I like to use a reasonable amount of dry kindling to get the charcoal going. I get a good little blaze going under and around the stack of Charcoal and then wait for the wood to burn itself out so I have a good bed of coals going. Never measured the temperature but it certainly grills very well and stays hot for hours.

I find with fire lighters or gel etc the charcoal doesn't light as well and takes longer to get properly hot. Even so it can take about half an hour or so for the BBQ to be ready to use.
Not as convenient as gas, but to me gas is just an outdoor grill and not a BBQ at all.