Mount Kilimanjaro

About Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro stands on featureless part of the East African plateau, on the Tanzanian side of the Kenya border near Moshi, side by side with the smaller Mount Meru. These mountains are extinct volcanoes, with Kilimanjaro actually being the agglomeration of three distinct volcanoes, Kibo (5896m/ 19,340 ft), Mwenzi (5,149 / 16,896 ft) and Shira (3,962m / 13,000 ft). whose violent creation is geologically associated with the creation of the Great Rift Valley, 100km to the West.


The East African mountains have created a micro-climate around themselves and the rain-shadow created to their Southand East supplies the beautiful and superbly fertile land in which the towns of Moshi and Arusha are situated, full of banana groves and coffee plantations. Kilimanjaro National Park comprises all of the mountain above the tree line and six forest corridors that stretch through the forest belt.

Origin of the name ‘Kilimanjaro’, hence Mount Kilimanjaro
There are many explanations for how the Mount Kilimanjaro got its name and no one can agree what is the truth. “Mountain of Greatness”, Mountain of Whiteness”, “Mountain of Caravans”,  are all names derived from the Swahili and  Chagga dialects.

From what we little know on the subject, it is thought it might have something to do with the Swahili word ‘kilima’, which means ‘top of the hill’. There is also a claim that the word “kilemakyaro” exists in the Chagga language, meaning “impossible journey”. But the truth is that no one really knows and is a good discussion point of where the name Mount Kilimanjaro came from..


There are five major Mount Kilimanjaro Climbing routes through the forest and moor land areas before joining the south circuit path between 3500m and 4500m they are; Kilimanjaro Machame route, Mount Kilimanjaro Marangu route, Kilimanjaro Climbing Lemosho Route, Kilimanjaro Rongai Route and Climbing Kilimanjaro Umbwe route.

From Mount Kilimanjaro south circuit path various walking (trekking), scrambling, and technical climbing trails take you the last 1200m or so to the summit. Most people however take the final leg of the Kilimanjaro Marangu route unless you are a technical climber in which case the summit may be reached via Rebman glacier, decken glacier or heim glacier amongst others. The final trekking Kilimanjaro ascent to the summit starts normally at about 2.00 am from Kibo hut so that it is reached before dawn to watch the sunrise and gaze out over the vast expanses of African bush land from the roof of Africa – Mount Kilimanjaro.

Mount Kilimanjaro National Park is the area above 2,700 meters on the mountain. Kilimanjaro National Park includes the moorland and highland zones, Shira Plateau, Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. In addition, the Kilimanjaro Park has six corridors or rights of way through the Kilimanjaro Forest Reserve. The Forest Reserve, which is also a Game Reserve, was established in 1921; the Park was established in 1973 and officially opened in 1977.

Mount Kilimanjaro facts and figures

Mount Kilimanjaro

    • The highest peak in Africa
    • The highest freestanding peak in the world
    • The highest ‘walkable’ mountain in the world

Mount Kilimanjaro location

    • Northern Tanzania : East Africa
    • 2 50′ / 3 20’S : 37 00 / 37 35’E

Kilimanjaro areas

    • Park : 756 sq km / 75,353ha
    • Forest reserve : 929 sq km / 92,906ha
Kilimanjaro Protection

    • 1921 : forest reserve established
    • 1973 : park established
    • Park HQ Opened : 1977 (by President Nyerere)
    • Unesco World Heritage : 1989

Mount Kilimanjaro altitudes 

    • Marangu Gate : 1,830m
Kilimanjaro Summit:

    • 5,895m   -25C to 10C

Kilimanjaro rainfall at altitudes

    • Forest Belt : 1800m : 2300mm
    • Mandara Hut : 2740m : 1300mm
    • Horobo Hut : 3718m: 525mm
    • Kibo Hut : 4630m : 200mm

Kilimanjaro temperatures

    • Generally falls 1C with every 200m increase in altitude
    • Marangu Gate : 10C to 30C