We've made it to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. 19,341 feet. We're on top of Africa, far above the clouds. And though we're right next to the equator, it's very, very cold and there are thick ice glaciers.
We’re in the heart of Africa. The equator is only a little over 200 miles to the north. To the west and south, we’re looking out over the plains of Tanzania with their lions, elephants, and giraffes, although the animals are all too far away for us to see. In the distance beyond the horizon are the famous national parks like the Serengeti Plains and the Ngorongoro Crater. To the north and east, we’re looking right over the border into Kenya.
We should be baking in the hot African sun. But instead we’re shivering despite our fleeces, gloves, and cold-weather jackets. We’re surrounded by snow and ice and volcanic rock.
We’re on top of Mount Kilimanjaro. 19,341 feet. At this altitude, each breath only provides half the amount of oxygen to the body that it would at sea level. It’s no wonder that we’re lightheaded, breathing hard, and tired. But the view is spectacular.
It’s taken us a week of trekking to get here. Here’s how we climbed this magnificent mountain.
I’ve put together a climb diary with photos from each day as well as some gear tips for Kilimanjaro and what to expect from your climb.
You can find the latest U.S. Department of State travel advisories and information for Tanzania (such as entry visa requirements and vaccination requirements) here.
The CDC makes country-specific recommendations for vaccinations and health for travelers. You can find their latest information for Tanzania here.