This is a brief overview of our trip to Tanzania in January and February 2022 to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and take some days afterwards to see the animals in the Serengeti.
The main objective of the trip was to climb Kilimanjaro, which is the highest peak in Tanzania and also all of Africa. As such, it qualifies Kili as being one of the world’s “Seven Summits”. Those are the highest peaks in each of the planet’s seven continents.
Each of the Seven Summits has a respectable elevation at their peak, but some are more auspicious than others. Mount Everest in Nepal is, of course, the world’s highest peak. It is the highest point in Asia and towers over 29,000’ or almost 8,900 meters.
Kili is the middle of the pack of the Seven Summits and reaches over 19,340’ or almost 5,900 meters. Most of the traditional routes that reach the summit are not technical and don’t require special equipment nor skills. It is a requirement, however, to be guided inside the Kilimanjaro National Park if you wish to summit the mountain.
We chose Ian Taylor Trekking as the guiding service for our trip. We trekked with Ian during September and October 2021 in Nepal, where we visited Mount Everest Base Camp again. He runs what I believe is the most intelligently thought-out and well supported treks available. So, we were happy to book the trip and climb with him again.
The route we signed up for is the 8-day Lemosho route and it is characterized with more acclimatization time, probably a broader range of scenery, and less crowds than some of the more popular routes. We enjoyed every day of it and found the experience perfectly guided and a completely worthwhile climb/trek.
The overall trip statistics were the following for us (via my Garmin Fenix 6 watch):
- 8 days
- 42 hours
- 44 miles (or almost 70 kilometers), and
- A total elevation gain of 16,394’ (or almost 5,000 meters straight up)
Here’s a chart of the distribution of distance, duration, and elevation gain over the 8 days.
Climbing Kili is mainly a non-technical trek, but you will be camping on the mountain for about a week and it’s a serious mountain due to the high altitude. Therefore, you need to be physically conditioned, ready for extreme climate and temperature variations, continuously hydrate and go “pole pole” (or, slowly, in Swahili).
Summiting Kili is highly achievable for anyone that has conditioned for the types of days you will be experiencing and have the mental & physical toughness to put up with camping for an extended period of time on a mountain and at high altitude.
We found it a very reasonable trek, but the extremely high altitude involved in summiting means that it’s never going to be easy unless you’re well acclimated from recent climbing or doing a “second lap” on Kili.
If you enjoy hiking, trekking, backpacking, and reaching significant summits, we couldn’t recommend climbing Kili any more highly. The successful selection of a good guiding service means you will make new friends, friendly guides and great porters that translate into a memorable life experience.
We took the opportunity since we were already in Tanzania, to enjoy some rest days after the climb and do the safari thing in the Serengeti. The Serengeti’s beauty and both quantity & diversity of stunning animals were simply beyond expectations. It’s an incredible (perhaps life-changing) experience that everyone should experience at least once in their life. We still have much we’d like to see around the world, but it’s easy to see the draw of coming back to Tanzania for another trip in the future.
Here’s a video that we’ve put together of our time climbing Kili. We hope you enjoy!