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Kilimanjaro Facts

General fact about Kilimanjaro

  • The name Kilimanjaro originates according to popular myth as Kilima Njaro, or White Mountain
  • Mt Kilimanjaro was first summited by Hans Heinrich Josef Meyer in 1889
  • Fastest ascent was achieved by Bruno Brunod in 5 hours 38 minutes 40 seconds
  • Fastest ascent and descent was achieved by Simon Mtuy in 8 hours 27 minutes

Altitude and Size Facts About Mt. Kilimanjaro

  • Kilimanjaro is the forth highest of the Seven Summits
  • Kilimanjaro stands at above 19000ft, or 5700m. In 2008 the summit was was measured and the most accurate reading to date set the height at 19 330ft or 5891.8 m
  • Kilimanjaro holds the record as the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. It is of volcanic origin and rises 16000f  above the surrounding Masai Steppe.
  • Kilimanjaro 40 km across at its widest point.
  • The base covers an area of about 3885 square kilometers

Location and Geography of Kilimanjaro

  • Mount Kilimanjaro is wholly situated in Tanzania, East Africa.
  • Its position is south of the equator between 2° 45′ to 3° 25’S and 37° 00′ to 37° 43’E. Its map coordinates are 3°4′33″S 37°21′12″E / 3.07583°S 37.35333°E

Population Facts about Mt. Kilimanjaro Facts

  • The Kilimanjaro district of Tanzania is highly fertile and so is heavily populated.
  • The main language group occupying the foothills of Kilimanjaro are known as the Chagga.
  • The Chagga settled the Kilimanjaro slopes about 300 years ago, arriving as Bantu nomads from Central Africa.
  • 18 settled towns and villages exist in the forest reserve that surrounds Kilimanjaro National Park
  • The Kilimanjaro forest is mostly a protected area but is used illegally by local people for firewood, farming, beekeeping, hunting, charcoal production and logging.
  • The population in recent years has become quite mixed and includes ethnic groups from many parts of Tanzania

Geological Facts About Mount Kilimanjaro

  • Kilimanjaro is a giant strato-volcano, or a composite-volcano composed of many layers of ash and lava.
  • Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano, which is potentially active, as distinct from an extinct volcano which is wholly inactive.
  • Kilimanjaro is part of the Great Rift Valley
  • It is the largest of the Rift Valley of volcanoes across East and Central Africa.
  • Kilimanjaro is about 750 000 years old.
  • Kilimanjaro consists of three main volcanic peaks  named Shira, Mawenzi and Kibo. There are also many smaller parasitic cones.
  • The oldest peak and most degraded peak is Shira. Kibo is the youngest and best formed.
  • The last major eruption of Kilimanjaro took place about 360 000 years ago.
  • The most recent volcanic activity was the formation of the ash pit situated near the summit some 200 years ago. The Ash Pit is about 350 meters deep. Kibo has two concentric craters.
  • Uhuru Peak is the highest point. It is named in honour of the independence of Tanzania in 1961. It is situated on the southern rim of the outer crater and is the highest point on the mountain.
  • The Kilimanjaro ice cap has shrunk by 82% since 1912.
  • 55% of the glacier surface has diminished since 1962 Kilimanjaro.
  • The jury is still out whether this is due primarily to climate change or deforestation on the lower slopes. Both probably effect the process.
  • The total area of the summit under glacier cover is today about 2.5 km2.
  • It is generally accepted that glacier cover will loose absolute viably within 30/50 years. Some glaciers are already below self sustaining bulk.

Climate Facts Kilimanjaro

  • East Africa experiences two distinct annual wet seasons. These take place between November and December and March and May.
  • The driest months in east Africa are usually August to October.
  • Most of the rainfall in Kilimanjaro falls at lower altitude and is mainly associated with the forest micro-climate at the lower slopes. 96% of all rain on Kilimanjaro falls below 3000 m.
  • The average annual rainfall as measured at the main KINAPA office at Marangu Gate is 2300 mm.
  • Above 4500 m the climate is high desert.
  • The northern side of the mountain along the line of Rongai Route is a lower rainfall zone and with a more desert orientated ecology than the southern circuit.
  • The hottest months of the year are between January and March

Flora Facts Zones Mount Kilimanjaro

  • Five main vegetation zones characterise the slopes of Kilimanjaro:
  • Sub-montane agro-forest which includes commercial timer estates on the north slopes and irrigated smallholder cropping (mainly coffee and banana) on the southern slopes
  • Montane or cloud forest make up the lower slopes. This is thicker and better preserved on the southern slopes
  • Sub-alpine moorland
  • High desert.

Fauna Facts Mount Kilimanjaro

  • Naturally occurring wildlife on Kilimanjaro has diminished dramatically over recent years. In theory 140 species of mammals (87 forest species) live on Kilimanjaro. Species include 7 primates, 25 carnivores, 25 antelopes and 24 species of bat.
  • Rare incidences of buffalo and eland occur on the north slopes. Grey duiker, klipspringer, bushbuck can be rarely seen.
  • Seven species of primate can be seen at various points, including Colobus and Blue monkeys
  • The forst belt is the richest belt of wildlife with a plethora of forest species.
  • 179 species of birds have been recorded.

National Park Facts about Kilimanjaro

  • Kilimanjaro National Park covers an area of 750 square kilometers
  • The Kilimanjaro Forest Reserve covers an area 1080 square kilometers
  • The Kilimanjaro National Park came into existence in 1910 as a consequence of a 1910 declaration by the German colonial authorities.
  • The Forest Reserve was gazetted in 1921 and the mountain above the surviving tree line was reclassified as a national park in 1973
  • Public access to Kilimanjaro National Park began in 1977
  • In 1987 Kilimanjaro National Park was declared a World Heritage Site
  • Kilimanjaro National Park is administered by the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA)