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Mount Kilimanjaro Crater


Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano located in Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania. It has three volcanic cones: Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. It is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest single free-standing mountain above sea level in the world: 5,895 m (19,341 ft) above sea level and about 4,900 m (16,100 ft) above its plateau base. It is the highest volcano in Africa and the Eastern Hemisphere.

Kilimanjaro is the fourth most topographically prominent peak on Earth. It is part of Kilimanjaro National Park and is a major hiking and climbing destination.

  Facts About Mount Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro stands on its own.

Kilimanjaro is not only Africa’s tallest peak but also the world’s tallest free-standing mountain. The summit, named Uhuru Point, is 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) above sea level.


Kilimanjaro stands on its own.


The mountain is on the equator.

The equator is an imaginary line that divides the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere. It passes through the exact center of the Earth and divides it in half.

The equator is distinct from the rest of the globe due to the high amount of solar radiation it receives. The equatorial climate stays nearly the same year-round. The dominant patterns here are either warm and wet or warm and dry.

Mount Kilimanjaro lies just 205 miles from the equator, in the country of Tanzania. When early explorers reported seeing glaciers on the top of Kilimanjaro, people did not believe them as they thought ice couldn’t form so close to the hot, equatorial sun. Scientists now believe that the glaciers shrink and then regrow during the planet’s ice ages.


the equator.
the equator.


Kilimanjaro isn’t dead; it’s dormant.

Mount Kilimanjaro is a stratovolcano – a term for a very large volcano made of ash, lava, and rock. Shira and Mawenzi are extinct volcanoes, meaning that there is no activity underneath these cones. In short, they are cut off from their supply of lava.

However, Kibo is considered a dormant volcano; it can erupt again! If a volcano hasn’t erupted in the last 10,000 years, but scientists think it will erupt again, it’s considered dormant.

The last major eruption was 360,000 years ago. The most recent activity was 200,000 years ago. The ash pit is a two-hour round-trip hike from the highest campsite, Crater Camp. Those who visit the ash pit will be greeted by the smell of sulfur from the volcano’s lava.


Mount Kilimanjaro Crater
Mount Kilimanjaro Crater


No one knows the real meaning of ‘Kilimanjaro.’

The origin of the name Kilimanjaro is not certain.

European explorers had adopted the name by 1860 and reported that “Kilimanjaro” was the mountain’s Swahili name. But according to the 1907 edition of The Nuttall Encyclopædia, the name of the mountain was “Kilima-Njaro,” comprised of the Swahili word “Kilima” meaning “mountain” and the Chagga word “Njaro” meaning “whiteness.”

German missionary Johann Ludwig Krapf wrote in his Missionary Labours (1860), “The Swahili of the coast call the snow-mountain Kilimanjaro, “mountain of greatness.” It may also mean “mountain of caravans” (kilima – mountain; Jaro caravans), a landmark for caravans seen everywhere from afar, but the inhabitants of Jagga call it Kibo, `snow.”

Another possibility is that Kilimanjaro is the European pronunciation of a KiChagga phrase meaning “we failed to climb it.”


Best Mount Kilimanjaro Trekking & Hike Tours
Mount Kilimanjaro

Half of the people who attempt Kilimanjaro fail.

Now approximately 30,000 people climb Kilimanjaro every year. Though not substantiated, it is often reported that 50% of climbers fail. This comes as a surprise as Kilimanjaro is not regarded as a particularly difficult peak when compared to other mountains. After all, it is not a technical peak and does not require superhuman abilities to scale it.

Why do so many people fail? Mostly due to altitude sickness. People make the mistake of selecting the wrong route. Many who fail choose to climb on the Marangu Route, which is the shortest path (five days round trip) to the peak. However, the best way to climb is to use a longer route to aid in acclimatization.

Additionally, many people climbing Kilimanjaro are first-time backpackers. They do not adequately prepare for their climb in terms of having the right gear, doing enough training, and hiring a reputable guide service.


Mount Kilimanjaro Trekking
Mount Kilimanjaro Africa Tanzania

The young and the old have conquered Kilimanjaro.

The youngest person to climb Kilimanjaro is American Coaltan Tanner, who summited at age six in 2018. The youngest girl to summit is Ashleen Mandrick, who was also six years old when she accomplished the feat, wrestling that title away from Montannah Kenney, who was seven.

The minimum age for climbing Kilimanjaro is 10 years old, but the park authority grants exceptions to children who have significant experience trekking.


Mount Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro


The journey to the summit is like going from the equator to Antarctica.

While climbing Kilimanjaro, trekkers will experience five distinct ecological zones on their way to the top. These include:

  • Bushland/Cultivated Zone: 2,600′-6,000’/800m-1,800m
  • Rainforest Zone: 6,000′-9,200’/1,800m-2,800m
  • Heath/Moorland Zone: 9,200′-13,200’/2,800m-4,000m
  • Alpine Desert Zone: 13,200′-16,500’/4,000m-5,000m
  • Arctic Zone:16,500’+/5,000m+

Weather conditions near the base of the mountain tend to be tropical to semi-temperate and are relatively stable all year round. The lower plains are hot and dry. As one heads away from the bushland towards the rainforest, conditions become increasingly warm and humid.

Each zone gets colder and drier as the elevation increases. Plant and animal life also disappear with the rise in altitude through the heath and alpine desert zones.

The summit is in the arctic zone, characterized by ice and rock. At this altitude, categorized as “extreme”, there can be no permanent human habitation as the body is in a state of deterioration (short exposures are OK).


Mount Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro


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