Tanzania is mainly known for its nature reserves and game parks that are perfect for safaris, and for the beautiful beaches of Zanzibar. But the country is also popular with mountain lovers. Tanzania is home to Africa's highest mountain: Mount Kilimanjaro. In order to climb this mountain, in addition to the mandatory guide, you also need a Tanzania visa. The electronic visa is valid for a stay of 30 days. This allows you to combine a climb to Mount Kilimanjaro with a safari or a stay on the beaches of Zanzibar.
The highest mountain in Africa
Kilimanjaro, with its height of 5,895 metres above sea level, is the highest mountain in Africa. Because the mountain is surrounded by savannah plains, it is also the highest free-standing mountain in the world. Kilimanjaro is located in north-eastern Tanzania, close to the border with Kenya and just below the equator. Kilimanjaro belongs to the Seven Summits, the seven highest mountain peaks in the world (one for each of the seven continents).
The mountain massif consists of three cone-shaped volcanoes: Mawenzi, Shira and Kibo. The highest point, at 5,895 metres, is the peak of the Kibo volcano. This top is also called Uhuru Peak. The glaciers on top of the mountain shrank enormously between 1912 and 2011, by almost 85%. At the beginning of the 20th century, there was still a total of 12.1 square kilometres of ice, of which only 1.76 square kilometres remained in 2011.
How to get there?
Close to Mount Kilimanjaro lies an airport: Kilimanjaro Airport. This is an international airport with connections to Amsterdam, Dubai, Addis Ababa, Doha, Istanbul, Entebbe and Nairobi. Domestic flights to Kilimanjaro Airport leave from Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Mwanza. From the airport, you can take a bus or taxi to the nearby towns of Moshi and Arusha.
With an e-visa for Tanzania, you can only arrive at a limited number of locations in the country. These are the airports of Julius Nyere International Airport, Mwanza International Airport, Abeid Amani International Airport (Zanzibar) and Kilimanjaro International Airport. In addition, you may arrive in Tanzania via the border crossing points with Kenya (Namamga) and Zambia (Tunduma). With an e-visa, you can therefore land at the airport near Kilimanjaro without any problems. Travellers coming from Kenya to Tanzania arrive at the border crossing at Namanga close to Kilimanjaro.
Routes for beginners and experienced mountaineers
Both experienced and novice mountaineers can climb Kilimanjaro. As the ascent is not technically difficult, less experienced hikers with a good physical condition can also reach the summit. It is especially important to plan enough time so that the body can get used to the altitude. Travellers who complete the route too quickly are likely to suffer from altitude sickness. There are seven routes that lead to Uhuru Peak. The routes differ in difficulty and also in the number of days they take. The two most popular routes are the Marangu route and the Machame route.
The Marangu route is the most popular among tourists. It is also known as the Coca-Cola route because of the huts along the way where you can buy drinks and snacks. Unlike the other routes, people who choose this route do not spend the night in tents, but in comparatively comfortable huts. A disadvantage of this route, however, is that it can be very busy. Since the ascent and descent of this route generally take only five days, altitude sickness can quickly set in. This is the main reason why about half of the Kilimanjaro hikers do not reach the top.
Another well-known route is the Machame route, which is slightly more difficult than the Marangu route and therefore also called the Whisky route. The Machame route is popular because it passes through varied landscapes. It starts in the tropical rainforest and on the way there are beautiful views of Mount Meru, a stratovolcano west of Kilimanjaro. The route is usually completed in six days. Due to the gradual climb, this route has a higher success rate.
Applying for a Tanzania visa
To climb Mount Kilimanjaro and see the rest of Tanzania, you need a visa. The electronic visa for Tanzania can easily be applied for online. The cost per person is £79.95. After submitting the application form and providing a digital passport photo, a scan of your passport and a confirmation of your return flight or onward flight, your application will be processed. The visa is then sent by e-mail after an average of four weeks.