How Tall is Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in the continent of Africa having a height of 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) above sea level. Mount Kilimanjaro has three volcanic cones named “Kibo”, “Mawenzi” and “Shira” and is actually a dormant volcano located in the African country of Tanzania. The first attempt to climb the mountain was made back in 1889 by Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller. This mountain is a major climbing destination for adventure seeking climber and is a part of the Kilimanjaro National Park. This mountain has also been the site for numerous scientific expeditions as a result of the fast shrinking glaciers.

Geographical Features of Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro rises to a base height of 4877 meters (16,001 feet) from the Southern Base in the Municipality of Moshi and rises to attain a summit height of 5895 meters above the sea level which is approximately 19,341 feet. This is also the highest volcano in the world if the continent of South America is excluded. The volcanic cones of Mawenzi and Shira are extinct while Kibo is dormant and could erupt at any point in the future.

Although the mountain is positioned very near the equator, still the peaks are covered in snow all throughout the year. The Kilimanjaro National Park has six rights of ways or corridors through the Kilimanjaro Forest Reserve. The establishment of the forest reserve was made back in the year 1921 while the National Park opened its doors in 1977.

Mount Kilimanjaro also has a very beautiful landscape. This mountain can be divided into 5 distinct climatic zones and each of these has different kind of flora and fauna. Evergreen forests dominate the lower portion of the mountain. At around the 3000 meter mark, shrubs start to dominate the scene while at 4000 meters, the landscape becomes very rocky and arid. Just above this, the surface is covered in glacial sleet while top of the mountain is snow capped and has large glaciers between the volcanic craters.

Flora and Fauna in Mount Kilimanjaro

Forests cover around 1000 square kilometers of the total mountain. In the foothills of the mountain, wheat, maize, sunflower and beans are cultivated. Coffee is also cultivated between the elevations of 1000m to 3000m as a part of the Chagga home gardens agro forestry.

Large animals do not usually live on Mount Kilimanjaro but they can be frequently spotted in the forests and on the lower slopes of the mountain. Elephants and Cape Buffaloes are common on the lower parts and can pose a threat to trekkers as they are known to attack humans. Chameleons, Bushbucks, sun birds, mongoose and warthogs are also very common in these areas. Hyenas and Zebras sparsely populate the plateaus. The Kilimanjaro Shrew and the Kinyongia tavetana, which is a chameleon, are two species that are specific to the mountain.

Climate on Mount Kilimanjaro

Climate is largely dependent on the elevation of the mountain. The height of the mountain allows for the influence of both the equatorial trade winds and the anti trade winds of the high altitudes. The mountain experiences upslope winds during the day and down slope winds at night.

The rainfall received by the northern slopes is much less than the southern slopes. As far as temperatures are concerned, the average summit temperatures are -7 degree C (-19 degree ) while the nighttime temperatures on the Northern Ice Field are -9 degree C on average and the average daytime high is -4 degree C.

Radiation cooling can sometimes cause the night temperatures to plunge down to as low as -15 degree C to -27 degree C. Rainfall occurs during the two rainy seasons of Tanzania which are November to December and March to May.

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Dangers on Mount Kilimanjaro

It was reported in a study in August 2005 that around 61.3 % of climbers succeed while around 77% of climbers experience Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). The summit of the mountain is much above the altitude which is considered safe and the high altitudes like that can cause a wide range of respiratory and nervous system breakdowns which may even lead to death.

It is estimated that between the year 1996 to 2003, a total of 25 people died climbing the mountain out of which 17 were female and 8 males. So, it is clear that this trail can be considered to be fair from being completely safe for the climbers.

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