Work Begins Soon on Kilimanjaro Cable Car

Africa Kilimanjaro
Aerial image of Mt Kilimanjaro, which will soon have a cable car route
Photo: Ricardas Anusauskas/Shutterstock

In December 2020, officials in Tanzania approved installing a cable car on Mount Kilimanjaro. On Tuesday, November 30, 2021, Tanzania’s deputy minister for natural resources and tourism announced that construction would begin soon. The improvement is a part of the nation’s broader plan to revitalize recreational tourism.

Measuring 5,895m at its Uhuru summit on the Kibo volcanic cone, Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest point and the world’s tallest freestanding mountain. According to the Tanzanian National Parks Authority, the cable car will end at Kilimanjaro’s 3,700m mark, some 2,000m shy of the summit. This will make it the fourth-highest cable car in the world, after the Merida gondola in Venezuela (4,765m), the new Swiss aerial tram to Klein Matterhorn (3,883m), and the cable car to the Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix (3,842m).

Cable car on the Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix, France. Photo: Shutterstock

Kilimanjaro cable car route

According to an Outside article from February 2021, the cable car route will follow Kilimanjaro’s southern Machame route. Due to its numerous ecosystems, proximity to the main thoroughfare, and summit success rate, Machame is one of Kili’s most popular drags. Park officials estimate that the Machame route alone rakes in up to half of the park’s visitors.

Reportedly, the route will comprise six columns, an aerial suspension system, and 15 cable cars suitable for up to six adults per cabin.

Sources close to the matter estimate that the cable car route will begin near the Machame trail’s entry point, nearly 2,000m above sea level. It will likely end at the volcanic Shira Plateau. Officials state that the runs will last around 20 minutes one way.

Machame Route gate. Photo: Polina Meleca via Shutterstock

The cable car launch site will likely run from Machame gate (seen here) to the Shira Plateau. Photo: Polina Meleca/Shutterstock

Implications

Hiking remains the most popular way up the mountain, but the physical demands and high altitude put a damper on the peak’s accessibility. Park officials estimated that of the area’s 50,000 annual tourists, 35,000 attempted to broach the summit. How much tourism potential was the nation forfeiting by not providing accessible infrastructure at its crowning destination?

In mid-2019, one study showed that such an infrastructure could increase Tanzania’s tourism numbers by 50%. Thus, the proposed a cable car system on Mount Kilimanjaro, which the government greenlighted late last year.

You can head to the Kilimanjaro National Park website to learn more about developments and the region in general.

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About the Author

Jilli Cluff

Jilli Cluff

Jilli grew up in the rural southern Colorado mountains, later moving to Texas for college.
After seven years in corporate consulting, she was introduced to sport climbing. In 2020, Jilli left her corporate position to pursue an outdoor-oriented life.
She now works as a contributor, an editor, and a gear tester for ExplorersWeb and various other outlets within the AllGear network.
She is based out of Austin, Texas where she takes up residence with her climbing gear and one-eared blue heeler, George Michael.

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Shalally
Shalally
1 month ago

I think the nature should be left to control at itself.The mountain has been there for a while and the visitors are enjoying the climb.Think about Wildlife,and everything of nature in the entire route your going to install the cable car honestly Your going to destroy a big part of our beautiful mountain while installing your cable car. I can’t imagine this stupidity you didn’t even speak with people working in the field like Native guides. What i can say here if you can’t climb it we have an option, You can drink it, we have kilimanjaro beer.

+15
John Ngoma
John Ngoma
1 month ago
Reply to  Shalally

The cable car will end at the SHIRA plateau and not at the summit(Kibo) so its not suitable for climbers. You need to know that Kilimanjaro has three mountains MAWENZI, KIBO AND SHIRA.

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Mac
Mac
1 month ago
Jerry Kobalenko
Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Mac

You’re right; our older source for that information did not list the Klein Matterhorn, which only opened in 2018 and edges out the Aiguille du Midi by a few metres. We’ve corrected the text. Thank you.

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Eddy De wilde
Eddy De wilde
1 month ago

As long as the cable car is only used by day trippers then at least there won’t be a whole heap of altitude sickness victims. Question is who can afford a ticket? A mountain is best seen from a distance up close you probably see trees and look onto the plains. Who knows where International tourism is going with the pandemic?.

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