising in breathtaking isolation from the surrounding savannah elevation around 900 metres – to an imperious 5,895 metres MASL (19,336 feet).
Kilimanjaro is one of the World’s most accessible high summits, a beacon for visitors from around the World. Most climbers reach the crater rim with little more than a walking stick, proper clothing and determination. And those who reach Uhuru Point, the actual summit, Stella Point or Gillman’s Point on the lip of the crater, will have earned their climbing certificates. And their memories.
When it comes to talking about trails, really you are talking about routes up the mountain. There are seven different routes that provide opportunities for the ascent to the summit.
Southern Routes: Marangu, Machame, and Umbwe are the three routes that ascend from the south.
Western Routes: Lemosho, Shira, and Northern Circuit are the three routes that ascend from the west.
Northern Route: There is only one route that ascends from the north known as Rongai.
The Marangu Route, affectionately called the Coca Cola Route, is one of the more popular routes for the traditional visitor. It features one of the more gradual slopes as well as provides sleeping huts along the way. It is the oldest and most established route.
A trek up to the summit allows a traveler to experience almost every type of ecological system in one single adventure. Ecosystems include cultivated land, rainforest, heath, moorland, alpine desert, and an arctic summit.