Mount Kilimanjaro sits silently on the Northeast area of Tanzania. Its icy cap peaking over the misty white clouds that endeavor to obscure its sight from onlookers down below. Though the volcano appears to be dormant on the inside, events on top of the mountain draw global attention. It is Africa’s highest peak at 5,892 meters. It stands in splendid isolation above its savannah surroundings. It is Mount Kilimanjaro.
The mountain has a large variety of forest types that are subject to altitudinal range. Complimenting the forests are the numerous mammals, and a number of endangered species that live in the park. The mountain represents a powerful life force to the locals that have lived in its surroundings. Reaping from the rich volcanic soils for agriculture and an endless source of pure spring waters. The first European to conquer this magnificent feat was German geographer, Hans Meyer and Austrian mountain climber Ludwig Purtscheller, in 1889. From then on the number of climbers has escalated to over a thousand a year during the last century. This can be attributed to the accessibility of its two peaks that do not necessarily require one to have previous experience or professional equipment. However, it is a great endeavor. Specifically, a 5892 meter endeavor! Therefore, it requires one to have a certain amount of stamina, physical fitness, realistic awareness of the potentially damaging effects of high altitudes. For those who cannot resist its beckon for you to watch the sun rise over Africa from its’ peak; it is necessary for one to familiarize oneself with the different phases or levels that present themselves as one approaches the peak. The first phase, the tropical forest, attracts a significant number of domestic visitations. They come to enjoy the serenity of the man made nature walks through the dense vegetation of tropical montane forest between 1850m and around 2800m. It has an intriguing mass of plant life and running rivers with crystal clear waters. The second, open moorland, that revealing the blue skyline, that exposes the climber to the intense sun in the day and cool and clear nights. Beyond 4,000 meters of the mountain is alpine desert and sparse vegetation. Climate here can change dramatically to either extreme. Due to these temperature fluctuations barely any plantation survives other than everlasting flowers, mosses and lichens. The final stretch, leads you to the highest peak, Kibo. Kibos crater is roughly circular with an inner cone extending to 5,800m, This is the 120 meter deep central core of the volcano, and casts sulphurous boiling smoke from its depths despite the frozen, snowy outskirts.
From this zenith, over looking the vast plains of the savannah below, every climber has confessed to an overwhelming indescribable emotion, when watching the sun rise above the point from which the earth and sky seem to meet in a kiss. It is incredulous. It is magnificent. It is Mount Kilimanjaro.