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6 Things Why Mount Kilimanjaro the Tallest Mountain in Africa is Very Unique

Mountain Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa and also the highest free-standing mountain worldwide.

It has three volcanic cones known as Shira, Mawenzi, and Kibo, and its last eruption was 360,000 years back.

The mountain Kilimanjaro has exceptional features that make it unique and different from all other mountains in Africa and globally.

Keep reading to discover the features that make Mount Kilimanjaro, which is situated in Tanzania, unique.

Six (6) unique features of mountain Kilimanjaro

1. The peak of the mountain

A unique feature of mountain Kilimanjaro is its highest peak, measuring 5,895 meters [19,341 ft] atop the sea level. It’s the tallest mountain in the African continent and the highest free-standing mountain in the world.

Kilimanjaro, also called Roof of Africa, derives its name from combining the Swahili word ‘Kilima,’ meaning mountain, and the kichagga word ‘Njaro’ meaning whiteness.

It’s a stratovolcano because of its size – a large volcano in Africa consisting of rock, ash, and lava.

2. The three volcanic cones

The mountain encompasses three [3] different volcanic cones that include Shira, Mawenzi, and Kibo.

Shira – Shira is the oldest and smallest peak on mountain Kilimanjaro, structured after the eruption of molten lava about 750,000 years ago.

The enormous force that created the eruption also enforced a part of the earth’s crust skywards, generating the Shira volcano.

The volcano has ceased to erupt and became extinct about 500 000 years back. It has an elevation of 4877m, latitude, and longitude of -3.028392, 37.212596 respectively.

Mawenzi – Mawenzi is the third tallest peak in Africa, with a meter of 5,149, a latitude of -3.075833, and a longitude of 37.353333.

The easiest and safest route to the Mawenzi summit is by following either the Rongai or Marangu paths.

The Rongai path approaches the mountain from the northern breach while the Marangu route approaches the peak from the east.  

Kibo – Kibo is the point where Kilimanjaro’s summit lolls and the mountain’s youngest, tallest, and central cone.

The peak of the cone is 19340ft [5895m] tall, formed about 460,000 years ago, with a latitude and longitude of -3.028392, 37.212596 respectively.

3. Easiest of the seven African summits

Another feature that makes mountain Kilimanjaro distinctive is that it is the easiest among all the seven summits.

Although the mountain is a high elevation trek that takes a minimum of six days to complete, it’s still the easiest of the seven summits as it entails no rope, rock climbing, or technical mountaineering skills.

The seven summits were proposed and completed by Richard Bass in 1985, and it consists of mount Everest in Asia, Aconcagua in South America, Mount McKinley in North America, Mount Elbrus in Europe Vinson Massif in Antarctica, Carstensz Pyramid in Oceania, and of course Kilimanjaro in Africa.

4. Its incredible glaciers

Mountain Kilimanjaro has magnificent glaciers with vertical edges that are approximately 11,700 years old.

The glaciers of mountain Kilimanjaro are fragile, with about sixteen small remnants of ice caps, although the areas that undergo weather and sunlight effects have experienced refreezing.

5. Several routes to the mountain.

One of the unique things about mountain Kilimanjaro is that it has many routes to the summit.

The Lemosho and Shira route start at Kili’s west end, the Machame and Umbwe routes begin on the southwest side, while the Rongai route begins on the north side.

The Marangu route, the only path that proffers shelter, begins at the southeastern side and then the spiral route.

6. Coexistence of splendid ecosystems and wildlife

The existence of different ecosystems on mountain Kilimanjaro makes it an exceptional one amongst others.   

It comprises farms, plantations, pastures, and wildlife like fauna, blue monkeys, olive baboons, civets, leopards, elephants, bush pigs, dik-dik, mong others.

Attractions in mountain Kilimanjaro 

Adding up to the unique elements about mountain Kilimanjaro, we will list some other top attractions of the mountain, and they are as follows

  • Kilimanjaro sunrise
  • The full moon
  • White-necked ravens
  • Plane crash site
  • Shira plateau
  • Dendrosenecio kilimanjari plants
  • Zebra rock
  • Rainforest
  • Lava tower
  • Kibo crater
  • Uhuru peak
  • Other attractions include wildlife watching at the mountain’s national park, hiking the Leadville, visiting Chala Crater Lake.

9 Interesting facts about mountain Kilimanjaro

1. Mountain Kilimanjaro is the tallest in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world.

2. Kilimanjaro Mountain comprises three prominent volcanic cones viz Mawenzi, Kibo, and Shira.

3. The last eruption of mountain Kilimanjaro was 360 000 years ago.

4. The oldest person to ascent Mount Kilimanjaro was Anne Larimore in 2019.

5. The mountain houses different ecological systems like the rain forest, moorland, alpine desert, arctic summit, etc.

6. Karl Egloff was the fastest recognized ascent of mountain Kilimanjaro in 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 24 seconds.

7. In the next 20 years, they may not be glaciers in the mountain as it keeps diminishing due to weather, and it has lost more than 80 percent of its mass since 1912.

8. Bernard Goosen from South Africa has scaled the mountain twice using a modified wheelchair. The first ascent was in 2003 where it took him nine days, while the second occurred after four years, and it took him six days.

9. Annually, an approximate number of 25,000 people attempt to climb the mountain Kilimanjaro and is about two-thirds of the number that will succeed.

Climate zones in mountain Kilimanjaro

Mountain Kilimanjaro consists of five different ecological climate zones, and they include the following.

  • Cultivation zone – It has an elevation arrange of 2,500-5900 ft, and the temperature by days is 70 -90 F / 21-32 C while the temperature at nights is 40-60 /4-15 C.
  • Heather-moorland zone has an altitude range of 2,800 to 3,350m [9,200-11,000 ft], temperature of 50 to 80 F / 10-27 C during the days and 30-60 F / [-1]-15 C at nights.
  • Alpine desert zone height is 13,000 -16,400 ft, the temperature range throughout the days is 10-60 F / [-12]-15 C and nights 10-40 F / [-12] -4 C.  
  • Forest zone rise is 6,000-9200 ft, the day’s temperature 70-90 F / 21-32 C, whereas the night’s temperature is 40-60 F /4-15 C.
  • Arctic summit climate zones also called Arctic zone has a tallness of 16,500- 19,340 ft, the days temperature as 10-40 F / [-12]-4 C, and nights -15-20 / [-26]-[-7] C.

About the oxygen and altitude in mountain Kilimanjaro

At climbing Kilimanjaro, there is about 49% less oxygen than the one at sea level, and the reason is as you get higher up, there is less atmospheric pressure.

It’s important to know that the percentage of oxygen in the air does not change; instead, the air pressure of the atmosphere reduces.

This reduced pressure can cause mountain sickness like Acute Mountain Sickness [AMS], High Altitude Cerebral Edema [HACE], and High Altitude Pulmonary Edema [HAPE].

The summit success rate based on age, fastness, and health

Every year, there is an attempt to climb the mountain Kilimanjaro, and we will categorize the ascent based on age, fastness, and health of the climbers.

The oldest person to ascent the mountain is 89 years old and is named Anne Lorimor in 2019 from Phoenix, Arizona.

The youngest to climb the mountain Kilimanjaro is a six-year-old Coaltan Tanner, an Albuquerque, New Mexico inhabitant in 2018.

The Kilimanjaro fastest ascent, Karl Egloff, has a remarkable record of 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 24 seconds.

Kilimanjaro’s first summit was in the 19th century by European explorers known as Hans Meyer and Yohani Lauwo.

However, Bernard Goosen of South Africa scaled the mountain twice despite having a health challenge of cerebral palsy.

With his modified wheelchair, Bernard first climbed mountain Kilimanjaro in 2003 within nine days, and four years later, it took him six days to ascend the mountain.  

The shape of the mountain Kilimanjaro is a horseshoe shape.

Economic benefits of mountain Kilimanjaro to Tanzania

Mountain Kilimanjaro, located in the northern part of Tanzania in the Kilimanjaro region, has so many essential and benefits to the habitats, and they are

  • Rivers flowing from the mountain are a source of water to the people living around the environment.
  • It is a tourist attraction. For this reason, it serves as a source of foreign earning to the people.
  • It modifies climate conditions, thereby making the dwellers receive high rainfall through orographic rainfall formation.
  • The mountain makes Tanzania nation an iconic destination since its home to Africa’s highest mountain.
  • Forests around the mountain serve as timber and other forestry products to the occupants.
  • The national park around the mountain is home to various plants and animals; therefore, it helps safeguard its biodiversity.

Things one can see when climbing mountain Kilimanjaro

When climbing mountain Kilimanjaro, there are numerous scenic things you are prone to see, which include grasslands, equatorial jungle, alpine desert, and tundra,

Another list of things you can behold is scenes remindful of Arctic landscapes, unusual colobus monkeys, enthralling Senecio forest, and trees that look similar to giant pineapples.

Direction to Kilimanjaro for vacationers

The direction for vacationers going to mountain Kilimanjaro, especially those coming from London, is to take a flight from London, change a plane at Amsterdam, and be flown straight into Kilimanjaro international airport.

Then, from there to the town of Moshi and drive to Marangu or Lemosho park gate and begin your exciting trek. Note that the only route best to use when descending is Marangu and Mweka.

Discovery of mountain Kilimanjaro

The first attempt to ascend the mountain was by European explorers [Hans Meyer and Yohani] in the late 19th century.

The first attempt of Meyer was in 1887 where he made it to the base of Kibo, and by 1889, he and Yohani stood on the summit for the first time.

The record has it that after the early ascent in 1889, it took another whopping year of 20 years to document the next successful attempt in 1909. 

By 1841, Baron Carl Claus, a German explorer, traveled to the mountain to meet Richard Thornton, a British geologist.

According to the grapevine, they climbed 8,200 feet, and together they surveyed the area estimating the mountain is around 20,000 feet high.

Fascinatingly, Richard Thornton was the first to conclude the mountain is a volcano, and the first to report the existence of mountain Kilimanjaro was Johannes Rebmann in 1848.

Does the mountain have any specific month for climbing?

Yes! The mountain has a month that is best for hikers and climbers, which is the month of September.

What is unique about Mount Kilimanjaro, and where is it located?

The unique thing about mountain Kilimanjaro is its height, measuring 5,895 above sea level, making it the most free-standing mountain worldwide. Its location is in Tanzania, East Africa.

Why is Mount Kilimanjaro so famous?

Mount Kilimanjaro is very famous and popular for its skilled hikers and first-time explorers since it is well-thought-out to be the easiest among the seven summits.

Why is Mount Kilimanjaro a top tourist attraction?

The mountain is a top tourist attraction is the highest mountain in not just Tanzania but Africa and is also one of the highest volcanoes in the world with an altitude of 5895 meters.


Apart from Kilimanjaro being the tallest mountain in Africa and highest Standing Mountain globally, it has many unique features that make it outstanding.

The mountain is undeniably stunning and exceptional with its several sightseeing locations and faunas.

Those seeking for locality worth touring should search no more as mountain Kilimanjaro is the ultimate scene.

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