Mount Kilimanjaro National Park is 128km from Arusha town, which
covers an area of 755sq km (about 470sq miles), and Kilimanjaro is
the crown of Tanzania. Rising in absolute isolation, at 5895 meters
(19,339 feet), Kilimanjaro is Africa's highest mountain and one of
the accessible high summits, a beacon for visitors from all around
the world. Most climbers reach the crater rim with little more then
a walking stick, proper clothing and determinations. Kilimanjaro can
be climbed at any time of the year but the best is considered to be
from August-October and January to March. It is wet in the
rainforest during the rains in April, May, June and November.
December through to February is the warmest months
At 5895, Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest, as well as the youngest,
of the three volcanic peaks of East Africa, Mount Kenya 5,199 m and
Elgon 4,321m being the other two. Their oldest lava may be only some
1 Million years old, and small-scale activities on the Kibo peak has
probably taken place within the last couple of hundred years.
Kilimanjaro is a “Central Vent” type of Volcano, which gives it an
oval shape in plain view.
The dimension of its base are about 80 x 48 km, elongated in the
East – South – East direction. The older rock of its three main
peaks are broadly similar, being mainly trach basalts, dark grey
rocks containing lighter coloured feldspar crystals. The younger
rock of Kibo is, however, of a different composition, and includes
nephelirites and nepheline – synites which contain glassy crystals
Of the three peaks, Shira to the west at 4006m is the lowest as well
as the oldest of them. Its original crater has undergone
considerable erosion, leaving only part of the former rim.
Mawenzi to the east rises 5149m and has a steep craggy profile, due
in part to intensive action of glacial ice. Kibo, the central peak
is the youngest and best preserved of the three. Its crater area has
a complex structure consisting of a number of more or less
concentric features. There is an outer caldera not larger than 2.5km
in diameter, resulting from an eruption followed by the collapse
inwards of part of the summit.
The highest point, Uhuru peak is on the southern rim of Kibo
Caldera. Within the caldera is an inner cone some 820m cross, which
also contains another cone and crater called the Reusch Crater, some
340m in diameter.
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