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Monday, December 7, 2009

Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro is a famous snow-capped mountain which has become a major destination for mountaineers and trekkers from around the world. The snows in the peak are disappearing rapidly. The height of mountain is 5,895 metres /19,340 feet from sea level. Kilimanjaro is Africa's highest peak and the world's highest free-standing mountain.

Kilimanjaro National Park protects the area above 2,700 metres / 8,850 ft, on the mountain and includes the moorland and highland zones, Shira Plateau, Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. The Park also has six corridors or rights of way through the Kilimanjaro Forest Reserve. The Forest Reserve, which is also a Game Reserve, was established in 1921; the Park was established in 1973 and officially opened in 1977.

Mount Kilimanjaro is the biggest stratovolcanoes in the world. It is a composite volcano, comprising numerous layers of lava and tephra, piled up around the vents in the shape of a cone. The lava flowed as liquid, while the tephra is material that was sprayed into the air and fell as blocks, cinders and small particles. The lava is rich in silica and viscous. Recent studies suggest the last eruptions on the mountain were between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago.

This region does not experience the limits of winter and summer weather, but rather dry and wet seasons. January and February are the warmest months, April and May are the wettest months, June and July are the coolest months, and August and September are the driest months. January, February, and September are considered to be the best months to climb Kilimanjaro in terms of weather.

KilimanjaroKilimanjaro in morningThe routes to the Uruhu peak cross different ecological zones. The temperature varies with the altitude and time of day. Mount Kilimanjaro has five major ecological zones, each approximately 3,280 feet / 1,000 m in altitude. Each zone is subject to a corresponding decrease in rainfall, temperature and life as the altitude increases. The average temperature is around 70°F to 80°F / 27°C to 32°C at the base of the mountain. From there, the temperatures will decrease as you move through Mount Kilimanjaro's ecological zones. Uruhu Peak night time temperatures can range between 0°F to -15F /-18°C to -26°C. Due to Mount Kilimanjaro's great height, the mountain creates its own weather. Therefore when you climb you should always be prepared for wet days and cold nights.

The closest International Airport is Kilimanjaro / JRO, and if coming from Europe, KLM Northwest Airline has a daily non-stop flight from Amsterdam to JRO. If you are coming from Nairobi, Kenya, you can fly with Kenya Airways. Alternatively, you can schedule shuttle buses, which are at 8am and 2 pm daily and its a 5-6hrs bus ride.

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