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Kilimanjaro Information
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Mount Kilimanjaro is composed of 3 extinct volcanoes; Kibo (5 895m), Mawensi (5 149m) and Shira (3 962m). It is believed to be about 750,000 years old, yet it has only really captured the attention of modern man in the last 150 years. Being the highest mountain in Africa and also the tallest freestanding mountain on earth, it has attracted many explorers and mountaineers since the mid 1800's.

The first published note on the existence of Kilimanjaro was written by Ptolemy over 18 centuries ago. The next known reference ‘to the great mountain west of Zanzibar’ was written by a Chinese trader 6 to 7 centuries ago. Johann Rebmann, a Christian missionary to the area in 1849, is credited with bringing Kilimanjaro to the attention of Europe - not surprisingly he was not immediately believed when he published his account of a snow capped mountain near the equator.

Shortly thereafter, a number of unsuccessful attempts were made by various explorers to conquer, map and explore Kilimanjaro. It was only in 1889 that Dr Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller finally reached Kilimanjaro's highest peak with the assistance of a huge team of guides, porters and advisors. It took them almost 6 weeks to reach the summit - quite something when compared to the fact that it can take less than a week today.
Interestingly enough, it has been reported that in 1989 (100 years later) one of Dr Meyer’s guides was still alive and well at the ripe old age of 118 years!! Yes, fresh mountain air is good for you!!!

The characteristic permanent ice cap which is the trademark of Kilimanjaro is gradually receding due to global warming and weathering.

Kilimanjaro is a mountain like no other - here you can hike for more than 90 kilometres, gain 4,000 meters in altitude, and pass through five very different ecological zones (rain forest, moorland, alpine desert, snow fields and ice cliffs) - hardly the conditions anyone would expect to find a mere 330 kilometres from the equator!

The oldest person to reach the summit was Valtee Daniel, an 87 year old Frenchman. On the other end of the scale the youngest is reportedly a 9 year old boy.
About 22,000 climbers and hikers set out every year to conquer Kilimanjaro - as many as 40% of those turn back before they reach Uhuru peak.

Kilimanjaro is one of the highest peaks accessible to hikers in the world. Apart from the hiking routes, there are also extremely severe climbs available. Hikers make up the majority of all those who conquer Kilimanjaro.
Kilimanjaro is situated inside the Kilimanjaro National Park in northern Tanzania, close to the border of Kenya, where it begins to rise from the flatlands at roughly 2,000 meters until it reaches its highest peak at 5,895 meters (19,340 ft). Agriculture forms a big part of life in the region and most of the lower slopes are used for this purpose. One of Tanzania’s biggest exports - coffee - is harvested here. As you ascend slightly further to an altitude of 1,800 meters, you enter the mountain’s famous rain forest belt which continues up to 3000 meters.

From here the scenery changes dramatically as you cross over a dry heath, followed shortly by wetter moorland until you get to 4,000 meters. Here you find yourself in another world as you ascend through a semi-desert area (up to 4,400 meters) into an alpine desert.

At 5,000 meters you finally enter into an alpine region with snow fields and permanent ice glaciers (what we see as the ice cap of the mountain). Here the going gets really tough as the surface is covered with scree (loose volcanic gravel) which makes finding a good foothold almost impossible. This is where your ski poles really come in handy.

Some scientists believe that Kili’s ice cover could disappear by 2020 if the current rise in global warming persists - spelling bad news for Kibo’s main glaciers - Heim, Rebmann, Decken and Arrow. 

Climate   Because of Kilimanjaro’s close proximity to the equator (330 km), the region basically experiences summer all year long. It’s either hot and dry or hot and wet - with most rain falling during the two rainy seasons. The first lasts from March to May (monsoon season - so lots of rain) while the second is slightly shorter (October to November/December) with a lower recorded rainfall.

The most rain falls in the forests and a staggering annual figure of 2,000 mm is not uncommon! By contrast, less than 100 mm per year is recorded at the summit. Be warned though - rain and snow can be encountered at any time of the year.

Temperatures can range vastly from 25°-30° C at the foot of the mountain to -10° to -20° C on the summit - giving a potential drop of 50° C from the foothills to the peak! Halfway up at 3,000 m, night and day temperatures range from a minimum of around -2° C to a maximum of around 15° C. You will get a really interesting perspective on these extreme temperature ranges when you are halfway up to the summit, when you can clearly see the African plains stretched out below you and the misty snowcaps and glaciers looming up behind you.

Kibo From Machame Trail

Kibo From Machame Trail

Evening before summit at Barafu

Evening before summit at Barafu

Glacier

Glacier

Machame Rain Forest Trail

Machame Rain Forest Trail

Western Breech

Western Breech

Kibo from Machame Forest

Kibo from Machame Forest

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