Africa’s Tallest Mountain Will Soon Have Full Cell Coverage

Mountain influencers of the world, rejoice: In a few months, you’ll be able to post selfies live from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

A high-speed connection has already been installed at the Horombo Huts at 3,720m. The plan is to extend that to the summit itself soon, Dan Bailey reported for UK Climbing. The cable is currently being laid toward the Kibo Hut at 4,720m, Bailey said. Kilimanjaro tops out at 5,895m.

Topo with most popular routes up Kilimanjaro, Marangu route coming from the SE marked in red.

The Marangu route. Map: Ultimate Kilimanjaro Treks

 

The connection will work anywhere on the Marangu, aka the Coca-Cola route, up the mountain. The Marangu is the oldest, easiest, and most crowded of the many options up Kilimanjaro. It is the only one with huts along the way. Trekkers don’t need to camp and can have their gear toted up and down the mountain for them.

A rescue tool

Because it’s so straightforward, it typically attracts the most inexperienced, sometimes unfit, and often poorly acclimatized people. This results in a significant number of would-be summiters falling sick and requiring evacuation. For this, cell coverage will help.

A climber sick with AMS is given O2 high up on Kilimanjaro, attended to by two local guides.

Rescue on Kiliamanjaro. Photo: Climbing Kilimanjaro

 

Kilimanjaro will thus become the fourth of the Seven Summits with a more or less constant cell connection. Everest is usually connected, thanks to a Chinese antenna and a signal receiver at Gorak Shep, on the mountain’s Nepali side. Aconcagua has had an antenna in Plaza de Mulas, at 5,000m, since 2020. Elbrus in Russia, with a ski resort on its lower slopes, is also connected.

Trekkers walk in line on volcanic, barren terrain, on the Marangu route up Kilimanjaro

Climbers on the Marangu route on Kilimanjaro. Photo: Tour Radar

 

There is no such service, however, in Denali National Park, or in Antarctica. Here, Mount Vinson climbers still need to use their satellite phones to communicate.

Carstensz Pyramid (Puncak Jaya), in remote Irian Jaya, also lacks a cellular link, although Carstensz involves a mere one-week expedition. Social media connections are amply available back in Bali, the start/finish point for most international climbers.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides is a college-graduated journalist specializing in high-altitude mountaineer and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.