Name ID 295

See also

Amin, Mohamed; Willetts, Duncan and Marshall, Peter Journey Through Tanzania
Page Number: 168-9

Sighting of Kilimanjaro.

It was 13 years before Rebman�s sighting [of Kilimanjaro in 1848] was confirmed by the German Officer Baron Karl Klaus von der Decken and the young British geologist Richard Thornton. Von de Decken climbed to about 14,000 feet and experienced a fall of snow. Thornton made many observations of the mountain and estimated accurately that it stood about 20,000 feet above sea level. Six years later the missionary Charles New managed to reach the snowline. Then in 1884 the naturalist Henry Hamilton Johnston made an intensive study of the flora and fauna.

Extract ID: 655

external link

See also

Internet Web Pages
Extract Author: Nichole Smaglick (?)
Extract Date: 2000 June

The Old Man of Mt. Kilimanjaro

The Honeyguide Newsletter

The words 'Mt. Kilimanjaro' conjure up romantic images of personal growth, challenge, defeat, and success. We have seen pictures and heard stories. The climbers of the first Mt. Kilimanjaro climb in 1889 had only their courage, passion and naivet� pushing them on. When asked, 'Who was the first to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro?', the most common reply is Hans Meyer of Germany. Hans Meyer is credited with the vision behind the expedition, but who was his guide?

Yohani Kinyala Lauwo was only eighteen years old when he led Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller to the highest point of Africa on October 5th, 1889. His selection by the Mangi (Chagga chief) to be Hans Meyer's guide was accidental, but it forever changed his life. Kinyala (as he was called) was born and lived his entire life in the village of Marangu, nestled on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Before Europeans came to East Africa, many of the Lauwo clan of the Chagga tribe hunted the forest elephants for ivory and sold it to the Swahili traders from the coast. The forest also supplied them with honey, timber, medicine and Colobus monkey hides. By the time Hans Meyer arrived in Chaggaland, Kinyala Lauwo was a tall teenager who knew the forest like the back of his hand. By then, colonialism had started in Kinyala's homeland and young men were being forced to construct roads. Kinyala tried to dodge the 'draft', but was caught. As a result, he was summoned for trial at Mangi Marealli's palace. Coincidentally, Hans Meyer had just arrived at the palace asking for permission to climb the mountain and guides and porters. The Mangi's wachili (advisors) spotted Kinyala, knew that he was of the Lauwo clan, and asked him to guide the expedition.

The event led Kinyala (later called Mzee Lauwo) to guide Mt. Kilimanjaro climbs for more than seventy years! For his first climb, he was only wrapped in blankets. Over the years, he obtained appropriate clothing and hiking gear. When Mzee Lauwo turned one-hundred years old, the Tanzania National Parks gave him a beautiful, modern style house painted in light purple and pink pastels. Here he lived with his two wives until his death on May 10th, 1996, after a grand life of a one-hundred twenty-five years!

Extract ID: 5405

See also

Dundas, Charles Kilimanjaro and its People
Page Number: 21
Extract Date: 1889

This first conquest of Kibo

In the following years several Missionaries and sportsmen visited various parts of the mountain, while Sir H. H. Johnston studied its flora and fauna. But not until 1887 was any serious attempt made to reach the top. In this year Count Teleki climbed to a height of 15,800 feet, and in August of the same year Dr. Hans Meyer, following the route taken by Count Teleki, attained the altitude of 18,000 feet. Here he came on an unscalable glacier wall, and was compelled to turn back. Renewing his attempt Meyer finally reached the summit in 1889 in company with Ludwig Purtscheller.

This first conquest of Kibo was the severest under-taking that has been, or is likely to be, required of anyone ascending the mountain. Meyer had then not discovered the notch in the ice wall of the crater rim, which by reason of the diminishing ice makes the ascent easier year by year. His ascent was therefore made over the Ratzel glacier which could only be scaled with ice axes. Every step required some twenty strokes of the axe, and the labour entailed for this purpose at such an altitude and whilst climbing at an angle of 35, must have been immense; added to this Meyer and his companion were in imminent danger, especially as Meyer himself had no climbing irons, and any step must inevitably have buried them down into the 3,000 feet abyss which yawns below the Western side of the glacier. A former traveller, Ehlers, who had alleged that he reached the North-western summit, reported that there was no trace of a crater. Meyer may have doubted this statement, but there could be no certainty on the point until he topped the rim and suddenly saw before him the huge crater with its frozen floor 600 feet below. It must have been a thrilling moment, and the consciousness that he and his companion stood there, the first men to behold this wonder and to reveal the secret Kilimanjaro had kept concealed through ages, must have been an inspiring thought.

Extract ID: 3137

See also

Arusha Times
Extract Author: Valentine Marc Nkwame
Page Number: 375
Extract Date: 25 June 2005

Hans Meyer family plans homage expedition

The German professor was the first European to scale Kilimanjaro

The descendant family of Professor Hans Meyer, from Leipzig Germany, the first European to scale Mount Kilimanjaro in 1889, is planning to make homage to the late explorer at the peak of the highest mountain in Africa.

The news is widely circulating around the Kilimanjaro area where tour guides, porters and Mountain climbers are looking forward to the German family expedition. No exact dates have been mentioned for the expedition.

The expedition news has also reached the management of the historical Kibo Hotel, in West Marangu, where Prof. Hans Meyer and his crew stayed during their Pre-historic Mountain climbing expedition, which took place on the 6th of October 1889. Kibo Hotel is one of the oldest Hotels in the Northern Zone.

Julita McNeese, the current Kibo Hotel Manager, admits to have heard of the Hans Meyer's planned family expedition, adding that it was likely to take place very soon. She however said the entourage hasn't made any reservations at the Hotel yet.

A large black and white portrait of Hans Meyer hangs at the Kibo Hotel lobby, together with that of Yohana Lauwo, his first guide. The Hotel with 35 rooms, is over 120 years old now. It was first built by a German family in Association with the powerful charismatic Chagga leader, Chief (Mangi) Marealle.

Although huge mountains had been known to exist in Northern Tanzania, no one had actually traveled inland to account for it until the 1800's. Mount Kilimanjaro had been thought to be the source of River Nile and a Mountain of mystery - the mystery being a snow capped Mountain in Africa.

Africa was by then thought to be a continent of savages, thus stories about the continent were often down played. With colonization, came European missionaries, who traveled inland to preach their religion.

In 1846, Dr. Ludwig Krapf and Johann Rebmann landed at the coast of Kenya and set up a mission at Rabai, close to the town of Mombasa. In 1849, both Krapf and Rebmann confirmed their sightings of the great Mountain on their trip inland. Reports about the Mountain were received by the Royal Geographical Society, which prompted a great debate about the accuracy, about the height and possibility of snow capped mountains in Africa.

In 1861, Richard Thornton attempted the first climb. The Mountain was new to him and thus had a difficult time penetrating through the second zone. Also the weather did not cooperate, which eventually forced him down.

In 1862, Otto Kersten and Baron Von der Decken attempted the climb. They climbed over 15,000 feet but were forced down because of what was described to be the effect of bad weather.

In 1887, a German Geologist Professor and explorer, Hans Meyer attempted the climb and was successful in reaching the Kibo peak.

In 1889, Hans Meyer again, this time with an Austrian alpinist, Ludwig Purtscheller arranged an expedition to reach the summit of Kibo. It is stated that there were over 60 people in total including porters.

Meyer and Purtscheller were successful in their climb. They named the summit Kaiser Wilhem Spitze, a record that is still displayed in many maps found in Tanzania. The country is a former German colony.

Extract ID: 5075

See also

Fosbrooke, H.A. and Sassoon, H Archeological Remains on Kilimanjaro
Page Number: 063
Extract Date: 1900

The early Chagga have left their mark

More recently, the early Chagga have left their mark on the landscape. The trenches which were dug between the early kingdoms are difficult to discern but remains of the forts which some chiefs constructed can still be seen at Marangu and Kibosho (see an article H A. Fosbrooke "Chagga Forts and Boltholes," TNR No 37, p116; and also pictures facing pp. 72 and 92 in Sir Charles Dundas' Kilimajaro and its People).

A more interesting but less apparent relic of the days of inter tribal warfare is to be found in the bolt holes or underground shelters. (See Bishop Wynn Jones, "African Dugouts " TNR, No. 11; and article in No. 37 above.)

In the thickly populated and cultivated area of Marangu there are some engraved rocks which are associated with the Chagga initiation ceremonies. One of these rocks, at Longoro, is a large block of lava about 9 feet long, projecting six inches above ground-level; at its.broadest point it is 6 feet 9 inches wide. The rock is covered with long, meandering incised lines, evidently engraved with a pecking technique, and there are also two small kidney-shaped depressions which are clearly man-made. The rock also bears numerous pock-marks which look natural, but which, according to recent oral tradition, are man-made.

Chief Petro Marealle first drew attention to this engraved rock. In his book (1951) he describes how, until about 1900, Chagga youths used to be introduced to the mysteries of manhood. As part of his ceremony twelve youths, selected from the age set under instruction, were taught the meanings of the engravings on the rock and how to incise them. This was done, on completion of the lessons, by the instructor using a `small axe'; the length of the line cut depended on the number of youths in the age-set. The instructor also bored the pock-marks into which the youths had to spit to seal their oath not to reveal the secrets they had been taught.

Within twenty yards of the rock of Longoro, described here, there are two other engraved rocks; and there is another two miles to the north-west of the Longoro group. All these rocks have been described by Fosbrooke and Marealle in their two papers in Man, 1952, 244 and 263.

Extract ID: 4562

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers
Page Number: 115a
Extract Date: 1903

Kilimanjaro Cattle

The absence of any cattle here was surprising, until one day I saw some Natives going along very gingerly with a cow. The animal seemed to be blind and its hoofs were very peculiar, having grown out to a great length at the front. I found that all cattle were kept in huts on the mountain, and I remembered seeing the Natives cutting grass at the foot of the mountain and carrying it up the heights. As these shelters were quite dark inside, the cattle became blind in time. This strange practice may be perhaps accounted for by the fact that in the early days the cattle were confined to prevent them being raided by the Masai, and the custom had remained; or it may have been a safeguard against the Tsetse Fly.

The rainy season had now started in earnest, and we had downpours every day. It was impossible to shift, as all the rivers were in flood and unfordable. In addition everybody was suffering from fever; and, to add to our misfortunes, the donkeys were beginning to die. With no prospect of making a move, I paid off all the porters, keeping only the cook and our personal servants. The rain came down incessantly, and at times we were nearly washed out of our tents. My brother got sick of the whole thing and decided to clear out, so I sent him back to the coast. At intervals we had a few hours fine weather, and I then went out with my gun and did some shooting, and took a few photographs. This photography led to a rather unpleasant incident. Not having a dark room, I had had a hut built of wood and thatched with grass, in which I did my developing at night. While at work in it one night I put my hand down to reach a chemical bottle. Instead of the bottle my hand closed on a huge snake. There was no more developing that night, for needless to say I left the hut rather hurriedly!

Seeing we were likely to stay there some time, a temporary house was put up and all my belongings shifted into it. On examining the trade goods I found that nearly all the cloth had already been eaten through by white ants. It is extraordinary the amount of damage these tiny insects can do, We were obliged to go through our things every day and clean them out. In one day they would eat right through a box and destroy everything in it. The Natives put ashes down to keep them away.

Extract ID: 3602

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers
Page Number: 128b
Extract Date: 1903


Continuing our march on the caravan route, we sighted Kilimanjaro. The grey mist which enveloped the mountain melted beneath the burning rays of the sun as they gradually crept upwards until they reached the summit of Kibo, the topmost peak, and encircled it with a halo of gold. This was the first opportunity I had of seeing the true form of the mountain, and as I gazed from its base, clothed in a green mantle of forest upward and upward to its giant head, towering 18,000 feet into heaven, I stood awed and fascinated by the grandeur and beauty of the scene. Hitherto the mountain had been shrouded in gloom and presented rather a depressing appearance.

We were all in good spirits, for we had returned safe and sound after a most successful trip. Not one of the two hundred head of cattle had been lost on the way, and there was a prospect of netting a good round sum as profit on the expedition. But it is not wise in Africa to count your chickens before they are hatched, and my apparent good luck was soon to be turned into dire misfortune.

Extract ID: 3608

See also

Boyes, John (ed. Mike Resnick) Company of Adventurers
Page Number: 129
Extract Date: 1903

Selling Up

At Kilimanjaro I reported my arrival, and presented the skin of the lioness, which was returned to me with a bonus of ten rupees. This covered the cost of my hunting license, and I had two hundred head of cattle to show for my trading. Considering I had bought these at about � I per head and they should be worth �6 or �7 in British East Africa, where I intended to take them, the outlook was very promising.

I paid a visit to my old friend Boenemisa, who gave me a very cordial greeting and was pleased to see me back. But the rosy aspect of things very quickly changed. We had only been there two days when X got into some quarrel with the men, and the old feeling against him returned. The tragedy in the bush had passed from my mind with the departure of the wounded man, and I had been so much occupied with other things on our arrival, I had neglected to report the occurrence at the Government station. It was something of a shock, therefore, when I received a peremptory summons to attend with X at the boma to give an explanation as to how this man had been shot. Of course I gave all the facts of the case: that it had been an accident, and that the man and his companions had been sent home after being given their full pay. The commandant was satisfied, and we were set at liberty.

I had been thinking of leaving any day for Nairobi with my cattle, as there was no market at Kilimanjaro and better prices were current for them in British East Africa. Going down to the cattle boma one morning to see how they were getting on, I was astonished to find that seven of them had died during the night. The death roll had doubled the next day, and I at once reported the matter at the Government station. They examined the cattle and stated that they were affected with a disease which was prevalent in the country, and which we had gone so far out of our way to avoid at Mbugwe and Arusha. The officials acted very fairly towards us, and gave orders that no one should kill any meat in Kilimanjaro until my cattle were consumed. They had a butcher's shop to supply meat for their own station and soldiers, and this was handed over to me. All the cattle that were required to supply the place with meat each day were killed there, and the money handed over to me every night. It was a very bad disease, but those of the cattle which did not show signs of being affected were fit for consumption, and were killed as required. But the disease spread very rapidly, and many of the cattle died every day. I was only getting about .�2 per head for those killed, so that my loss was very great.

The change from good to bad fortune and vice versa is such an every-day occurrence in Africa that I did not let it trouble me too much. I had had the same fickle luck in Africa before, so I treated the matter philosophically and quietly sat down to fill my new role of butcher.

After a month the disease died out, and I found myself left with five head of cattle out of the two hundred I had brought into Kilimanjaro. Practically all the money I had received from the butchering business had gone to pay the porters' wages. I had sold some of my camp outfit and my finances were at a very low ebb.

Extract ID: 3601

See also

Howgego, Raymond John Gertrude Emily Benham (1867-1938) English mountaineer, traveller and collector
Page Number: 2
Extract Date: 1909

a successful assault on the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro

In 1909 she made her way to Central Africa and, after arrival in Broken Hill (now Kabwe in Zambia), walked 900 kilometres to Abercorn (= Mbala) near the southern tip of Lake Tanganyika. From here she proceeded to Uganda and Kenya and made a successful assault on the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro (see Note, below).

Nothing is known with certainty of her movements during the next three years except that she twice visited Kashmir and that in 1912 she is recorded in a passenger list of a ship steaming from Tahiti to Great Britain via San Francisco.

By 1913 she was back in Africa and in that year she �walked� across the continent from Nigeria, through Cameroon, French Congo and Belgian Congo to German and British East Africa (Tanzania and Kenya), a distance of some 5000 kilometres in eleven months. En route she climbed some 'volcanoes in German East Africa'.

Extract ID: 5448

See also

Howgego, Raymond John Gertrude Emily Benham (1867-1938) English mountaineer, traveller and collector
Page Number: 4
Extract Date: 1909

Benham�s ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro

Note: Benham�s ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro in 1909 should alone have written her into the record books, but none of the histories of Kilimanjaro mention her name. That she could have completed the ascent is beyond doubt, her skill as a mountaineer exceeding that of many of her male counterparts.

It is generally assumed that a certain Frau (Clara?) von Ruckteschell was the first woman to reach the summit in February 1914, in the company of Lieutenant Walter von Ruckteschell (1882-1941), the St Petersburg-born army officer and artist.

The first British woman to achieve this distinction, in 1927, is recorded as the twenty-two-year-old Londoner, Sheila Macdonald. Unfortunately, when Benham first saw the report of Macdonald's ascent in The Times, Benham was in the West Indies and the newspaper was already several weeks old. By that time Benham could not be troubled to contradict the report, leaving it to a friend to write to The Times regarding her ascent eighteen years earlier.

The first British male to complete the ascent, despite numerous earlier failed attempts, appears to have been the celebrated geographer Clement Gillman (1882-1946). Gillman possibly made his first assault on the mountain as early as 1909, the same date as Benham, but he is better known for his successful ascent of 1921.

Extract ID: 5450

See also

Howgego, Raymond John Gertrude Emily Benham (1867-1938) English mountaineer, traveller and collector
Page Number: 6
Extract Date: 1909

Benham's ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro (1)

From Nairobi in October 1909, Benham took the train to Voi, and at the mission house at Dabida waited three days while collecting porters for the westward trek across the Serengeti. After two day�s march, in intense heat and red dust, the porters drinking all their water by midday and becoming so exhausted that Benham had to walk behind to chivvy them along, they reached Boma and entered German territory.

From here Benham could see the two great peaks of the mountain � Kibo, the higher at 5895 metres, glistening with snow. She stopped the night at the Moravian mission at Mamba, where she was advised to proceed to the German-occupied hill town of Moshi where she would find a guide capable of leading her up the slopes of Kilimanjaro. Climbing through dense forest intersected by deep ravines, she arrived the next evening at Moshi, where the officer in charge of a small contingent of German soldiers confirmed that Kilimanjaro �had never been climbed by any Britisher, man or woman, and very seldom by anyone else�.

Benham started out from Moshi at 6.30 the next morning with five porters, two guides and a cook boy, hacking a path through dense forest. No precise dates are provided in the various accounts of the journey, which must have taken place October or early November 1909. The first camp was pitched at 10,000 feet (3050 metres), just beyond the limit of the forest, and provided splendid views across the plains below. Leaving most of the luggage in a single tent, the party headed up the mountain, the porters carrying firewood and blankets, until two hours later they came across two skeletons of members of a previous expedition who had died from cold and exposure.

This discovery seriously unnerved the porters, who regarded it as confirmation for their belief that the mountain was the dwelling place of evil spirits. When no amount of arguing, threatening and bribing would convince the porters to go a step further, Benham shouldered the bags herself and started out alone. This action immediately shamed the cook boy and two of the more intrepid porters into following her, the remainder electing to stay behind and guard the camp. The snow line was reached 1200 metres below the summit, and an ice cave discovered where a previous expedition had made its camp. One of the boys collected some drifting snow, intending to take it home to show his friends and family, but when the snow began to melt in the heat of the camp fire, the guides thought it bewitched and resolutely refused to go any further.

Extract ID: 5486

See also

Howgego, Raymond John Gertrude Emily Benham (1867-1938) English mountaineer, traveller and collector
Page Number: 7

Benham's ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro (2)

Overnight camp was established in the ice cave, then on the next day, after one of the guides had pointed out the best route to the summit, Benham pressed on alone, passing 16,000 feet (4880 metres) and a short time later coming to glacier ice covered with drifting snow. Apparently immune from mountain sickness, and climbing alternately on rock and snow, she reached the rim of the crater at 2 pm, looking inside and taking care to step on rocks rather than snow that might be overhanging the cavity.

She reported: �My first feeling up there was that of being absolutely on top of the world�. The highest point seemed to be some distance �to the left�, but as there was �not much difference in height�, and �since the snow slope was steep�, she decided not to make for the higher peak but instead begin her descent. Navigating by compass through thick mist, and following the marks made by her ice axe on the way up, she managed to locate the camp in the ice cave, although only after glimpsing the bright red garments worn by the cook boy.

By now her men had burned all the wood they had brought up, so a chilly night was spent in the ice cave. The early morning brought a fall of snow but conditions soon became beautifully clear, affording glorious views of mounts Kibo and Meru, Lake Jipe to the southeast, and beyond it the Ugweno Range. The descent brought the party back to the first camp at 11 am, and on the next day Benham�s porters arrived with food and provisions from the Moravian mission, together with a note of congratulation from the missionaries themselves.

Benham dismissed her porters so as to remain alone at the camp for a further four days, sketching the magnificent views before descending to Moshi. After settling her accounts and paying off the guides, Benham returned via Taveta, from where the resident German commander, recorded only as �Captain L.� took her on a tour to Lake Chala, a crater lake surrounded by sheer cliffs. Making her way back across the Serengeti, she arrived at Mwatate, packed her tent and such things she did not require, then walked to the railway station at Voi, from where a train brought her to Mombasa in November 1909.

On 27 November she despatched a brief letter to The Times, recording her travels and her ascent of Kilimanjaro, then at Mombasa boarded a cargo steamer which would take her to Madagascar and Mauritius.

Extract ID: 5487

See also

Howgego, Raymond John Gertrude Emily Benham (1867-1938) English mountaineer, traveller and collector
Page Number: 8
Extract Date: 1909

Benham's ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro (3)

Benham�s ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro should alone have written her into the record books, but few of the histories of the mountain even mention her name.

Attempts to climb the mountain by all-male parties had started back in the 1860s, but it was not until 6 October 1889 that a team under the direction of Hans Meyer reached the summit of what was called �Kaiser-Wilhelm-Spitze�, now known as Kibo.

Climate change has rendered the mountain far more accessible to modern climbers than it was in the early 1900s, when snow lay thickly on its peaks and climbers could quite easily sacrifice their lives to the sudden blizzards that could sweep without warning across the notorious higher slopes.

It is generally assumed that a certain Frau (Clara?) von Ruckteschell was the first woman on the mountain when, in February 1914, she accompanied the St Petersburg-born army officer and artist, Lieutenant Walter von Ruckteschell (1882-1941). It appears that the Von Rukteschells failed to reach the Kibo summit.

The first British woman generally recognised as having achieved this distinction was the twenty-two-year-old Londoner, Sheila Macdonald (later Mrs Sheila Combe), who on 31 July 1927 reached the summit of Kibo in the company of William C. West, a member of the Alpine Club.

The first British male to complete the ascent, despite numerous earlier failed attempts, appears to have been the celebrated geographer Clement Gillman (1882-1946). Gillman possibly made his first assault on the mountain as early as 1909, about the same time as Benham, but apparently did not reach the summit until 1921.

Unfortunately, when Benham first saw the report of Macdonald�s ascent in The Times, she was in the West Indies and the newspaper was already several weeks old. By that time she could hardly be troubled to contradict the report, leaving it to a friend to inform the newspaper of her ascent eighteen years earlier.

This friend, whom Benham had met in Nigeria in 1913 and was possibly the colonial officer Selwyn Grier, wrote to The Times under the pseudonym �West African�, reporting Benham�s ascent and commenting briefly on her 1913 crossing of Africa. A somewhat belated account of Benham�s ascent of Kilimanjaro was carried by a brief article in the Daily Mail in February 1928.

However, in 1931 a certain Colonel E.L. Strutt wrote to The Times supporting Sheila Macdonald�s claim to have been the first woman to conquer the peak, stating: �Miss Gertrude Benham, about 1911 [sic], reached the rim of the crater � some two-three hours below the summit � and never claimed to have gone any higher�. In fact Strutt was perfectly justified in passing the accolade to Macdonald.

Benham had reached the edge of the crater now known as Mawenzi (5149 metres or 16,890 feet), which is the second highest of Kilimanjaro�s three peaks. Rather than being, as Benham put it, �not much difference in height�, the higher peak, Kibo, stands at 5895 metres or 19,340 feet, and nowadays involves a challenging ascent over lose open scree. Benham might have accomplished this, given another day, but modern climbers prefer to make the final assault at night or in the early morning when the scree is frozen together.

Extract ID: 5488

external link

See also

Stedman, Henry Kilimanjaro - A Trekking Guide to Africa's Highest Mountain; Includes City Guides to Arusha, Moshi, Marangu, Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam
Page Number: intro 03

Kilimanjaro challenges

The cynical could look upon the large numbers of trekkers climbing Kili as evidence that this is a relatively easy mountain to scale. For further proof, they could also point to those for whom the challenge of climbing Kilimanjaro simply wasn�t, well, challenging enough, and who deliberately went out of their way to make the ascent more difficult for themselves, just for the hell of it. Men such as the Brazilian who jogged right up to the summit in just 24 hours. Or the Crane brothers from England who cycled up, surviving on Mars Bars strapped to their handlebars. And the anonymous Spaniard who, in the 1970s, drove up to the summit by motorbike. Nor must we forget Douglas Adams, the author of the Hitchhikers� Guide to the Galaxy, who in 1994 reached the summit for charity while wearing an eight-foot rubber rhinoceros costume; and finally there�s the (possibly apocryphal) story of the man who walked backwards the entire way in order to get into the Guinness Book of Records � only to find out, on his return to the bottom, that he had been beaten by somebody who had done exactly the same thing just a few days previously.

And that�s just the ascent; for coming back down again the mountain has witnessed skiing, a method first practised by Walter Furtwangler way back in 1912; snowboarding, an activity pioneered on Kili by Stephen Koch in 1997; and even hang-gliding, for which there was something of a fad a few years ago.

Cyclists to skiers, heroes to half-wits, bikers to boarders to backward walkers: it�s no wonder, given the sheer number of people who have climbed Kili over the past century, and the ways in which they�ve done so, that so many believe that climbing Kili is something of a doddle. And you�d be forgiven for thinking the same.

You�d be forgiven � but you�d also be wrong. Whilst these stories of successful expeditions tend to receive a lot of coverage, they serve to obscure the tales of suffering and tragedy that often go with them. You don�t, for example, hear much about the hang-glider who leapt off Kili a few years ago and was never seen again. Or the fact that the Brazilian who jogged up spent the next week in hospital recovering from severe high-altitude pulmonary oedema. And for all the coverage of the Millennium celebrations, when over 7000 people stood on the slopes of Kilimanjaro during New Year�s week � with a 1000 on New Year�s Eve alone � little mention was made of the fact that three people died on Kilimanjaro in those seven days. Or that another 33 had to be rescued. Or that well over a third of all the people who took part in those festivities failed to reach the summit, or indeed get anywhere near it.

Extract ID: 5587

See also

Stedman, Henry Kilimanjaro - A Trekking Guide to Africa's Highest Mountain; Includes City Guides to Arusha, Moshi, Marangu, Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam
Page Number: intro 04


It is this �inclusivity� that undoubtedly goes some way to explaining Kilimanjaro�s popularity, a popularity that saw 20,351 foreign tourists and 674 local trekkers visit in 2000, thereby confirming Kili�s status as the most popular of the so-called �Big Seven�, the highest peaks on each of the seven continents. The sheer size of it must be another factor behind its appeal. This is the Roof of Africa, a massive massif 60km long by 80km wide with an altitude that reaches to a fraction under 6km above sea level. The renowned anthropologist, Charles Dundas, writing in 1924 claimed that he once saw Kilimanjaro from a point over 120 miles away. It is even big enough to have its own weather systems (note the plural) and, furthermore, to influence the climates of the countries that surround it.

"The aspect presented by this prodigious mountain is one of unparalleled grandeur, sublimity, majesty, and glory. It is doubtful if there be another such sight in this wide world. "

Charles New, the first European to reach the snow-line on Kilimanjaro, from his book Life, Wanderings, and Labours in Eastern Africa

But size, as they say, isn�t everything, and by themselves these bald figures fail to fully explain the allure of Kilimanjaro. So instead we must look to attributes that cannot be measured by theodolites or yardsticks if we are to understand the appeal of Kilimanjaro.

Extract ID: 5588

See also

Arusha: A Brochure of the Northern Province and its Capital Town
Page Number: 27a
Extract Date: 1929

"Kibo" Mount Kilimanjaro

Extract ID: 3417

external link

See also

Claytor, Tom Bushpilot
Extract Author: Tom Claytor
Page Number: 18b
Extract Date: 1996 July 03

The Swiss airman Mittelholzer

I depart from Mkomazi and head West towards the tiny town of Moshi. I fly right up to the mountain, but I can't see it. She is like a shy lady with her clouds wrapped around her. I land at the deserted little airstrip near her base and push the plane off into the grass. I pull out my chair and sit alone beneath the wing. In the late afternoon light, the mountain begins to take off her clothes. The clouds disappear, and I look upon one of the loveliest sights in Africa - the white crested summit of Kilimanjaro.

The Swiss airman Mittelholzer flew over and photographed this mountain in 1930. I think the difference in elevation from Moshi at 2,800 feet to the summit at 19,340 feet must make this one of the highest free-standing mountains in the world. It is beautiful to look at. In the hazy air around it's base, you can almost forget that it is a mountain. Instead, you look only above the haze and see a shining white dome high in the sky. It could be mistaken for a cloud it is so far off and aloof. The Wachagga have a story about this mountain. They say that the two peaks Mawenzi and Kibo are brothers. Kibo is the bigger, but younger brother. One day, while smoking their pipes, Mawenzi's fire went out. He asked his brother, Kibo, if he could borrow some fire. He then fell asleep, and his fire went out again. Kibo became angry with him and beat him so badly that even today, one can see his battered and torn face. Mawenzi is ashamed of his appearance, so now he covers himself with clouds. It is rare to see Mawenzi without clouds.

Extract ID: 3646

See also

Hemingway, Ernest The Snows of Kilimanjaro
Page Number: 1

Kilimanjaro is a snow-covered mountain

Kilimanjaro is a snow-covered mountain 19,710 feet high, and is said to be the highest mountain in Africa. Its western summit is called the Masai 'Ngaje Ngai', the House of God. Close to the western summit there is a dried and frozen carcas of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude.

Extract ID: 1445

See also

Hemingway, Ernest The Snows of Kilimanjaro
Page Number: 23
Extract Date: 1939

And then instead of going on to Arusha they turned . . .

And then instead of going on to Arusha they turned left, he evidently figured that they had the gas, and looking down he saw a pink sifting cloud, moving over the ground, and in the air, like the first snow in a blizzard, that comes from nowhere, and he knew the locusts were coming from the South. Then they began to climb and they were going to the East it seemed, and then it darkened and they were in a storm, the rain so thick it seemed like flying through a waterfall, and they were out and Compie turned his head and grinned and pointed and there, ahead, all he could see, as wide as all the world, great, high, and unbelievably white in the sun, was the top of Kilimanjaro. And then he knew that that was where he was going.

Extract ID: 1446

See also

Campbell, Alexander Empire in Africa

Kilimanjaro Road

Five miles of road cover 2,500 vertical feet to the lower forest limit. This road was built by the Chagga tribe, to the facilitate the marketing of their coffee. They did the whole thing unaided, estimating the gradients entirely by eye. The result is an excellent motor road.

Extract ID: 405

See also

Nelson, Christopher Photos of Arusha
Extract Date: 1957

First Ascent of Heim Glacier

Anton Nelson pitches camp halfway up the Heim

Extract ID: 5878

See also

Nelson, Christopher Photos of Arusha
Extract Date: 1957

First ascent of Heim Glacier

My father (Anton Nelson, right) as president of the Kilimanjaro Mountain Club, with John Cooke (left) and Dave Goodall, of Kenya, with porters, on historic traverse of Kilimanjaro and first ascent of the Heim Glacier - note the ice axe.

Extract ID: 5885

See also

Nelson, Christopher Photos of Arusha
Extract Date: 1957

First ascent of Heim Glacier

with John Cooke and Dave Goodall (photo by Anton Nelson).

Coming over the incredibly steep curve of the glacier at 18,000 feet.

Extract ID: 5886

See also

Nelson, Christopher Photos of Arusha
Extract Date: 1957

First ascent of the Heim Glacier - nearing the summit

John Cooke and David Goodall. Photo by Anton Nelson

Extract ID: 5870

See also

Cooke, J One White man in Black Africa
Page Number: 115 - 116
Extract Date: 1957

Ascent of Kilimanjaro and Heim Glacier

My plans for Kilimanjaro had been maturing for some time. All parts of the whole massif had been reached by mountaineers, geologists and surveyors, and the main summit of Kibo had been reached by thousands of people by the normal trade route of ascent from Marangu, which poses no technical problems. However, I could find no record of a complete, continuous traverse of the whole mountain, taking in all the main peaks of Shira, Kibo and Mawenzi. This I planned to do. A second aim was to attempt a first ascent of one of the unclimbed glaciers on the south face of Kibo. The west and south faces of Kibo are separated by a massive breach in the crater rim and wall, whichis very spectacular. The glaciers to the north-west of the breach, namely the Penck and the Credner, offer no great problems, and had been climbed. Those to the east, the Kersten and the Heim are formidable ice-walls and had not been climbed. I proposed to tackle the Heim as a route to the summit area of Kibo as part of the traverse of the whole mountain. From photographs it looked very challenging, and so it was to prove.

The first problem to be overcome was finding companions for the venture. They would have to be experienced and competent mountaineers, for the Heim would be no place for tyros. By enormous good fortune two excellent men turned up. They were Ax Nelson and David Goodall. In background, character and temperament they were totally different. Ax was an American who was at that time working as an adviser with the Meru Cooperative Union based in Arusha. He was a man of deep religious convictions with a driving urge in life to champion the cause of those he considered to be downtrodden and exploited. He had got involved with the Meru land case when he met Kirilo Japhet, the Meru spokesman in New York at the United Nations. The Wameru were petitioning against the Tanganyika government's alienation of a part of their land to European farmers. Ax espoused the Meru cause and came out to Tanganyika to work with them, ending up as an adviser to their co-operative which organised the coffee growers on Mount Meru. He later wrote a book about his experiences, entitled The Freemen of Meru, published by Oxford in 1967. He had considerable climbing experience, and amongst other things had been actively involved in the early ascents of the immense vertical rock faces in the Yosemite region of the Sierra Nevadas in the western United States. Ax was a great talker and very articulate, so that by the end of our expedition David and I knew just about everything about him and his philosophy of life. David Goodall was British, northcountry like myself. Although we lived in very close contact for two exacting weeks on the mountain, where we were totally interdependent (in fact, he saved my life), he remains an enigma. He was working as an agricultural officer in Kenya, and before that had done his National Service in the Parachute Regiment. He was very tough, totally dependable, and excellent company, but he exemplified the Yorkshireman's motto "Hear all, see all, say nowt."

Extract ID: 5891

See also

Cooke, J One White man in Black Africa
Page Number: 117
Extract Date: 1957

We got together and made detailed plans

We got together and made detailed plans. Late September was agreed on as the time and we all obtained leave from our work. We had all the necessary equipment except ice pitons, long narrow steel spikes to drive into hard ice as safe anchor points when climbing. These we ordered from the UK. I had a small Black's mountain tent big enough for two men, but as weight was going to be a critical factor, we decided to make do with it. Since we were going to be on the mountain for two weeks all our food would have to be carried, so that it would have to be carefully chosen and finely calculated. Tins were out of the question. Our basic bulk food were porridge oats with dried milk and sugar, plus hard biscuits. For protein and fat we took bacon and biltong, and instant coffee was our beverage. In the absence of fresh fruit and vegetables we took Vitamin C tablets, and for quick energy dried fruit and glucose tablets. We calculated precise amounts of everything, weighed it all out, and packed it into canvas bags that Sylvia made up for us. My old well-tried Primus stove and a supply of paraffin provided for our cooking. Even with food and equipment pared to a minimum we were still going to have very heavy loads to carry, with tent and sleeping bags, ice axes, crampons, pitons and hammers, slings and clips, rope, minimal spare clothing, food and fuel for two weeks. We decided there was no point in lugging this lot unaided through the forest, and so I asked the Mangi of Machame from where we planned to start, if he could find us a few porters to help us carry our gear up onto the Shira Plateau. This he very kindly did for us.

The route we planned would go from west to east. We would ascend to the Shira plateau first, and climb all the Shira peaks. The 12,000 feet altitude (about 4000 m) would enable us toacclimatise quickly before tackling the major problem of the Heim Glacier. The route onto the Shira from Loldorosi that I had used in 1953 was long and time-consuming. A start from Machame would yield a more direct route, and we trusted to the porters knowing a way through the forest. Once on the Shira the porters would leave us and go back down, leaving us with a weighty transport problem. We would tick off all the peaks there, namely the Shira ridge, Shira dome, and the Platzkegel. The Heim was our great unknown, and we did not know the nature of the problems we would encounter. Ax had persuaded someone with a small plane to fly him past the glaciers and ice-walls, and he managed to get a good photograph of the Heim from fairly close quarters, which was to prove of great assistance to us. Once up the Heim, assuming we succeeded there, we would go over the summit of Kibo, and then down to the saddle between Kibo and Mawenzi. From a last camp below the latter we would make our last ascent � of Mawenzi, and then get down to Marangu.

Extract ID: 5893

See also

Cooke, J One White man in Black Africa
Page Number: 118
Extract Date: 1957

We eventually left Machame on 20th September

We eventually left Machame on 20th September with five porters who knew the forest trails. We felt light-hearted and unburdened. We were glad of the latter for our route made no concessions and went up very steeply, following a ridge between two deeply entrenched river valleys. The forest was very beautiful, and since we had guides, we could relax and appreciate our surroundings, without having to concentrate on route-finding, and hacking our way forward. In the forest in 1953 I had been too concerned with route finding to bother much about aesthetics, while in the Ruwenzori forests, the overpowering wetness and mud could only offer pleasure to a sheer masochist. There is much wildlife in the Kilimanjaro forests, but one hears more than one sees. On our first night out we slept in the forest, always an intriguing experience with all sorts of strange noises, rustlings, scuffles, thuds, grunts, whistles and the odd trumpeting of a distant elephant. We were charmed by the very beautiful black and white, long haired colobus monkeys, which we often saw swinging in the trees, overcome with curiosity as to who and what we were. Late on our second day out we were surprised and pleased to emerge from the forest, and to see before us the final slopes leading up onto the plateau. This was the point where the porters were to leave us, but very sadly our parting was less than amicable.

When I came to pay the porters, they claimed we had pushed them too hard so that they had done in two days what they would normally consider three days' work. In consequence of this they wanted three days' pay. I pointed out that there were flaws in their argument, because Europeans did not come this way, and therefore they had no precedent on which to base their claim. I had no strong feelings however, and was prepared to come to some compromise or even to pay them what they wanted. A haggle was normal procedure and we settled down to it. However, Ax who spoke but little Swahili, asked what was going on. I told him, whereupon the Protestant Work Ethic raised its formidable head. "Like hell," said Ax, "tell them they get two days' pay for two days' work, period." I had to communicate this dour message to the men, and it immediately put their backs up. Haggling does not involve or welcome bald statements or firm positions. I was caught in a fix. I sympathised with the men, but I did not want to antagonise my friend with whom I was to spend the next two weeks in very close contact. The porters would not give an inch and eventually went down empty-handed. Some weeks later however, I was able to arrange payment for them. I found this little contretemps rather ironic � the radical American being less accommodating than the imperialist Briton.

Extract ID: 5894

See also

Cooke, J One White man in Black Africa
Page Number: 119
Extract Date: 1957

From this point we took it fairly easily for a day

From this point we took it fairly easily for a day, carrying our loads to a point high on the eastern side of the plateau, where we camped. We were acclimatising nicely, and the next day we made a complete circuit of the Shira, climbing all the peaks. We were not carrying any loads, but it was a long, exhausting day, though very exhilarating. From our camp in the evening we had a fantastic view out over an immense sea of clouds, through which in the distance Mount Meru thrust its sharp summit like an island in a vast ocean. Behind us reared the imposing rock and ice slopes of this side of Kibo, which slowly turned from gold to deep red, and finally a forbidding grey as the sun went down. We shivered and crawled into our cramped tent.

Our next objective was to get to the foot of the Heim Glacier. This involved a long upward traverse over masses of broken rock and scree, followed by a descent into and climb out of the barranco, or deeply glaciated trough, which runs out below the Great Breach Wall. This was another long hard day, but we were now fully acclimatised, in good fettle, and moving well. We reached our goal in the late afternoon, and the crucial challenge of our expedition. About 3,000 feet (1,000 m) of steep ice reared upwards and curved out of sight far above us. It looked forbidding. The whizz and hum of flying ice and rock debris from above quickly drove us against the ice front below a protecting rock-wall, where we bivouacked. I felt butterflies in my stomach as one always does before a challenging venture.

Next morning we were up and off before dawn. We knew where we had to go. From Ax's photograph we had seen that the major defences of the Heim were two lines of ice cliffs about a third of the way up, and come what may, we had to find a way through these. We moved up steadily, and soon noticed without much enthusiasm, that there was no snow on the ice. We were on bare, hard ice, and very soon we had to don our crampons (steel spikes which are strapped to the sole of one's boots), and rope up. We reached the lower ice wall and traversed upwards and to the left across a very steep slope, aiming for the top of a small projecting rock buttress which split the wall. Here catastrophe almost overtook us. David was leading, cutting steps in the ice as he went. I was in the middle, with Ax bringing up the rear. We moved singly, of course. David had reached the rock buttress and was well belayed, or anchored to the rock with the rope. I was moving towards him when I caught a crampon spike in my sock and pitched forward and down. I was brought up sharply by a taut rope, and found myself dangling half upside down, with a fine vertiginous view downwards. A cool, steady, and very reassuring voice came from above, "Don't worry lad, I've got you." David had whipped in my rope and held me before the other rope had tightened up on Ax who was still very precariously perched on the wall. At the same time Ax had sensibly let go his slack as he saw David's prompt action � a case of perfect co-ordination that only experience can produce. I sorted myself out and climbed up to David. Very unfortunately I had lost my ice-axe, and felt very rattled, feeling I had let the others down badly. There were no recriminations, however. We climbed to the top of the buttress and held a council of war. A formidable ice climb towered above us, and we now had only two axes between the three of us. But we did have a good supply of ice-pitons, and decided to go on. This was perhaps a foolhardy decision, but since in the event we succeeded, it was the right one.

That night we bivouacked on the top of the buttress which was just big enough to take our tent once we had built up a platform with lumps of ice and rock. It was a cramped and uncomfortable spot, but we seemed to be out of the main trajectory of the flying debris of late afternoon. For the most part it whizzed harmlessly by, and we felt reasonably safe.

Extract ID: 5895

See also

Cooke, J One White man in Black Africa
Page Number: 121
Extract Date: 1957

The following day we faced another crisis

The following day we faced another crisis. David was snow-blind through not wearing his dark glasses. He could not go out, so Ax and I reconnoitred the route ahead. We found a good line on steep but sound ice, to the top of another buttress which was slightly more commodious than the first. We then climbed down back to the tent, to find that in our absence a flying piece of ice had ripped a hole in the tent wall. After a second night on our cramped site, we followed the route we had worked out on the previous day. David's eyes were much better but we could only move slowly. With only two axes we had to adopt a special mode of progress. Whoever was leading went ahead. After about thirty feet he drove in a piton and belayed to it. He then tied his axe to the rope and lowered it to the second man, who then ascended to join number one. The third man then came up and led through on the next pitch, and the sequence was then repeated. We handled the axe with the utmost care, for we knew that if we lost it we would really be in trouble. To have attempted to move more quickly would have been sheer lunacy.

The next ice-wall looked impressive as we studied it in clear weather in the late afternoon from our second camp. We worked out what appeared to be a feasible route. Next morning, however, we were enveloped in thick mist. We moved off nevertheless, climbing steeply and hoping we would not meet any impossible obstacle. Halfway up the wall we landed in a very beautiful ice-cave where we could rest. Further progress seemed problematic, as the roof of the cave overhung, and the walls to left and right were vertical. Ax solved this problem in splendid fashion. Leaving his heavy pack in the cave, he hacked out steps to the left and upwards, and climbed out of sight over an ice bulge. His rope inched out and fragments of ice flew past. Tension was relieved when a cry of triumph floated down to us. The slope had eased off and he had been able to drive in a piton and belay to it. He hauled up his pack and we followed. We still could not see anything, but we presumed we had mastered the wall. We just went on climbing upwards, pitch after wearisome pitch. As the day drew to a close we were literally nowhere, or so it seemed, on a vast ice-slope in poor visibility. All we could do was to go on climbing in the hope of reaching some place suitable for a bivouac, before nightfall. It was with some relief that we found a place of sorts. The slope began to ease off slightly, and on its convex bend a lurking crevasse appeared. We hacked at the lower lip to form a narrow platform just big enough to take the tent. We could only guy it fore and aft, and hammered in pitons with safety lines to ourselves, and crept into the tent. The two outer men hung in bulges over space, on one side the free void of the open slope, on the other the dark unknown depths of the crevasse. We fervently hoped that the stitching of canvas wall to groundsheet was sound. A wind got up, and we could not risk lighting the primus as the tent was flapping wildly. We went hungry and drinkless. Sucking ice didn't help much, and with dry mouths we could not eat dry biscuit. We consoled ourselves with the thought that if we had been forced to spend the night out on the ice, that wind in sub-zero temperatures would have been very trying.

Extract ID: 5896

See also

Cooke, J One White man in Black Africa
Page Number: 123
Extract Date: 1957

Next morning our troubles lifted miraculously

Next morning our troubles lifted miraculously. It was a brilliantly clear morning, the slope eased off, and there was firm snow on the ice at last. We could move together. We were on a vast slope which curved out of sight below us whence we had come. In the clear air we had a breathtaking view directly out over the immense plains of northern Tanganyika. These huge isolated East African volcanic peaks stand proudly alone, and from their upper slopes there are no rivals to encumber and clutter the free surrounding space. We felt that we were literally on the roof of the world, and as success seemed within our grasp we felt a tremendous sense of elation. More mundane matters were also on our minds, or rather our stomachs, and we halted at the first convenient place, a lonely rock outcrop, and cooked a big feast of bacon, and pints of hot coffee. Life was good! We finally camped that night amongst broken seracs or ice pinnacles at the top of the Heim, and next morning we moved easily up to the highest point of the mountain, Kaiser Wilhelm Spitze or Uhuru Peak as it is now called, at 19,340 feet (just under 6,000 m). We felt the whole of Africa was spread out at our feet, rolling away into infinite distance.

Reluctantly we continued our trek, and shot down the abominable screen of the tourist route of ascent, to reach the Kibo hut. We had arranged with the Marangu hotel to have a box of food sent up with a porter, and left at the hut to await our arrival. This we found and eagerly broached. There were tins of meat and vegetables, fruit and chocolate, which we quickly organised into a minor feast. After eleven days on hard tack and using vast amounts of energy we were ravenous. At the hut were four Young British army officers on leave from Kenya. Being young and enormously enthusiastic they had come up too quickly and were suffering badly from mountain sickness. They turned two shades greener as they watched us wolfing our food. We felt sorry for them, but some time later we were equally sorry for ourselves, as gluttony took its toll. Our innards rebelled against the untoward loads we had suddenly plied them with. Nonetheless we crossed the saddle, and made our last camp below Mawenzi more or less recovered from our excesses.

After our success on the Heim, tension eased off a little, and we felt a sense of anti-climax. Our muscles began to stiffen, but our resolve loosened. Getting up Mawenzi required a stern mental effort, and we had to really drive ourselves up to the summit and back to our camp. A final sense of achievement was our reward.

Extract ID: 5897

See also

Cooke, J One White man in Black Africa
Page Number: 124
Extract Date: 1957

All that remained was to get down off the mountain

All that remained was to get down off the mountain. I had told Sylvia the probable day of our descent, but the Heim had delayed us a little. Imagine our great joy, when after jogging down for hour after weary hour, our legs like lead and our minds in neutral, we came round a bend and saw my landrover standing waiting with Sylvia sitting in it. She had driven up the appalling track as far as she dared, and had waited all day, just hoping we would appear. She earned our undying gratitude. That night we got cleaned up, had a wonderful meal, and slept like babies. Next day we went our separate ways. I have never seen David again, but have seen Ax on several occasions, and some years later we climbed together the active volcano Oldoinyo Lengai. He is now retired and living in California.

Extract ID: 5898

See also

Cooke, J One White man in Black Africa
Page Number: 190 ff
Extract Date: 1957

On the Uhuru peak of Kibo

On the Uhuru peak of Kibo, after making the first ascent of the Heim Glacier. From left to right: Ax Nelson, author, David Goodall.

Extract ID: 5892

See also

Nelson, Christopher Photos of Arusha
Extract Date: 1960

Kibo seen from forest jungle

at 9,000 feet on edge of Weru Weru river gorge. This is the Umbwe Route first pioneered by Anton Nelson in 1959.

Extract ID: 5869

See also

Nelson, Christopher Photos of Arusha
Extract Date: 1960


In 1960 Anton Nelson, as president of the Kilimanjaro Mountain Club, took this photo from Tim Bally's plane at 17,000 feet of the Heim Glacier, first ascended in 1957 by Nelson and two British civil servants from Kenya. By 2000 half the ice had melted, by 2040 it will be all gone.

Extract ID: 5862

See also

Stedman, Henry Kilimanjaro - A Trekking Guide to Africa's Highest Mountain; Includes City Guides to Arusha, Moshi, Marangu, Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam
Page Number: Intro 07

Ethiopian Mount Olympus

"In sitting down to recount my experiences with the conquest of the �Ethiopian Mount Olympus� still fresh in my memory, I feel how inadequate are my powers of description to do justice to the grand and imposing aspects of Nature with which I shall have to deal. "

Hans Meyer, the first man to climb Kilimanjaro, in his book Across East African Glaciers � an Account of the First Ascent of Kilimanjaro.

Nor is it just tourists that are entranced by Kilimanjaro; the mountain looms large in the Tanzanian psyche too. Look at their supermarket shelves. The nation�s second favourite lager is called Kilimanjaro. The third favourite, Kibo Gold, is named after the higher of Kilimanjaro�s two summits. Even the nation�s best selling lager, Safari, has something distinctly white and pointy looming in the background of its label. Nor can teetotallers entirely escape Kili�s presence. There�s Kilimanjaro coffee (grown on the mountain�s fertile southern slopes) and Kilimanjaro mineral water (bottled on its western side). On billboards lining the country�s highways Tanzanian models smoke their cigarettes in its shadow, while cheerful roly-poly housewives compare the whiteness of their laundry with the mountain�s glistening snows. And to pay for all of these things you can use a Tanzanian Ts5000 note � which just happens to have, on the back of it, a herd of giraffe lolloping along in front of the distinctive silhouette of Africa�s highest mountain.

It is perhaps no surprise to find, therefore, that when Tanganyika won its independence from Britain in 1961, one of the first things they did was plant a torch on its summit; a torch that the first president, Julius Nyerere, hoped would ��shine beyond our borders, giving hope where there was despair, love where there was hate, and dignity where before there was only humiliation.�

To the Tanzanians, Kilimanjaro is clearly much more than just a very large mountain separating them from Kenya. It�s a symbol of their freedom, and a potent emblem of their country.

And given the tribulations and hardships willingly suffered by thousands of trekkers on Kili each year � not to mention the money they spend for the privilege of doing so � the mountain obviously arouses some pretty strong emotions in non-Tanzanians as well. Whatever the emotions provoked in you by this wonderful mountain, and however you plan to climb it, we wish you well. Because even if you choose to leave the bicycle at home, forego the pleasures of wearing a latex rhino outfit and walk in the direction that nature intended you to, climbing up Kilimanjaro will still be one of the hardest things you ever do.

But it will also, without a doubt, be one of the most rewarding.

Extract ID: 5591

See also

Hutchinson, Mrs. J.A. (Editor) Kilimanjaro
Extract Author: Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere
Page Number: 000a
Extract Date: 9 dec 1961

Tanganyika's Independence,

(from a speech by Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere on Tanganyika's Independence, 1961 .)

"We will light candle on top of Mount Kilimanjaro which will shine beyond our borders,

giving hope where there is despair, love where there is hate, and dignity whcrc before there

was only humiliation."

Extract ID: 4544

See also

Hutchinson, Mrs. J.A. (Editor) Kilimanjaro
Page Number: 143
Extract Date: 11 March, 1962

Three French Parachutists Land on Kilimanjaro

(Information kindly supplied by the French Embassy, Dar es Salaam.)

On 11th March, 1962, three French parachutists, Jean-Claude Dubois, Bernard Couture, and Jean-Claude Camus, all aged 25, beat the record for the highest parachute drop by landing in the crater of Kilimanjaro, less than 50 yards from the Dropping Zone. Although their attempt was delayed by technical difficulties (finding a plane capable of flying high enough, waiting for the ground rescue team, etc.) the dump itself went without incident. B. Couture and J. C. Camus, who are both medical doctors, studied the repercussions on the human organism of the abrupt change in altitude. Having landed in the crater about midday, the three parachutists immediately began the descent and arrived at Marangu Hotel at one o'clock in the morning.

Extract ID: 4541

See also

Hutchinson, Mrs. J.A. (Editor) Kilimanjaro
Page Number: 000

Contents Page

Extract ID: 4539

See also

Matthiessen, Peter The Tree Where Man Was Born
Page Number: 164
Extract Date: 1972


On certain rare mornings at Momella, Mt. Kilimanjaro rises high and clear out of the clouds that dissolve around it. From the north, in Kenya, it looks celestial, benign; from Momella, it is dark and looming. ... at 19,340 feet, Kilimanjaro is the highest solitary mountain in the world.

... Kilima Njaro, the White Mountain, has ascended into the sky, a place of religious resonance for tribes all around its horizons.

The glaciers glisten. A distant snow peak scours the mind, but a snow peak in the tropics draws the heart to a fine shimmering painful point of joy.

Extract ID: 3666

See also

Heminway, John No Man's Land: The Last of White Africa
Page Number: 179-181
Extract Date: March 25, 1976

Balloon Safari over Kilimanjaro

Looming above the business enterprise was an even greater challenge. Kilimanjaro, at 19,340 feet, was the highest point in Africa; ergo, ballooning over the peak would represent the highest physical achievement in Africa, the ultimate seduction. Most people could have tossed aside this challenge but Alan presumably was taunted every time he saw the silver dome floating above late-afternoon clouds. By now he was a living reminder of other such dares. The index finger on his right hand was missing because of an indiscretion with a puff adder. A portion of his right buttock had been deeded to a leopard in the Serengeti, and most of the cartilage in his right knee was missing because he had once tried to set a Kenya record for motorcycle jumps. Now whenever he entered the Nairobi Hospital he was greeted as an old friend.

None of Alan's friends was terribly surprised to hear that he was preparing to be the first to balloon over the top of Kilimanjaro. Now that the wildebeest film was finished Alan had given himself four months before his next production. He gathered together some friends who were eager to serve as the ground crew and readied his balloon, Lengai, for the assault. From the lower slopes of the mountain, Alan calculated he would have to head away from the peak because of the winds, and then at about 24,000 feet, hope to catch an alternating wind that would carry him over the top. There the winds would be treacherous and the air nearly one-quarter its density at sea level.

The "shakedown" was spent test-flying the equipment, purchasing special gear and dickering with the meteorological service. One day the flight was off, another on, and much of Nairobi joined in speculating whether or not the madman would make it. In a society that warmly takes heart from others' misfortunes and rarely admits to heroes. Alan's apparent death wish had captured the imagination.

On the morning of March 25, 1976, the ground crew inflated the balloon on a farm to the west of the mountain. The clouds were down to the ground and nobody was laughing. Until the last moment there had been a question whether or not Joan could accompany Alan. It was generally agreed because of the load factor only one passenger could make the ascent. Joan had not said a word but it was clear that she would gladly have amputated an arm to meet the required weight. By now Alan was inside the basket firing the burner. He looked out at her. "You ready?" he asked, seconds before the balloon lifted off.

For the first half-hour of the flight Alan and Joan flew through dense cloud, never certain where they were bound. Just before they saw sunlight the flame on the burner blew out and for a frightening second Alan fumbled with matches to relight it.

Alan has coined an expression, "The Root Effect," to describe the illusion of the sides of the basket lowering, the higher the balloon climbs. At five thousand feet the basket's walls are at waist level, but at twenty thousand feet they seem little higher than one's ankles. Now as the balloon drifted over the top of Mawenzi Joan was behaving strangely. For a second Alan considered "The Root Effect." She was uncharacteristically snappy and clumsy. "What's the matter?" Alan asked. "Nothing," she shouted back. Suddenly he noticed the tube from her oxygen supply had gotten fouled. As fast as he could he reconnected it and soon she was her placid self.

Borne by a friendly monsoon, and with hardly a ripple, the basket sailed across the roof of Africa, its two occupants Phineas Foggs of a new sort. The altimeter registered 24,000 feet and directly below was the broken cone of Kilimanjaro. Old glaciers and the remains of last season's snows lay in pockets along the rims. Alan looked for climbers, but at nine on a March morning the mountain was deserted. The mountain and the sky made the balloon seem very small. When he and Joan had successfully flown over Kilimanjaro, they were forced to make a landing in then hostile Tanzania. Minutes after their moment of triumph, both Roots were arrested as "astronaut spies."

Of all Alan's films, the one-hour special about his balloon exploits seems the most flawed, possibly because he was dealing with humans (particularly himself) instead of animals. The humor that abounds in his life seemed out of context in the film, and at times the commentary runs to unmitigated conceit: "Flying a balloon takes a bit of getting used to - but Alan Root is one of those naturally well-coordinated people who gets the hang of this sort of thing very quickly. . . ." On television �Balloon Safari� seemed an uneven pastiche, but when it is shown at the farmhouse on Lake Naivasha it is colorful and very funny. It seems to be an indulgence, an amusement for his friends. "Precisely," Alan admits today, "it's a home movie."

Extract ID: 4164

See also

Toto Africa
Extract Date: 1990


Album: Past to Present

I hear the drums echoing tonight

But she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation

She�s coming in 12:30 flight

The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation

I stopped an old man along the way

Hoping to find some long forgotten words or ancient melodies

He turned to me as if to say, hurry boy, it�s waiting there for you


It�s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you

There�s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do

I bless the rains down in africa

Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

The wild dogs cry out in the night

As they grow restless longing for some solitary company

I know that I must do what�s right

Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like olympus above the serengeti

I seek to cure what�s deep inside, frightened of this thing that I�ve become


(instrumental break)

Hurry boy, she�s waiting there for you

It�s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you

There�s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do

I bless the rains down in africa, I bless the rains down in africa

I bless the rains down in africa, I bless the rains down in africa

I bless the rains down in africa

Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

Extract ID: 4778

external link

See also

NASA - Visible Earth
Extract Date: 1990-11-01

Kilimanjaro - The Shining Mountain

Shuttle photograph provided by the Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center.

Ten years ago, glaciers covered most of the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The photograph above was taken in November 1990 by the Space Shuttle mission STS-38 crew (STS038-91-78).

By 2001, the glaciers had receded alarmingly, as shown by another photograph of Kilimanjaro taken by the crew of Space Shuttle mission STS-97 on December 2, 2000

Mountain glaciers are sensitive indicators of climate change, and those at tropical latitudes are particularly responsive. Mid-latitude and tropical glaciers have significantly decreased in area and volume over the past century. At the February 2001 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), researchers reported dramatic changes in the volume of ice capping the Kibo summit of Kilimanjaro. An estimated 82 percent of the icecap that crowned the mountain when it was first thoroughly surveyed in 1912 is now gone, and the ice is thinning as well � by as much as a meter in one area. According to some projections, if recession continues at the present rate, the majority of the glaciers on Kilimanjaro could vanish in the next 15 years.

Extract ID: 5031

See also

nTZ Feedback
Extract Author: Dr Bernard Leeman
Page Number: 2008 06 25
Extract Date: 1993

Johannes Kinyala Lauwo

Kinyala Lauwo (1871-1996) was my inlaw and I interviewed him on video in 1993.

He said he climbed Kilimanjaro many times before he guided Hans Meyer. He said he had ascended nine times before he realised there was an inner crater. He also found the dead leopard but when I told him of Hemingway's book about it, he said he'd never heard of it.

The West German government built the house in 1989 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Meyer's ascent.

[2008 08 16]

Here is Kinyala Lauwo's family tree:



Aisere (brother was Kimemia)



Rawia (brother was Mkawo)


Kimemia's descendants were



Rawia's descendants were



Many children including Yakobo, my wife's father.

I haven't yet found the name of any of Kinyala's siblings. Most Lauwos are descended from Paulo's children. I have a more detailed family tree somewhere but haven't managed to find it.

Extract ID: 5793

See also

Ofcansky, Thomas P and Yeager, Rodger Historical Dictionary of Tanzania
Page Number: xxviii
Extract Date: 1993 November 28

bans tree harvesting

The Tanzanian government bans tree harvesting on Mount Kilimanjaro to save Africa's highest peak from environmental degradation.

Extract ID: 1208

external link

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Claytor, Tom Bushpilot
Extract Author: Tom Claytor
Page Number: 18d
Extract Date: 1996 July 03

Kilimanjaro International Airport

I take off and fly along the slopes of Kilimanjaro before the clouds appear. Beneath me is the mine where all the Tanzanite comes from. If I ever find a wife, I will design her a ring with Tanzanite. I don't think there is a more beautiful stone in the world. It is sometimes referred to as a 'blue diamond' and the liquid blue stone reflects three different colors - purple, blue, and gray - as the light passes through it. It is much brighter than a sapphire, and it is only found here.

I descend low and follow the lush green forests past Kilimanjaro International Airport. This is one of the places where they could get me. I remember when the wildlife filmmaker, Alan Root, sent me to Kilimanjaro to pick up his plane some years ago. He handed me a fist-full of $100 bills and said in his normal understated way, 'Here, you may need these.' I was deposited at Kilimanjaro Airport and walked over to collect his recently repaired Cessna 180. The men in the office laughed at me. It appeared, I was about $400 short of what was owed. I spent a very long night inside of the plane being eaten by large mosquitoes. When that became too unbearable, I crawled out and lay on the tarmac beneath the plane. Then large rhinoceros shaped beetles would hit me full force in the face as they tried to fly in ground effect towards the bright lights illuminating the apron. The next morning, I was a wreck. It was time for my captors and me to make a deal. I suggested that if we reduced the number of days that the plane had been parked here on the receipt, there would be several hundred dollars left over that would not be accounted for. I think a proposal like this can raise some interest in a land where $2 a day is a good salary. I was soon on my way.

Extract ID: 3648

external link

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Claytor, Tom Bushpilot
Extract Author: Tom Claytor
Page Number: 18e
Extract Date: 1996 July 03

the 8th Wonder of the World

Ahead of me now is what some people consider to be the 8th Wonder of the World - the Ngorongoro Crater. The volcanic crater is a perfectly shaped bowl 19 kilometers across and it is teeming with wildlife. This crater used to be a mountain even higher than Kilimanjaro. When it erupted, it distributed its porphyritic ash far to the West. This is now the Serengeti - a treeless sea of grass with the largest ungulate (hoofed animal) migration on earth. I juggle my film cameras and follow the crater's rim around as my little plane struggles in the thin air. The crater is too big to fit into my lens. There seems to be no way to capture such a vast and enveloping place. I turn on my video camera mounted on the wing and start to dance along the edge. I play with the drama of trees moving swiftly beneath me, and then the sudden chilling emptiness as we spring from the edge and seem suspended above the crater floor. I am loving this moment, and for a while, I can imagine no better way to appreciate the grandness nor beauty of such a place.

Extract ID: 3649

See also

Africa News Online
Extract Author: Nicodemus Odhiambo
Extract Date: 1999 December 21

Tanzania To Celebrate Millennium Atop Mount Kilimanjaro

Copyright (c) 1999 Panafrican News Agency.

About 1,000 tourists plan to usher in their Millennium atop Mount Kilimanjaro, the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism has confirmed.

Zakia Meghji said Monday the event will fetch the country some 1.5 million US Dollars (about 1.2 billion Tsh) in foreign currency.

Ten locals are also expected to go up the mountain during the 'Mount Kilimanjaro Top 2000 Expedition'.

The first batch of mountain climbers is to be flagged off next Monday and they will be awarded certificates as they descend 2 January, 2000. The excursions to Africa's highest mountain form part of the country's Millennium celebrations, whose climax will be marked in Dar Es Salaam.

Meghji said the mountain climbing fees had however been hiked by 100 percent to 100 US dollars in order to put off mass bookings due to contingency reasons and to ultimately guarantee the safety of the environment.

Security had been beefed up and rescue teams identified to ensure the safety of the Millennium celebrants, Meghji noted.

Another monumental event shall be the establishment of a Tanzania Millennium village next year in Dar Es Salaam, depicting the major historical, cultural, social and natural attractions available in the country, according to Meghji.

Other activities involve the planting of an estimated 20 million tree seedlings throughout the country, thus boosting by 20 percent the national target of planting 100 million trees by the end of 2000.

Tourism is Tanzania's second foreign exchange earner after agriculture. In 1997, it received 360,000 tourists, who generated 392.4 million US dollars.

In 1998, the World Tourism Organisation recorded that Tanzania ranked 11 among Africa's 20 top tourist destinations.

Most of the tourists come from Europe, the US, Japan, Korea and South Africa. The tourism sector employs 35,000 workers and it is growing at 11.4 percent while revenues are increasing at 23.3 percent annually.

Extract ID: 1463

See also

Mountain Watch launch and Bishkek briefing
Extract Date: 2000

View of Kilimanjaro

Christian Lambrechts, UNEP-DEWA

Extract ID: 5020

See also

Africa News Online
Extract Date: 2000 January 3

Millennium Celebrants Die Scaling Kilimanjaro

Copyright (c) 2000 Panafrican News Agency

Two tourists died while scaling Mount Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania during the Millennium celebrations.

Kilimanjaro National Park Chief Warden Lorivi-ole Moirana named the dead as Werner Hein, 55, from Germany, and Jennifer Steven, 54, from the US.

Hein died of a heart attack 31 December at the third cave point on the Rongai route while Steven died at the Uhuru peak at an altitude of 5,895 metre above sea level.

The two were part of a group of 1,154 revellers from the US, Germany, Britain, Japan, Australia, Switzerland, Brazil and South Africa who were destined to go up Africa's highest mountain to welcome the New Year.

At least 32 climbers had failed to reach the summit Sunday because they suffered injuries and had to be rescued by guides, Moirana said.

'Many of them were hit by heart problems, malaria and dehydration,' he added.

Tourists numbering 1,000 finished the climb and were accordingly awarded certificates.

Among them was Spanish Christina Abey, aged 11, and a South African, Goergette de Vos, aged 72.

Extract ID: 1471

See also

Africa News Online
Extract Date: 2000 January 14

Historical sites in Tanzania on verge of collapse

Copyright (c) 2000 TOMRIC Agency.

Although the Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources Zakia Meghji witnessed more than 2000 tourists delight in Tanzania's natural heritage in the Mount Kilimanjaro Top 2000 Expedition, ancient sites with similar potential lay unattended.

Trusted with preserving Tanzania's cultural heritage, the department of antiquities under Minister Meghji is grossly under-staffed and under-funded.

'If we want to improve the department we must have the new approach,' says Mr. Donatus Kamamba, the acting director of antiquities.

He says despite the fact that the department has 117 sites to view all over the country, it has 63 workers only, mostly supporting staff.

According to him, not more than 10 are qualified individuals who can stay at a station and map out the strategies for development of the traditional legacy they are trusted to preserve.

'In the whole of Tanzania for example, there are only three qualified Architectural conservators, that is experts who deal with maintenance and preservation of old buildings,' says Mr. Kamamba, adding, 'at the department's headquarters in Dar Es Salaam, there is only one vehicle.'

He adds, the modest USD 30,000 budget the department projected last year to maintain all its stations was 'very moderate intended'

'At present the antiquities department is regarded as a unit, meant for serving a small area, which means that we get less staff, less facilities and less fund,' he laments.

Despite the efforts made by the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources, to market Tanzania's attractions in oversees, there is no similar efforts being made to invest in the sector.

On his observation, a successful Mount Kilimanjaro Expedition, in which the Kilimanjaro National Park had pumped in USD 375, 000 equivalent in extensive preparations that has enabled it to net USD 750000, need to be replicated by other organizations.

The director says over 117 stations, only about 20 had at least enough staff and were attended to, with the rest either under-staffed or languishing unattended.

Kamamba notes that at present, the repair of the stations has been going on at the snails pace - about one station each year - due to lack of funds.

'At this rate, it will take almost 117 years to maintain all of them,' he says.

Among the transferred departments are the National Museum, the Antiquities Department, National Archives, Film Censorship Board, National Sports Council and National Art Council.

He alleges that his antiquities department has been marginalised while under the education ministry, for instance, in the budgets of the ministry from 1993 to 1998, 'no mention has been made of providing the department with workers and facilities.'

'Tourists cannot pay money to go to a place if it has no facilities,' he says, adding, 'There is basically no difference in natural heritage and cultural heritage in their potential for tourism.'

As tourists still stream towards Mount Kilimanjaro and to National Parks in the country, historical sites in Bagamoyo, Kilwa and many other parts in the country are, according to Mr. Kamamba, on the verge of total decline, he says.

Officials from the Tanzania Tourism Board and the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources, have since 1997 been visiting various countries, mainly Canada, USA, Japan and Korea, to market the country's tourism products.

In Tanzania, the tourism sector is among the fastest growing and earners of sizable income, but receive less in terms of investment and incentives. (words 557)


Extract ID: 1475

external link

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Mountain Watch launch and Bishkek briefing
Extract Date: 29 Jan 2000

The Kilimanjaro icecap

Christian Lambrechts, UNEP-DEWA

The Kilimanjaro icecap in 1962 (yellow), and 2000 (black outline)

Extract ID: 5019

external link

See also

NASA - Visible Earth
Extract Date: 2000-02-11

Mount Meru

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/NIMA

Mount Meru is an active volcano located just 70 kilometers (44 miles) west of Mount Kilimanjaro. It reaches 4,566 meters (14,978 feet) in height but has lost much of its bulk due to an eastward volcanic blast sometime in its distant past, perhaps similar to the eruption of Mount Saint Helens in Washington State in 1980. Mount Meru most recently had a minor eruption about a century ago. The several small cones and craters seen in the vicinity probably reflect numerous episodes of volcanic activity. Mount Meru is the topographic centerpiece of Arusha National Park. Its fertile slopes rise above the surrounding savanna and support a forest that hosts diverse wildlife, including nearly 400 species of birds, and also monkeys and leopards.

Two visualization methods were combined to produce this image: shading and color coding of topographic height. The shade image was derived by computing topographic slope in the north-south direction. Northern slopes appear bright and southern slopes appear dark, as would be the case at noon at this latitude in June. Color coding is directly related to topographic height, with green at the lower elevations, rising through yellow, red, and magenta, to blue and white at the highest elevations.

Elevation data used in this image was acquired by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, launched on Feb. 11, 2000. SRTM used the same radar instrument that comprised the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) that flew twice on the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1994. SRTM was designed to collect 3-D measurements of the Earth's surface. To collect the 3-D data, engineers added a 60-meter (approximately 200-foot) mast, installed additional C-band and X-band antennas, and improved tracking and navigation devices. The mission is a cooperative project between NASA, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) of the U.S. Department of Defense and the German and Italian space agencies. It is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., for NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, Washington, D.C.

Extract ID: 5032

See also

NASA - Visible Earth
Extract Date: 2000 02 21


Portions of Kenya and Tanzania, Africa, can be seen in this image. The peak of Kilimanjaro is on the right; the mountain is flanked by the plains of Amboseli National Park to the north and the rugged Arusha National Park to the south and west.

This image was acquired by Landsat 7�s Enhanced Thematic Mapper plus (ETM+) sensor on February 21, 2000. This is a false-color composite image made using shortwave infrared, infrared, and green wavelengths.

Extract ID: 5033

See also

Africa Travel Resource Kilimanjaro
Page Number: 05b
Extract Date: 27 March 2000

Speed record

Most people spend between 5 and 8 days climbing the mountain.

In 1993, a Brazilian, Mozart Cat�o established the speed record by going up and down in 17 hours 30 minutes.

The current return ascent record was established on 27th March 2000 by a member of Team Kilimanjaro, Rogath Ephrem Mtuy, in a time of 14 hours 50 minutes. He began the attempt from the Marangu Park gate at 0400 in the morning. He reached the true summit at 1530 and began the descent immediately, returning to the Marangu Park Gate at 1850, thereby achieving: fastest ascent, 11 hours 30 fastest descent, 3 hours 20 and the fastest return ascent, 14 hours 50. It is possible that Cat�o's record remains as that of the fastest non-African to complete a return ascent.

Extract ID: 4815

external link

See also

NASA - Visible Earth
Extract Date: 2000 12 02


Shuttle photograph provided by the Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center.

Mt. Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), the highest point in all Africa, was photographed by the crew of Space Shuttle mission STS-97 on December 2, 2000 (STS097-701-17). Kilimanjaro (Kilima Njaro or "shining mountain" in Swahili) is capped by glaciers on its southern and southwestern flanks.

The glaciers and snow cap covered a far greater area ten years prior to the view above. Compare the photograph above with a photograph of Kilimanjaro taken in November 1990 by the Space Shuttle mission STS-38 crew.

Extract ID: 5034

See also

Ondaatje, Christopher Kilimanjaro: Genius in an African dawn
Page Number: a
Extract Date: 2001

Kilimanjaro: Genius in an African dawn

Thousands of tourists have journeyed to Africa in search of the Hemingway Experience, inspired by 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro'. Sir Christopher Ondaatje got closer than most

Kilimanjaro is a snow-covered mountain 19,710 feet high, and is said to be the highest mountain in Africa. Its western summit is called the Masai 'Ngaje Ngai', the House of God. Close to the western summit there is the dried and frozen carcass of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude.

This is the riddle that Ernest Hemingway poses at the start of his strangely prophetic and almost autobiographical story, The Snows of Kilimanjaro.

Hemingway was the first great American literary celebrity of the 20th century. By the time of his death in 1961 he was a legend. The white-bearded visage of "Papa" could be recognised all over the world. Countless magazine articles chronicled the adventures of the hard-drinking, tough-talking, much-married action man.

Yet there is relatively little discussion of Hemingway's love of Africa � a continent that was an obsession for him all his life. As a boy, he longed to follow in the footsteps of his childhood hero, Theodore Roosevelt, who made a famous safari expedition in Tanganyika [now Tanzania] in 1910. On frequent trips to Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History, young Ernest was entranced by the stuffed elephants brought back from expeditions in Africa by the hunter and photographer Carl Akeley, a man said to have killed a wounded leopard with his bare hands.

Extract ID: 5382

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BBC internet news
Extract Author: Professor Lonnie Thompson
Extract Date: February 19, 2001

White peak on Kilimanjaro to disappear

The beautiful ice fields on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in East Africa could completely melt away in the next 20 years if the Earth continues to warm at the rate many scientists now claim.

The calculation comes from Professor Lonnie Thompson, of Ohio State University, who has made an aerial survey of the famous Tanzanian peak.

He said comparisons with previous mapping showed 33% of Mt Kilimanjaro's ice had disappeared in the last two decades - 82% had gone since 1912. Studies on other tropical peaks had revealed a similar picture, he told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

He warned this melting could have serious repercussions for drinking water supply, crop irrigation, hydroelectric production and tourism.

"Kilimanjaro is the number one foreign-currency earner for the Tanzanian Government. Twenty thousand tourists go there every year because one of the attractions is to see ice at three degrees south of the equator. But I think there is a real possibility that that ice will be gone by 2015."

Professor Thompson has spent about 20 years studying the tropical ice fields on the mountains of South America, Africa, China and Tibet.

He told the AAAS meeting that the Quelccaya ice cap in the Peruvian Andes had shrunk by 20% since 1963. And its largest outlet glacier, known as Qori Kalis, was accelerating in its retreat - 155 metres per year in the last survey compared with just 48 metres per year in the previous study period in 1995-98.

"The glaciers are like natural dams," he said. "They store the snow in the wet season and they melt in the dry season and bring water flow to the rivers."

He said their loss was a blow also to science which used the compacted ice built up in the glaciers over decades and centuries to investigate past climate.

"The loss of these frozen 'archives' threatens water resources for hydroelectric power production, irrigation for crops and municipal water supplies. Moreover, the melting of these smaller ice caps and glaciers leads to sea level rise."

Professor Thomspon's work is part of a large effort, under the auspices of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), to understand how the global environment is changing. According to the IGBP's executive director, Dr Will Steffan, Thompson's work adds to the growing body of evidence of a rapidly changing Earth.

"Retreating glaciers is one of many symptoms that the Earth is undergoing dramatic changes within our lifetime. Climate change is just one piece in a much bigger puzzle."

BBC News Online

Extract ID: 3109

external link

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Breashears, David Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa
Extract Author: The East African (Nairobi)
Extract Date: March 25, 2002

The Epic Climbing Film East Africans Won't See

Copyright 2002, Nation Media Group Ltd. All rights reserved.

Geologists calculate that more than 80 per cent of Kilimanjaro's glacier has melted since it was first mapped in 1912, writes Special Correspondent KEVIN J. KELLEY Just as Kilimanjaro towers over Africa, so too does a new film about the mountain surpass most nature documentaries in beauty and sheer size.

Shot with special cameras using 70 mm film, Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa will be shown in selected North American cities in a big-screen format known as Imax. Its enormous picture plane measures about 15 metres in height and 21 metres in width, creating an overwhelming visual experience. Audiences are made to feel they are actually ascending Kilimanjaro along with a six-member climbing team that includes two Tanzanians.

Director David Breashears is himself a veteran mountaineer as well as an Imax movie-maker. The first American to have scaled Mount Everest on two separate occasions, he was also co-director of a Imax film about a deadly assault on the world's tallest mountain. Breashears' 1996 Everest expedition coincided with a tragedy that claimed the lives of eight members of another party who were also attempting to reach Everest's summit.

Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa contains none of the horror that seeped into Mr Breashears' Everest film. Indeed, the filmmaker said in a recent interview with a US television network that he intended to make Kilimanjaro seem far less forbidding than the highest Himalayan peak.

"I wanted to make a film that appealed to a much broader audience, a film that when people saw it, they could actually leave the theatre and say, 'Yes, I can go climb Kilimanjaro.'"

The diversity of the climbing crew featured in the film reinforces the impression that ordinary mortals are capable of reaching Africa's zenith. Among those in the trekking team are a 64-year-old writer, a 12-year-old Boston schoolgirl, and a 13-year-old boy from Arusha, Hansi Mmari, who had never before seen snow, let alone climbed a mountain. The group is led by Chagga guide Jacob Kyungai, 50, who has reached the top of Kilimanjaro more than 250 times.

Although conditions on Kilimanjaro may not be nearly as harsh as those on Everest (which is 10,000 feet higher), Breashears says he actually found it harder to film on Kili, owing to the sharp contrasts in its ecosystems. As the movie explains, climbers must pass through five different climate zones as they ascend Kilimanjaro, beginning in a tropical rainforest and ending in an Arctic environment at a height of 5,896 metres.

The images Breashears recorded along the way are unforgettable. "Sublimely photographed, it's almost a religious experience," wrote a reviewer for The Dallas Morning News.

Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa premiered last week in Texas at the Houston Science Museum and will be shown at several Imax theatres around the United States and Canada in the coming months.

In addition to inspiring viewers, perhaps even enticing some to visit Tanzania, the film may raise awareness regarding the looming loss of the snows of Kilimanjaro. Geologists calculate that more than 80 per cent of the mountain's glacier has melted since it was first mapped in 1912. If the current pace of warming continues, it is feared that Kili's summit will be snowless by 2020.

Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain, is in Northern Tanzania on the border with Kenya. It has two summits. Kibo, which measures 5,896 metres high at Uhuru Peak, is the highest point. Kibo's top is always covered by snow and ice even though it is near the Equator. The other summit, Mawenzi, stands 5,148 metres high and has no snow or ice.

However, according to a German-Tanzania expedition that scaled the Kibo summit in 1999, the mountain is four metres lower than previously calculated.

Experts from Karsruhe University in Germany and Dar es Salaam University say the mountain measures 5,892 metres above sea level.

Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano, one of the string of volcanic cones formed at the same time as the Rift Valleys of East Africa.

Extract ID: 3386

See also

Stedman, Henry Kilimanjaro - A Trekking Guide to Africa's Highest Mountain; Includes City Guides to Arusha, Moshi, Marangu, Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam
Page Number: Intro 06

Its beauty

In particular, there�s its beauty. When viewed from the plains of Tanzania, Kilimanjaro conforms to our childhood notions of what a mountain should look like: high, wide and handsome, a vast triangle rising out of the flat earth, its sides sloping exponentially upwards to the satisfyingly symmetrical summit of Kibo; a summit that rises imperiously above a thick beard of clouds and is adorned with a glistening bonnet of snow. Kilimanjaro is not located in the crumpled mountain terrain of the Himalayas or the Andes. Where the mightiest mountain of them all, Everest, just edges above its neighbours � and look less impressive because of it � Kilimanjaro stands proudly alone on the plains of Africa. The only thing in the neighbourhood that can even come close to looking it in the eye is Mount Meru, a fair way off to the south-west and a good 1420m smaller too. The fact that it�s located smack bang in the heart of the sweltering East African plains, just a few degrees and 330km south of the equator, with lions, giraffes, and all the other celebrities of the safari world running around its base, only adds to its charisma.

And then there�s the scenery on the mountain itself. So massive is Kilimanjaro, that to climb it is to pass through four seasons in four days, from the sultry rainforests of the lower reaches through to the windswept heather and moorland of the upper slopes, and on to the arctic wastes of the summit.

There may be 15 higher points on the globe; there can�t be many that are more beautiful, or more tantalizing.

Extract ID: 5590

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Balloon flight over Mt. Kilimanjaro
Extract Date: 19 February 2003

Balloon flight over Mt. Kilimanjaro

In February 19th 2003, a Dutch balloon team attempted the flight over Mt. Kilimanjaro with a normal hot air balloon. The flight was done by the pilots Karel Abbenes and Willem Hijink, at an altitude of over 23,000 feet (6,900m).

In search of a Tanzanian partner who could take care of all logistics, Karel contacted JMT African Heart Expeditions in November 2002. It took us only 5 minutes to agree getting involved in this extraordinary adventure.

Preparations could now start : the balloon and basket were flown over by KLM, the necessary permits were obtained, gas and a charter plane (for photgraphing and filming the balloon flight) were arranged. Karel and Hein Brunings arrived mid-February, one week before the rest of the team members, to collect the balloon at Kilimanjaro airport customs. KLM pilots kindly agreed to measure wind speed and direction at different altitude levels and communicate these every evening during their descent to Kilimanjaro airport via radio.

The other team members arrived and on February 17th the expedition left Arusha. The location from where the balloon would take off, on the north-east side of Mt. Kilimanjaro, was reached the next day. Now the expedition members had to put up camp and wait until weather conditions would be OK for the flight.

The morning of February 19th, all equipment, as well as inboard and outboard cameras, were made ready for the flight. One hour before sunrize the last weather balloons were inflated and the final checks carried out. Oxygen for the pilots was connected. Karel and Willem took off at 07.05 am. One vehicle immediately returned to the other side of the mountain, where the balloon would be retrieved after the flight.

The balloon took off heading south and gradually gaining height. During the climb to over 7 kms radio contact was established with Kilimanjaro airport tower. With increasing altitude the winds changed to east and brought them towards the first goal : Mawenzi peak. The wind the KLM crew had given the pilots was exactly the same as they found near the peak. From Mawenzi the winds took them to Kibo with Uhuru peak as the main goal. Temperature dropped to minus 15�C. Uhuru peak came into view and the pilots climbed a bit to get even better winds. The winds took them right over the center of the crater. The mission was a 100% success. The remainder of the flight was enjoying the view. Mt. Kenya could be seen to the north-west, to the south-east Kilimanjaro airport with Arusha just south of mount Meru was clearly visible.

After a further 45 minutes at more than 7 kilometer altitude the pilots decided that a landing should be made south of Tinga Tinga. The Masai, who have several villages in that landing area, came out from the plains to welcome the aeronauts back to earth. They were amazed that we had flown across the mountain and were but only too pleased to assist with the packing of the balloon. The safety airplane with Hein Brunings, who filmed the flight, had no problem finding the landing site of the balloon and passed the landing location coordinates on to the chase team on the ground. Willem and Karel had to wait for more than 6 hours before the chase team with Erik van Halsema and Marco Hijink had taken the cars around Mount Kilimanjaro. Everything was loaded on the trailers, for return back to Arusha. The expedition was a success.

The team : Karel Abbenes, Willem Hijink, Hein Brunings, Erik van Halsema, Marco Hijink

Extract ID: 4792

See also

Arusha Times
Extract Author: Valentine Marc Nkwame
Page Number: 258
Extract Date: 22 Feb 2003

Dutch balloon team flies over Kilimanjaro on hot air balloon

.. ..

This week, a Dutch balloon team has claimed its share of the legend by flying over Kilimanjaro with a hot air balloon.

Speaking in Arusha last weekend, the project leader, Karel Abbenes said the effort was also going to raise money for Mount Kilimanjaro cleaning campaign.

The money to be invested in cleaning up the giant land feature has been donated by a Dutch company named, Afvalverwerking Reijnmond (AVR) which specializes in ecological waste assimilation.

Abbenes and his co-pilot Willem Hijink have used the latest technological, stealth burner to pump hot air into their balloon as it is noiseless and thus can�t scare animals.

Nobody has ever attempted this undertaking before and the two balloon pilots weren�t just about to take any chances on that, so they employed two separate unit burners each with its three containers of gas.

The Royal Dutch Airline (KLM) supplied the team with regular weather reports from its KIA bound, Amsterdam flights and Dar es salaam bound KIA flights.

The fly over was done from the east side of the mountain towards the Moshi direction with a team of a Dutch Television camera crew filming the adventure.

At Moshi, the balloon team presented the cheque of "Clean up" money to the Kilimanjaro National Parks (KINAPA) authorities.

Local sponsors of the "Kilimanjaro Expedition 2003" include JMT African Heart Expeditions Limited, Bamakambi Safari Lodge and Shoprite Supermarket of Arusha.

Extract ID: 3915

external link

See also

Morton, Oliver The Tarps of Kilimanjaro
Extract Author: Oliver Morton
Extract Date: November 17, 2003

Drape the cliffs in white polypropylene fabric

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

Reading about this [the melting snows], Euan Nisbet, a Zimbabwean greenhouse gas specialist at the Royal Holloway College, University of London, was struck by a fairly simple solution: drape the cliffs in white polypropylene fabric. Sunlight bounces off, and the ice below stays cool. The result would look like a giant washing line: God's crisp, white sheets aired out three miles up in the sky.

Nisbet, whose family tree is thick with foresters, stresses that he doesn't see this as a permanent solution - but it would buy some decades, even a century, during which ways could be found to develop reforestation plans good for the mountain and the people who live beneath it.

The task of protecting the ice, while monumental, would not be impossible; the relatively small size of the ice fields is, after all, the whole point. In principle it would be well within the grasp of the world's grandmaster wrapper, Christo. "Running Fence," the Christo masterpiece that snaked through 25 miles of Sonoma and Marin counties in California for a couple of weeks in 1976, would be easily long enough to girdle the two main ice fields.

Given that the cliffs are 60 to 150 feet high, their covering would have to be taller than "Running Fence"; but the total amount of fabric required would probably be no greater than that used for the bright pink skirts Christo spread out around the islands in Miami's Biscayne Bay in 1983.

Indeed, Christo and his wife and partner, Jeanne-Claude, would make good consultants for the project; the team that persuaded German parliamentarians to let them wrap the Reichstag might well persuade the Tanzanian government to allow the same thing to be done to the country's best-known feature. Getting hundreds of thousands of square yards of fabric to the mountain top would be fairly easy - pack it up tightly and throw it out the back of a transport plane. Hanging it off the ice cliffs would be tricky, and require a lot of help. But it is hard to imagine that, if the money for such a project were to be found, the volunteers would not come running from around the world. And once the hanging is done, the main job would be over.

The rest of the preservation effort might just consist of a few snow machines to keep the top surface fresh and white in the months when no snow falls. The fresher the ice the more sunlight it reflects; the less light absorbed, the less the ice will melt.

The effort to preserve a square mile of ice in the equatorial sky could become a powerful local and universal symbol. Cloaking the ice cliffs of Kilimanjaro would not just borrow the techniques of an art installation - it would be a work of art in itself. Done properly, it would be a preservation of beauty that is itself, beautiful.

What's more, preserving the ice would be a way of saying that we do not have to accept environmental change, even when it looks inevitable.

The white tarps would float above the clouds a tentative hope: the hope that human will and ingenuity just might be able to meet the challenges of a century in which more change will be faced, and more protection needed, than at any other time in human history - or Kilimanjaro's.

Extract ID: 4436

external link

See also

Guardian (UK)
Extract Date: March 14, 2005

The peak of Mt Kilimanjaro as it has not been seen for 11,000 years

The Guardian

Africa's tallest mountain, with its white peak, is one of the most instantly recognisable sights in the world. But as this aerial photograph shows, Kilimanjaro's trademark snowy cap, at 5,895 metres (19,340ft), is now all but gone - 15 years beforescientists predicted it would melt through global warming, writes Paul Brown.

In Swahili Kilima Njaro means shining mountain, but the glaciers and snow cap that kept the summit white, probably for 11,000 years - despite the location, in Tanzania, 200 miles south of the equator - have almost disappeared.

Tomorrow the 34 ministers at the G8 energy and environment summit, meeting in London, will receive a book - published by The British Council and The Climate Group, and entitled Northsoutheastwest: a 360 view of climate change - that includes this picture among others depicting global warming. The book's text describes the devastating speed of climate change documented by 10 of the world's top photographers from Magnum Photos.

Extract ID: 5028

external link

See also

Guardian (UK)
Extract Author: EG Nisbet, Department of Geology, Royal Holloway, University of London
Extract Date: March 15, 2005

Woes of Kilimanjaro

The Guardian

Not only beauty will be lost when Mount Kilimanjaro's ice is gone (Global warning, March 14). The ice contains one of the most valuable records of tropical climate. A few cores will remain in archives, but not the large samples needed to resolve many questions. Yet the ice can be saved. The summit temperature is -7C, so it is not melting directly. But there may be too few summit clouds now: sunlight ablates the ice. Protection of the ice is possible, to gain time while efforts are made to reverse the massive destruction of Kilimanjaro's forests, so that more moisture can once again be advected upwards in the dry season.

Saving the ice cap would probably be much cheaper than the air traffic control system that guides the tourists coming to see the snows. But the response to my suggestion was that this was not economically worthwhile. The New York Times devoted an editorial to thunder against me, that we should prefer to "leave Africa with a new icon - a bare mountaintop underscoring the folly of reckless destruction of the forests". To modern thinkers, guilt is a more exquisite delight than the natural sublime.

Extract ID: 5029

external link

See also

Guardian (UK)
Extract Author: T Smith, Uttoxeter, Staffs
Extract Date: March 15, 2005

Woes of Kilimanjaro

The Guardian

Mount Kilimanjaro would have looked much like your front-page picture, though probably with less ice and snow, only 5,000 years ago. Since the end of the last glacial age 11,000 years ago, there have been two broad climatic regimes. The first 6,000 years were very warm, reaching an optimum about 5,000 years ago when the weather deteriorated into the cooler climate we now live in.

Extract ID: 5030

See also

Arusha Times
Extract Author: Valentine Marc Nkwame
Page Number: 375
Extract Date: 25 June 2005

Pre-colonial bunker discovered in Kilimanjaro

It is over 300 years old and extends more than one kilometer below the ground

An underground cave believed to be over 300 years old and which was being used as a war hideout bunker, during the Pre-Colonia Africa, has been discovered in the Rural-Moshi district of the Kilimanjaro region.

The cave, which is about 20 feet deep and extends for more than a kilometer below the ground, is almost an underground village in its own right, being equipped with sleeping chambers, kitchens, cattle pens, sitting and dining rooms, conference halls and 'mortuaries.'

The historical cave is located in the Komakundi village, of the Mamba ward at Vunjo location, an area located at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, within the Rural-Moshi District. At the moment the 300 year-old underground grave is under the custody of the Makundis, a local family residing in the Area.

The residents in the area revealed that the cave was one of about eight other caves that were being used as hideout residences during the pre-colonial civil wars among local tribes especially between the Chagga people and the Maasai.

The Maasai, according to local history, loved to raid Chagga communities and rob therein of their cattle under claims that the animals were actually their rightful possessions bestowed to them by the gods since the first day of earth creation.

As the Chagga men went out to battle, women, children, old people and the disabled would be concealed in the caves that are also full of supplies. Cattle, goats, sheep and other animals were also hidden in the underground sheds.

This particular cave, according to the villagers, belonged to the Kwalaka clan. The other caves in the area, were reported to have caved in with time, but the Kwalaka cave, apparently, has been able to withstand the test of time.

Mrs. Stella Goodluck Makundi aged around 40 years, is the widowed wife of one of the clan descendants. Her husband, Goodluck Makundi Kwalaka, died several years ago, leaving her with two children.

A newly established local Cultural Tourism Programme (CTP) in the area, recently discovered and included the cave among its visit itineraries in which, interested visitors will now be paying US$3 (Or Tsh.3000), to view and actually enter into the dark cave.

From the fees, the widow hopes that in future she may be able to meet the staggering costs of educating her two children. The oldest, a girl is currently in Secondary school, while the other, a boy is at Primary level.

Ombaeli Makundi aged 36 years, is one of the 6th generation offsprings in the Kwalaka clan and currently serves as guide and Historian for the Komakundi cave. His family has constructed a traditional hut to house the cave opening. This hut is constantly kept under lock and key.

A wooden frame ladder leads down into the dark cave and the first sight one faces is a gate and guard room, after which a long corridor leads to other compartments, the faint-hearted usually never dare venture further beyond the gate.

"Even during the old times, the cave opening was concealed under the bed, in one of the family houses and covered with a traditional cow-hide carpet." Said Makundi. The other end of the cave opened at the bank of Kiwindwe River, located about a kilometer away.

"The cave was dug from the river bank, so that water could carry away soil that was being scooped out from the hole." He explained, adding that, the cave tunnel was also dotted with ventilators.

Efforts to illuminate the historical cave with modern electric bulbs have proved futile because all the bulbs that were being installed kept bursting a few seconds after being placed. As the result, visitors will now have to do with spot lights.

A Mountain Guide with Safari Leisure Tour Operators based at Kinukamori Water Falls at Marangu, Alpha Moshi, said the tourists for Cultural packages keep increasing. CTP, founded by the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) may be only six years-old, but is out to overtake the mainstream, wildlife tourism.

Moshi explained that a number of foreign visitors who come to scale Mount Kilimanjaro often have relatives who prefer to explore local traditions of the area, by living with local people and performing local activities such as cooking local dishes and listening to local folklore.

Extract ID: 5076

See also

Dundas, Charles Kilimanjaro and its People
Page Number: 24

the actual height of Kibo's summit

There has been much dispute as to the actual height of Kibo's summit, which was measured by various travellers who all obtained different estimates. According to British topographers engaged on the boundary Commission the height was determined at 19,318, but as Meyer points out, they were never able to see the topmost peak which is invisible from below; German members of the Commission, however, arrived at an altitude of a little less than that. Meyer's own aneroid readings gave an altitude of 60 ms. more than the height observed of the British topographers. So far as I am aware the altitude was never ascertained by boiling point observations until 1921 when Mr. C. Gillman scaled the crater rim, and though I have not his figures, I believe that he found the correct measurement to be some 60 ms. or 105 feet less than Meyer's computation gave. Whatever the exact altitude may be, the highest point is over 19,000 feet above sea-level, and is thus the highest in Africa.

Extract ID: 3138

See also

Source Unknown


Kilima Njaro (Swahili) Mountain of Greatness, or

Mountain of Caravans,

both translations believed by Rebmann, first European to see the mountain in 1848.

Extract ID: 386

See also

Personal Communication
Extract Author: Mzee Kappia
Extract Date: 1999 April


Chagga meaning is 'Something which cannot be conquered'

Extract ID: 387

See also

Source Unknown


Also translated as Shining Mountain, White Mountain, or Mountain of Water

Extract ID: 391

See also

Source Unknown


Kilimangare (Maasai) meaning 'hill of water'

Extract ID: 389

See also

Breashears, David Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa


Mountain of Greatness

Extract ID: 4320

See also

Africa Travel Resource Kilimanjaro
Page Number: 02

Origin of the name 'Kilimanjaro'

There are many unsatisfactory explanations for how the mountain got its name and no one can quite agree which is the truth. "Mountain of Greatness", Mountain of Whiteness", "Mountain of Caravans", "Small Mountain of Caravans" are all names derived from the Swahili, Chagga and Machame dialects.

From what little we know on the subject, we think it might have something to do with the swahili word 'kilima', which means 'top of the hill'. The second portion 'njaro' presumably refers to the snow in some way. We did discover that a similar word 'ngare' means water in the Meru language.

There is also a claim that the word "kilemakyaro" exists in the Chagga language, Meaning "impossible journey", but this is thought to have derived as a consequence rather than as a precidence.

Of course everyone knows that in truth the mountain was named after the legendary Tanzanian beer.

Extract ID: 4804

See also

Fosbrooke, Henry Ngorongoro: The Eighth Wonder
Page Number: 020


Oldoiny'oibor - the White Mountain

Extract ID: 390

See also

Hutchinson, J. A. The Meaning of Kilimanjaro
Page Number: 065

The Meaning of Kilimanjaro

From the time of the earliest explorers, visitors have been intrigued by the name Kilimanjaro. The visitor who enquires today will probably receive from most Wachagga the same answer which was given to the early explorers:- It is not a Chagga name. The Wachagga themselves have no name for the whole mountain. They have, however, names for the two peaks, commonly known as Kibo and Mawenzi. These are more properly written, in Kichagga, Kipoo and Kimawenze and the meanings can be explained. Kipoo means "spotted" ; a reference to the black rock which stands out here and there against the snowfield ; Kimawenze means "having a broken top, notched"; describing the jagged appearance of this peak. The very well-known Chagga story of how Mawenzi acquired this appearance is retold in the extracts from Bruno Gutmann's work, translated elsewhere in this journal.

In spite of Chagga insistence that the name Kilimanjaro is a foreign importation, even they accept that this is now the name by which the mountain is internationally known. They listen with, I think, some private amusement, to the innumerable theories advanced to explain the name, and will discuss the merits and demerits of these theories. At the same time, the older generation at least, regard any attempts to derive the name from Kichagga roots as decidedly suspect and as inventions made long after the event by enthusiastic youngsters.

This is not therefore an attempt to find the long-sought answer and to offer a definitive or authoritative explanation. It may however, be of interest to summarise some of the theories so far advanced.

All the early attempts at explanation are based on breaking down Kilimanjaro into two elements : kilima and njaro, on the assumption that kilima at least is the Swahili for `mountain'. The Wachagga themselves find this difficult and confusing, since in Swahili `mountain' is properly mlima, and kilima is a diminutive Meaning `hill.' It is possible to assume that the diminutive is used to indicate affection, though it is difficult to understand why a stranger should wish to express such affection.

It is also possible to postulate that an early European visitor, whose knowledge of Swahili was not extensive, changed mlima to kilima by analogy with the two Chagga names; Kibo and Kimawenzi.

The first attempt at explanation comes from the missionary Krapf, who saw the mountain from a distance but left his co-worker, Rebmann, to visit Chaggaland. In his Missionary Labours (1860), Krapf writes (p.255), "The Swahili of the coast call the snow-mountain Kilimanjaro, "mountain of greatness." It may also mean "mountain of caravans" (kilima - mountain; jaro caravans), a landmark for caravans seen everywhere from afar, but the inhabitants of Jagga call it Kibo, `snow." He makes no attempt to explain in what way Kilimanjaro can be interpreted `mountain of greatness' in Swahili, nor how he combines, kilima, Swahili, `hill', with jaro, Kichagga `caravan'. Moreover, as has already been stated, Kibo in Kichagga does not mean `snow', which is kora. On p. 544, he says that Kivoi, a chief of the Kamba tribe, whom he visited in 1850. . . ." had been to Jagga and had seen the Kima jaJeu, mountain of whiteness, the name given by the Wakamba to Kilimanjaro in contra-distinction to the Kegnia (Kenya)." More correctly in the Kamba dialect, this would be kiima kyeu, and this possible derivation has been popular with several investigators.

Joseph Thompson, in his Through Masailand (1885) writes, (p.207), "The term Kilimanjaro has generally been understood to mean the mountain (kilima) of greatness (njaro). This is probably as good a derivation as any other, though not improbably it may mean the white mountain, as I believe the term njaro has in former times been used to denote whiteness, and though this application of the word is now obsolete on the coast, it is still heard among some of the interior tribes." Unfortunately,Thompson does not substantiate this claim, or make any attempt to explain the use of kilima for mlima.

A. G. Fischer, in his "Report of a Journey in the Masai Country" in the Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society, Vol. VI. 1884, will have none of this.

He writes (pp.70-83), "The word (Kilimanjaro) does not mean either `mountain' or "greatness", but signifies Njaro Mountain, by which among the inhabitants of the coast, an evil spirit is meant." Sir Harry Johnston, in his Kilimanjaro Expedition, 1886, (p.ln.l.) likewise explains the name as being from kilima, `mountain', and njaro, the name of a demon, supposed to cause cold: This name, he says, is known only to the people of the coast and is unrecognised in the interior.

Hans Meyer, the first known European to reach the summit of the mountain, also subscribes to the idea of a spirit or demon. In his Across East African Glaciers, 1891, (p.152), he says, "We awoke in capital trim for our climb to the summit, and this time, Njaro, the spirit of the mountain, was propitious. . . . we succeeded in reaching our goal." Again on p.154, " Njaro, the guardian spirit of the mountain, seemed to take his conquest with a good grace, for neither snow nor tempest marred our triumphal invasion of his sanctuary."

In Chagga folklore, there is ample evidence of their belief in spirits which dwell in or on the mountain, but, for the Wachagga, these were usually kindly and well-intentioned. There is, admittedly, also mention of a guardian spirit who would destroy anybody who presumed to climb beyond a certain limit. But there is no evidence of a spirit called Njaro, either by the Wachagga themselves, or by the coastal tribes. Wachagga to whom I have spoken, are willing to presuppose the existence of a man, possibly a chief, called Njaro, but there is no record of such a person, and

once again, the compound with the difficult Swahili kilima, would be unexplained. (The Kichagga for `mountain' is fumvu).

An explanation which has been widely accepted is based on the introduction of the Masai word njaro, Meaning `springs', or possibly `water'. Monseigneur A.Le Roy, in his book Au Kilimanjaro, (1893) after discussing other theories, relates the following story : "At Taveta, walking one day with some native children, we were asked by one of them if we intended to stay long on Kilima-ngaro. . . . "What did did you say : kilima-ngaro ?" "Yes". "But what is ngaro ?" "Ngaro, ngare, in the language of the Masai and even in our own, means `water'. And we call the big mountain over there, `The Mountain of Water', because it is there that all the rivers here and round about rise." We concluded that we had found the true meaning

At Taveta, situated more or less at the foot of the famous mountain the traders from the coast will have heard kilima-ngaro, and rebated with a slight modification . .

but still leaves the kilima element unexplained, and perpetuates the somewhat unlikely compound, part Swahili, part Masai.

the idea that the name is of non-Chagga origin and was, therefore, very probably, invented by porters from the coast. But it leaves unexplained how Kilimanjaro means `a little white hill" even in Swahili, although the diminutive aspect is here satisfactorily explained. Unfortunately I have been unable to ascertain from Mr. Nelson the date of the chart on which he claims to have seen the name used. If this chart, in fact, ante-dates any mention of the name Kilimanjaro as the name of the mountain, then the investigation of its Meaning among the coastal peoples might be fruitful. In this context, it has been pointed out to me (by a Mchagga !) that there is also a mountain in the Uluguru range called-Kilimanjaro ! Which Kilimanjaro came first?

Dr. Reusch, in an article in T.N.R. (No. 2,pp.77-79), accepts the derivation, Swahili, kilima njaro, `the shining mountain', though without explaining the njaro element. Mr. H. A. Fosbrooke, whose considerable help in the preparation of this paper is gratefully acknowledged, concludes, after examining all the theories, that the name is of Kamba origin. He says that in the Kamba language the word ki-ima, is used for both `hill' and `mountain'. thus overcoming the difficulty of the diminutive.

From Johnston's Comparative Study of the Bantu and Semi-Bantu Languages (1919), he takes the Kamba root for white to be -au or -eu, related to Taveta -ewa, Sambaa -zelu, Zaramu, -zeru. He therefore concludes that Thompson was right when he said that in former times the term njaro had been used to denote whiteness, but not all linguists agree that this is a logical conclusion. This brings us back to the kima ja jeu of Krapf's Kamba informant.

A completely new line of approach can be obtained if one abandons all these attempts to start from kilima, Swahili, `little hill', or somehow, `mountain', which inevitably produce the difficulty of explaining njaro. The Kamba theory apart, the great demerit of all the other theories is that they explain njaro from languages other than Swahili, thus producing a rather unlikely hybrid. The term kilema in Kichagga, means `which defeats'; kilelema `which has become difficult or impossible', i.e. which has defeated. Njaro can then be derived from njaare, a bird, or, according to other informants, a leopard, or, possibly from jyaro a caravan.

According to one Chagga informant, the old men tell the story that long ago the Wachagga, having seen the snowy dome, decided to go up to investigate; naturally, they did not get very far. Hence the name: kilemanjaare, or kilemanyaro, or possibly kilelemanjaare etc.- `which defeats,' or which is impossible for, the bird, the leopard, or the caravan.' This is attractive as being entirely made up of Chagga elements based on an imaginable situation, but the fact remains that the name Kilimanjaro is not, and apparently never has been, current among the Wachagga as the name of the mountain. Is this then only, as other Wachagga suggest, a latter-day attempt to find a Chagga explanation when pressed to do so by a foreign enquirer? Is it perhaps arguable that the early porters from the coast hearing the Wachagga say kilemanjaare or kilemajyaro, Meaning simply that it was impossible to climb the mountain, imagined this to be the name of the mountain, and associated it with their own kilima ? Did they then report to the European leaders of the expedition that the name of the mountain was , their version of the Kichagga, which, further assimilated by the European hearer, finally became standardised as Kilimanjaro?

Extract ID: 4542

See also

Hemingway, Ernest The Snows of Kilimanjaro
Page Number: 1

Kilimanjaro is a snow-covered mountain

Kilimanjaro is a snow-covered mountain 19,710 feet high, and is said to be the highest mountain in Africa. Its western summit is called the Masai 'Ngaje Ngai', the House of God. Close to the western summit there is a dried and frozen carcas of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude.

Extract ID: 1445

See also

Amin, Mohamed; Willetts, Duncan and Marshall, Peter Journey Through Tanzania
Page Number: 171


Kilimanjaro - Kilemieiroya (Wa-Chagga) meaning 'the mountain cannot be conquered'

Extract ID: 388

See also

nTZ Feedback
Extract Author: Graham Mercer
Page Number: 2007 09 20 a

Could Kilimanjaro itself be an abbreviation of Kilima Manjaro

Got one or two queries for you.

Have always been intrigued by the name "Kilimanjaro" and recently saw a village called "Manjaro" on the map, close to Singida.

If the village, which is close to a prominent hill, it seems, was named "Manjaro" before the mountain was called "Kilimanjaro" it might prove interesting, once we find out what "Manjaro" means or how it was derived.

Could Kilimanjaro itself be an abbreviation of Kilima Manjaro"? Or was the village I refer to named after the mountain (which is very far away fo course) and abbreviated?

Would appreciate any suggestions etc. from you or your readers - meanwhile hope all is well!

Extract ID: 5470

See also

Stedman, Henry Kilimanjaro - A Trekking Guide to Africa's Highest Mountain; Includes City Guides to Arusha, Moshi, Marangu, Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam
Page Number: intro 01

preamble to The Snows of Kilimanjaro

"Kilimanjaro is a snow covered mountain 19,710 feet high, and is said to be the highest mountain in Africa. Its western summit is called the Masai �Ng�je Ng�i�, the House of God. Close to the western summit there is the dried and frozen carcass of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude."

Ernest Hemingway in the preamble to The Snows of Kilimanjaro

Extract ID: 4623