Tanzania is the home to many fantastic mountain ranges and peaks, the most famous being Mt Kilimanjaro. Each mountain has its own unique beauty and character, from the highest summit in Africa, Kilimanjaro, to the still active volcano of Ol Donyo Lengai.
Tanzania is becoming a popular place for mountain climbing for all levels of experience. There are many trails and peaks available to climbers from novice to expert.
The word Kilimanjaro is derived from the words “Kilima” and the word “Njaro”. Kilima is a Swahili word meaning “Little Mountain” (which is ironic as it is not little at all). There are different theories regarding the origin of the word Njaro. Some say it is a Swahili word meaning “shining” and some say it is a Chagga (native tribe in the Kilimanjaro region) word meaning “caravan.”
Kilimanjaro is composed of three distinct volcanic cones: Kibo 5,895 m; Mawenzi 5,149 m; and Shira 3,962 m . Uhuru Peak is the highest summit on Kibo’s crater rim.
Ol Doinyo Lengai
Ol Doinyo Lengai is the region’s only active volcano. It is also the world’s only active carbonate volcano. Near Lake Natron and just east of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the mountain dominates the landscape and has had minor eruptions on an average of every twenty years for the last century. The name Ol Doinyo Lengai, is Maasai for “Mountain of God”.
We can arrange evening climbs starting at midnight for people staying at Lake Natron. The climb takes about five hours and climbers should reach the summit in time for a spectacular sunrise. The climb is challenging as there are some steep areas. Climbers need to be in good physical condition.
The Usambaras are a part of the ancient Eastern Arc that stretches in a broken crescent from the Taita hills in southern Kenya down to Morogoro and the southern highlands. They are estimated to be at least 100 million years old and the rocks forming them may be as much as 600 million years old. The mountains are home to an exceptional assortment of plants and animals and represent one of the highest degrees of biodiversity on the continent.
Nobody knows which people first settled in the Usambaras, only that the ancestors of the present Sambaa people came hundreds of years ago. In the mid 18th century a Sambaa kingdom existed which had about 60,000 people. Besides the historical sites, the Usambaras have a lot of interesting places and activities. These mountains are an exquisite place for hiking, bird watching, mountain biking or relaxing.