Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s tallest mountain standing at 20,000 feet making it one of the seven summits.
Located in North East Tanzania, the majestic mountain can also be seen from the Amboseli National Park in Kenya.
The snow covered dormant mountain is one of Africa’s pride and heart. A popular challenge among climbers, the mountain is vast in its ecological system and is a habitat to different species of plants and animals.
Here are some of the intriguing facts about this great landmark.
1. A gentle giant
Mount Kilimanjaro is known to be the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world. It boasts a height of 5895 metres above sea level. It was formed millions of years ago as a result of hardened lava flow after volcanic eruptions. It is made up of hardened ash, pumice rocks, tephra ash and other volcanic material.
2.Three volcanic cones
The mountain has three volcanic cones namely, Shira, Mawenzi and Kibo, which are a mixture of dormant and extinct. Mawenzi and Shira are considered extinct because they have not erupted for over ten thousand years while Kibo is dormant and could possibly erupt again. The last major eruption took place more than three hundred thousand years ago and the most recent occurred two hundred years ago.
3.It is symbolic
The mountain is more than just a natural feature that stands in Tanzania. It holds a lot of significance for the nation as a whole and to the locals that reside around it. When Tanzania became independent from British colonial rule in 1961, then president, Julius Nyerere announced that the national flag and torch be put on the mountain peak. This symbolized hope, love, freedom and dignity for the people of Tanzania. For the Chagga community, the mountain also holds a more personal touch as it represents the close relationship among the people. They are also known to be the best to consult on matters of the mountain.
4.Attracts thousands of climbers annually
Kilimanjaro is a very popular tourist destination for climbers and mountaineers. It is visited by more than twenty thousand climbers annually who attempt to make it to Uhuru peak. It takes climbers six days on average to reach the peak. Success rates vary due to many factors. Many people fail to reach the peak because of altitude related complications and other underlying conditions. There have also been few deaths that have been reported over the years. Reaching the mountains peak has been described as life changing by many climbers. It gives you a sense of fulfilment and creates a lifetime’s worth of memories.
Over the years, Mount Kilimanjaro’s snow caps have been melting due to climatic changes. With issues like global warming on the rise, the mountain’s caps are at risk of completely melting in the next couple of years. Another challenge is the fact that the water sources are drying up. The mountain is one of the region’s most important water sources and therefore the impact of this is severe. Governments have been making an effort to reforest the mountain in order to revive it and reduce the risk of water shortages.
6.Extra ordinary climbers
The mountain has been climbed by people from all walks of life including people will different forms of disabilities. Many have successfully reached Uhuru peak with very little assistance from others. The size of the mountain did not intimidate them and some have even scaled the mountain more than once. The youngest climber was seven year old Boyd Keats and the oldest climber was 85 year old Daniel Val Tee. This goes to show you that nothing is impossible.
Mount Kilimanjaro has had some interesting visitors over the years that have broken Guinness World Records. In 2016, Pizza Hut broke the world record for highest pizza delivery on land. There have also been records broken for world’s highest football match and highest cricket match by athletic teams.