Interesting Facts About Mount Kilimanjaro


Do you know any interesting facts about Mount Kilimanjaro? At 19,341 feet | 5,895 meters, Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa, one of the Seven Summits, one of the Volcanic Seven Summits, and the world’s tallest free-standing mountain. This impressive and legendary mountain is definitely one that should be on your peak bagging list.

Kilimanjaro, Tanzania | Pixabay Image
Kilimanjaro, Tanzania | Pixabay Image

Located in Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania in eastern Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant stratovolcano that is a popular destination for mountain enthusiasts. With numerous non-technical routes to the “Roof of Africa,” people from around the world flock to Tanzania and the slopes of Kilimanjaro to see if they can handle the mighty mountain.

Mount Kilimanjaro Quick Facts:

  • Elevation: 19341 feet | 5895 meters
  • Prominence: 19308 feet | 5885 meters
  • Isolation: 3424 miles | 5510 kilometers
  • Lat/Long: 03°04′33″S 37°21′12″E
  • First Ascent: 1889 – Hans Meyer & Ludwig Purtscheller
  • Weather Forecast: Mount Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro | Pixabay Image
Mount Kilimanjaro | Pixabay Image

Let’s look at some interesting facts about Mount Kilimanjaro:

  • Kilimanjaro is one of the Seven Summits and one of the Volcanic Seven Summits.
  • It is the 4th most prominent peak in the world. It rises 4900 meters | 16,100 feet from its base to the summit. Only Everest, Aconcagua, and Denali are more prominent.
  • Kilimanjaro is the world’s highest free standing mountain. A free standing mountain is typically not associated with a mountain range. Some sources do lump Kilimanjaro into the Eastern Rift Mountains, a range that includes some of the largest mountains in Africa.
  • Kilimanjaro is a dormant stratovolcano that features three volcanic cones:
    • Kibo (19341 feet | 5895 meters) is extinct. On Kibo’s southern crater rim is Uhuru Peak – the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro.
    • Mawenzi (5149 meters | 16893 feet) is extinct.
    • Shira (4,005 meters |13,140 feet) is dormant, which means it could erupt again at some point.
Mount Kilimanjaro | Pixabay Image
Mount Kilimanjaro | Pixabay Image
  • Kilimanjaro’s last major eruption was 360,000 years ago. There has been volcanic activity as recent as 200 years ago.
  • Mount Kilimanjaro covers roughly 388,500 hectares. It is roughly 40 kilometers across.
  • Kilimanjaro is home to 5 unique ecosystems from tropical to glacial.
    • Bushland, 800 m – 1,800 m (2,600 ft – 5,900 ft)
    • Rainweald, 1,800 m – 2,800 m (5,900 ft – 9,200 ft)
    • Heath and Moorland, 2,800 m – 4,000 m (9,200 ft – 13,100 ft)
    • Highland Barrens, 4,000 m – 5,000 m (13,100 ft– 16,400 ft)
    • Ice Cap, 5,000 m – 5,895 m (16,400 ft – 19,341 ft)
      • The ice cap is quickly disappearing. Since 1912 it has lost 82% of its size. It is expected to be completely gone by 2030.
  • No one really knows where Kilimanjaro got its name. In 1860, European explorers reported Kilimanjaro as the Kiswahili name. The name could mean “mountain of greatness” or “mountain of caravans.” There are other theories on the name too.
  • In 1889, when Hans Meyer summited Kilimanjaro, he named the mountain “Kaiser Wilhelm Peak.” This name stuck around until 1964, when the country of Tanzania was formed.
  • In 1964, Tanzania named the highest point on Kilimanjaro Uhuru Peak, which means “Freedom Peak” in Kiswahili.
  • The area around Kilimanjaro was declared a game reserve in 1910. In 1921, it was set as a forest reserve, and in 1973, it was named Kilimanjaro National Park. In 1977, it opened to the public. Today it is administered by the Tanzania National Parks Authority.
  • In 1987, the area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • There are numerous legends surrounding Kilimanjaro that you can read about here.
  • About 150 species of mammals live on or around Kilimanjaro including  7 primates, 25 carnivores, 25 antelopes, 24 species of bat, and 179 species of birds. Both elephants and buffalo have spotted above treeline (
  • The Chagga tribe lives near the base of Kilimanjaro.
  • Kilimanjaro has appeared in numerous forms of pop culture – television, movies, books, music. Perhaps the most famous references include:
Summit of Kilimanjaro | Pixabay Image
Summit of Uhuru Peak On Kilimanjaro | Pixabay Image

Let’s look at some climbing history on Mount Kilimanjaro:

  • German Missionary Johannes Rebmann was the first European to report the existence of Kilimanjaro in 1848. It was obviously seen by indigenous people long before this.
  • Kilimanjaro’s 1st known ascent was completed by Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purscheller on 6 October 1889. It was Meyer’s 3rd attempt to scale the mountain.
  • A porter from the 1st ascent in 1889 lived to be 118 years old. He lived to see the 100th anniversary of the 1st ascent.
  • Sheila MacDonald was the 1st woman to climb Kilimanjaro in 1927.
  • Edward Oehler and Fritz Klute claimed the 1st ascent of Mawenzi on 29 July 1912.
  • Karl Egloff set the Fastest Known Time for ascent and descent with a time of 6 hours, 42 minutes set on 13 August 2014.
  • Anne-Marie Flammersfeld holds the female speed record. On 27 July 2015 she ascended Kilimanjaro in 8 hours, 32 minutes up and had a round trip time of 12 hours, 58 minutes.
  • Despite the fact that all climbing permits require climbers to be at least 10 years old, Keats Boyd summit Kilimanjaro on 21 January 2008 at age 7.
  • At age 87, Valtee Daniel became the oldest person to summit Kilimanjaro.
  • On 1 July 1988, Ace Bailey became the 1st person to snowboard from the summit. At the time, it was the highest altitude snowboard descent ever.
  • Madhusudan Patidar set an odd record of spending 22 hours at the summit on 18 December 2017.
  • Roughly 35000 people attempt to summit the mountain every year. Only about 45% are successful.
  • There are an average of 10-15 deaths per year on the mountain.
  • Climbing permits are required. All climbers are required to hire a local guide and local porters. The climbing industry generates roughly 11,000 jobs for guides, porters, and cooks.
  • There are 7 main trekking routes Lemosho, Machame, Marangu, Mweka, Rongai, Shira, and Umbwe. None of them are technically demanding.
  • Most climbers summit in 4 to 9 days.
Barranco Wall, Kilimanjaro | Pixabay Image
Barranco Wall, Kilimanjaro | Pixabay Image

Want To Learn Some Fun Facts About Kilimanjaro?

  • Douglas Adams, author of Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, ran up the mountain in a rhinoceros suit for the charity: Save the Rhino International.
  • Pizza Hut claims the world’s highest pizza delivery to the summit of Kilimanjaro. This was done as part of a PR stunt in May 2016.
  • In June 2017, a 90 minute soccer game became the highest soccer game on record.
  • On 26 September 2014, the highest cricket match ever took place on Mount Kilimanjaro at 5730 meters | 18800 feet.
  • The 1st wedding on Kilimanjaro took place on 21 September 2014 at Shira Camp 2. The couple exchanged vows on the summit.
Mount Kilimanjaro | Pixabay Image
Mount Kilimanjaro | Pixabay Image

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