Mount Kilimanjaro

Many may wonder why Mountain Kilimanjaro is dubbed the “Roof of Africa” and regarded by all hikers as one of the best hiking destinations in the world. Yes, it is and will always be. We take you through the history, facts, attractions, location, and the best time to visit this stunning natural wonder.

The snow-capped Kilimanjaro Mountain is Africa’s tallest mountain; the world’s tallest single free-standing mountain and forth famous topographic summit on earth, with a height of 5,895 above sea level and width of 4,900metres. As many have done and still do, you can be part of the history makers by heading for an exciting hike to the “UHURU” peak while on your research, honeymoon, wildlife adventure, photography and Tanzania holiday.

Mountain Kilimanjaro is located east of Arusha city, north of Tanzania, and right at the border of Tanzania and Kenya where you can have a very clear view while in Amboseli national park. Research indicates that the glacier is slowly diminishing and in the future, there is a chance of having no ice at the mountain.

History of Mount. Kilimanjaro

The history of this mountain is a mystery though reports suggest that in 1860, some European explorers who happened to be among the first visitors called it Kilima-Njaro; a Kiswahili word meaning a “mountain” from Kilima and Caravans, derived from “Njaro”, as reported by Johann Ludwig, though with no evidence provided.

More and more arguments have come through, including that of the Wachagga people who argued that the mountain was unclimbable and called in “Kilemanjaare”.

Forward to the 1880s, the German East Africa took over the mountain and named it Kilima-Ndscharo; A composition of Kiswahili and German. Hans Meyer on 6th October 1889 reached the peak on the rim of Kibo and named it Kaiser Wilhelm peak; a name that existed until Tanzania attained her independence in 1964, changing it to Uhuru peak; translating to Freedom in Swahili dialect. Mountain Kilimanjaro has three volcanic cones; Mawenzi, Kibo and Shira.

Kibo is a dormant volcano; the highest at a height of 5,895 and expected to erupt in the future. It is where Uhuru peak seats, covered with the snow which is always seen clearing during the day. Kibo measures 24km wide thus the largest cone in the mountain, with encumbering flat terrain elevation. Reports suggest it last erupted 200,000 years ago resulting in the creation of the Kibo peak crater; it has a 2.5 km wide caldera, with an inner cone name Reusch caldera. There are five main lava formations at Kibo.

Mawenzi is extinct and stands at 5,149metres above sea level; the second-highest in the mountain, and believed to have last erupted 2 million years ago. It has a shoe-shaped edge, with the peak open to the northeast; additional peak; Neumann summit at Mawenzi rises 4,425 meters above sea level, and the youngest rocks are roughly 448,00years old.

Shira cone is the lowest, rising 4,005metres above sea level and extinct. History indicates that this cone erupted about 2.4million years ago, before the collapse of the last structure of the northern part. Shira is crowned by broad flat terrain, at 3800, packed with a caldera.

Millions of hikers take to the peak annually, but only a few of those reach Uhuru peak and have the privilege of jotting down their experience in the books of record. Not so much experience is required to reach the peak, besides courage, determination, and teamwork.

Records indicate that the youngest person to reach the peak at 7 years of age was Keats Boyd from Los Angeles on 21st January 2008; the oldest female was Anne Lorimor at the age of 89 and 39 days on 18 July 2019. The oldest man was Robert Wheeler, at the age of 85 and 201 days, on 2nd October 2014. Other Records of Bernard Goosen from South Africa who used him to reach the peak unsupported in 2007, within six days. Kyle Maynard with no arms also crawled to the summit unsupported. WHY NOT YOU?

Mountain Kilimanjaro vegetation.

The mountain is made of different layers of vegetation; starting with Bush land, around 800m-1,800m; an area used by the local natives to do cultivation, planting maize, beans and cereals among others. The Rain forest zone follows at 1,800-2,800m, offering you a chance of watching rare tree species, bird species, and primates among others.

2,800-4000m is covered by Moorland, and then Alpine Desert Zone follows at 4000m-5000m, anxiety is built and all senses are activated at this point, as you approach the peak at the Arctic Zone, 5,000m-5895m. Every step is so emotional, with stunning features and a variety of attractions.

Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

The number of days to reach Kilimanjaro peak depends on the hiker’s speed and fitness. However, testimonies from those who have made it to the summit revealed that the entire challenge may last for 5-8 nights.

The routes to follow include Lemosho; decorated with forests and green vegetation, and not so challenging; Shira route, composed of hills and very fascinating scenery located in the western side; Northern route, a little challenging but rewarding; Machame route is the busiest route and truly spectacular; Rongai route is situated in the northern section of the mountain and the easiest way to reach Uhuru peak; and the Marangu route, gifted with plenty of flora.

There is a wide range of flora and fauna in the park, with exception of dangerous predators such as lions. Some of the mammals, birds, primates, and reptiles recorded include among others; sunbird, mongooses, cape buffalos, bushbuck, chameleons, zebras, warthogs and duikers.

Best time to Visit Mountain Kilimanjaro

Hiking is best done during the dry season thus being the most recommendable time for your visit. There are two seasons; namely, the dry season which runs from June to October, Late December to February; and the wet season is March to May and November to early December. Snow on the summit is present all year round.

As you plan to have a safari to Mount Kilimanjaro, It is important to carry good hiking boots, warm clothes, medical insurance, personal necessities, professional cameras, and binoculars among others. Nights and meals are in the different camps at the mountain.

Mount Kilimanjaro is a true icon in the continent and a perfect tourist destination not only in Africa but the entire world. It is the tallest mountain in Africa and the tallest stand-alone mountain in the world.