Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa...

In June 2012 I attempted and summitted Mt. Kilimanjaro.  The primary objective was to raise awareness and funding for Four Elements, rhino conservation and shark conservation. Click here to see my Four Elements Conservation presentation.

As a first step, I looked for two credible organisations to support:

  1. an organisation that supports rhino conservation, and
  2. an organisation that supports shark conservation.

My second step was to identify some fun activities and things to do on Kilimanjaro to highlight the plight of these two animals.  I decided on taking some banners of cool conservation organisations up to the summit with me.  They were: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, The Bearded Vulture Project, The Global White Lion Protection Trust and of course, Four Elements. 

About Kilimanjaro

Kili is situated in Tanzania

It is the highest freestanding mountain on earth

Kili is the tallest mountain in Africa 

It has an altitude of 5,895 metres.  

 

The dangers of climbing

ACUTE MOUNTAIN SICKNESS (AMS)

AMS is the body's failure to adapt to higher altitudes. Fluid accumulates between the cells of the body and eventually collects where it can do the most harm: in the lungs and the brain. If the case becomes severe, the person afflicted ultimately drowns in the fluid unless he or she can descend. Loss of altitude and the associated increase in the oxygen content of the air is the only solution. Altitude sickness presents itself in many forms and degrees. It can show its effects at altitudes as low as 2,500 meters but is more common above 3,000 meters. symptoms of altitude sickness:

  • • Headaches • Mild shortness of breath
  • • Nausea • Breathing irregularity (during sleep)
  • • Loss of appetite • Dizziness or light headedness
  • • Mild weakness • Slight swelling of hands and face 

 The Flora and Fauna

Excitingly, it is said that a six day climb of Kilimanjaro will take you through all the geographical zones on earth. It begins with the lush rain forest of the lower slopes and will take you through ever decreasing amounts of vegetation finally ending up on a barren and windswept ice cap.  There are five major zones of fauna and flora, which are associated with specific altitude levels, and all have distinct characteristics.  For these reasons the plant and animal life is most prolific on the lower slopes and decreases with an increase in altitude.

 Birds:

  • Common Bulbul
  • Speckled Mousebird
  • Bronze Sunbird
  • Tropical Boubou
  • Alpine Chat,
  • Streaky Seed Eater
  • Augur Buzzard
  • Mountain Buzzard
  • Crowned Eagle
  • Lammergeyer
  • White-Necked

Mammals:

  • Squirrels
  • Porcupine
  • Greater galago
  • Tree hyrax
  • Common Duiker
  • Abbot’s Duiker
  • Red Duiker
  • Suni
  • Bushbuck
  • Klipspringer
  • Kilimanjaro bush pigs
  • Elephant
  • Buffalo
  • Eland
  • Giraffe
  • Leopard
  • Lion
  • Cheetah
  • African hunting dogs
  • Buffalo
  • Elephants
  • Four-Striped Grass Mouse
  • Harsh-Furred Mouse
  • Climbing Mouse
  • Mole Rat
  • Civets
  • Serval cat
  • Blue Monkey
  • Black and White Colobus monkeys
  • Olive baboons

Animals are very rare in the summit zone. There are two records of almost legendary species at this high altitude. In 1926 a leopard was found frozen in the snow.  In 1962 three climbers were accompanied to the summit by five African hunting dogs which disappeared as they began their descent.