Mount Kilimanjaro lies on the border of Tanzania and Kenya, just south of the Equator. To the west lies the Great African Rift Valley, created by tremendous tectonic forces which also gave birth to a string of other volcanoes. At the time when the first men appeared in East Africa and Olduvai Gorge more than three million years ago, Mount Kilimanjaro was a very active and dangerous volcano. A Wachagga legend talks of Mawenzi receiving fire for its pipe from his younger brother Kibo. The tribe did not settle nearby until 300 years ago so this volcanic activity is supposed to be still recent. Another of their legends talks of demons and evil spirits living on the mountain and guarding immense treasures. Stories are told of a king who decided to go to the top, few of his party survived and those who did had damaged arms and legs.

Mount Kilimanjaro

Arab and Chinese traders and historians make mention of a giant mountain lying inland from Mombasa or Zanzibar but few early traders ventured into the interior of the continent. Slave traders passed below it and sometimes raided the villages of the Wachagga but it was not till the middle of the 19th century that a more serious interest was taken in the mountain and attempts were made to scale it.

In 1848 Johann Rebmann a missionary from Gerlingen in Germany while crossing the plains of Tsavo saw Mount Kilimanjaro. His guide talked of baridi - cold, and of tales how a group of porters were sent up the mountain to bring back the silver or other treasures from the summit.They came back only with water. Rebmann's report stimulated great interest in Germany and in the following years several expeditions were organised; first by Baron von Decken then later by Dr. Hans Meyer who finally stood on the highest point on the 5th of October 1889. Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, now attracts many thousands of walkers each year. On the 1st of January 2000 over 1000 people reached the summit to see the sun rise over a new Millennium.

The three summits of Mount Kilimanjaro, Shira, Kibo and Mawenzi are all of very recent origin. Shira and Mawenzi both have suffered considerable erosion and only jagged peaks remain. Kibo, the central, youngest and highest peak has survived as an almost perfect cone.

There are many routes that lead to the summit. Some of our favorites include Umbwe, Barafu and Machame. However, based on your experience, fitness level, desires and time of year, we can help you choose the trek that best fits you. A climb requires a minimum of six nights; we however recommend extra nights for greater acclimatization.

These treks are non-technical and no mountain experience is necessary, but you should be fit and hardy. Our camp staff will carry your gear, keep you well fed and comfortable, and do their utmost to get you wisely to the summit.

The Roof of Africa – Mt Kilimanjaro