Majestic Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
Widely known as the highest freestanding mountain the world and the tallest in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro boasts a staggering height of 19,341 feet. This dormant volcanic mountain can be found in the Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania, and it comprises three main volcanic cones named Mawenzi, Kibo and Shira. The Mawenzi and Shira peaks are considered extinct and pose no danger, while Kibo, who is also the tallest of the three, is actually dormant and could erupt at some point the future.
The first person to climb Kibo was a German geology professor named Hans Meyer, who managed to reach the top of the peak in 1889 after two failed attempts. He was accompanied by an Austrian mountaineer named Ludwig Purtscheller, while the rest of their team comprised a guide, a cook, nine porters and two local headmen.
If you are thinking about climbing this famed mountain yourself, then you should know that there are a total of seven trekking routes available, namely Shira, Umbwe, Lemosho, Machame, Marangu, Mweka and Rongai. If you are looking for a scenic route, we advise you to go with Mechame, while Marangu and Rongai have a reduced degree of difficulty but provide fewer sights.
Before you undergo this exciting and perilous journey however, you should take the time and do your homework. This means you should consider carefully if you are prepared for such a challenging task both physically and mentally, as the low temperature, high altitudes and strong winds will definitely get in your way. Moreover, altitude sickness can be a real problem even for experienced trekkers, while high altitude cerebral or pulmonary edemas pose real threats.
Mount Kilimanjaro boasts a high biodiversity as far as flora is concerned. The forests of the mountain, including the Subalpine Erica forests house as many as 1,200 vascular plant species, but endemic species are quite scarce by contrast. Being an exceptionally tall mountain, Kilimanjaro is covered in part by ice and snow, especially at its highest altitudes. However, recent decades have seen a substantial diminishing in the mountain’s ice caps, and if the process continues further, experts say that the mountain will become ice-free somewhere in between 2022 and 2033.