Best Mountain Climbing documentaries and books:Mt.Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro is on most people’s bucket list, and it’s one of the more daunting items we hope to cross off.
There are so many stories to be told about the daunting yet doable climb to the Roof of Africa, and it can be hard to decide which to dive into first.
Whether you’re planning your trip, just returned, or simply love a good adventure story, you’ll be sure to enjoy these excellent books and films about Africa’s highest mountain.
Follow a mountaineer through the wilderness, scamper along the trails with a fictional mouse, or cry as a disabled hero achieves his greatest dream!
No matter who you are or what you love to do, there’s enough adventure in these books and movies to satiate your lust for adventure.
Best Mountain Climbing Documentaries about Kilimanjaro
#1. Kilimanjaro – To the Roof of Africa by Heidi Albertsen (Actor), Nicole Wineland-Thomson (Actor), David Breashears (Director)
The best way to experience Mount Kilimanjaro without strapping on your hiking boots is to watch a documentary on the mountain! This film will take your breath away as it sweeps you from stunning view to stunning view.
You’ll get to feel all the romance of the mountain without fighting through the pain—in fact, the hardship of climbing the mountain is glossed over in order to present a wondrous view of Kilimanjaro’s majesty.
The viewing experience in this film is set to beautiful music, composed by Alan Williams, that embodies the spirit of Kili and sub-Saharan Africa.
This documentary won’t teach you how to trek the mountain, but it will educate you on the history, culture, and geography of the region while offering shots of the area that make you feel like you’re actually there.
The film was created for IMAX, so anyone who has seen an IMAX movie before can imagine the sort of videography treat you’re in for when you watch this film. Even on your comparatively tiny personal screen, the documentary is an excellent movie.
#2. Nova – Volcano Above the Clouds: Kilimanjaro, Africa’s Tallest Mountain
Although this documentary is not quite as high-quality or as interesting as “Kilimanjaro – To the Roof of Africa,” it’s actually a bit more realistic. The focus of this film is on the actual experience of climbing the mountain. It includes the pain, the process, and the thrill of finally making it to the top.
It also gives more credit where credit is due, since the hired guides who carry tourists’ equipment and personal items play a huge role in the trip and are often ignored in many accounts of the climb.
Another unique and essential aspect of this documentary is its focus on environmental issues. As it takes the viewer through the fives biomes of Mount Kilimanjaro, it discusses the impact of human irresponsibility and global warming on each area.
It also addresses the threat of an eruption if things don’t change for the better. In short, this documentary shows you the human and natural struggle of Kilimanjaro, something just as beautiful and wonderful as the sweeping views, although more heartbreaking and messy.
However, the most poignant things are, in the end, the loveliest. This film captures that truth perfectly.
#3. Beyond Limits by Michael Clarke Duncan – Narrator (Actor), Kent Bassett (Director)
This is not your typical Mount Kilimanjaro ascent story. Bonner Paddock is an undefeatable man, but he has one limitation that threatens to hold him back—his lifelong struggle with cerebral palsy. Despite his disability, Paddock is determined to climb Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro.
Over eight days, he and his group take on the grueling trek through nearly prohibitive conditions and unbearable temperatures.
In the end, Paddock and his friends achieve success and reach the top, proving that the only limitations you have are the ones you allow to hold you back.
This inspiring story will bring you to tears and inspire you to tackle whatever challenges you’re facing with courage and gusto! If Paddock can climb Mount Kilimanjaro despite his cerebral palsy, anything is possible. This is the sort of story everyone loves: the least likely character becomes the hero we all hope for.
Best Mountain Climbing Books about Kilimanjaro
#1. Kilimanjaro – The Trekking Guide to Africa’s Highest Mountain: (Includes Mt Meru And Guides To Nairobi, Dar Es Salaam) by Henry Stedman
The best kind of guide books are the ones written by someone who has actually been there. And there is no doubt that Henry Stedman has not only been to Mount Kilimanjaro, but has also learned its trails like the back of his hand!
Stedman is an English-born author who has written multiple guide books on rough-and-tough travel, ranging from Palestine to East Asia. His best seller, however, is this book on trekking Mount Kilimanjaro.
Stedman’s philosophy is that pretty much anyone can climb Kili if they really want to, and his book is written to teach Average Joe what to do to get to the summit. Even if you’re a seasoned mountain climber, though, you’ll want this guide for your first Kilimanjaro ascent.
The book is choc-full of maps, photos, advice, and anything else you might need. Not only will you get an excellent overview of the routes, but you’ll also learn about the interesting details. There is a nearly comprehensive wildlife section to help you identify plants as you climb.
In addition, Kilimanjaro – The Trekking Guide to Africa’s Highest Mountain also helps you stay safe and healthy. In the book, you’ll learn about good guide agencies, information about lodging and the nearby towns, and how to stay healthy.
The book especially covers prevention and care for altitude sickness, which is usually the culprit when climbers can’t make it to the top.
#2. Kilimanjaro Diaries: Or, How I Spent a Week Dreaming of Toilets, Drinking Crappy Water, and Making Bad Jokes While Having the Time of My Life by Eva Melusine Thieme
This travel memoir is as hilarious as its title. It’s a true account of a Kilimanjaro climb written by a former expat and mother of four, who decided to hike the mountain with her teenaged son.
Nothing quite prepared Eva for the climb to the top of Kilimanjaro! All the dreams of summiting the mountain and rejoicing on the Roof of Africa came true in the end, but along the way were many trials and terrors.
Not the least of these was the toilet situation, which will leave you laughing out loud. If you would enjoy for a fun, engaging read about an average human on an incredible real-life adventure, this book is definitely for you.
Theime serves her laughter with a side of information, so you’ll get to learn as you laugh. Along with the anecdotes and humor, you’ll also get to read about the history and geography of the region, as well as a climbing itinerary and information that is useful to anyone (especially a woman) who is planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
Actually, any mother would enjoy this book, as it is heavily based in the author’s experiences of parenting and her travels with her teenaged son. Kilimanjaro Diaries is more than a trek journal; it is a discovery in traveling, parenting, and pushing past one’s limits.
#3. Kilimanjaro: A Photographic Journey to the Roof of Africa by Michel Moushabeck and Hiltrud Schulz
There aren’t too many fifty-somethings who have braved the heights of Kilimanjaro, but Michel Moushabeck is one who has. As age 53, he decided to hike the mountain with a friend, who happened to be a photographer.
Moushabeck’s text and his partner’s photographs come to together in this book to create a perfectly alluring tale of a particular trip up the mountain.
Mousaback is an accomplished musician, and he weaves his love of music throughout the book in colorful descriptions of the sounds and sights of Africa. Join the trip as you read along from the comfort of your chair, free of the altitude sickness and cold, but captivated by the adventure of Kilimanjaro.
The author will take you along up the gentle slope of the mountain, from the fiery heat of its base, through the lush greenery of the rainforest, and up into the chill barren wastelands of Kilimajaro’s majestic summit.
You may pick up this book expecting to enjoy it from the comfort of your living room, and find yourself a year later actually summiting the peak yourself! The book is an inspiration for anyone even remotely interested in trekking Kili.
Just as the author decided to go on a whim and succeeded, you may realize that it’s time to break the monotony of life and do the same.
#4. One Step at a Time: A Climb Up Mount Kilimanjaro by Dr. Joel Batzofin
Dr. Joel may have been born in Africa, but as an adult, he was very much entrenched in his life as a successful doctor in the United States of America. All of that changed when his daughter asked him to hike Mount Kilimanjaro with her.
From then on, life was never quite the same for Dr. Joel. As Batzofin discusses in his book, the climb up Kilimanjaro causes the hiker to reflect on life.
Everyone has to climb their mountains in life, but those difficulties are not insurmountable. One of the best way to realize this (as Dr. Joel found) is to get outside your personal bubble and see the joy that even the most destitute can find, or to gaze over a sweeping vista and realize just how big and beautiful the world is.
Once the author climbed the mountain and came to this epiphany, he put his inspiration to practice—medical practice, that is. He decided to volunteer his time as a bush doctor and small village hospital. For those needing a new perspective on life, this book is a wonderful and inspiring read.
#5. Mighty Mount Kilimanjaro by Geronimo Stilton (For Kids)
Mighty Mount Kilimanjaro is just one in a long series of books starring Geronimo the mouse. Your kids can join Geronimo on his fictitious climb up Kili, learning some basics about the mountain’s geography as they go. Although the book is somewhat educational, it is mostly written to entertain children.
The downside to this is that kids won’t learn a ton about Africa from the book, but the upside is that it doesn’t feel at all like a school textbook (even the kind that pretends to be entertaining), so they’ll actually have recreational fun while they get a feel for what it’s like to climb Kilimanjaro.
Who knows—they may even be inspired enough by Geronimo to start dreaming about their own future climb! This book is most suited for children between the ages of six and eight, although kids up to eleven can enjoy the stories for some light entertainment reading. Even parents will have fun reading Geronimo Stilton with their kids!
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