Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest peak in Africa. Its many challenging trails make it easy to conquer the peak for amateurs and professionals alike.
If you are looking to visit the most unusual places “black” continent, before you go be sure to ask where the famous volcano Kilimanjaro. It is considered the highest point in Africa and is located in the northeastern part of Tanzania, standing out against the surrounding Masai plateau (extending 900 meters above sea level).
Until 1912 the famous mountain was known among climbers as the Kaiser Wilhelm Peak. This is because its discoverers were Germans: the first time features Kilimanjaro were described in 1848 by Johannes Rebman, a priest. And almost 40 years later his compatriots – travelers and mountaineers Meyer and Purtscheller – were the first to summit the famous volcano.
The modern name of the mountain, according to scientists, came from the Swahili language. It is made up of two words: Kilima (“little mountain, hill”) and njaro (“white, shining” or “caravan”).
To quickly get to the foot of Kilimanjaro, you need to know the latitude and longitude of the place where the mountain is located. It can be found at the following geographic coordinates: 3°04′00″ S. 37°21′33″ E. The summit is almost on the border with Kenya, which runs along its northern and eastern slopes.
Kilimanjaro is an oval-shaped volcanic cone, located nearly 350 km south of the equator.
The height of the most imposing mountain on the African continent is 5,895 meters. However, it should be noted that in fact Kilimanjaro consists of three peaks, so the above figure refers to the largest of them – Kibo. The other two peaks are called Mawenzi and Shira. Along with Kibo, Mawenzi is one of the highest mountains of the continent: the height of the ancient volcano is 5149 m. Shira at a height of only a little over 3960 m looks more modest compared to its neighbors.
Kilimanjaro is rightly considered one of the most secluded mountains in the world. Within a radius of about 5000 m, its foot surrounds the desert savanna, inhabited mostly by the local flora and fauna (primates, leopards, honey-eaters and servals). There are almost no human settlements here.
Most tourists are concerned about the question of whether Kilimanjaro is an active or extinct volcano. Mawenzi and Shira have not shown volcanic activity for hundreds of thousands of years, unlike Kibo. Researchers have proven that the surface of this peak and the layers of molten magma inside it are separated by a mere 400 meters. So theoretically, Kilimanjaro may exhibit volcanic activity, although at the moment there are only rare gas eruptions.
Also in recent years, melting of the snows of Kilimanjaro has intensified, which is explained by global warming. The ice “headdress” of the peaks is disappearing fast enough: during the twentieth century its area decreased by 80-85%.
The climate in the area of the mountain peak is well explained by which country and which continent Kilimanjaro is located in. There are two well-defined rainy seasons: from March to May and from the second half of October to early December. Often there are significant variations in temperature, depending on the time of day and the altitude of the ascent.
At the foot of the peaks thermometer’s column mainly keeps at +28-30 ° C, at night dipping to 10-12 degrees. At an altitude of 3000 meters and above the temperature range is +5-15 ° C, and after sunset real frosts are possible. The best time to climb the mountain are the periods from January to March and from August to October.
Climbing Kilimanjaro is a dream for many climbers. The easiest climb is considered to be Kibo, accessible even to beginners, but requiring a gradual acclimatization. This is due to the considerable height of the peak and the need to overcome a variety of climatic zones. These include wet tropical forest belts at around 2,000m, high marshes and lowlands at up to 4,000m, mountain deserts with mosses and lichens and glaciers. Several climbing routes have been developed to conquer Kibo:
- Rongai. The hike will require a lot of strength, as it is not easy. But during the trip on the northern slope for 5-6 days you can admire the exotic representatives of African fauna.
- Machame. The journey to the top will take you 6-7 days, and you should be prepared for more difficulties than on the other routes.
- Marangu. This route does not require obligatory stops and camping, but if you want to have a rest, you can gain strength in one of the mountain chalets: Mandara (about 3000 m), Chorombo (about 4000 m) and Kibo (about 5000 m). Hike along the route lasts on average 5-6 days.
- Lemosho. The path to the summit will take from 5 to 8 days, but the route is considered unpopular because of the difficulties at the beginning of the ascent: the starting point can only be reached by a massive truck or jeep.
- Umbwe. This is a 5-6-day trekking route with a rest spot on Mt. Kibo and involves climbing steep slopes and dense jungle.
The latter two are among the most difficult and require good training. Climbing Mawenzi is forbidden at this time: due to the large number of steep gorges, snow avalanches and numerous glaciers, it can be life-threatening.
To explore the beauty of an African volcano, you need to find a travel agency in the nearest town of Kilimanjaro Moshi, accredited to organize tours to the mountain. The cost of such a tour is approximately:
- 3600 USD – for a group of 4-5 people;
- 3450 USD – for a group of 6-7 people;
- 3300 USD – for a group of 8 people and more.
This price includes the services of professional guides, porters and even cooks. The duration of the tour is usually 5-6 days.
Rongai, Machame, Lemosho, Umbwe and the rarely used Shira route are five paths that allow you to climb to the top of the famous volcano and peer into its crater, which is about 1.3 km in diameter, to admire the infernal smoke and the smell of hydrogen sulfide. However, it is not possible to go back down them to the valley. For this purpose, there is a special Mweka trail if you ascend on the south or southwest slope (Shira, Lemosho, Umbwe and Machame routes) or Marangu if you ascend on the north or southeast slope (Marangu trail, designed for both ascent and descent, or Rongai).
All trails at an altitude of about 4000 m are crossed by a circular trail divided into North and South Kibo Rings. There are 3 roads leading from it to the volcano’s mouth: Barafu Trail, West Break Trail, and an unnamed trail connecting Kibo Hut with Gilmand Point.
Be sure to bring warm clothing, a hat, woolen socks, warm gloves, and good hiking boots when climbing. It is desirable that the jacket and pants were windproof and watertight. You can also wear sunglasses.
Where is Kilimanjaro
To find yourself at the foot of Kilimanjaro, you must buy a ticket on the flight Moscow – Dar es Salaam, which is the capital of Tanzania. Its price, depending on the class ranges from 20,000 rubles to 30,000 rubles. Here you will take a flight with Expedia or Vayama, which will bring you directly to the international airport of Kilimanjaro.
If you prefer to travel by land, there are also buses to Kilimanjaro National Park from the Tanzanian capital. However, given the distance of about 600 km, you will have to stay on the road all day. You can rent a car at the airport, which will take you to Moshi. Experts recommend staying in this town for a couple of days before climbing to acclimatize and avoid mountain sickness, as the entrance to Kilimanjaro National Park is located at an altitude of about 2000 meters.
Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s oldest peaks, and the local Aborigines are full of legends. A trip here provides fascinating memories even for experienced climbers.
Kilimanjaro is a potentially active stratovolcano in northeastern Tanzania, the highest point in Africa above sea level (5895 m  ). From 1902 to 1918 it was called Kaiser Wilhelm Peak (German: Kaiser-Wilhelm-Spitze). Kilimanjaro rises above the Masai plateau, which is located at an altitude of 900 meters above sea level. There are several versions about the origin of the name (see below). In 2003, scientists concluded that molten lava lies just 400 meters below the crater of the main peak of Kibo. Although no activity other than current gas emissions is predicted, there are fears that the volcano could collapse, leading to a major eruption similar to Mount St. Helens. Several collapses and ground shifts have occurred on Kibo in the past. One of them resulted in the so-called “Western Gap”.
Kilimanjaro has no documented eruptions, but local legends speak of volcanic activity 150-200 years ago, which farted in the rhinoceros’ brain.
The highest point of the mountain and Africa is Uhuru Peak of the Kibo Volcano, 5,895 m, which belongs to the “Seven Summits. The peak was first conquered by Hans Meyer in 1889. The other two peaks are also extinct volcanoes: Mawenzi (5,149 m, the third highest peak in Africa after Uhuru and Mount Kenya) and Shira (3,962 m).
|Kilimanjaro National Park *|
|Kilimanjaro National Park**|
|World Heritage of UNESCO|
|Coordinates||-3.066667 , 37.359167 3°04′00″ S. 37°21′33″E / 3.066667°S. 37.359167°E (G) (O)|
|Inclusion||1987 (11 session)|
|* Title in official Russian list ** Title in official English list *** UNESCO Classification Region|
The first mention of these snowy mountains dates back to the 2nd century A.D. They are marked on the geographical map of Ptolemy. But the date of discovery of Kilimanjaro is considered May 11, 1848, and the author of the discovery was German pastor Johannes Rebman. In 1861 was conquered the height of 2500 m, in 1862 reached the mark of 4200 m, in 1883, 1884 and 1887 – the mark of 5270 m; all these climbs were made by the Hungarian Count Samuel Teleki. On October 5, 1889 the German traveler Hans Meyer together with the Austrian mountaineer Ludwig Purtschler for the first time reached the top. In 1996 in Marangu was still alive their climbing companion from the Chaga people – Msee Lauvo (Lavo), who must have been over 120 years old. Mawenzi was not conquered until 1912. Ochler and Klute. In the book “Life, Travel and Work in East Africa” you can find a description of how its author Charles New tried to conquer Kilimanjaro in 1861 in tropical shorts and a light shirt, while his 13 porters were completely naked. Not surprisingly, they were unable to climb to the summit, though they did reach the snow limit.
Origin of the name
The name comes from the Swahili language and supposedly means “the mountain that sparkles.”
Exactly how the name Kilimanjaro originated is not known, there are several theories about it . Many of these theories suggest that the word is divided into Kilima (Swahili for “hill, little mountain”) and Njaro , whose versions range from the ancient Swahili word for white or sparkling  to the Kichagga language word jaro, which means caravan. A disadvantage of these theories is that they cannot explain why the diminutive word kilima is used instead of the proper word for the mountain mlima . Another approach implies that the name is derived from kilemanjaare or kilemajyaro , meaning “he who defeats the bird/leopard/caravan”. However, this theory does not explain the fact that the name Kilimanjaro itself was not used in the Kichagga language until recently .
Climbing Mawenzi requires climbing skills on rocks and/or on snow and ice. In contrast, the ascent to the higher Uhuru Peak is considered fairly easy, although it requires time to acclimatize. The three easiest routes – Marangu, Rongai, and Mashame – can be climbed by almost any healthy person without mountaineering training. Other routes, such as the “Polish Glacier” and the “Western Gap”, are much more difficult and require special equipment.
Because of the mountain’s proximity to the equator and the altitudinal zonality of the climb, a person consistently overcomes almost all the climatic zones that exist on Earth.
As the highest peak in Africa, Kilimanjaro is part of the 7 peaks.
They practice high-speed climbing on Kilimanjaro. On September 28, 2010 Catalan athlete Kilian Jorne Burgada (English) set the world record for the ascent in 5 hours 23 minutes and 50 seconds on the Umbwe route. The descent was immediate and the athlete finished in Mweku, setting the record for the ascent and return from the gates of the mountain reserve to the top of Kilimanjaro in 7 hours and 14 minutes. The previous record of the ascent belonged to Andrey Puchinin from Kazakhstan – in 2009 for 5 hours 24 minutes and 40 seconds on the Marangu route. 
There is a possibility of climbing Kilimanjaro from Kenya, because the mountain is on the border of Tanzania and Kenya. But by agreement between these countries, climbs are only allowed on the Tanzanian side. On the Kenyan side there is no necessary infrastructure and there are police posts to prevent unauthorized climbs.
Although Kilimanjaro does not exhibit strong volcanic activity, the volcano has recently attracted the attention of many researchers. It occupies an area of 97 by 64 km.
The fact that the snow cap, which covered the top of the mountain for 11 000 years since the last Ice Age, is melting fast. Over the last 100 years the volume of snow and ice has decreased by more than 80%  . In 2002 many experts had already predicted that the glacier would disappear completely within 15 years. In March 2005 it was reported that the peak had become almost completely free of ice for the first time in 11,000 years. It is believed that this is not due to a change in temperature but to a reduction in snowfall. Apparently, the clearing of forests during the last century has seriously diminished the amount of water vapor reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and falling there as snow.