A Collection of Interesting, Fun And Unique Facts

30 Interesting Facts About Mount Kilimanjaro

At a height of 5,895 meters – over 20,000 feet – Mount Kilimanjaro is the world’s tallest free-standing mountain and the highest point in Africa, located in north-eastern Tanzania. How many of these Mount Kilimanjaro facts do you know?

  • The mountain is actually a massive strato-volcano, formed by lava flow: It has three volcanic cones, two of them are extinct, while the third one, Kibo, is the highest point on the mountain and is currently dormant.
  • At the top of Uhuru Peak – the highest summit of Mount Kilimanjaro – there’s a wooden box, and inside is a guestbook: Almost every climber who makes it to the summit has written their name and a brief message in the book.
  • The first successful summit took place back in 1889: It took over six weeks, far longer than the current average climbing duration of around six days!
  • Climbing Kilimanjaro is tough work, but plenty of older climbers have made it to the top: The oldest person ever to do so was a 87-year old man from France named Valtee Daniel.
  • Younger climbers have also made the journey: While children under 10 are not officially allowed to climb due to the risks, some special exceptions are made, and a 7-year old boy from Los Angeles holds the title for youngest climber to reach the peak.
  • If you want to see the snow on top of Kilimanjaro, you should plan your trip soon: That’s because the snow caps are rapidly melting due to global warming. By 2020, it is estimated that they will be gone forever.
  • The fact that the snow is rapidly melting was a feature of Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth: The former US vice president said: “Within the decade, there will be no more snows of Kilimanjaro.”
  • The mountain has a diverse range of ecosystems: You can find areas of rain forest, moorland, cultivated land, heath, alpine desert and the (rapidly-melting) arctic summit.
  • It’s hard enough to climb without a disability – but in 2009, eight climbers made it to the top of the mountain who were completely blind. They did it to raise money for blind children.
  • And even more amazing, Kilimanjaro has been climbed – twice – by a man in a wheelchair: Bernard Goosen from South Africa was able to do it in 2003 and 2007, with his second trip only taking six days.
  • While the average climb takes six days, it has been done in much less: The record for the fastest climb was set back in 2001 when an Italian climber named Bruno Brunod made it to the top of Uhuru Peak in just 5 hours and 38 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, the record for the fastest roundtrip (to the top and back down again) was set in 2014: A Swiss-Ecuadorian mountain guide named Karl Egloff completed the journey in under 7 hours.
  • There’s plenty of effort being made to protect the mountain’s natural ecosystem: Tanzania announced in 2008 that nearly 5 million trees will be planted to prevent soil erosion.
  • A valuable crop is grown at the base of the mountain: That crop is coffee, which is a major export for Tanzania. Over 30,000 tons of coffee are exported from the country on an annual basis.
  • Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is very popular, but not everyone is successful: Of the 25,000 climbers who try each year, only about 66% reach the summit. Issues with altitude sickness cause many to fail in their quest.
  • In fact, climbing can actually be deadly: On average, 10 climbers die each year trying to reach the top.
  • Villagers nearby provide a source of many of the porters who help climbers reach the top: These porters generally earn under US$10 per day, and carry the climbers’ luggage on their heads.
  • Apart from climbing, the mountain has played host to some other sports in the past: These include football, cricket and rugby, which were played in the mountain’s crater at an altitude of 5,600 metres.
  • Golfers have even taken their clubs to the top so that they can have a once-in-a-lifetime shot: We do hope their golf balls didn’t hit any climbers below!
  • Nobody knows the exact origin of the mountain’s name: However, it was recorded by European explorers in 1860 that “Kilimanjaro” was the mountain’s Kiswahili name
  • The highest point, Uhuru Peak, was known by another name prior to 1964: Prior to that it was named as “Kaiser Wilhelm Peak”, a name given by a European explorer in 1889. Bonus fact: Uhuru Peak means “Freedom Peak” in Kiswahili.
  • The Kilimanjaro National Park takes in annual revenue of over US$50 million, but it’s not Tanzania’s highest-earning park: That title is held by the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
  • There are many local legends about Kilimanjaro, and one of the most famous involves a lot of ivory: Plenty have searched for it, but to this date nobody has found the massive cache of elephant tusks that is said to be buried somewhere near the mountain.
  • The amazing view is quite romantic, apparently: An American couple must have thought so, because they decided to get married just below the summit in September 2014.
  • Kilimanjaro is featured in many iconic films, but perhaps none more so than The Lion King: The mountain can be seen in the background during the opening music sequence.
  • Another famous reference to the mountain is in the song ‘Africa’ by American rock band Toto: The song was released in 1982 and reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.
  • The mountain has even made an appearance in video games: Halo 3 designers reportedly used a satellite map to create a realistic depiction of the famous mountain.
  • A wide range of animals can be found in the area: From the big – Elephants and Cape buffaloes – to the unique – chameleons, dik-diks, duikers, mongooses, sunbirds, and warthogs – all are to be found around Kilimanjaro.
  • There’s even a couple of species that can only be found at Kilimanjaro: These include the Kilimanjaro shrew and a chameleon known as Kinyongia tavetana.
  • One growing concern for those climbing the mountain is actually poo: Human waste left by past climbers is becoming more of an issue, as the bacteria can harm both animals and humans.

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