•  Mt. Kilimanjaro
  •  Mt. Meru
  •  Mt. Oldonyo Lengai

Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa rising to 5895 meters above sea level. Situated near the town of Moshi in northern Tanzania, Mt Kilimanjaro rises from the dry plains through a wide belt of forest and high alpine heath to an almost bare desert and finally to the snowcapped summit, Uhuru Peak, just 3 degrees south of the Equator. One of the world’s highest free standing mountains, Mt. Kilimanjaro is composed of three extinct volcanoes: Kibo 5895 m (19340 ft.), Mawenzi 5149 m (16896 ft.), and Shira 3962 m (13000 ft.).

There are several routes by which to reach Kibo, or Uhuru Peak, the highest summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, namely, Machame, Marangu, Shira or  Lemosho, Rongai, or Umbwe.

 

Machame:

Highly recommended with the best success rate.  Great for acclimatization with lots of walking, high, steep, and low opportunities, challenging trek with stunning scenery through five diverse climatic zones.  Good opportunity to split pre-summit day climb, allowing climbers a break  before summiting. Very popular trail, therefore can be busy.

 

Marangu:

Nicknamed the ‘Coca-Cola’ route due to the tea huts where Coke can be bought along the way
The shortest and cheapest route, but less time to acclimatize, therefore lower success rate
Dormitory style accommodation.  Less scenic due to ascent and descent following same route.

 

Shira or Lemosho:

Recommended. High success rate. Good for acclimatization, remote and spectacular, dramatic gorges and views of west Kilimanjaro, converges with Machame on day 4 at Baranco.  Experience Kilimanjaro’s diverse climatic zones as you climb higher Shira. Offers higher start point compared to Lemosho, and poorer acclimatization. Fully catered camping only.

 

Rongai:

Only northern approach to Kilimanjaro, least scenic route. Offers a true wilderness experience on the early stages of the climb. Very tough final summit, night from the north. Less acclimatization opportunities, less scenic and flat. Fully catered camping only.

 

Umbwe:

Steep, short route with lower success rate. Poor acclimatization due to rapid ascent. Very remote and quiet. Fully catered camping only.

Of all the routes, Machame is by far the most scenic, albeit steeper route up the mountain. The Rongai is the easiest camping route, as is the Marangu, however accommodation is in huts. As a result, this route tends to be very busy and ascent and descent routes are the same. Although the Rongai route is a flatter walk it offers less opportunities for acclimatisation. The Machame  and Lemosho routes both allow better opportunities to “walk high and sleep low” which is critical to avoiding altitude sickness.

 

Mount Meru

Standing at 4566 m, Mount Meru is located in Arusha city about 23 km on Arusha-Moshi main road within the Arusha National Park. It is also the second highest Mountain in Tanzania after Mt. Kilimanjaro standing at 5896 m. Unlike Mt. Kilimanjaro, Meru has only one route which is Momela gate where by all registration and payments are handled.  Porters and guides are also obtained here. It takes three days to hike the Meru, however an additional day for acclimatization is recommended by the company.

 

Mount Ol Doinyo Lengai

In a remote corner of Tanzania stands the astonishing mountain Ol Doinyo Lengai meaning ‘the mountain of God’ in Maasai language. It looms over 9788 feet above the East African Rift Valley and is unique among volcanoes in that it produces natro-carbonititic lava. Whereas most lava is rich in silicate minerals, the lava of Ol Doinya Lengai is rich in sodium and carbonates.  Ol Doinyo Lengai Volcano has the coolest lava of any volcano, with relatively low temperatures of 510°C (950°F) and small eruptions.  This temperature is so low that the molten lava appears black in sunlight, rather than having the red glow common to most lava. It is also much more fluid than silicate lavas. The rocks formed by Ol Doinyo Lengai are vulnerable to rapid weathering, quickly turning from black to grey in color. The resulting volcanic landscape is different from any other in the world. The climb up Lengai is very difficult. You start off the six-hour climb at around midnight in order to get to the crater rim by sunrise. After resting, you may explore the crater where you can see smoke escaping from the cracks in the earth. The landscape around Lake Natron with the steep rising Ol Doinyo Lengai is breathtaking, a must for the avid  photographer.

 

 

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