National Geographic Society

  • Connect:

Kilimanjaro Facts

Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa's highest summit at 5895 meters tall (19,341 feet). Kilimanjaro is a giant dormant stratovolcano, famous for its glacial cap and wide biodiversity, particularly its cloud forest. Montane ocotea forests cover the wet southern slope, cassipourea and juniperus forests on the dry northern slope, and subalpine Erica forests at the highest elevations above 4000 meters.

Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa's highest summit at 5895 meters tall (19,341 feet). Kilimanjaro is a giant dormant stratovolcano, famous for its glacial cap and wide biodiversity, particularly its cloud forest. Montane ocotea forests cover the wet southern slope, cassipourea and juniperus forests on the dry northern slope, and subalpine Erica forests at the highest elevations above 4000 meters. (View larger version)

Photograph by National Geographic Channels/ Rob Taylor

Published
  • At 5895 metres (19,341 feet) tall, Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest free-standing mountain in the world (rather than being part of a mountain range).

  • In 1889, the first successful summit of Mount Kilimanjaro was completed by German geographer, Hans Meyer, after six weeks of climbing.

  • It now takes the average person a minimum of between 6 to 9 days to reach Kilimanjaro’s summit, depending on which of the 6 available routes is taken. The success of ascending to the summit is also dependent on which route is taken – the overall average of successful ascent to the peak is 45%.

  • An approximate 35,000 tourists attempt full ascent of Kilimanjaro every year. Kilimanjaro reaps in $50 million a year for the Tanzanian economy, accounting for 45% of total income generated by the country’s 15 national parks altogether.

  • An estimated 10 to 15 deaths occur annually on the mountain from severe altitude sickness, hypothermia, falls, and other medical problems.

  • Endurance runner, Simon Mtuy, set the record for the fastest ascent and descent of Kilimanjaro unassisted, completing the trek up and down in just 9 hours and 22 minutes. He first climbed the mountain when he was 16, and has since ascended to the summit more than 300 times.

  • Kilimanjaro is also known as the ‘Roof of Africa’.

  • There are three volcanoes on Kilimanjaro - Mawenzi, Shira and Kibo. Mawenzi and Shira are extinct, but Kibo is dormant. The last major eruption was 360 000 years ago.

  • Glaciers constantly evolve. They melt and shrink in dry season but regenerate in the wet. However, since 1912, Kilimanjaro has lost 82% of its ice cap, and 55% of its remaining glacier fields since 1962. Scientists predict all ice on the mountain may disappear within the next 20 years.

  • Kilimanjaro supports five ecosystems: savanna bush land, sub-montane agro-forest, montane forest belt, sub-alpine moorland and alpine bogs, and the alpine desert.  
1 comments