8 facts I’ve learned about Mount Kilimanjaro

Over the last few months I’ve spent an awful lot of time browsing every corner of the internet for tips for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, blogs on other people’s experiences, and some very detailed packing lists. My head is now swimming with all sorts of facts, advice, tips and a few horror stories (mainly toilet related…) that I’m trying hard to forget.

Anyway, here are a few interesting facts I’ve learnt about Mount Kilimanjaro:

  • Kilimanjaro is a volcano. In fact, Kilimanjaro is three volcanoes; the three volcanic cones are Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira. Uhuru Peak is on the rim of the highest, Kibo, which is the only of the three that is dormant and not extinct, and technically could erupt again.
  • Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest freestanding mountain in the world.
  • It appears from the Internet that there is no consensus on the meaning of the name Kilimanjaro. The locals don’t actually have a name for the mountain as a whole, just for the peak at the top (I may find a different story when I get there, who knows).
  • Uhuru means Freedom in Swahili.
  • There are seven different trekking routes. The one I will be trekking up is the Machame Route, which is nicknamed “the whiskey route” though I can’t quite work out why…
  • The record for the fastest ascent and descent is currently held by Karl Egloff who ran up and down the mountain in a ridiculous 6 hours, 42 minutes and 24 seconds in September 2014. There’s also a very good video on YouTube of the previous record holder, Kilian Jornet, setting his record in 2010.
  • The rainfall and snowfall on Kilimanjaro is reducing over time, which has caused the glaciers to shrink by 80% between 1912 and 2011 (not  global warming’s fault).
  • In 1889, Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller were the first to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. (I am slightly sceptical about this last fact as I imagine that at some point since time began, some locals may have climbed the mountain, but let’s go with “first recorded summit”).

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