An almost perfectly shaped volcano which rises sheer from the plains, Mt. Kilimanjaro is one of the African continent’s most magnificent sights. Snowcapped and not yet extinct, at 5895 metres it is the highest peak in Africa.
From cultivated farmlands on the lower levels, it rises through lush rainforest onto the alpine meadow and finally across a barren lunar landscape to the summit. The rainforest is home to animals like monkey also contain an incredible vegetations
Geologically, Kilimanjaro is a relative newcomer to the Rift Valley and did not even exist between one and two million years ago. At that time, where Kilimanjaro now stands there was just an undulating plain with a few old eroded mountains. But that all changed with movements of the earth’s crust associated with the rift. Lava poured out from the fractures that were created and eventually gave rise to an enormous ridge, which is now represented by the nearby peaks of Ol Molog, Kibongoto and Kilema.
Kilimanjaro began to grow about 750,000 years ago as a result of lava spewing out of three main centres – Shira, Kibo and Mawenzi, It kept growing until their cones reached a height of about 5000 metres about half a million years ago. About this time, Shira collapsed into a Caldera and became inactive, but Kibo and Mawenzi continued to erupt until their peaks reached about 5500 metres. Mawenzi was the next to die, but Kibo continued to be active until about 360,000 years ago, during which time there were some particularly violent eruptions, including one which filled the old eroded caldera of Shira with black lava.