Mount Kilimanjaro Facts, Figures & History

Here we provide some background information on Mount Kilimanjaro that you might find interesting to read before you trek.

Kilimanjaro's geographic location

Mount Kilimanjaro stands side by side with the slightly smaller Mount Meru on the otherwise flat plains of the East African plateau. Kilimanjaro is the agglomeration of three extinct volcanoes, Shira, Kibo and Mawenzi, whose violent creation was geologically associated with the creation of the Great Rift Valley, 100km to the west. Kilimanjaro is so large that it stands head and shoulders above the clouds, creating its own micro-climate.

From tropical rain forests to polar conditions and back

The rain shadow created to its south and west provides the beautiful and superbly fertile lands in which the town of Moshi is situated, an oasis of banana groves and coffee plantations set against the arid backdrop of the Maasai Steppe. The town of Arusha lies in a similar zone below Mount Meru.

The ascent of Kilimanjaro is in some ways like travelling from the equator to the pole, with increasing altitude providing a very distinct range of climate zones, from tropical rainforest to moorland, alpine desert and finally to the polar conditions of the summit. Quite an extraordinary journey.

Tanzania's National Parks

Between them, Mount Kilimanjaro National Park and Mount Kilimanjaro Forest Reserve contain the whole of the mountain and its surrounding montane forest, with small scale shamba agriculture generally reaching right up to the edge of the forest.

Summiting Kilimanjaro is a great achievement

From beyond its extremely shallow lower slopes and with its summit so often shrouded above the clouds, it can be quite difficult to comprehend just how big this mountain is. The fact that it will take you around a week to get there and back should be a bit of a clue. This is the world's largest free-standing mountain, the highest walkable mountain in the world and the highest peak in Africa.

Mount Kilimanjaro facts and figures summarized

* The highest peak in Africa

* The highest freestanding walkable mountain in the world

* 1921 - Forest reserve established

* 1973 - Kilimanjaro National park established

* 1977 - Park HQ Opened (by President Nyerere)

* 1989 - Unesco World Heritage

* Mount Kilimanjaro location : Northern Tanzania : East Africa * 2 50' / 3 20'S : 37 00 / 37 35'E

* Kilimanjaro National Park size : 756 sq km / 75,353ha

* Summit altitude: 5,895m

* Kibo Crater diameter: 1.9 x 2.7 km

* Temperatures generally falls 1-degree centigrade with every 200m increase in altitude

* Summit : -20C to 10C

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