Mount Kilimanjaro – The Tallest and Loneliest Mountain In Africa

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Few mountains in the world are as recognizable as Mount Kilimanjaro which rises all alone from the African plains of north Tanzania. Its trademark being the permanent ice sheet covering most of it, people now have had to get used to its new look as more than 80% of that snow an ice has melted away.

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With its 5895 meters, Kilimanjaro is by far the tallest mountain on the African continent an the tallest single mountain in the world. It gives off a mystic vibe as it towers over the Great Rift Valley, the cradle of humanity.

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Kilimanjaro (or Oldoinyo Oibor how it’s known in the maasai language) is a triple volcano with it’s youngest and tallest peak being Kibo. This peak survived as an almost perfect cone an it’s crater has a stunning diameter of 2.4 kilometers.

The wachagga tribe which lives for over 300 years on the fertile slopes of the mountain, say that Mawenzi (an older peak) receives fire for its pipe from its younger brother Kibo. This suggests that the volcano has been active not that very long ago, Kilimanjaro hasn’t given any signs of life in the late modern age, but it has spewed some gases, sulfur and steam.

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The lower lands of the mountain which are cultivated by the locals, give way at about 1800 meters to a dense forest of fig trees, ferns and other dense vegetation. Flowers, among which the Lobelia which grows up to 3 meters in height an flowers only once in its life, thrive in open areas. All sorts of monkeys an elephants are a common sight among the trees.

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Above 2900 meters the forests stop abruptly, giving way to grassland and bogs. Higher up grow only lichens and mosses which in the end are replaced by snows and stones. In spite of the high altitude, Mount Kilimanjaro is relatively accessible, drawing thousands of tourists each year.

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