Why go to Mount Kilimanjaro if you have no intention to reach the top?
Mount Kilimanjaro is attracting thousands of tourists every year and they all have dreams to climb Africa`s highest mountain. Or almost everyone! – We are only walking across we are not climbing upwards! Every time we told friends that our next travel destination was Mount Kilimanjaro we had to clarify: – We are not climbing to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro! And we where deadly serious. None of us have secret dreams of climbing the highest mountain peaks. So why did we want to go to Tanzania and Mount Kilimanjaro?
We wanted to see the mountain peak that we had heard so much about. The forest slopes of Kilimanjaro has a great biodiversity and my dream was to wander in the woods among trees and flowers and in peace admire nature and listen to the birds singing. Our plan was to find accommodation near the entrance to Kilimanjaro National Park and there on the green hillsides we planned to walk slowly and enjoy nature. I prepared by reading a lot about how it might be to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Among others I read Tim Ward`s article 10 reasons to climb Kilimanjaro on National Geographic`s blog. It did not convince me, I still wanted to walk across the hillsides and not climb Mount Kilimanjaro. And I have my reasons, all 5 good reasons NOT to climb Mount Kilimanjaro:
1. Altitude sickness:
The risk of getting some degree of altitude sickness is high. Most people get either headache, nausea/vomiting, dizziness, and shortness of breath or all of them. Do you really need to prove to yourself and others that you are capable of climbing higher than your body is made for? Even the Marangu route, which is considered relatively easy, demands a lot of preparations and it takes at least 5 days to climb the route.
You walk in line. Special the Marangu route tends to be busy. More than 40.000 people try to reach the top every year on the 7 official routes. It is not possible to set off on your own trying to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Nor is it possible to go on your own inside the boarders of Kilimanjaro National Park. You have to register and pay at the gate and go with a guide.
You have to follow your group. It is not much time to enjoy nature around you. You may only get a glimpse of the fantastic flora in the forest on you way up. Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the world`s greatest natural wonders and its sad not to have time to admire it.
4. Vulnerable nature:
You contribute to a long-term destruction of a vulnerable nature in a protected area. Even though there are strict rules and penalties for littering, the massive amount of tourists visiting this area every day of the year is so large that a negative impact on the environment is inevitable.
5. Where is this mountain?
Mount Kilimanjaro is often shrouded in clouds and you may risk never to see the peak at any distance. When reaching the top you are not guaranteed to see the famous view of Africa. We stayed at Babylon Lodge pretty high up in the village Marangu. It was a very good starting point and had a nice view of Mount Kilimanjaro. We soon realized that only walking across not upwards was harder than we imagined. So we ended up walking upwards, but only for a one-day-trip up to the first base camp. Luckily we managed to get more walks outside the National Park on the hillsides in Marangu as we had hoped. This is a very beautiful area with nice and welcoming people and a very green and lush landscape. So travelling to Mount Kilimanjaro without the intention to climb the peak is highly recommended! Try across-walking on Mount Kilimanjaro as well!
- Mount Kilimanjaro is situated in Tanzania, near the boarder to Kenya.
- Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa`s highest mountain, altitude 5885 m.
- Mount Kilimanjaro consists of 3 volcano cones, Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira.
- Mount Kilimanjaro`s peak is covered by a glacier, sadly its getting smaller and smaller