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10 Unbelievable Facts About Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the most awe-inspiring places on Earth. It is the tallest mountain in Africa and one of the world’s most iconic natural landmarks. There are many fascinating facts about Kilimanjaro that many people don’t know, and we've discussed them in detail below! Keep reading to find out all the wonders that Kilimanjaro has to offer!

10 Unbelievable Facts about Kilimanjaro
If you love Mt. Kilimanjaro, make sure to check out our Complete History of Kilimanjaro.

1) Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa.

Sitting at 19,341 feet (5,895 meters) tall, Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa. The peak is 2,000 feet higher than the second most prominent mountain in Africa, Mount Kenya, which sits at 17,047 feet (5,196 meters). Mount Kilimanjaro ranges approximately 25 miles from one side to the other, taking up 500 square miles at its base.

2) It is the tallest free-standing mountain in the world.

A free-standing mountain is a lone mountain not connected to other mountains or ranges. The likes of K-2 and Everest are the two largest mountains in the world, but since they are interconnected with other mountains, they can't be defined as free-standing mountains. Mount Kilimanjaro rests alone in the northeast of Tanzania, encompassing the Tanzanian horizon for miles.

Mount Kilimanjaro

3) The mountain is made up of three volcanic cones.

Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant stratovolcano comprised of three volcanic cones, Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. A stratovolcano, or composite volcano, has many hardened lava and tephra layers. They differ from shield volcanoes with their vertical profiles and summit craters.

Hikers on the way to Kilimanjaro
Hikers on the way to Kilimanjaro

4) The last eruption on the mountain occurred around 360,000 years ago.

There's no evidence of which volcanic cone erupted 360,000 years ago, but the most recent activity happened around 150,000-200,000 years ago on the Kibo cone. Kibo sits at the highest point near Uhura Peak, while Mawenzi is at 16,893 feet (5,149 meters) and Shira at 13,140 feet (4,005 meters). Kibo is considered dormant, while Mawenzi and Shira are extinct.

Tents at Kilimanjaro

5) The mountain is home to five different climate zones.

Here are the five different climatic zones on Mount Kilimanjaro from lowest to highest. First is the Bushland at 2,600 - 5,900 feet (800 - 1,800 meters), Rainforest at 5,900 - 9,200 feet (1,800 - 2,800 meters), Heather at 9,200 - 13,100 feet (2,800 - 4,000 meters), Alpine at 13,100 - 16,400 feet (4,000 - 5,000 meters), and the highest zone, the Arctic which is located between 16,400 - 19,300 feet (5,000 - 5,895 meters).

Mt. Kilimanjaro

6) The summit of the mountain is known as Uhuru Peak.

The highest peak on Kilimanjaro is Uhura Peak. It sits right above the Kibo crater. The name Uhura Peak wasn't used until Tanzania was formed in 1964, meaning freedom peak in the native language Kiswahili. In the 1880s, Germany colonized what is known as Tanzania, and Kilimanjaro became part of German East Africa. Before being named Uhura Peak, it was called Kaiser Wilhelm peak after Kaiser Wilhelm Spitze climbed to the summit.

7) Every year, around 30,000 people attempt to climb Kilimanjaro.

Considered one of the more popular mountains to climb in the world, it's estimated around 30,000 people attempt to climb Kilimanjaro every year. Two-thirds of climbers are successful in summiting the mountain, while others fail because of altitude sickness and terrible weather.

Hikers on Kilimanjaro

8) The mountain is also home to several different plant species.

Mount Kilimanjaro has around 250,000 acres of natural forests. The mountain is categorized as a savanna grassland with vegetation ranging from beans and maize to unique water-holding cabbage.


9) It takes around five to nine days to climb the mountain.

Depending on the route, the average climber will take around five to nine days to climb the mountain. Those looking to climb the shorter, quicker routes are recommended to have recently acclimatized to higher altitudes, while the rest will need to spend multiple days acclimatizing to the altitude.

10) There are a few different routes to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

There are six different routes to the summit of Kilimanjaro. For the average climber, these routes can take five to nine days to summit. The fastest route is the Marangu Route, which takes an average of five days. At the same time, the Lemosho Route and Northern Circuit take the longest, with an average of eight to nine days to summit.

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