A number of years ago Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman did a movie entitled “The Bucket List” where they went on a number of adventures because they were terminally ill. Since then, many people have come up with their own bucket lists of things they wish to do before they “kick the bucket.” One of those things is a Kilimanjaro hike.
Regardless of why, nearly 40,000 people a year attempt the climb and most make it to the top. Rationalizations for doing so include:
- As one of the “seven summits,” when you get to the top, you are literally on top of the world. Known as the “Roof of Africa,” Mt. Kilimanjaro is not only the highest peak in Africa, it is the highest peak in the world. Do not forget to take plenty of pictures of the view, the sea of clouds and the numerous stars.
- It is challenging, but doable. While you do need to prepare and train before attempting a Kilimanjaro trek, there is no need for ropes or special mountaineering gear. You do not need any previous mountain climbing experience, either. Both a six-year-old and several octogenarians have made the climb, successfully. While 10 people a year die on the mountain, it is incredibly regulated and maintained, making it exceptionally safe. The feeling of accomplishment you will have cannot be beaten.
- It is both remote and accessible. There are regular nonstop flights to the area. However, since there are only seven routes, the mountain has been able to retain its nature, even among the heavy traffic. While you may find some trash along the way from other hikers, dumping is prevented by weighing bags both before and after and heavily fine for bags that come back too light.
- It is one of the greatest natural wonders of the world, as it is a snow-capped mountain that is close to the Equator. It has lush green forests that are surrounded by dry savannah. As you climb to the top, you will go through each and every climate zone from tropical to alpine climate in the span of a week. This helps to showcase the dramatic changes in vegetation each day. The mountain is a breeding ground for strange and unique life forms that are found only a few other places on the planet. This includes both the unique elephant flower and the strange Kilimanjaro tree, as well as the black-and-white Colobus monkeys swinging through the rainforest canopy, and the alien-looking groundsel plants in the moorland. Kilimanjaro has some amazing flora, fauna, and scenery. Much of it cannot be found anywhere else on earth!
Whatever motivates you, when you come back down, do not forget to do a Kilimanjaro safari. After you spent all that time, effort, and money to get to the summit, it is only right that you reward yourself when you have finished. A leisurely safari is a great way to do so and take in the local culture, as well.