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Kilimanjaro Facts


Altitude and Size

  • The height of Kilimanjaro is usually given as 5895 m or 19,340 ft.
  • The most accurate altitude of Kilimanjaro as measured in 2008 is 5891.8 m or 19,330 ft.
  • Kilimanjaro is the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. It rises 4877 m above the surrounding plains.
  • It measures up to 40 km across.
  • The base covers an area of about 388,500 hectares.

Geography/Location

  • Mount Kilimanjaro is located in Tanzania in east Africa, in the north of the country, near the border between Tanzania and Kenya.
  • The whole area lies between 2° 45' to 3° 25'S and 37° 00' to 37° 43'E (not far south of the equator).

Population

  • The area surrounding kilimanjaro is heavily populated.
  • The local tribe living in the foothills is the Chagga.
  • The Chagga arrived about 300 years ago as nomads and settled as farmers, terracing Kilimanjaro's slopes.
  • There are 18 larger "forest villages" in the forest reserve that surrounds Kilimanjaro National Park.
  • Villagers use the forest (illegally) for firewood, farming, beekeeping, hunting, charcoal production and logging.

Geology

  • Kilimanjaro is a giant stratovolcano.
  • Kilimanjaro is classified as dormant, not extinct.
  • It is the largest of an east-west belt of volcanoes across northern Tanzania.
  • Kilimanjaro started forming about 750,000 years ago.
  • Kili has three main volcanic peaks (Shira, Mawenzi and Kibo) and a number of smaller parasitic cones.
  • Shira is the oldest peak, Kibo the youngest.
  • Kibo's last major eruption occured about 360,000 years ago.
  • The last volcanic activity was recorded just over 200 years ago and resulted in today's ash pit.
  • Kibo has two concentric craters, 1.9 x 2.7 km and 1.3 km in diameter, respectively.
  • The central ash pit is 350 m deep.
  • Uhuru Peak on the southern rim of the outer crater is the highest point on the mountain.
  • Since 1912 Kilimanjaro has lost 82% of its ice cap.
  • Since 1962 Kilimanjaro has lost 55% of the remaining glaciers.
  • This may be local evidence of climate warming but may also be due to the loss of humidity caused by deforestation and clearing for farms.
  • Today, the total glacier area is about 2.5 km2.
  • The latest forecasts predict that Kilimanjaro may lose the plateau ice within the next 30-40 years, but the slope glaciers may remain much longer.

Climate

  • There are two wet seasons, November to December and March to May.
  • The driest months are August to October.
  • Rainfall decreases rapidly with altitude.
  • 96% of all rain on Kilimanjaro falls below 3000 m.
  • The average yearly rainfall at Marangu Gate (start of Marangu route) is 2300 mm.
  • Above 4500 m the conditions are desert like.
  • The average yearly rainfall at Kibo Huts (highest hut on Marangu route) is less than 200 mm.
  • The northern side of the mountain is a lot drier than the southern side.
  • January to March are the warmest months.

Vegetation Zones

  • The mountain has five main vegetation zones:
  • Savanna bushland (700-1000 m on southern side and 1400-1600 m on northern side),
  • Sub-montane agro-forest (the densely populated farmlands to the south and south east)
  • Montane forest belt (the rainforest, from 1300 m to 2800 m on southern side, above 1600 m on drier northern side)
  • Sub-alpine moorland and alpine bogs (the heath and moorland, 2800-4000 m)
  • Above this is the alpine desert.

Animals

  • 140 species of mammals (87 forest species) live on Kilimanjaro. Species include 7 primates, 25 carnivores, 25
  • antelopes and 24 species of bat.
  • At least seven larger mammal species have been recorded above the tree line: Kilimanjaro tree hyrax, grey duiker, red duiker, eland, bushbuck, buffalo and elephants.
  • Three primate species live in the montane forests: blue monkey, black and white colobus Colobus and bushbaby.
  • 179 species of birds have been recorded.

Kilimanjaro National Park

  • Size of the national park: 75, 353 hectares
  • Size of the surrounding forest reserve: 107,828 hectares
  • Mt Kilimanjaro and its forests were declared a game reserve in 1910 by the German colonial government.
  • In 1921 the area was gazetted as a Forest Reserve and in 1973 the mountain above the tree line (2700m) was reclassified as a national park.
  • The national park also protects some of the montane forest, and six access corridors through the forest belt below.
  • Kilimanjaro National Park was opened for public access in 1977.
  • In 1987 the park was inscribed as a World Heritage Site for its natural value.
  • The park is administered by the Tanzania National Parks Authority.
  • The area lies at 2°45'-3°25'S, 37°00'-37°43'E.