Tanzania was the first country in Africa to gain its independence from its colonial powers and the mountain inspired the rest of the continent to freedom. It was during the county’s independence Kilimanjaro was nicknamed Tanganyika symbolizing how that country was a shining hope of democracy to the rest of Africa. Today, some of the legacy remains, since the summit is called Uhuru Peak. This translates from the Swahili word to mean freedom.
Still internationally this mountain received acclaim: Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The mountain is the highest in Africa, but also the highest stand-alone mountain in the world. It is more known for the fact that the mount that is located in the north-eastern part of Tanzania, where the climate is tropical since its closeness to the equator has snow all year round on its peak. Right now, if you’re thinking about climbing Kilimanjaro it would be a good idea to read a conclusive guide to plan your trip.
Kilimanjaro, or Kilima Njaro, which means shining mountain in Swahili means, has five different eco-systems. These range from cultivated land at the base, stretching to rain forest, heath, moorland, alpine desert as the climate changes with the altitude. An arctic ice cap top it all off as you reach the peak of the mountain.
Mountain climbers are spoiled trekking up the mountain, which is one of the easiest of the seven summits to climb. Climbers can spot wildlife like a wide array of bird life, Colobus monkeys, nocturnal cats, aardvarks, honey badgers; as well as antelopes, duikers and leopards. There are also many endemic plants on this mountain, still the beauty of everlasting flowers, asters, and red hot pokers will amaze mountain climbers when they are in flower.
This Shining Mountain, which started three-quarters of a million years ago still stands proud. Besides the pride of the nation of Tanzania towards their mountain, foreigners have been flocking to admire it and to try to reach its peak. In fact, this is the only mountain in the world that you can climb without the need for mountain gear or oxygen masks. As no technical climbing is needed you can just simply walk up. From the youngest being six to an 87 year old Frenchman Valtee Daniel have made it to the peak.
Although it is not just novel climbers that are trekking up the mountain, many are using their experience to mark a wedding, a special achievement, or an anniversary with a lifelong memory. Others are using this trek to symbolize their own challenges and how they will overcome it. Such as cancer patients struggling with the disease, are making it to the peak symbolizing their own inner strength.
Even more special, is that each of the mountain climber that that have reached the summit of Uhuru Peak, which is the highest summit of Kibo crater rim, has recorded their thoughts in a book that is held in a wooden box on the top.
Kilimanjaro, that has three volcanic cones, namely that of Mawenzi, Shira which are extinct, and Kibo that is the highest peak and dormant forms part of a large stratovalcano. The last activity according to local legend was around 200 years ago, and the last major eruption around 360 000 years ago. There is no activity expected, but it does not stop tourist coming to the mountain. The mountain has six different route that climber can take, each with their own level of difficulty. But they all lead to the snow-capped peak. The only regret is with climate change the glaciers that have rested atop of the mountain for the past eleven thousand seven hundred years are disappearing. Around 80% of the ice has already been lost.
Mount Kilimanjaro, with its snow-capped peak that is floating high above the equatorial plains has become the pride of Tanzania. Entrenched in the building of the country’s essence and strong spirit to becoming a backbone to this tourist economy. It is a mountain that you can experience the tropics to high arctic climate throughout the year. More so it’s a mountain that people want to climb so they can tick it off their bucket list. That is since climbing a mountain is a district achievement and this mountain is special which makes it a must to trek to the peak.
TOP IMAGE: Mount Kilimanjaro (By Greg Montani / Pixabay.com)
Travel feature courtesy TheSouthAfrican.com