How Tall is Mount Kilimanjaro? Height & Everything You Need to Know
When most people think of Africa, a tall mountain is not the first image that jumps to their minds. Well, over on the eastern part of the continent, Africa’s tallest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, deserves to be talked about. Ever since the first team of climbers summited it in the late 19th century, the mountain has been drawing in experienced hikers and first-timers for an epic adventure.
So, let’s take a look at how tall Mount Kilimanjaro is and other good-to-know information about the mountain. We’ll also talk about who should or shouldn’t hike Kilimanjaro and what you can expect from the experience. So, put on your hiking shoes, and let’s go to Africa!
What is the height of Mount Kilimanjaro?
Mount Kilimanjaro stands at a height of 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) above sea level. Its African continent’s highest peak and the fourth highest of the seven summits. When measured from the Earth’s core, it’s the sixth-largest mountain in the world.
When mountains are measured this way, it puts Kilimanjaro at a taller height than Mount Everest.
However, at the end of the day, Everest’s peak is thousands of meters higher above sea level than Kilimanjaro, making it much more dangerous to climb.
Kilimanjaro’s height gives it the title of being the tallest mountain in Africa. The second tallest mountain on the continent is Mount Kenya, which has a height of 5,199 meters (17,057 feet)–about 700 meters less than Kilimanjaro. These two mountains are only 324 km (201 mi) apart from each other.
Where is Mount Kilimanjaro located?
Mount Kilimanjaro is located in the northeastern part of Tanzania–a country found in the eastern part of the African continent. Conveniently, there is an airport called the Kilimanjaro International Airport, just south of Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, making traveling to the mountain easy and straightforward.
The region is the perfect mix between being remote and accessible. There are nearby towns of Moshi and Arusha with accommodations and sufficient infrastructure, but the mountain itself feels very isolated. Mount Kilimanjaro is known for attracting a wide mix of wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled for Blue Monkeys, White Neck Ravens, Colobus Monkeys, Jackson’s Chameleons, and a whole lot more.
What is the Temperature at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro?
The summit of Mount Kilimanjaro can get quite chilly. Down at the base, the temperature, on average, sits between 21 to 27°C (70 to 80°F), fairly moderate temperatures that don’t require specialized equipment. However, at the top of the mountain, temperatures can get down to anywhere between –29 to -7°C (-20 to 20°F)–a bit chillier, right?
The season you climb Mount Kilimanjaro will determine how cold the summit is. But the weather on the mountain can change sporadically, so hikers need to be prepared for a wide range of possibilities. In the span of a few days, the mountain could experience rain, sunshine, wind, and snow. That’s why it’s important to choose a reputable climbing company, like Climbing Kilimanjaro, to guide you up the mountain and ensure you’re prepared for anything.
How Long Does It Take to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro?
Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro, from start to finish, takes between five to nine days. When it comes to summiting the mountain, speed is not the name of the game. Climbers who spend eight to nine days have a higher success rate than those attempting to complete it in just five days.
The more time you have on the mountain, the more your body will adjust to the altitude. You also won’t have to push your body as hard, making it a more enjoyable experience overall. In addition to the route you take (there are several routes with varying lengths), weather can be a determining factor in how quickly you can reach the summit.
Unless you’re an experienced climber, speed shouldn’t be your number one concern. Rushing to the top is an easy way to get yourself hurt.
Do You Need Oxygen to Climb Kilimanjaro?
Part of what makes Mount Kilimanjaro accessible to so many levels of hikers is that oxygen is not required. Usually, supplemented oxygen is used for heights above 7,000 meters, which is 1,000 meters below the death zone where oxygen levels are too low to support life for long periods of time. On Mount Kilimanjaro, there’s no need to worry about the death zone.
At over 5,000 meters, there is a significant change in altitude levels, but it’s nothing the human body can’t adjust to. With that being said, it is important to take it slow and not push your body too hard because altitude sickness can happen. During the multiday trek, it’s common to use the climb high, sleep low technique, which consists of gradually exposing the body to higher altitudes during the day and then going back to lower altitudes to sleep. Read more about Oxygen on Mount Kilimanjaro
How Old is Mount Kilimanjaro?
The history of Mount Kilimanjaro goes way back. Researchers believe eruptions first began from the summit cone, called Kibo, around one million years ago, shaping the mountain into what it is today. The good news is that the last eruption likely took place about 360,000 years ago.
As of now, there are zero indications that Kilimanjaro is going to erupt again anytime soon, although it is possible. It is also possible that it will collapse in on itself. But, just like a hypothetical eruption, the likelihood of that happening in the next millennia is highly unlikely.
Can a Normal Person Climb Kilimanjaro?
People of all ages and skill levels can climb Mount Kilimanjaro. You do not need to be a climbing expert or have loads of experience. The hike to the summit has been completed many times by adults in their 60s and 70s and children over the age of 10. Hikers can literally walk all the way to the top of the mountain, as no actual climbing is required.
If you are interested in doing the trek, it’s important to choose a reputable company like Climbing Kilimanjaro. Signing up for a guided hike includes expert guides who will help you decide what to pack and will keep an eye on each individual during the journey to ensure everyone is safe. It’s the adventure of a lifetime!