It’s the highest point in Africa. It’s also the highest free-standing mountain in the world (that is, not part of a mountain range). Kilimanjaro receives tens of thousands of visitors every year, and while there are no recent official statistics available, reports suggest that this number is increasing. But what is it about this mountain that has made it gain in popularity over the years?
Let’s be honest, climbing any mountain is hardly ‘easy.’ But compared to the other six of the ‘seven summits,’ Kilimanjaro is somewhat more approachable. It doesn’t require any expert mountaineering training or specialist equipment. The Northern Circuit is the newest route, giving climbers a whole nine days to acclimatize to the altitude. It has a higher success rate than more traditional ways and offers a 360-degree view of the Serengeti. While Kilimanjaro requires less expertise than other mountains, it would be wise not to underestimate it. Climbers should make sure they have the right level of fitness and take the necessary time to acclimatize before attempting the summit.
Adventure travel is growing year by year at a rate of 13.3% and is expected to be valued at $1626.7 billion by 2026. Recent research suggests that it’s been the fastest-growing tourist area, with around 40% of people saying that adventure was part of their last vacation booking (Allied Market Research). What makes these vacations so appealing? It could be for several reasons: many people now choose to spend their money on experiences rather than stuff, and these challenges can improve your physical and mental health. And let’s face it, a photo from the summit of Kilimanjaro looks impressive on social media.
It’s not just your friends’ social media that can inspire you to take the challenge to hike up Kilimanjaro. Famous people all over the world are tackling the summit for charity challenges. It’s led to a rise in people wanting to do the same for a good cause. In 2019, a team of British celebrities, from reality stars to politicians, joined the ranks of stars such as Jessica Biel, Lupe Fiasco, and Mandy Moore in those reaching the summit.
Its glaciers are disappearing
On a more serious note, as with everywhere on the globe, Kilimanjaro is affected by climate change. Its ice caps are desiccating, and it is possible to track the shrinking of its glaciers in satellite images. More and more people are becoming aware of climate change and what that means for travel destinations. It’s no wonder that so many people are keen to catch a glimpse of these natural wonders before they vanish. While flights and fast tourism contribute to climate change, such a demand to see these wonders is an incentive to preserve them. Witnessing the shrinkage first-hand can also inspire travelers to take action against their carbon footprint.
Despite the impact of climate change, Kilimanjaro is still stunning. It provides some fantastic sunrises and sunsets and is home to extraordinary flora, sparkling waterfalls, and more. The mountain itself is kept quite clean, with park rangers monitoring litter. The beauty of the mountain creates lasting memories, while those who reach the summit feel a transformation that only this kind of feat can provide.
There are many reasons why Kilimanjaro is so popular, from its beauty to the thrill of reaching its summit. If you want to take part in this life-changing challenge, check out (our Nomad) Ammr’s journey for the opportunity to conquer this summit. And if the surrounding landscape inspires you, you can also add on an optional safari. Challenge yourself and discover this natural wonder, along with the intriguing wildlife of Tanzania.