On maps, Mount Kilimanjaro can easily be located. When looking at a global view, the mountain appears prominently on the east African maps at the borders of Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda, near the city of Moshi, Tanzania; two national parks are also nearby, the Serengeti National Park and Kilimanjaro National Park. It is also noticeable when looking at maps of Tanzania, as is the several mountain route trails for climbers and tourists.
The view of Mount Kilimanjaro from the maps is just as breathtaking as when standing at its base. It’s the highest free-stand mountain in the world, and from its base the mountain rises almost 4,000 m above the African Plain.
Kilimanjaro is a part of the Kenya Rift Valley, a system of large rifts that can be seen from space. The mountain is actively eroding, as erosion is faster than the accumulation of volcanic debris created by small eruptions.
Surprisingly, Kilimanjaro is covered by ice and glaciers, despite being located only 3° south of the equator. The mountain has three distinct climatic zones. The first and lowest zone has lush rainforest, while the second zone has mountain desert. The third and highest zone is covered almost completely by snow, followed by some ski slopes.
Experts believe that the snow on the mountain is slowly melting, mainly due to climate change. A study conducted in 2019 found that the glacier shrank by 85% since 1912 due to increasing global temperatures. There is a real risk that Kilimanjaro’s glaciers may be gone ahead of schedule, as early as 2022.
Tourists have been drawn to the mountain for centuries, from locals to foreigners, trekking up its slopes or just admiring its views. It is a wonderful natural resource for Tanzania and brings an immense profit to the country’s tourism industry, with about 50,000 people trekking in the Kilimanjaro region each year to climb the mountain or visit the neighboring national parks.
Local Communities Surrounding Kilimanjaro
Yet the ecosystem of Kilimanjaro carries its own risks, particularly deforestation and overgrazing. In the 1800s, forest areas amounted to 7,000 km2, but by the late 1990s only 2,000 km2 remained. The rivers have become depleted, and the affected areas become more prone to flooding, as there are fewer trees to retain rainwater. Thus, the environment of Kilimanjaro needs a balance in order to remain sustainable, so not just its physical structure, but also its ecosystems and people who are dependent on it, are preserved.
Reaching the highest point of Kilimanjaro can take up to seven days and the climbers must prepare for the high altitudes, which starts to manifest above 3,500 meters. Altitude sickness is a common experience, with the symptoms ranging from headaches and fatigue to more serious complications like fluid accumulation in the lungs and brain.
However, when done in a safe and responsible way, climbing Kilimanjaro can be one of the most rewarding experiences, as the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. From the majestic summit, climbers get to admire the surrounding snow-capped mountain peaks, the African savanna, and even Mt. Meru, the second tallest peak in Tanzania.
Popularity of Kilimanjaro
Additionally, Kilimanjaro has attracted the attention of a variety of people, from trekkers and adventurers to environmental activists. Kilimanjaro’s popularity makes it a part of Tanzania and Africa’s identity. It’s reported that around 80% of climbers come from countries outside Tanzania, making it a major source of income for the local economy.
From climbing to simply admiring its spectacular views, Kilimanjaro continues to be a must-see for both locals and international visitors. It is unique in its natural beauty and the source of numerous legends and folklores.
Relevance of Kilimanjaro to the Local and Global Level
This makes Kilimanjaro an important aspect of global temperature regulation. It is considered to be a natural laboratory for climate change and an example of environmental fragility in the face of climate instability. Thus, conservation measures are needed to ensure the longevity of this crucial resource.
Not only does Kilimanjaro offer physical resources to its local populace, but it also provides inspiration and spiritual nourishment. Its sheer height and size speak to the wonder of nature, especially when looking at it from the perspective of an earth-bound human. It is no wonder Kilimanjaro is so widely appreciated and celebrated.
Conservation Efforts for Kilimanjaro
The Kilimanjaro Conservation Fund is an organization dedicated to the conservation of the Kilimanjaro ecosystem and local communities. KAC is a project which works to remove trash annually left behind by climbers and hikers, while The Kilimanjaro Initiative works to reforest the mountain.
The Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project focuses on the welfare of porters, who are paid unfairly and have to bear the burden of carrying heavy luggage up the mountain. The project seeks to end this exploitation by educating porters and provide them with the necessary safety equipment for their work.
All of these initiatives are necessary to ensure that Kilimanjaro continues to be a great natural wonder of Africa and the world for many years to come.
By visiting Kilimanjaro, tourists get to appreciate its immense heights, experience its unique environment, and support the local economy. With its breathtaking views, Kilimanjaro is truly a sight to behold and a must-see for all African and world tourists alike.
Legacy of Kilimanjaro
Kilimanjaro’s legacy is also expressed through art. Musicians, painters, and writers have all been inspired by the mountain’s power and majesty. Famous musicians have written songs, famous painters have composed beautiful landscapes, and famous authors have penned stories about the mountain, conveying to all its magical significance.
In spite of the potential danger, Kilimanjaro is definitely worth the efforts of scaling it and appreciating its power. Its unique natural beauty, significant history, and cultural richness make it a must-visit destination for all African and international travelers. It will continue to be a source of inspiration and motivation to people all over the world.