Mount Kilimanjaro is situated inside the Kilimanjaro National Park in northern Tanzania, close to the border of Kenya, where it begins to rise from the flatland at roughly 2000 meters until it reaches its highest peak at 5 895 meters. Agriculture forms a big part of life in the region and most of the lower slopes are used for this purpose. One of Tanzania’s biggest exports – their coffee – is harvested here.

The Kilimanjaro National Park was officially opened in 1977 and includes only the land above 2700 m (8.860 ft). Below the park is an area designated as a forest and game reserve, established in 1921.

The name itself is a mystery wreathed in clouds. It might mean Mountain of Light, Mountain of Greatness or Mountain of Caravans. Or it might not. The local people, the Wachagga, don’t even have a name for the whole massif, only Kipoo (now known as Kibo) for the familiar snowy peak that stands imperious, overseer of the continent, the summit of Africa. Kilimanjaro is very competently managed by KINAPA, (Kilimanjaro National Park Authority), whose headquarters is at the Marangu Gate, from where all climbs on the Marangu Route begin and end, and where Rongai Route and TK Rongai climbs are registered and end. KINAPA reports directly to Tanzania National Parks Authority, or TANAPA, whose offices are in Arusha, and mainly comprises administrators and conservationists.

kilimanjaro is one of the world’s most accessible high summits, a beacon for visitors from around the world. Most climbers reach the crater rim with little more than a walking stick, proper clothing and determination. And those who reach Uhuru Point, the actual summit, or Gillman’s Point on the lip of the crater, will have earned their climbing certificates and their memories.