At over 19,000-feet, Mount Kilimanjaro stands alone as not only the tallest mountain in Africa, but also the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. It's the easiest of the Seven Summits to climb and each year over 40 000 trekkers take to one of the seven paths that lead to what has become known as the 'roof of Africa'.
Walking for psychological reasons, physical accomplishment or charity those that reach the top of the snow-covered peak go through a deeply personal development.
Not only the easiest of the Summits, Kilimanjaro (or Kili as it's known) is also the cleanest and one of the most beautiful, en route trekkers encounter five distinct eco-systems that range from dense rainforest to an arctic zone.
In the documentary An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore showed photos of the mountain's shrinking glaciers; ice cores date the glaciers at 11,700 years old—and yet scientists estimate they will all be gone in the next 20-30 years. It is said that you can stand next to the glaciers and literally watch them disintegrate.
The mortality of the mountain, combined with a great sense of personal achievement make Mount Kilimanjaro a perfect bonding experience for families – with the minimum age limit set at 10-years old, this is especially relevant to teenagers and parents who may need to get over emotional conflict and grow together and individually.
Although the trek is non-technical – climbing ropes are not required – there are risks. Long trekking days, high altitude acclimatization challenges, and cold weather give the journey an element of danger, but with the aid of experienced staff, children as young as 11-years old and their families, have overcome these challenges and relished in the feeling of having accomplished something so epic as a family.
A trekker and father of four, Craig Riggs, sums up the experience best: “To hear the experience from the mouths of my kids is priceless. It will be something we have as family and friends that we will never forget.”
But climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is only part of the Tanzania experience. Set against the Serengeti, a trip to the mountain is incomplete without visiting the Great Rift Valley.
On safari, there is ample opportunity to see Africa’s famous “big five”, the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and Black rhinoceros, as well as countless others: species of birds, reptiles and mammals.
Dean Cardinale, founder of WWTrek, an international trekking company that specializes in providing high quality experiences, remarks that often, “at dinners in the safari lodge, conversation is consumed by trekkers accounting all the animals they saw that day, and this can go on for hours.”
However, a safari through the vast Serengeti National Park or the dense Ngorongoro Crater is about far more than viewing animals, it is also about environmental education.
Information provided from guides about the circle of African wildlife supplies the necessary background information for understanding the movements of animals on the plains below. This gives viewers greater context for grasping the importance of wildlife conservation and preservation of the ecosystem. The terrifying and exciting natural beauty of the African wilderness is a great way to get people of all ages interested, attentive, and participating in learning about the natural environment.
As the safari experience is about more than animals, the trek is about more than the trekkers themselves. With a visit to the Kilimanjaro Kids Community, a Human Outreach Project (HOP) orphanage, families have the opportunity to participate in volunteerism and give back to the local community by lending hands and hearts to ongoing projects. Great benefits are derived from meeting and interacting with the children ofthe orphanage knowing that help and donations today will contribute to their long-term success.
World Wide trekking is an international trekking company that specializes in providing high quality experiences in trekking and in giving back to the communities they visit.
Experienced western and Tanzanian WWTrek guides accompany the trekkers to provide careful guidance, security, and information in a foreign environment. With fun and safety as the primary concerns, guides supply ample knowledge about the surrounding ecology and most importantly generate a light and festive atmosphere with songs, dance, and celebration.
The comprehensive African experience with WWTrek goes beyond the mountain, taking the trekker and family from high adventure on the roof of Africa, to humbling encounters with African wilderness and local people.