As there’s been a lack of new people getting interested in mountain climbing and trekking over the last few years, I thought perhaps it would be a good idea for me to highlight some fascinating facts about one of my favourite mountains in the world – Kilimanjaro. Don’t get me wrong, Everest is nice, K2 is pretty impressive, but this monster takes the biscuit as far as I’m concerned, and the fact that it’s located in one of the most compelling nations in Africa only adds to the appeal.
So, spend the next few minutes reading through the information below, some of which you might already know, and most of which will probably surprise you. After you’ve done this, do me a favour and ask yourself, “am I getting the most out of my holidays?”. I hope your answer to force you to acknowledge that visiting places like Nepal and Tanzania is much more important than yet another 2 weeks in Benidorm.
Here are the facts…
- Around 25,000 people attempt to climb Kilimanjaro each and every year, although only ⅓ of them ever reach the summit. This is thought to be due to climate conditions when you’re nearing the top. Air can become thin, making it almost impossible for some people to realise their goal.
- A man named Bernard Goosen from South Africa has managed to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro twice in his wheelchair. The first occasion was it 2003, and the second was it 2007, both taking between 6 and 9 days to complete.
- Experts predict that the snow cap on the very top of Kilimanjaro will disappear within the next 20 years. In fact, the size of it has been reduced by over 80% already since 1912 when people first started measuring it.
- The fasted time anyone has ever scaled the mountain was done in 2001 by an Italian gentleman called Bruno Brunod. He managed to reach the Uhuru Peak in an astonishing 5 hrs 38 min 40 sec, setting a world record that many believe will never be broken.
- There are multiple different types of terrain and climate on the mountain including rain forest, moorland, desert and an arctic summit, making it totally unique.
- A Frenchman by the name of Valtee Daniel climbed the summit at 87 years of age, making him the oldest person ever to reach the top following the Machame route.
- Mawenzi, Shira and Kibo are the names of the three volcanic cones that make up Mount Kilimanjaro. The last signs of volcanic activity happened around 200 years ago, but no eruptions have taken place for 360,000 years.
- There is a wooden box at the summit of the mountain, and for many years every climber who’s made it that far has been asked to record their thoughts in a small book contained inside.
With all this in mind, can you really live with yourself if you miss out on this experience whilst you’re still relatively young, and your body is still capable of dealing with the stresses of mountain climbing? Although Tanzania is quite stable at the moment, this can change at any time, which is why you definitely shouldn’t delay if trekking up Kilimanjaro is something that interests you.
Have a great time!