Kilimanjaro , located in north-eastern Tanzania , is the world’s tallest freestanding mountain and the highest mountain in Africa with Uhuru Peak 5,895 meters (19,341 ft) . Mt Kilimanjaro is a snow-covered Equatorial Mountain as well as the 4th most prominent mountain in the world featuring three distinct volcanic cones Kibo 5,895 m (19,341 ft), Mawenzi 5,149 m (16,893 ft) , and Shira 3,962 m (13,000 ft).
Mount Kilimanjaro represents a powerful life force for the local Chagga people and all those living around the mountain, providing rich volcanic soils for agriculture and an endless source of pure spring waters.
Kilimanjaro stratovolcano began forming a million years ago, when lava spilled from the Rift Valley zone. Two of its three peaks, Mawenzi and Shira, are extinct while Kibo (the highest peak) is dormant and could erupt again. The last major eruption has been dated to 360,000 years ago, while the most recent activity was recorded just 200 years ago. Kilimanjaro has fumaroles that emit gas in the crater on the main summit of Kibo. Molten magma is just 400 m (1,310 ft) below the summit crater.
Kilimanjaro has many endemic species, including the giant groundsels Dendrosenecio in the tussock grassland and other plants adapted to living in alpine conditions.
Kilimanjaro has a large variety of forest types over an altitudinal range of 3,000 m (9,843 ft) containing over 1,200 vascular plant species. Montane Ocotea forests occur on the wet southern slope. Cassipourea and Juniperus forests grow on the dry northern slope. Subalpine Erica forests at 4,100 m (13,451 ft) represent the highest elevation cloud forests in Africa. Sinarundinaria alpina is the favorite place for elephants and buffaloes.
Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s most accessible high summits a heaven for visitors from around the world. Most climbers reach the crater rim with little real previous experience of scaling such heights , with little more than a walking stick, proper clothing and determination. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain that regular tourists can climb but even so it remains a considerable feat of human endurance . The breathable oxygen at the top is less than half the amount than is common at sea level, and climbers cover at least 18 kilometres on nothing but their own two feet over the five days it takes to reach the top and return.
There are six official climbing routes by which to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, namely: Marangu, Rongai, Lemosho, Shira, Umbwe and Machame. Machame is by far the most scenic albeit steeper route up the mountain, which can be done in six or seven days. The Rongai is the easiest camping route and the Marangu is also relatively easy, but accommodation is in huts.
The ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro is a virtual climatic world tour, from the tropics to the Arctic. Even before you cross the national park boundary (2,700m), the cultivated foot slopes give way to lush forest, inhabited by elusive elephant, leopard, buffalo and other animals such as antelope and primates.
Above 4,000m , surreal alpine desert supports little life other than a few hardy mosses and lichen. Then, finally, the last vestigial vegetation gives way to a winter wonderland of ice and snow and the magnificent beauty of the roof of the continent.
Clearest and warmest conditions for climbing are from December to February . Kilimanjaro climbs can be arranged for a variety of different routes and with various options for accommodation. Huts and campsites are available on the mountain and outside the park in the village of Marangu and town of Moshi.
For many people, a trip to Tanzania to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro , world’s tallest freestanding mountain is a trip of a lifetime .