Climb Kilimanjaro

Five Great Reasons to Climb Kilimanjaro

By Sam Marshall

The pristine white summit of Kilimanjaro can be seen from miles away and has inspired generations of travellers to climb to its summit.

Sitting just south of the equator in Tanzania, Kilimanjaro towers over the nearby Serengeti. At 5895m above sea level it is the highest mountain on the African continent. Climbing Kilimanjaro is a trip of a lifetime. One that many people have on their bucket list of trips to do before it’s too late but often don’t get around to it due to any number of reasons. Well, life is for living.  You only get one chance so why not make the most of it.

If climbing Kilimanjaro is on your list, then here’s Five Great Reasons to Climb Kilimanjaro and why you should just get on and climb it.

Number One:  Kilimanjaro is not as hard to climb as you might think.

People often tell me that they’d love to climb Kilimanjaro but then say that they won’t be doing it anytime soon.  The main reason is people feel that they wouldn’t be fit enough to climb all the way to the summit.  Well, that’s just a myth!  Most people of average fitness are more than capable of reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro and drinking in the fantastic views across the African plains.  The main factor at play here is the unknown.  For ease, we can break climbing Kilimanjaro down into two components: technical and physical.

From a technical perspective, reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro requires nothing more complicated than walking.

The longest route to the summit of Kilimanjaro is the Lemosho route. Because of this it is also my favourite route and considered by many to be the most beautiful.  This route is around 46km/29miles from bottom to top.

The journey to the summit on this route is taken over 6 days (plus 2 to get back down) which means that you only have to walk around 5 miles per day.  To put this into context, for most people of average fitness this is round-a-bout a 2 hour walk.  Granted, you have to carry a small rucksack when you climb Kilimanjaro. The path mainly goes uphill but from a physical perspective, it’s not out of reach for a person of average fitness.


Five Great Reasons to Climb Kilimanjaro Adventuring


Number Two: Excellent Health Benefits.

Climbing Kilimanjaro is all about walking and walking is a form of physical exercise which is said to bring positive health benefits.  For walking, these include improved fitness and a reduction in stress.

Most people will want to do some training before attempting Kilimanjaro such as going out for regular walks. Which will help to improve your strength, agility and overall cardiovascular fitness.  Low intensity, long duration exercise such as walking to the top of Kilimanjaro is an ideal way to lose weight. Its  is an excellent alternative to the gym.  Walking therefore contributes to an overall improvement in your fitness not only whilst on your trip but in the build up to it and, hopefully, long after you have returned.

On the stress front, recent studies have suggested that 'exposure to nature can counteract the negative effects of stress and anxiety. Whilst walking up Kilimanjaro you will certainly spend plenty of time outdoors exposed to nature. So it represents a great way to unwind and empty your mind of any worries and anxieties you may have been feeling at home.


Five Great Reasons to Climb Kilimanjaro AdventuringNumber Three:  Amazing pictures to post on Instagram, memories and stories to tell your grandchildren.

In this day and age, everyone loves to be able to post a great image on Instagram. Just to show off what they’ve just been doing.  Well, climbing Kilimanjaro will take you to some awesome locations giving you the opportunity to snap some perfect pics. Seriously though, climbing Kilimanjaro is a fantastic once in a lifetime experience which will build long lasting memories. As well as providing you with all the ingredients you need to tell great stories to your grandchildren!




Five Great Reasons to Climb Kilimanjaro AdventuringNumber Four:  Transformation and growth.

It’s totally normal for people to set out to climb Kilimanjaro and be apprehensive and full of self-doubt.  This brings us back to the unknown that we talked about earlier.

Climbing Kilimanjaro and standing on the Roof of Africa at sunrise helps you to see the world in a different way.  It makes you realise that you are much more capable than you give yourself credit for.  Without even realising it, most people grow in self confidence after having climbed Kilimanjaro.  They think differently and see life from a different perspective.  Quite simply, climbing Kilimanjaro is a transformative experience.


Five Great Reasons to Climb Kilimanjaro AdventuringNumber Five: Because it’s there.

Back in 1923 whilst being interviewed for an article in the New York Times about his ambition to climb Everest. Legendary climber George Mallory responded to the 'why question' with just three words: 'because it's there'.  These words have been used ever since by people trying to justify what may appear to be an impossible ambition.  Kilimanjaro though, is far from impossible.

Way back in the early 1800s travellers and merchants sent reports back to the UK describing a massive snow capped mountains. Reports were generally met with comments such as 'how can there possibly be snow on the equator, ridiculous'. It wasn't until 1862 when early explorers actually climbed to Kilimanjaro’s snow line that its existence was widely recognized.

From then, Europeans made numerous attempts to reach the summit.  It was finally first climbed by the German Geographer Hans Mayer and Austrian Teacher Ludwig Purtscheller in 1889.

Since that first ascent and in keeping with man's urge to explore. Now Kilimanjaro has now been climbed by multiple different routes and by hundreds and thousands of people for no better reason that 'it's there'.  So, what are you waiting for?

About the Author

Five Great Reasons to Climb Kilimanjaro AdventuringSam Marshall has been climbing and mountaineering for over 30 years.  Having served in the British Army he has been fortunate enough to climb on every continent.

Holding the Mountaineering & Climbing Instructor award (MCI) and the Winter Mountain Leader award (ML(W)) Sam works as a full time climbing and mountaineering instructor. He owns and runs Monkey Mountaineering, a niche adventure travel company focusing on worldwide trekking, climbing and mountaineering holidays.  If you’re looking for a once in a lifetime Kilimanjaro trip, then I can thoroughly recommend getting in touch with Sam and the team at Monkey Mountaineering.

Five Great Reasons to Climb Kilimanjaro Adventuring

If you want to read more about trekking to the summit of Kilimanjaro, Sam has written a useful guide to all you need to know about climbing Kilimanjaro (The Ultimate Guide to Standing on the Roof of Africa), as well as ‘How to be successful on Kilimanjaro’ and ‘Tipping your Kilimanjaro Mountain Crew