Everest Base Camp or Mount Kilimanjaro: 6 Comparisons to Help you Decide
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Guest Post by Christa Singleton from Travel Fearlessly
The Himalayas of Nepal are a wonder to behold, a massive mountain range that is home to several of the world’s highest peaks. This includes Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on earth, whose base is accessible to even the most inexperienced hikers. On another continent is Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa, a solitary volcanic peak among miles of open savannah. Its summit can be reached in as few as 5 days and requires no technical climbing or advanced hiking skills.
Many travelers have dreams of experiencing these two famous treks and in an ideal world there would be money enough to do both. But what if you had to choose between climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or trekking to Everest Base Camp? This post will compare the major differences between the two adventures and hopefully by the end your decision will be a little easier to make.
Best for Wildlife: Everest Base Camp
Despite being surrounded by African savannah there isn’t much wildlife on Kilimanjaro itself. You may come across some monkeys at the base of the mountain but much of your trek is lacking in wildlife except for the occasional mouse or raven.
The trek to Everest Base Camp, however, is teeming with life. This will obviously vary depending on what time of the year you go. When I hiked in April I came across mountain goats, martins, Himalayan snowcocks and a variety of birds. If seeing wildlife during your trek is a must then choose EBC.
Best for Food: Kilimanjaro
This is only my opinion but I thought that the food on Kilimanjaro was so much better than Nepal. The food there was fresh, unique and hearty. Soups, sausages, chicken and veggies were served and we rarely ate the same thing twice. On Mount Kilimanjaro we never had to worry about consuming something that might make us sick.
Nepal, on the other hand, was a little more tricky. In Nepal animals cannot be slaughtered in Sagarmatha National Park. That means every piece of meat you see beyond Lukla has to be carried up the mountain by porter, increasing the risk of bacteria and food poisoning. We also steered clear of dairy (except powdered milk), just in case it wasn’t pasteurized. After a week of dal bhat, eggs and French fries I was craving a fresh garden salad and pizza!
Best for Views: Everest Base Camp
Mount Kilimanjaro IS the view so it stands to reason that when you’re hiking on it you’re not going to see much. On the way to Everest Base Camp, however, you’re surrounded by stunning views of the Himalayas. Everest itself isn’t much to look at but peaks like Ama Dablam will greet you every morning and that is not to be missed.
The views I loved most from Mount Kilimanjaro were actually the stars at night. Every time I woke up for a bathroom break I would stand outside my tent and marvel at the Milky Way. Those are views you can also get in Nepal, you just have to step outside the comfort of your warm teahouse and away from the buildings to catch a glimpse of the stars.
Best for Novice Hikers: Kilimanjaro
Deciding which hike is harder, Kilimanjaro or Everest Base Camp, is a big debate. Our group of 15 women who did both treks were split pretty evenly on this topic. Many who argued that Kilimanjaro was harder based their decision solely on the difficulty they experienced on summit night. And while I agree that it’s a grueling day I felt that the hike to Everest Base Camp was overall more difficult for me.
But what many of us agreed on was that Kilimanjaro is easier for beginner trekkers. The guides are more attentive, the trek is half as long and the time spent at high altitude is shorter. If you’ve never hiked at high altitude or for long distances then I recommend you start with Mount Kilimanjaro instead of Nepal.
Best for Budget: Everest Base Camp
Everest Base Camp is the clear winner when it comes to cost. It’s possible to trek on your own for as little as $40 a day if you don’t use a porter or guide, neither of which are required. On Kilimanjaro, however, you’re required to have a licensed guide for your climb. This along with about $200 per day in conservation and camping fees to the government of Tanzania can add up to an expensive trip. If cost is a major factor for you then hiking to Everest Base Camp is the way to go.
Best for Low Crowds: Kilimanjaro
While both destinations certainly have their high seasons and low seasons Kilimanjaro has an advantage over Everest Base Camp because there are 7 trails to choose from. Furthermore, with the exception of the Marangu Route all hikers on Kilimanjaro descend via a different route than the ones they came up. Because Everest Base Camp is an out-and-back trail you’ll encounter hikers passing from both directions, making for crowded conditions on narrow sections.
Whether you choose to climb the tallest mountain in Africa or trek among the Himalayas in Nepal you are sure to have an incredible and unforgettable journey. Deciding which one to choose will be the hard part!
Christa is a blogger and world adventurer who lives in Virginia with her husband and daughter. Her writing focuses on family and plus size travel sprinkled with a little Disney magic. Her current project is leading a plus-size only group up Mount Kilimanjaro, aptly named the Curvy Kili Crew. You can follow Christa on her adventures at www.travelfearlesslyblog.com