Who First Climbed Kilimanjaro?

Who First Climbed Kilimanjaro? An Adventurous Journey through History

At Lyimo Expeditions, we believe every climb up Kilimanjaro tells a story, but none as legendary as the first. Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, stands majestically at 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) above sea level, beckoning adventurers from around the globe. Its snow-capped summit and diverse ecosystems make it a dream destination for trekkers. Yet, do you know who first had the audacity to conquer this mighty mountain? Allow us to take you on a cheerful journey back in time to discover the tale of the first climbers of Kilimanjaro.

The Early Explorers: Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller

The year was 1889, a time when the world was still largely unexplored, and the thought of climbing Kilimanjaro seemed as daunting as reaching the moon. Hans Meyer, a German geographer, and Ludwig Purtscheller, an Austrian mountaineer, dared to dream what seemed impossible. Their journey was not just a physical challenge but a test of courage, perseverance, and indomitable spirit.

Hans Meyer had attempted to climb Kilimanjaro twice before his successful ascent. His first attempt in 1887 ended in failure due to harsh weather conditions. Not one to give up easily, Meyer returned in 1888, only to be captured during the Abushiri Revolt – a rebellion against German colonial rule in East Africa. After his release and with a burning desire to conquer the peak, Meyer teamed up with Purtscheller, whose mountaineering skills were unparalleled.

The duo embarked on their historic climb on September 28, 1889. With the invaluable help of their local guide, Yohani Kinyala Lauwo, and a team of porters, they navigated through dense forests, crossed perilous ridges, and braved the freezing cold. On October 6, after a grueling eight-day climb, Meyer and Purtscheller stood atop Uhuru Peak, becoming the first known humans to conquer Kilimanjaro. Their triumph was a testimony to human determination and the allure of adventure.

The African Guide: Yohani Kinyala Lauwo

While Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller are often celebrated for their historic ascent, the unsung hero of this story is Yohani Kinyala Lauwo, a local Chagga tribesman. At just 18 years old, Lauwo’s intimate knowledge of Kilimanjaro’s terrain proved invaluable to the expedition’s success. Born and raised on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, Lauwo knew the mountain like the back of his hand.

Lauwo continued to guide climbers on Kilimanjaro for many years, and his legacy is deeply ingrained in the mountain’s history. He lived a long life, passing away in 1996 at the remarkable age of 125. His contribution to the first ascent of Kilimanjaro is a reminder of the importance of local expertise and the rich cultural heritage that surrounds this iconic peak.

The Mountain Today: A Climber’s Paradise

Fast forward to the present day, and Kilimanjaro remains one of the most sought-after trekking destinations in the world. Each year, thousands of adventurers from all corners of the globe flock to Tanzania to experience the thrill of climbing Africa’s tallest mountain. The allure of Kilimanjaro lies not only in its height but also in its diverse ecosystems, from lush rainforests to arid deserts, and its breathtaking views.

At Lyimo Expeditions, we are passionate about sharing the magic of Kilimanjaro with you. Our expertly crafted tours and safaris are designed to ensure you have an unforgettable experience while exploring the natural wonders of Tanzania. Whether you’re an experienced climber or a first-time trekker, our team of professional guides and porters are here to support you every step of the way.

Why Choose Lyimo Expeditions?

  1. Expert Guides: Our guides are not just experts in mountaineering but also deeply knowledgeable about the local culture and environment. They are dedicated to ensuring your safety and making your climb enjoyable.

  2. Customized Itineraries: We understand that every climber is unique. That’s why we offer customized itineraries to suit your preferences, fitness level, and schedule. Whether you prefer a challenging route or a more leisurely climb, we have options for everyone.

  3. Sustainable Practices: At Lyimo Expeditions, we are committed to responsible tourism. We work closely with local communities, adhere to ethical practices, and ensure that our expeditions have minimal impact on the environment.

  4. Comprehensive Support: From the moment you contact us to the day you reach the summit, we provide comprehensive support. Our team will assist you with pre-trek preparations, gear recommendations, and any questions you may have.

  5. All-Inclusive Packages: Our all-inclusive packages cover everything you need for a successful climb, including permits, accommodation, meals, and transportation. Just focus on the adventure, and we’ll take care of the rest.

Book Your Kilimanjaro Adventure with Lyimo Expeditions

Are you ready to follow in the footsteps of Hans Meyer, Ludwig Purtscheller, and Yohani Kinyala Lauwo? Join us at Lyimo Expeditions for an unforgettable journey to the Roof of Africa. Whether you’re aiming to summit Uhuru Peak or explore the stunning landscapes of Tanzania, we have the perfect tour for you.

Visit our website lyimoexpeditionskilimanjaro.com for more information about our Kilimanjaro climbs and Tanzania safaris. You can also reach us at info@lyimoexpeditionskilimanjaro.com or call us at +255718442953. Our friendly team is ready to help you plan the adventure of a lifetime.


The first successful ascent of Kilimanjaro is a story of courage, determination, and collaboration. Hans Meyer, Ludwig Purtscheller, and Yohani Kinyala Lauwo paved the way for countless adventurers to experience the magic of this iconic mountain. Today, Kilimanjaro continues to inspire and challenge those who dare to climb it.

At Lyimo Expeditions, we are honored to be part of this legacy and to share the wonders of Kilimanjaro with you. Join us for an epic adventure, create lifelong memories, and stand where history was made. Book your Kilimanjaro climb with Lyimo Expeditions today, and let the magic of Africa’s highest peak captivate your soul.

Embark on your journey with us, and let’s conquer Kilimanjaro together!

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