WHAT MAKES KILIMANJARO SO GREAT? (2011)

What makes Kilimanjaro so great?

More than 50.000 people heads to Kilimanjaro each year, and many people may ask why?

Because its magnificent
Thats the short answer. Besides being the highest mountain on the African continent, being one of of the “Seven Summits”m in fact the easiest one.

Some call Kilimanjaro “Everyman’s Everest,” since it is the most achievable of the Seven Summits, the highest hills on each of the world’s continents. No technical climbing skills are required. No ropes. No ice axes.

Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro may be popular with amateur adventurers, but this mountain is no cakewalk.

One of the most amazing things I want to highlight is the climate change one will experience. A climb up Kilimanjaro is like a condensed trip from the equator to the North Pole! Temperatures in the foothills and tropical-feeling rainforest regions of the mountain regularly pass + 30 degrees Celsius, while temperatures at the summit often dip down to minus 20 degrees Celsius or even lower.

Zone 1: The Cultivated Areas (500m-2.000m)

Around the base of the mountain, rich volcanic soil and natural irrigation from streams running down the mountainside lead to bumper crops of coffee, grains, fruits and vegetables. The hundreds of farmers who call the slopes of Kilimanjaro home also often raise cattle, poultry, and bees.

Zone 2: Rainforest (2.000m-3.000m)

Lush, green, and warm all year round, the rainforest region abounds with stunning flora and wildlife you won’t see anywhere else. Listen to the cries of the black-and-white Colobus monkeys swinging through the fig trees, keep your eyes peeled for a flash of the brilliantly colored wings of one of the hundreds of bird species that call the region home, and watch the forest floor for tracks of antelope and jackal.

Zone 3: Heath and Moorlands (3.000m-4.000m)

Vegetation and wildlife both grow sparse as you ascend into the moorland. Trees here are bearded with moss and lichen, while low-lying shrubs and hardy grasses provide cover for four-striped grass mice and other rodents. Though bare, this section of the mountain has a sort of haunting beauty all its own.

Zone 4: Alpine Desert (4.000m-5.000m)

Colossal boulders, dry, barren expanses, and little if any plant-life for large stretches have led several trekkers to compare the alpine desert region to the surface of the moon. This is a land of extremes, with temperatures swinging wildly between warm days in the unrelenting sun and chilly nights, when ice might cling to the sides of your tent.

Zone 5: Arctic (+5.000m)

Near the summit, Kilimanjaro transforms into a world of glittering, frigid beauty, its rapidly- disappearing glaciers shimmering in the sunlight as clouds whisk around the shoulders of the mountain below. Breathtaking in more ways than one (oxygen levels near the top of the mountain are about half those at the base), the “roof of Africa” is truly an awe-inspiring place.

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