Kilimanjaro, the ascent of
Africa's tallest mountain:
one week above the clouds
Located in Tanzania, on the border with Kenya, in the eastern branch of the Rift Valley of East Africa, Kilimanjaro is the largest isolated volcanic massif in the world. Lying on the equator and visible for miles, it dominates the nearby plains overlooking the savannah.
With an endangered ice cap, its snow-capped peak – « as wide as all the world, great, high, and unbelievably white in the sun » (Ernest Hemingway, The Snows of Kilimanjaro) – is at the center of Kilimanjaro National Park. Covering an area of approximately 75,575 hectares, this protected area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The slopes of Kilimanjaro have a wide variety of vegetation zones that one passes through before the ascent during the days of approach to the summit, which allows one to acclimatize to the altitude gradually: low plains, mountain forest, high altitude moorland, alpine desert and ice cap at the summit.
Kilimanjaro has a large variety of forest types over an altitudinal range of 3000 m containing over 1200 vascular plant species. Although there are relatively few endemic species – with the notable exception of the the ragwort or plant of the Senecio genus – the biodiversity is exceptional.