Kilimanjaro is Africa’s most celebrated mountain, the name Kilimanjaro has aroused feelings of passion, wonderment and awe. “Its name is synonymous with Africa itself, and few mountains anywhere on earth have been so enshrouded in romance and mystery. Even the names of the towns which grace the base of the peak have a dream-like quality to them , Rongai, Machame, Moshi and Marangu. Slave traders in another century were guided by it. Great writers with no interest in mountains have written about it. Songs have been sung about it. Empires fought for it. And all the time the stories and myths of Kilimanjaro have grown – some true and some false. Yes, the partially preserved skeleton of a leopard does exist on the icy crater rim at 5,670 m (18,600 ft). No, Queen Victoria did not give the mountain to the Kaiser as a birthday present. But however one looks at it, Kilimanjaro does possess an atmosphere, a personality of the type of which legends are easily born.”
Towering to a height of 5,895 metres (19,340 feet), and resting on a base 80 by 50 kilometres, Kilimanjaro dwarfs any other peak on the African continent. (The next highest summit is Mount Kenya at 5,199 metres – 17,058 feet.) On a clear day Kilimanjaro can be seen from a distance of 160 kilometres, soaring 4,900 metres (16,000 feet) like an island into the sky. It is often described as the highest free-standing mountain in the world in that it is not part of a mountain range, but rises in splendid isolation above African plains.