When climbing the majestic massif of Mount Kilimanjaro, the summit is all that matters to people. But conquering Kilimanjaro is more than just being able to cross it off your bucket list, more than being the first or even final step in conquering mountains.
First and foremost, climbing Kilimanjaro is a journey, with a start, a finish, and an entire world in between. Here are some awesome things to look out for as you make your way to Uhuru peak!
About 15,000 feet up Kilimanjaro is a geological wonder: the Lava Tower. It was formed from lava, thousands of years ago when Kilimanjaro was still an active volcano. The 300 foot tall rock allegedly provides stunning views of Uhuru peak to hikers brave enough to scale it, though park authorities have since banned climbing Lava Tower due to safety concerns.
The Zebra Rock is a unique set of rocks with a vertical stripe pattern similar to that of a zebra’s. The stripes were formed long ago when mineral rich rainwater flowed down the lava rock to create the black and white effect. Climbers on the Marangu route are often encouraged to stop here for an extra day, to allow for acclimatization.
Characterized by their unique club shape crowned with spiky leaves, these stunning trees are endemic to the mountain and plains of Kilimanjaro. They can only be found on the area in and around Mount Kilimanjaro due to the fact that their seeds can only blow as far as a few meters away from the parent tree!
Accessible through 3 of the 6 routes up Kilimanjaro, the Shira plateau is an untamed, beautiful land full of diverse wildlife. Many of the flora and fauna unique to Kilimanjaro will be on full display as you tread through the plateau! The Shira plateau is also a popular destination for day hikes for trekkers who don’t want to commit to conquering the entire mountain.
Reknowned the the world over for its breathtaking ice cap, the glaciers on Kilimanjaro have since lost over 82% of its ice caps. This ice has been dated at 11,500 years. It’s really old ice! Currently, there are 3 sites on the peak where you can still see and experience this prehistoric ice: the Northern Ice Field, the Furtwängler Glacier, and the Rebmann Glacier.