Photo by Chris 73 / Wikimedia Commons

Mount Kilimanjaro Could Get a Cable Car If Controversial Plans Materialize

Top photo credit: Chris 73 / Wikimedia Commons

Ride a cable car to the top of Africa’s highest mountain? A plan revealed by Tanzania’s deputy minister of tourism could make this a reality.

Mount Kilimanjaro is a highlight on many climbers’ bucket lists. Standing 19,341 feet at the summit, the mountain towers above the surrounding landscape. And it’s so popular that it’s one of Tanzania’s major tourist attractions, pulling in about 50,000 people annually.

And now the country wants to make it even more popular.

Constantine Kanyasu, the deputy minister for tourism, told Reuters that the goals of the cable car project are to provide access to the mountain for those unable to climb it and to increase tourism by 50 percent.

The length and location of the cable car have not been finalized, reported Reuters. A number of assessments — engineering, environmental and more — need to occur prior to implementation.

Controversial Cable Car

But would more visitors actually boost spending in the country? Guides on the mountain note that each climber has as many as 15 people behind their effort. And while that number is certainly smaller for many climbers, guides are concerned a cable car could cut into their industry.

But while the country is conducting feasibility studies on possible routes at the moment, it’s worth noting that massive cable cars already exist. In China, for example, the Tiananmen Mountain Cableway stretches to 24,458 feet, making it the world’s longest.

Kanyasu said three companies, two from China and one from a Western nation, were considering the project. If built, Tanzania would become the fourth country in Africa to introduce cable cars.

Sean McCoy

Editorial Director Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.