Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world; free-standing means that Kilimanjaro is not part of a mountain range. Mount Kilimanjaro ’s summit is called Uhuru Peak (meaning freedom peak) and it stands at 5,895 m above sea level; for perspective, Mount Everest’s peak stands at 8,848 meters – this is just about 2,950 meters above that of Kilimanjaro.
Facts About Mount Kilimanjaro
- Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world – free-standing means that Kilimanjaro is not part of a mountain range.
- The mountain and the surrounding national park are home to extraordinary biodiversity; almost every kind of ecological system is found on the mountain: cultivated land, rainforest, heath, moorland, alpine desert and an arctic summit.
- Mount Kilimanjaro is comprised of three volcanic cones – Shira, Kibo, and Mawenzi. Mawenzi and Shira are extinct but Kibo the highest of the three is dormant and could erupt again. The most recent volcanic activity happened about 200 years ago; the last major eruption was 360,000 years ago.
- Every climber who has reached Uhuru Peak has had the chance to record his or her thoughts about the experience; the recordings, are done in a book that is stored in a wooden box at the peak.
- Kyle Maynard, a quadruple amputee (has no arms and no legs), managed to crawl to the summit of Kilimanjaro unassisted back in 2012.
- On June 29,2009, eight blind climbers made it to the summit in an attempt to raise awareness and money for blind children in Arizona.
- Bernard Goosen from South Africa has reached the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro in a wheelchair twice. The first summit was in 2003 and it took nine days; his second summit was in 2007 and it took only 6 days. In all attempts, he used a modified wheelchair and mostly climbed without any assistance.
- The oldest person to ever make it to Mount Kilimanjaro’s peak was Valtee Daniel; he was 87 years old when he reached the summit.
- The fastest unaided ascent and descent(unaided means he carried his own food, water, and clothing) were achieved by Simon Mtuy (Tanzania) in 2004; he climbed from the gate (starting point) to the summit and back in 8 hours 27 minutes.
- The fasted verified ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro was accomplished by Bruno Brunod (Italy) in 2001; he reached Uhuru Peak from the start point (gate) in 5 hours 38 minutes 40 seconds.
- Mount Kilimanjaro Snow caps are diminishing and have lost about 80% of their snow since 1912; according to scientists, the summit may be completely ice free in the next 20-30 years.
- Every year, about 25,000 people attempt to reach Mount Kilimanjaro’s summit. Approximately two-thirds make it to the peak; for the other one-third, the most common reason for failure is usually altitude-related problems.
- Due to Mount Kilimanjaro’s extreme height, it creates its own weather(i.e the weather on the mountain can be different from the weather in the surrounding areas down below); for example, at night the temperature at Uhuru Peak ranges between -7 and -19 degrees Celsius (20 and -20 degrees Fahrenheit).
- You can climb Mount Kilimanjaro throughout the year but the two main Kilimanjaro climbing seasons are January to March and June to October – for more information see: Best time to climb Kilimanjaro.
- It is estimated that for every 1000 tonnes of water that pours down from Mount Kilimanjaro, 400 tonnes comes directly from the melting ice caps.
Fun Facts About Kilimanjaro
- Mount Kilimanjaro has hosted the highest rugby, cricket and football match ever played; these three matches were held at 5,600m above sea level inside Kilimanjaro’s crater.
- The renowned writer Ernest Hemingway captured the beauty of Kilimanjaro in his book titled “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”; he described the mountain as follows – “….as wide as all the world, great, high and unbelievably white in the sun”.
- Pizza Hut set a record by delivering the highest pizza ever in 2016. In the same year, the tallest tree in Africa was discovered on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro.
- A Tanzanian porter by the name Yohani Kinyala Lauwo escorted two Europeans on the very first recorded Kilimanjaro summit; he lived to be 125 years old. He also celebrated the 100th anniversary of that climb at age 118 years.