Standing on the Tanzanian plains, Mount Kilimanjaro will be an indelible memory in your mind if you travel to southern Kenya. It is locally called Oldoinyo Oibor, white mountain or shining mountain, just as its appearance. It is the highest isolated peak in Africa with a triple volcano surrounded by dense equatorial forest and moorland, as well as one of the best ones in the world. Not like other world-famous peaks, Kilimanjaro is comparatively easy to climb. The lower sections are gentle and you can experience the beauty of Kilimanjaro by climb just to the half-way.
As you go up the mountain, you will pass through 4 entirely different climatic zones. Down at the bottom is the Kilimanjaro Forest Reserve, humid and luxuriant. Higher are slopes with herby moorlands. When you rise above about 4000 meters, the landscape abruptly becomes steeper and wilder, you can hear the sound of falling scree. At the summit, you arrive in a grand glacial ice field, glaring under the sunshine. This isn’t a professional climbing, but a tough and steep hiking. The rigorous altitude can be a hard challenge if you are not properly acclimated.
To visit Mount Kilimanjaro, you need to pay for the ticket of Marangu Park. The fee is a little expensive, but it includes hut accommodations on the mountain. You also have to hire a guide at the park entrance to get the permission to go on the mountain. Luckily, the guides and the porters only ask for low payments and they can provide you with tips of the mountain. If you book a travel package from a travel agency, most of those essentials are included, plus a cook to make the meals.
The round-trip to the summit takes you around 6 days, all nights spend in huts. If you are with your family or only want an easy trip, just abbreviate the trek and turn around halfway at the well-traveled Marangu Trail. The first day you will spend 3 to 4 hours to pass through the 12km-dense-rainforest to reach the Mandara huts, wooden A-frame ones at the mountain foot. The second day you hike through grassland to the thriving Maundi Crater, this is the place where you can get the panoramic views of the soaring infertile highlands from the rim. Your easy trip ends here, if you are an ambitious mountaineer, keep on to Hotombo Hut to spend the night and to Kibo Hut for the third night.