We have had reports recently that KINAPA, the Kilimanjaro National Park Authorities, have started to enforce certain rules that had previously been, if not exactly ignored, then certainly regularly flouted.
One of these rules states that children under 10 are not allowed to go to the summit, but only to 3100m. Although this rule has been around for at least two decades, it has never been properly enforced and, as a result, companies have found ways to circumvent this particular order. This is usually by bribing the rangers and other officials to turn a blind eye to any infraction.
It is for this reason that the record for the youngest child to get to the top is just seven years old, and down the years we have reported on at least a dozen occasions when an under-ten has made it to the summit.
However, we have had reports recently that the authorities, tired of companies and individuals flouting these rules, have issued directives clamping down on any agency that attempts to bypass them. We have even had reports of the rangers tailing groups with an under-ten in their party to make sure they didn’t go beyond the 3100m limit.
As a result, for the time being it looks like it may be impossible for children under ten to attempt to get to the summit unless they first have permission from KINAPA – which, as anyone who has tried to get permission or help from any official Tanzanian body will know, is often incredibly difficult!
UPDATE: November 2018
About three months after we wrote this post Coaltan Tanner, a six-year-old from Albuquerque, New Mexico, became the youngest person every to climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro . So it appears that once again it is possible, with a bit of persuading and perseverance, to take your under-ten offspring to the highest point in Africa. However, we know that it took a long time for the parents to get the necessary permission for Coaltan to be allowed to climb, so if you have similar ambitions for your son or daughter, start planning at least a year before you want to actually climb. After all, you don’t want to turn up on Kilimanjaro without the necessary permission.