Five Intriguing Facts About Mount Kilimanjaro

In Ernest Hemminway’s, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, the main character is enthralled by the beauty of Mount Kilimanjaro. This magnificent mountain, located in Northern Tanzania, stands at a height of 19,341 feet (5,895 meters) above sea level making it the tallest mountain on the African continent. What’s more, Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest free-standing mountain in the world!

kilimanjaro snow

Interesting Facts About Mount Kilimanjaro

Rising majestically above the plains of Tanzania, Mount Kilimanjaro has beckoned climbers since the first recorded summit in 1889. If you are among the people who are drawn to climbing Kilimanjaro, we believe you would love to know these facts. Because the more you know about the mountain, the more enjoyable your experience will be.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at five interesting facts about Mount Kilimanjaro. 

Mount Kilimanjaro is Situated Close to the Equator

We all know that the equator is an imaginary line that divides the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere. Passing through the Earth’s center, it divides our planet in half. Because the regions around the equator experience high amounts of solar radiation year-round, the equatorial climate stays nearly the same throughout the year.

So, how amazing is it that Mount Kilimanjaro, a snow-capped mountain lies just about 200 miles south of the equator? Thus, when people first reported that they saw glaciers on the mountain, it was dismissed as a rumor because it was believed that ice couldn’t form this close to the hot, equatorial sun.

Mount Kilimanjaro is Made Up of Three Volcanic Cones

The spectacular Mount Kilimanjaro was formed as a result of volcanic activity. Kilimanjaro has three volcanic cones – Kibo, Shira, and Mawenzi.

Kibo – 19,340 feet / 5,895 meters in the center

Mawenzi – 16,893 feet / 5,149 meters to the east

Shira – 13,000 feet / 3,962 meters to the west

Kibo is the tallest volcanic cone. It is also the cone that is present at the center. Kilimanjaro’s summit lies atop this cone. The cone was formed approximately 460,000 years ago.

Mawenzi is an uneven peak. Mawenzi ranks as the third highest peak in Africa, with Kibo being first and Mount Kenya (12,549 feet /3825 meters) second. If you want to have a good view of the Mawenzi cone, you should take the Rongai or Northern Circuit route.

Even though Shira is no longer a peak, it is estimated to have been about 16,000 feet high before it collapsed. The collapse of the Shira volcanic cone created the Shira Plateau, which can be found on the western side of Mount Kilimanjaro. It is through this feature that the Machame, Lemosho, and Shira routes trek across.

The Real Meaning of Kilimanjaro is Unknown

By this we mean that the origin of the name Kilimanjaro is not known for certain. After their expedition, European explorers adopted the name Kilimanjaro by the 1860s. The explorers reported in their records that Kilimanjaro was the mountain’s Swahili name.

Later, it was reported in The Nuttal Encyclopædia’s 1907edition that the name of the mountain was “Kilima-Njaro,” comprising the Swahili word “Kilima,” meaning “mountain” and the Chagga word “Njaro,” meaning “whiteness.”

In the 1860 book Travels, Researches, and Missionary Labours During an Eighteen Years’ Residence in Eastern Africa, written by German missionary Johann Ludwig Krapf, it is recorded that the Swahili people of the coast call the snow-mountain Kilimanjaro. In the book, the author states that Kilimanjaro means  “mountain of greatness.”

Kilimanjaro can also translate to “mountain of caravans,” wherein “kilima” means mountain and “jaro” means caravans. This could be referencing when caravans could be seen everywhere from afar.

Meanwhile, the inhabitants of Jagga call it Kibo, meaning “snow.” It is also said that Kilimanjaro is the European pronunciation of a KiChagga phrase that means “we failed to climb.”

Because there are so many versions as to how the name came about, no one for certain knows what Kilimanjaro means.

The Ice Cap A top of Kilimanjaro is Destined to Disappear

Talks about Climate change have significantly increased at present, with activists around the world educating everyone on the importance of climate change and how the shift in temperature is increasing rapidly.

Did you know that Kilimanjaro’s glaciers are the poster child of global climate change? Kilimanjaro is a perfect example of climate change because its ice cap has shrunk 82% since 1912. Scientists have estimated that the glaciers might be completely gone in 50 years. The ice caps melting away is said to be caused by deforestation. 

Mount Kilimanjaro Is One Of The Seven Summits

Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa. Thus, it is only natural that this magnificent mountain is one of the “Seven Summits.” The Seven Summits are the highest mountains on each of the seven continents. It is every mountaineer’s dream to conquer all seven summits.

The Seven Summits, Including Mount Kilimanjaro, are (from tallest):

  • Asia: Mount Everest (8,848 meters)
  • South America: Mount Aconcagua (6,961 meters)
  • North America: Mount McKinley – also known as Denali (6,194 meters)
  • Africa: Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895 meters)
  • Europe: Mount Elbrus (5,642 meters)
  • Antarctica: Mount Vinson (4,892 meters)
  • Australia: Mount Kosciuszko (2,228 meters)

At 5,895 meters high, Kilimanjaro is the fourth largest of the Seven Summits.


Let The Mountaineering Begin:

Often referred to as the “The Roof of Africa,” climbing the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro is an experience you wouldn’t want to miss. Hikers get to see truly unique flowers and plants while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro since the mountain is home to flowers, plants, and trees that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. What’s more, climbing to the summit does not require technical skills. Thus, Kilimanjaro trekking is possible for all passionate adventurers in decent shape.

So if climbing Kilimanjaro has been on your bucket list and these facts have piqued your interest, contact us now! Our services will let you have the best mountaineering experience. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started planning your trip to Mount Kilimanjaro!