Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa, located in Northeast Tanzania, near the Kenya border. Kilimanjaro is an extinct volcano, and is one of the most massive in the world. It towers 15,000 feet above the surrounding arid plains, and 2.5 square miles of its surface are over 18,500 feet.
Beneath its ice dome, snow extends down long gullies that have been eroded in the mountain sides. The ice cap, which formed 11,000 years ago, has retreated significantly in recent years, as much as 80% in the last century. Scientists expect it to be gone within the early half of the 21st Century.
Kilimanjaro’s summit crater, known as Kibo, measures 1.5 miles across. The highest point on Kibo’s steep rim is Uhuru, the highest peak in Africa. Nestled in the center of Kibo is a smaller crater, 600-feet deep in sulfurous ashes. Mawenzi (16,893 ft), Kilimanjaro’s smaller second cone, is Mawenzi the third highest peak in Africa (Mount Kenya is second at 17,057 feet).
Mawenzi is seven miles east of Kibo, separated by a long saddle. It is an older cone, jagged from erosion, with sheer faces on all sides. Despite its lower elevation, Mawenzi is the more difficult climb, and no approach is possible without rock climbing and/or snow and ice climbing skills.
The approach and climb provides spectacular diversity, from scrub-lands thick with African wildlife to lush forests to flowering alpine tundra. All this finally gives way to snow and rock above 15,000 feet.
History of Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro, is nicknamed the roof of Africa and is proud to be the highest mountain in Africa. The mountain is located in northeastern Tanzania, near the border of Kenya. Kilimanjaro was first climbed in 1889 by German geographer Hans Meyer and Austrian mountain climber Ludwig Purtscheller, long before W. H. Tilman and C. Houston made the first ascent from the south of Everest in 1950. Ever since it has been a coveted climb by tourists and professional climbers around the world.
Mount Kilimanjaro is actually a dormant volcano. Its two peaks stand about 11 km (about 7 mi) apart and are connected by a broad ridge. The highest peak, Kibo, rises to 5895 m (19,340 ft) above sea level, and the summit of Mawensi is 5149 m (16,892 ft) above sea level.