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  • February 2010 (3)
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  • Adventures at Mount Kilimanjaro

    Wed, Feb 3, 2010


    The Mount Kilimanjaro is Tanzania’s pride and the most important attraction to all the visitors of the nation.

    The mountain has many distinctions to its credit.  At a height of an astonishing 5895 meters or 19,340 feet, it ranks as the highest mountain in the African continent.  More proudly, it is also the highest free-standing mountain in the world, as it rises 16,000 feet or 4900 meters above the plains from its base.

    The mountain is situated 3 degrees south of the equator and 37 degree east in longitude.  It is situated near the Kenya-Tanzania border and the entire mountain is inside Tanzania.  The total area is 60 miles in length and 40 miles in width.  It is believed the volcanoes began erupting some 2 million years ago.  Kilimanjaro is also one of the largest volcanoes ever to break through the earth’s crust till date. Currently, the volcanoes are inactive in the region, however it is estimated the mountain has fumaroles, which emit gas in the crater.  As per various researches undertaken, scientists concluded on 2003 that molten magma is just 400 meters below the summit crater.

    The place is a must-visit for mountain climbers.  However, it is recommended that one be in super-fit physical condition before setting out to climb the mountain.  The heights of the mountain can be scaled throughout the year.  However, people avoid doing so in the rainy season and rightly so for safety reasons as the area can get really slippery.  The long rainy season is from April to May whereas the short rainy months are normally November or early December.

    There are several routes to reach the summit of the Mount Kilimanjaro.  The routes are Rongai, Marangu, Shira, Lemosho, Machame and Umbwe.  The Machame route is considered the most scenic off all routes; however it is also much steeper as compared to the others.  The Rongai and Marangu routes are relatively easy to climb.  It takes an estimated 6-7 days to climb the mountain.

    While on the ascent, accommodation is in huts and as a result of the ascent and descent routes being the same, the mountain area tends to be very crowded.

    Persons, who wish to climb the mountain, are requested to undertake adequate research before stepping out.  The climbers should be properly equipped and in a physically fit condition.  Though Experts have described the climb as ‘very easy,’ the high altitude and low temperature has an adverse effect on the health of the trekker.  Hence, acclimatization is a must but still people suffer from altitude sickness.  It is estimated 10 climbers lose their lives annually.  Also, an unknown number of local porters also meet with fatal ends here.

    All climbers have suffered considerable amount of discomfort.  Some of the adverse effects while on track to the summit are hypothermia, shortage of breath and headaches.  Even though most of the climbers are considered young, a large number of trekkers abandon the climb at a much lower altitude.

    So, if you love trekking, Mount Kilimanjaro is the place you need to be.  However, please make sure you are adequately equipped and in a sound physical condition as only the fittest will live to climb the heights of this natural wonder.

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