Mount Kilimanjaro Tanzania

Mount Kilimanjaro Tanzania

With an elevation of 5,895 meters above sea level, Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest Mountain in Africa in addition to being the tallest free-standing Mountain (not part of a mountain range) in the whole World. This dormant Volcano (stratovolcano) is found in Northern Tanzania and is so far the fourth most topographically popular Peak on Earth.

Mount. Kilimanjaro has several summits/peaks (the highest being Uhuru peak) and also features three Volcanic Cones that include Mawenzi, Kibo and Shira. This Mountain is part of the vast Kilimanjaro National Park and stands approximately 4900 meters above its plateau base. Of the three Volcanic Cones on this Mountain, Kibo features the summit, the tallest and still active (meaning it could erupt anytime). The highest point on Kibo Crater is Uhuru and the remaining two Cones (Shira-4005 meters and Mawenzi-5149meters) are extinct.

Because of the effects of global warming/climate change, the glaciers (snow) on the summits of Mount Kilimanjaro are said to be shrinking and predicted to be no more between 2030 and 2050. However, continuous scientific studies are being conducted on this Mountain to ensure its survival.

History of Mount Kilimanjaro.

The origin of the name Kilimanjaro is still not known but it is said to have originated from the Swahili people along the Coast. “Kilima” means “Mountain” while “jaro” means “Caravans” or “njaro” to mean “greatness” thus generally translated as the “Mountain of greatness”.

Mount Kilimanjaro and the surrounding forests were gazetted as a Game Reserve in the early 20th Century and became a National Park in 1973 to protect the popular mountain above the tree line in addition to the six forest corridors that sprawl downslope through the montane forest belt. Kilimanjaro National Park was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.

Climate of Mount. Kilimanjaro.

Mount Kilimanjaro’s climate is greatly influenced by altitude of the mountain. This Mountain makes it possible for the equatorial trade winds, the high altitude anti-trade winds as well as the secluded position of the volcano to simultaneous influence its climate. There are two main wet seasons-March to May and another in November with the northern slopes of the mountain receiving much less rainfall than the southern slopes. The lower slopes of the southern part record about 800-900 millimeters of rainfall then increasing annually between 1500 to 2000 millimeters from elevation of 1500 meters above sea level.

The main climatic zones on Mount. Kilimanjaro are Bush lands or the lower slopes ranging between 800 and 1800 meters, the tropical rainforest from 1800 to 2800 meters, the Heather/Moorland from 2800 to 4000 meters, the Alpine Desert between 4000 and 5000 meters then finally Arctic zone from 5000 to 5895 meters above sea level.

Flora and Fauna of Mount. Kilimanjaro.

Mount. Kilimanjaro is characterized by varying vegetation zones from the bottom/base to its summit. You will find semi-arid scrub of the surrounding plateau, cultivated plains (with wheat, maize, beans and sunflower), well-watered southern slopes, thick cloud forest, open moorland, alpine desert and lichen/moss communities. The two prominent plant species on the moorlands are giant groundsel and giant lobelia.

The forests on the southern slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro are haven to forest elephants, black and white colobus monkeys, common elands, Tree hyraxes, warthogs, serval cats, bush babies, blue monkeys, forest buffaloes, Olive baboons, bush pigs, Aardvarks, four striped mouse, leopards, spotted genets, crested porcupine, Abbot’s duikers, Dik-Dik, Mongoose, hyenas, forest buffaloes, African Civets, zebras, duikers, bushbucks, giant forest hogs and many others. The Kilimanjaro shrew as well as the Kinyongia tavetana (chameleon species) are endemic to the Mountain.

The forests also offer shelter to wide range of bird species that include the rare starlings, White-necked Raven, sunbirds, silvery-cheeked hornbills, streaky seed-eaters, Scarlet-tufted malachite sunbirds and many others.

Hiking/Climbing Mount. Kilimanjaro.

Mount. Kilimanjaro is one of the popularly climbed mountains in the world and there are currently seven (7) well-established climbing routes. These routes are Machame (whiskey), Umbwe and Marangu (Coca Cola) approaching from the southern end of Mount. Kilimanjaro as well as Lemosho, Northern circuit and Shira routes approaching from the west of the Mountain while the Rongai route approaches from the Northern end of this snow-capped mountain.

The oldest person to have ever climbed Mount Kilimanjaro is Anne Lorimor who summited to Uhuru Peak on 18th July 2019 at 89 years, while the youngest climber to the highest peak is so far Maxwell J. Ojerholm (USA) at 10 years old on 4th July 2009.

Best time to Climb Mount. Kilimanjaro.

Before you decide to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, it is important to understand the challenge ahead of you and know the best time to climb. Popularity of route, prevailing weather conditions and trekking conditions have an influence on the time to climb this popular African Mountain. Firstly, it is possible to climb Mount Kilimanjaro all year round but the warm/dry months ate the most perfect.

Mid-June to late-October as well as December to mid-March present the best hiking conditions and weather for climbing this Mountain but are also the busiest.

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