Mt Kilimanjaro

Mt Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro is situated entirely within the borders of Tanzania, although it is situated close to the border of Kenya.

The best views for photography are on the Kenyan side.

It is situated 3 degrees, or about 340 km, south of the Equator.

Kilimanjaro comprises three distinct volcanic cones:

Kibo 19,340 feet (5,895 meters)

Mawenzi 16,896 feet (5,149 meters)

Shira 13,000 feet (3,962 meters)

Most of the area Kilimanjaro is defined by the Kilimanjaro National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

There are five common routes used to climb Kilimanjaro:

Marangu Route

Machame Route

Rongai Route

Lemosho Route

Mweka Route (usually used only to descend)


Shira was first volcano to become extinct, followed by Mawenzi. Kibo remains active as a dormant active volcano. A strong smell of sulphur still emanates from the inner ash pit.

In 1889, German geographer Hans Meyer and Austrian mountain climber Ludwig Purtscheller were the first to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro.

There are many disputed theories on the origin of the name, so it remains a mystery.


While Kilimanjaro obviously doesn’t have the highest elevation of any mountain in the world, it is the tallest freestanding mountain rise in the world, rising 15,100 feet (4,600 meters) from its base.

Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa

Climbing Kilimanjaro

Around 25,000 people per year attempt to summit the top of Africa.

Uhuru peak is the highest summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. The highest peak on Mawenzi is Hans Meyer Point, which can only be reached by mountaineers.

Kilimanjaro contains an example of virtually every ecosystem on earth – glacier, snowfields, deserts, alpine moorland, savannah, and tropical jungle, all of which found on the mountain.

The city of Moshi is just over 30 km from the summit, and is the most common pre and post-trip base for climbers.


Kilimanjaro has a micro climate thanks its sheer bulk. Rainfall, as can be seen by the gigantism and the dense cloud forest vegetation, is frequent and voluminous. In common with the surrounding countryside the mountain experiences a period of short and long rains. At certain times of the year the joke goes that the short rains are in the morning and the long rains in the afternoon.

The March to May season, or the long rains, occur as moisture laden winds saturate the leading slopes as they ply inland from the coast. A northeast monsoon also occurs between November and February and brings what is known as the short rains. Again it is the leading slopes that receive the lion’s share, meaning that during both of these seasons the southeast facing and northeast facing slopes are the wettest.

In between dry minds blow and the best chance exists of a rainless ascent.

Rain, however, can be a fact of life at any time, and in keeping with mountain weather the world over, can never be predicted and certainly never taken for granted.

Uambara mountains

Uambara mountains

The Usambara Mountains are a mountain range in North-East Tanzania, approximately 70 miles (110 km) long and ranging from 20 to 40 miles (30-60 km) in width. Mountains in the range rise as high as 8,000 ft (2,440 m). The range is accessible from the towns of Lushoto in the west, and Amani in the east. The Usambaras are commonly split into two sub-ranges, the West Usambara and the East Usambara. The East Usambara is closer to the coast, receives more rainfall, and is significantly smaller than the west.

The Usambaras are fairly unique in that, being in East Africa, their unspoiled regions are covered in the tropical forest which today remains mainly in the west of the continent. Considered tremendously significant ecologically, there are many protected zones throughout the range which are being expanded and contributed to by the Tanzanian government


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