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7 Interesting Facts About Mount Kilimanjaro One Must Know

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest free-standing mountain in the world, as it stands tall at 5895m but is not part of a mountain range. It is also the tallest mountain in Africa and is a must-see location for visitors to East Africa as they can enjoy climbing and trekking here! Here are 7 interesting facts about Mount Kilimanjaro that all travel lovers and adventure seekers must know!


  • It is 11700 years old

In 2000, an expedition led by Lonnie Thompson conducted calculations and research on the mountain and concluded that the ice on the mountain is estimated to be 11700 years old. However, it has changed over time as global warming has severely impacted the region and Mount Kilimanjaro has lost 82% of its total glaciers in the last hundred years. 


  • It has 5 different climate zones

Mount Kilimanjaro has 5 different climate zones which tourists can pass as they climb up to the peak. They can see the cultivation zone which consists of lowland forest and farmland and has been cultivated by small scale farmers. They can find livestock grazing on this land as well. Next, they can see the mountain rainforest zone which receives a lot of rain and is home to lush vegetation and spectacular wildlife. The low alpine zone is home to small scrubs and is colder and less humid. The alpine desert is a unique climate zone which has high temperatures during daytime but very low temperature at night. This region faces nearly no rainfall so the terrain is rocky and bare. Lastly, as travelers come near the top, the ice cap zone has low oxygen levels and low temperature. Visitors can find glaciers here. 


  • Kilimanjaro is located on the equator

This freestanding, ice capped mountain is situated only 328 kilometers from the equator, which is most exposed to solar radiations. Given its warm surroundings, people found it unexpected and unbelievable that the mountain peak is covered in ice, making it a marvel of nature. 


  • It is home to Africa’s tallest tree

Among its remarkable flora and fauna, Mount Kilimanjaro is also home to the tallest tree in Africa. Andreas Hemp of Germany found a tree on the mountain which rose up to 81.5 m. It was estimated to be 600 years old and the region around it is now protected. 


  • The origin of the name is unknown

The name ‘kilimanjaro’ has been a mystery to many historians as its origins are unknown. As per the Nuttal encyclopedia from 1907, the word ‘Kilimanjaro’ is a mixture of languages, consisting of swahili and dialects of the Chagga tribes. Kilima means mountain, and Njaro translates to whiteness. The word also has other derived meanings such as ‘mountain of caravans’.


  • Many world records have been made here

In 2003, the mountain was summited by a wheelchair- ridden South African man named Bernad Goosem who climbed the mountain in 9 days. He later climbed it again in 2007. Similarly, a 6 year old boy reached the summit alongside his parents. Although the minimum age allowed to climb the mountain is 10, special permission was sought by the National Parks Authority. In 2019, Anne Lorimor, an 89 year old woman from Arizona climbed up to the peak of Kilimanjaro unassisted. She was the oldest person to summit the mountain. In 2014, Karl Egloff, a marathon runner from Switzerland, summited the mountain in just 4 hours and 56 minutes!


  • It was first summited in 1889

In 1889, Hans Meyer and his team became the first to summit this glorious mountain. It took him three attempts to fulfill this goal, after his first two attempts were unsuccessful due to lack of equipment, and captivity with local tribesmen. Finally, in 1889, he managed to reach the peak with his guide, local tribesmen, porters and a cook, who all became the first to climb Kilimanjaro!