Rising thousands of feet above the African plains is the amazing Mount Kilimanjaro; the tallest free-standing mountain in the entire world. This amazing African landform draws thousands of tourists a year many of who attempt to hike to its summit. On this page are lists of interesting facts about Mount Kilimanjaro written for kids and adults. This information includes how tall this mountain is, where it is located, who first successfully climbed it, and what animals and plants can be found there.
Description of Mount Kilimanjaro
This mountain is located in Kilimanjaro National Park in the East African country of Tanzania.
Mount Kilimanjaro is 19,341 feet (5,895 meters) high, making it the highest mountain in Africa.
Kilimanjaro is the highest free-standing mountain in the world. Free-standing means it is not part of a mountain range.
Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant stratovolcano. This type of volcano is built up of alternate layers of ash and lava.
This volcano has 3 volcanic cones named Shira, Mawenzi, and Kibo. Kibo is the highest of the three cones and Uhuru Peak on Kibo is the highest point on the entire volcano.
Mount Kilimanjaro Climate Zones
Mount Kilimanjaro has four distinct climate zones which are listed below.
The Rain forest zone which is located at 2,625 - 9,843 feet (800 - 3,000 meters). This zone has a tropical rain forest.
The Low alpine zone which is located at 9,843 - 13,780 feet (3,000 - 4,200 meters). This zone has semi-arid grasslands and wide open infertile land.
The High alpine zone which is located at 13,780 - 16,404 feet (4,200 - 5,000 meters). This alpine desert zone is arid and inhospitable.
The Glacial zone which is located at 16,404 - 19,341 feet (5,000 - 5,895 meters). This high-altitude zone, which reaches the summit, has extreme artic conditions with most of the landscape covered with snow and ice.
Mount Kilimanjaro Interesting Facts
How this mountain came to be called "Kilimanjaro" is a bit of a mystery. It is widely believed that "Kilimanjaro" is the name given to it by the indigenous people of the area possibly meaning "mountain of greatness".
The average temperature at the summit of this mountain is 19 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 degrees Celsius).
This volcano's last major eruption is believed to have been approximately 360,000 years ago.
Of the mountain's 3 volcanic cones, Kibo, although dormant, is the only one that may erupt again at some point in the future. The other two cones; Shira and Mawenzi, are classified as extinct.
Mount Kilimanjaro is part of the East African Rift (EAR); an active continental rift zone.
Kilimanjaro has two rainy seasons, the first is from March through May and the second occurs in November. The northern slopes receive much less rainfall than the southern slopes.
Kilimanjaro is one of the "seven summits"; which are the highest mountains on each of the seven continents. Successfully climbing to the summit of all seven is considered an amazing mountaineering accomplishment.
This volcano is the tallest volcano outside of South America.
In 1889 German geographer Hans Meyer and mountaineer Ludwig Purtscheller were the first recorded people to climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. They climbed to the summit of Kibo, the highest of Kilimanjaro's three peaks.
There are seven so called official routes for climbing Kilimanjaro. Their names are Lemosho, Machame, Marangu, Mweka, Rongai, Shira, and Umbwe. Rongai is widely considered the easiest route whereas Umbwe the hardest.
About 25,000 people a year set out to summit Mount Kilimanjaro. Even though it is not a technically difficult mountain to climb about one third of these people are unsuccessful. Most turn back due to the effects of the high altitude on their bodies, wearing them out and requiring they go at an extremely slow pace.
An interesting fact is that at the mountain's peak is a wooden box with a book inside. Most climbers have recorded their experience of climbing to the summit in this book.
Do to several factors the snow and ice on the top of the mountain is steadily melting; some scientists predict all the snow and ice will be gone by the year 2033.
The foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro have excellent conditions for agriculture; in fact, in many people's opinions the best coffee grown in Africa comes for this region.
The lower slopes of the mountain, including the tropical rainforest, supports numerous animal species. The rainforest is teeming with various monkey species; and lucky tourists may spot elephants, leopards, giraffes, Cape buffaloes, and other animals at the lower levels.
There is a wide variety of plants that grow on Kilimanjaro; which can be attributed to the wide range in climates on the mountain. At the lowest level the tropical rainforest has the widest array of plant life whereas near the summit, with its extremely cold weather and little precipitation, nearly nothing grows except some slow-growing lichens.
Although not considered extremely difficult to climb, in comparison to most of the tallest mountains in the world, several people have died attempting to hike to the summit. The causes of death include advanced high-altitude illness, pneumonia, cardio-pulmonary failure, and rock falls.