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History & Facts about Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania

Kilimanjaro Mountain is an elevated strato-volcano found in North Tanzania just south of the Kenyan border in East Africa. An iconic landmark on the African continent as its summit, Uhuru peak is the highest on the continent. A proud member of the Seven Summits of the world.

A summarized history about the mighty Kilimanjaro Mountain:

  • A series of volcanic eruptions that happened a million years ago led to the formation of Mt. Kilimanjaro. It has 3 volcano cones, namely; Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira. While Kibo is a dormant volcano that could erupt again, Mawenzi and Shira are considered extinct as they have not erupted in over a million years. Kibo is the youngest and tallest of the 3 volcano cones with its summit, Uhuru peak elevated at 5,895 meters above sea level.
  • The first recorded summit of Kilimanjaro at Kibo was in October, 1889 by Hans Meyer, a German Geology professor. He had tried to summit the mountain on 2 occasions before his 3rd attempt that was the successful summit. Many Europeans before him had attempted to summit Kilimanjaro but had failed. First record of an attempt was in 1861.
  • Sheila McDonald was the first female to summit Kilimanjaro in 1927.
  • In 1973, Mount Kilimanjaro National Park was established to protect the mountain’s vast wildlife unique environment and ecosystem. Years later (1978), it was declared a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site. The indigenous Chagga people of Tanzania still farm the lower slopes of the mountain.
  • The Chagga people have lived in the Kilimanjaro region for hundreds of years, considering the mountain to be a sacred place where their god, Ruwa lived at the white peak. A place of cultural and spiritual significance to them.
  • As some records say the name “Kilimanjaro” is a name of the mountain in Kiswahili, also commonly accepted as a mixture of Kiswahili and KiChagga where “Kilima” (Kiswahili) means mountain and “Njaro” (KiChagga) means whiteness. Otherwise, the origins of the name are so unclear.

Currently, Kilimanjaro is a very popular destination for mountain climbers, hikers, adventure lovers and all kinds of travelers. As the number of tourists to the mountain increases each year, the ice fields and glaciers are melting away very fast because of the warm weather and dry conditions. Soon it will no longer be a snow-capped mountain.


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