The Location of Mount Kilimanjaro
The exact Location of Mount Kilimanjaro is approximately 3 degrees south of the equator on the borders of Tanzania and Kenya. In his song about Africa, songwriter Toto speaks of Kilimanjaro 'rising like Olympus above the Serengeti.' Looming over 5000 metres above the predominantly flat plains below it, Mount Kilimanjaro is indeed a force to be reckoned with.
Situated in the Northern region of the East African country of Tanzania, Kilimanjaro or Oldoinyo Oibor as it is called in Masai can be seen as far away as the Amboseli and Tsavo parks in the neighbouring town of Kenya. The exact co ordinates of the mountain are 3, 04 degrees south and 37, 21 degrees east. In its entirety, Mount Kilimanjaro is approximately 49 miles long and 24 miles wide. Whilst appearing relatively flat from afar, Kili actually consists of three very distinct volcanic craters: Mawenzi, Shira and Kibo.
At 3962 meters, Shira is the oldest and smallest of the three peaks. It was also the first of the three volcanic centres to become extinct. In comparison, although no longer active Kibo is nevertheless merely dormant as opposed to extinct. As the uppermost crater, it is over 5800 metres high and 1.5 miles wide. Its peak, also known as Uhuru Peak is officially the highest point in Africa and the ultimate destination of all summiteers on the mountain. In native Masai the peak is called Ngàje Ngài, which translates in English to 'House of God.' Indeed, those who have managed to scale the 19 340 feet will be quick to tell you, standing abreast Uhuru truly is equivalent to standing on heavens doorstep.
Mawezi lies seven miles east of Kibo, and at 16 893 feet is slightly lower than Kibo. Climbers should however not be fooled into believing that the lower elevation makes the peak any easier to climb. If anything, the sheer face and jagged outcrops of Mawezi present even more of a challenge than its western companion and should only be attempted by individuals with extensive rock and ice climbing skills.
Mount Kilimanjaro is seen by the Tanzanian people as a symbol of both strength and liberty. The Uhuru Torch, symbolizing freedom and light, was first lit at the summit of Kili in 1961, and from its position abreast the mountain was symbolically seen to shine beyond the borders of Tanzania, giving hope where there was despair, love where there was hate, and dignity where before there was only humiliation. Subsequently, to this day the image of Kilima Njaro- the Shining Mountain- appears on the national Emblem of Tanzania.