Ever envisioned yourself almost 20,000 feet above sea level on the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, one of the highest peaks in the world? Whether the answer to that question is a yes or no, climbing Kilimanjaro is an incredible experience and worth considering adding to your bucket list.
1. Kilimanjaro is one of the famous “seven summits”
The seven summits is a group of mountains that comprises the highest mountain summits on each continent. It’s considered a crowning achievement for dedicated mountaineers. To summit even one of these humbling mountains is something to brag about. While the other seven summits are very technical and require years of training and mountaineering experience, Kilimanjaro is quite accessible for strong hikers. The youngest person to have summited Kilimanjaro was registered at 6 years old with the oldest being 86! While it’s not easy and requires persistence, it’s within most of our students’ ability levels.
2. Symbolic of Freedom
Kilimanjaro belongs to the country of Tanzania, the first country in Africa to win independence from colonial forces. Tanganyika, the local word for Tanzania, was an independent state that existed from 1961 until 1964, first gaining independence from the United Kingdom as a Commonwealth realm. A year later, they became a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations. After signing the Articles of Union in 1964, Tanganyika officially joined with the People’s Republic of Zanzibar and Pemba to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, a new state that changed its name to the United Republic of Tanzania.
Their President, Julius Nyerere was quoted: “We, the people of Tanganyika, would like to light a candle and put it on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro which would shine beyond our borders giving hope where there was despair, love where there was hate, and dignity where before there was only humiliation.”
Today, the summit is called Uhuru Peak–Uhuru is the Swahili word for “Freedom.”
3. Climate Change
Kilimanjaro is an important location for environmentalists in today’s ever changing global climate because of its receding ice caps and disappearing glaciers. Kilimanjaro is one of the fastest mountains in history to be losing glaciers that date back 12,000 years. It has become a dramatic change to the composition and appearance of the mountain, as trekkers, scientists, and locals living in its shadow watch the face of this mountain change within our lifetime. This mountain will look extremely different in just a few short years, making it a trekking destination that many want to see in its most natural state before global climate change affects it further.
4. Natural Wonder
Mount Kilimanjaro is by far one of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders. Set on the equator, it’s somewhat of an anomaly. Finding a snow capped mountain, surrounded by tropical rainforest and a diverse ecosystem of wildlife on the safari plains makes this somewhat of an anomaly. Climbing Kilimanjaro is like walking through the equator to end at the North Pole in a matter of days! Each day climbing the mountain provides different and unique views to see as we travel through these different natural systems.
5. Perspective and Accomplishment
Climbing a summit like Kilimanjaro is no small feat. As with many of our adventures, with hard challenges, comes big rewards. When you climb to the roof of Africa and look out over an entire nation of people, the sense of perspective and understanding changes. Many are drawn to climb Kilimanjaro to signify transition. Whether you are graduating, changing schools, moving grade levels, etc. this experience is one you will take with you through that change. Some moments in life will help to mark and shape your future, and trekking to the summit of “Freedom” does that.
We are very excited for the students joining us this summer on our Kilimanjaro Summit and Service trip. Bold Earth has been running adventure travel trips in Africa for over 20 years. Whether it’s a trip to South Africa or Tanzania, there are few other destinations that offer the combination of adventure, cultural immersion, and service that Africa has to offer. Please feel free to call us at 303-526-0806 with any questions, we’re always excited to talk adventure!