Posted by Ghananation.com on
Mount KilimanjaroKilimanjaro, with its three volcanic cones, Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira, is an inactive stratovolcano in north-eastern Tanzania and the ...
Kilimanjaro, with its three volcanic cones, Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira, is an inactive stratovolcano in north-eastern Tanzania and the highest mountain in Africa at 5,895 metres or 19,341 feet (the Uhuru Peak). Mount Kilimanjaro is considered to be the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, rising 4600 m (15,100 feet) from the base.
The exact meaning and origin of the name Kilimanjaro is unknown. It is thought to be a combination of the Swahili word Kilima (meaning "mountain") and the Kichagga word Njaro, loosely translated as "whiteness", giving the name White Mountain. The name Kibo in Kichagga means "spotted" and refers to rocks seen on snowfields. The Swahili word Uhuru translates as "freedom", a name given to commemorate Tanzanian independence from Great Britain in 1961.
Kilimanjaro is composed of three distinct volcanic cones: Kibo 19,340 feet (5895 meters); Mawenzi 16,896 feet (5149 m); and Shira 13,000 feet (3962 m). Uhuru Peak is the highest summit on Kibo's crater rim.
Mount Kilimanjaro seen from the air - very little ice remains Mapping
Early good maps of Kilimanjaro were published by the British Government's Directorate of Overseas Surveys (DOS 422 Y742) in 1963. These were based on air photography carried out as early as 1959 by the RAF. These were on a scale of 1:50,000 with contours at 100 ft intervals. These are now unavailable. Tourist mapping was first published by the Ordnance Survey in England in 1989 based on the original DOS mapping (1:100,000, 100 ft intervals, DOS 522). This is now no longer available. EWP produced a map with tourist information in 1990 (1:75,000, 100 m contour intervals, inset maps of Kibo and Mawenzi on 1:20,000 and 1:30,000 scales respectively and 50 m contour interval). This is regularly updated and in its 4th edition. In the last few years numerous other maps have become available of various qualities.
EWP map sample (1:75,000, summit area).
Mount Kilimanjaro as seen from Moshi town, Kilimanjaro regionKilimanjaro rises 4,600 m (15,092 ft) from its base, and approximately 5,100 m (16,732 ft) from the plains near Moshi.
Historical map with "Kilima-Ndscharo" in German East Africa, 1888It is unknown where the name Kilimanjaro originates, but a number of theories exist. European explorers had adopted the name by 1860 and reported that it was its Swahili name,with Kilimanjaro breaking into Kilima (Swahili for "hill, little mountain") and Njaro,whose supposed origin varies according to the theories—according to some it's an ancient Kiswahili Swahili word for white or for shining,or for the non-Swahili origin, a word from the Kichagga language, the word jaro meaning "caravan". The problem with all these is that they can't explain why the diminutive kilima is used instead of the proper word for mountain, mlima. The name might be a local joke, referring to the "little hill of the Njaro" being the biggest mountain on the African continent, since this is a nearby town, and guides recount that it is the Hill of the Njaro people. A different approach is to assume that it comes from the Kichagga kilmanare or kileajao meaning "which defeats the bird/leopard/caravan". However this theory cannot explain the fact that Kilimanjaro was never used in Kichagga before in Europe in the mid-1800s.
In the 1880s, the mountain, at that time spelled Kilima-Ndscharo in German following the Swahili name components, became a part of German East Africa after Karl Peters had persuaded local chiefs to sign treaties (a common story that Queen Victoria gave the mountain to Kaiser Wilhelm II is not true).In 1889 the peak of Kibo was named "Kaiser-Wilhelm-Spitze" ("Kaiser Wilhelm peak") by Hans Meyer, on the first ascent to the summit on 5 October 1889. That name was used until 1918, when after World War I the German colonies were handed over to the British empire. When British-administered Tanganyika gained its independence in 1961, the peak was named "Uhuru peak", meaning "Freedom peak" in Swahili.
The Ki- prefix in Swahili has several underlying meanings. The old Ka- diminutive noun prefix (found now only as Kadogo - a small degree), merged with the Ki class. One of its meanings was to also describe something unique of its kind: Kilima, a single peak, as opposed to Mlima, which would better describe a mountain range or undulating country. Several other mountains also bear this prefix, such as Kilima Mbogo (Buffalo Mountain), just north of Nairobi in Kenya. People with disabilities are also placed in this class, not so much as a diminutive idea; but a unique condition they possess: a blind or a deaf person, Kipofu and Kiziwi. This prefix "Ki-" in no way implies a derogatory sense.
Trekking routes up Kilimanjaro
Main article: Mount Kilimanjaro climbing routes
There are several routes by which to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, namely: Marangu, Rongai, Lemosho, Shira, Umbwe and Machame. Of all the routes, Machame is by far the most scenic albeit steeper route up the mountain, which can be done in 6 or 7 days. The Rongai is the easiest camping route and the Marangu is also easy, but accommodation is in huts. As a result, this route tends to be very busy, and ascent and descent routes are the same.
Caution signs at the Machamé trailhead
Sign at Uhuru peak, indicating to climbers that they have reached the top.Persons wishing to climb Mt Kilimanjaro are advised to undertake appropriate research and ensure that they are both properly equipped and physically capable. Though the climb is technically very easy, the altitude, low temperature, and occasional high winds make this a difficult and dangerous trek. Acclimatisation is essential, and even then most people suffer some degree of altitude sickness. About 10 climbers die from this each year, together with an unknown number of local porters - figures for these are guessed at between 10-20. Kilimanjaro summit is well above the altitude at which high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), or high altitude cerebral edema (HACE) can occur. All climbers will suffer considerable discomfort, typically shortage of breath, hypothermia and headaches, and though most young, fit people can make the Uhuru summit, a substantial number of trekkers will abandon the attempt at a lower altitude.
High-altitude climbing clubs have criticised the Tanzanian authorities for charging fees for each day spent on the mountain. This can encourage climbers to climb rapidly to save time and money, while proper acclimatisation demands that delays are built in to any high climb.
Tanzanian Medical Services around the mountain have expressed concern recently over the current influx of tourists that apparently perceive Kilimanjaro as an easy climb. Many individuals require significant attention during their attempts, and many are forced to abandon the climb. An investigation into the matter concluded that tourists visiting Tanzania were often encouraged to join groups heading up the mountain without being made aware of the significant physical demands the climb makes.
Kilimanjaro has a large variety of forest types over an altitudinal range of 3,000 m (9,843 ft) containing over 1,200 vascular plant species. Montane Ocotea forests occur on the wet southern slope. Cassipourea and Juniperus forests grow on the dry northern slope. Subalpine Erica forests at 4,100 m (13,451 ft) represent the highest elevation cloud forests in Africa. In contrast to this enormous biodiversity, the degree of endemism is low. However, forest relicts in the deepest valleys of the cultivated lower areas suggest that a rich forest flora inhabited Mt Kilimanjaro in the past, with restricted-range species otherwise only known from the Eastern Arc mountains. The low degree of endemism on Kilimanjaro may result from destruction of lower altitude forest rather than the relatively young age of the mountain. Another feature of the forests of Kilimanjaro is the absence of a bamboo zone, which occurs on all other tall mountains in East Africa with a similarly high rainfall. 'Sinarundinaria alpina' stands are favoured by elephants and buffaloes. On Kilimanjaro these megaherbivores occur on the northern slopes, where it is too dry for a large bamboo zone to develop. They are excluded from the wet southern slope forests by topography and humans, who have cultivated the foothills for at least 2000? years. This interplay of biotic and abiotic factors could explain not only the lack of a bamboo zone on Kilimanjaro but also offers possible explanations for the patterns of diversity and endemism. Kilimanjaro's forests can therefore serve as a striking example of the large and long-lasting influence of both animals and humans on the African landscape.