" The Lonely Traveller "

How hard is it to climb Mount Kenya?

Marangu Gate to Mandara Hut

Elevation (ft): 6,046 ft to 8,858 ft Distance: 8 km | 5 miles
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours   Habitat: Rain Forest

I travel from Moshi to Marangu Gate for the necessary formalities before I begins my hike. The hiking trail begins with climbing a beautiful, tropical rainforest. In the upper edge of the forest line I meet blue monkeys. A nice experience. The trail then widens to reveal beautiful slopes and I reach Mandara Hut.

Mandara Hut to Horombo Hut

Elevation (ft): 8,858 ft to 12,205 ft Distance: 12 km | 7 miles
Hiking Time: 6-8 hours   Habitat: Heath

I start the day continuing through the forest until the trail opens up high heath. I can see my first views of the Kibo and Mawenzi peaks - two of them the three volcanic peaks that make up the summit of Kilimanjaro.

Horombo Hut to Mawenze Ridge 

Elevation (ft): 12,205 ft to 14,400 ft  Distance: 5 km | 3 miles
Hiking Time: 2-3 hours   Habitat: Heath

This is an extra day meant for acclimatization and can be spent day hiking
on Mawenzi Ridge. The unique landscape offers motivating views of Kibo
and Mawenzi. After spending a few moments exploring the area I head
back to Horombo Hut.

Horombo Hut to Kibo Hut 

Elevation (ft): 12,205 ft to 15,430 ft  Distance: 10 km | 6 miles
Hiking Time: 6-8 hours   Alpin Desert

I climb gradually, then cross the lunar desert of the “Saddle” between
Mawenzi and Kibo. My camp, Kibo Hut, sits at the bottom of the Kibo crater
wall. Once here I rest, enjoy an early dinner to prepare for the summit day

Kibo Hut to Uhuru Peak

Elevation (ft): 15,430 ft to 19,341 ft  Distance: 6km | 4 miles
Hiking Time: 6-8 hours   Artic

Very early in the morning (around midnight) I start walking towards the top. This is the most mentally and physically challenging part of hike. The wind and cold at this altitude and time of day can be extreme.

I climb in the dark for hours and take short breaks. At Gilman's Point (18,600 feet), I'm rewarded The most magnificent sunrise. Finally, I arrive at Uhuru Peak - the highest point of the mountain Kilimanjaro and the African continent. After spending a few moments taking in mine achievement it was time I go down to Horombo Hut. Later in the evening, I enjoy the last dinner on the mountain and a well-deserved sleep.

The last day

Elevation (ft): 12,205 ft to 6,046 ft Distance: 20 km | 12 miles
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours Habitat: Rain Forest

On my last day, I have a long hike mostly downhill through the tropics rainforest. Once at the park's headquarters at Marangu gate, I get a certificate. A vehicle meets me here and drives me back to the hotel.

(click to enlarge)