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
1. A German missionary by the name of Johannes Rebmann is considered to be the discoverer of Mount Kilimanjaro in 1848 when he explored the lower scopes and sent the Royal Geographical Society his findings, including a description of a snow-capped summit. The experts of those times doubted the real possibility of a snow-capped mountain situated near the equator.
2. In 1889, the very first successful summit occurred and it took about six weeks in comparison to today when an average climber can do it in five or six days.
3. Many of the camps located on the mountain commercialize beer.
4. The mountain stretches 5,895 meters into the sky, making it the world’s tallest free-standing mountain and at the same time, the highest point in all Africa.
5. The snow caps are rapidly diminishing. In comparison to 1912, it lost over 80% of its mass mostly because of the climate changes (global warming). By 2020, it is estimated that they will be entirely gone.
6. On June 29, 2009, eight blind climbers made it to the top of the mountain in a struggle to raise money for 52 blind children in Arizona.
7. The first person to climb the mountain in a wheelchair is South African Bernard Goosen. He did it twice; first in 2003 and it took him nine days and the second time in 2007 when it took him only six days.
8. Author of the legendary Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, famed humorist Douglas Adams, ran up to the mountain dressed in a rhinoceros suit.
9. The mountain is in fact a massive strato-volcano, formed by repeated lava flow. It has three volcanic cones, two of them being extinct while the third one, Kibo, is the highest point on the mountain and is dormant.
10. Justin Timberlake, Kenna and Lupe Fiasco are planning to climb the mountain to raise awareness for the worldwide water crisis.
11. There are six different ecological systems on the mountain, as follows: cultivated land, rainforest, heath, moorland, alpine desert and arctic summit.
12. On the lower scopes coffee is grown and is considered a major export.
13. Famous writer Ernest Hemingway wrote a short story where he captured the beauties of the mountain in the following passage describing the mountain “…as wide as all the world, great, high and unbelievably white in the sun”- he named it “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”.
14. The vast majority of the porters are hired from villages that are near the mountain. They earn between $3 – $6 / day (without tips). They carry almost all the luggage on their heads.
15. Per year, more than 20,000 people try to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
16. Climbers can take up the mountain by following one of the six established routes.
Marangu Route is considered to be the most popular one.
17. Each year, almost 10 people die trying to climb the mountain.
18. A porter from the very first successful summit lived up to see the 100th celebration of the climb. He was 118 years old at that time.
19. The oldest person that successfully climbed the mountain was Valtee Daniel, aged 87.
20. It is approximated that out of every 1,000 tons of water that trickles down the mountain, 400 are directly from ice caps.