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210 Custom map of the hiking trails of Mt. Kilimanjaro

210 Custom map of the hiking trails of Mt. Kilimanjaro

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Mt. Kilimanjaro Hiking Trails and Ecology

Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is one of the most popular mountains in the world, and each year, some 30,000 climbers make an attempt to reach the Kibo summit called Uhuru Peak, which means freedom in Swahili, the mountain’s highest summit. Mount Kilimanjaro, also known as a "walk-up" mountain, is 750,000 years old, and is a dormant volcano. This is the highest mountain in Africa at 19,330 feet, rising above the jungle plains, and is the world's highest free-standing mountain. There are six main routes ascending up the slopes of Kilimanjaro: Shira, Lemosho, Machame, Umbwe, Rongai, and Marangu.

Diverse vegetation graces the slopes of the mountain. Mount Kilimanjaro can be separated into five different climate zones, each with its own unique fauna and flora. In the subtropical lowland area, located just above the Serengeti plains, vegetation is dominated by banana and coffee, among other plants grown as cash crops. Between 9,200 feet and 13,100 feet, plant species are limited to groundsels, lobelias, heather, and tree moss. In the alpine or high desert area, few plants such as sage grass, helichrysum flowers, moss, and thistles are common. Few to no plants exist on the summit, which is an arid zone with intense snow and ice forming large glaciers.    

Known as the “Tourist Route,” Marangu Route is the most popular route on the mountain, and is the only one that features sleeping huts. It is the easiest route, and can take five days to complete its 50 miles. Dubbed the "Whiskey Route," the Machame Route is 37 miles and offers great vistas of Kilimanjaro, with views of the expansive Shira Plateau, Lava Tower, and the Great Barranco Wall.

The first portion of the Shira Route is not hiked, but driven to the Shira gate, located at 11,500 feet. It is a varied and beautiful route, totaling 33 miles. Lemosho Route is a small-crowd route, a journey of 43 miles of spectacular panoramic mountain vistas. It is a relatively flat hike crossing the entire plain from west to east.

Umbwe Route is one of the most difficult because it is a constant vertical slope. It is 32 miles, but offers dramatic views of the mountain. Rongai, otherwise known as Loitokitok, is the longest route at 49 miles, passing through wilderness areas. Kilimanjaro is the ultimate mountaineer’s dream.

 This is a digitally colored map designed by Lisa and her team.



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