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It is every outdoor enthusiast’s dream destination. Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania’s northern region, generates around $50 million in annual tourism revenue for the country, thanks to its namesake mountain. Book a flight to Kilimanjaro with Qatar Airways and see a landscape that has remained largely unchanged for millennia.
Whether you are a novice or a veteran climber, you’ll find Mount Kilimanjaro tempting. At 5,895 metres above sea level, it is the tallest peak in Africa and the world’s highest free-standing mountain. It even has its own ecosystem.
The mountain, located in the middle of Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro National Park attracts thousands of travellers every year. And the park allows you to experience the heart of Africa, communing with elephants, leopards, buffaloes and many endangered species.
Conquer Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain; meet Tanzania’s famed wildlife in Ngorongoro, before visiting the crater lake Chala; in Kilimanjaro, your experience will leave you lost for words.
Kilimanjaro is the gateway to the Ngorongoro conservation area and Serengeti National Park. Apart from mountain climbing, there is plenty to see and do. As expected, most attractions involve wildlife and exploring the landscape’s dramatic features.
The Materuni and Kinukamori waterfalls, for example, are spectacular, with their own indigenous flora and fauna, particularly birds and monkeys. Lake Chala, in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, is a volcanic lake, and a tour will take you to the Chagga tribe’s heartland. Your trip to Kilimanjaro should also include a game drive around the slopes, where you could meet some exotic animals in their natural habitat. Don’t forget to bring a camera and let loose your inner shutterbug.
A trip to Kilimanjaro is obviously going to be an activity holiday. There are lots of tours and treks to choose from, catering to a wide array of tastes and fitness levels. For the uninitiated, Marangu Route is the most popular and arguably easiest path to take when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, because of its gradual slope. Out of the seven Kilimanjaro routes, Marangu is also the only one offering dormitory-style accommodations.
The most scenic route up is Machame, which takes about six to seven days to ascend and is geared more towards adventurous climbers. On the Lemosho Route, you need to be accompanied by an armed ranger because of the less than friendly wildlife you’re likely to encounter.
Culinary options on Mount Kilimanjaro, as expected, are limited. There are no restaurants along the routes and food comes courtesy of the cooks and porters who accompany you on your climb. Bring some chocolates and granola bars with you, as the food quality tends to deteriorate towards the end of the tour, when supplies run low. This is all part of the adventure, and as long as you drink your three litres of water each day, you should be just fine.
However, back in town, you will find that the Kilimanjaro region has plenty of cafés and restaurants serving international recipes, including Indian, American and Italian. If want to eat like the locals, try traditional Tanzanian dishes, such as nyama choma (grilled meat), ndizi kaanga (fried plantains) and pilau (flavoured rice with spices).
Kilimanjaro has been relatively untouched by large commercial developments, so do not expect any department stores or designer boutiques in the area. However, a few Tanzanian shillings can go a long way with entrepreneurial members of the indigenous Chagga tribe, who sell authentic beads and craftwork.
Most of your shopping will have to be done before you get here. Pack essential items, such as sleeping bags, malaria tablets and climbing gear.
Essential facts about Kilimanjaro
Enjoy a hassle-free journey with all the information you need to know before your trip