Liz O’ Callaghan has returned from her successful expedition to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, Africa.
Mount Kilimanjaro, with its three volcanic cones, “Kibo”, “Mawenzi”, and “Shira”, is a dormant volcano in Tanzania. It is the highest mountain in Africa at 5,895 metres (19,340 feet) above sea level.
What a magnificent achievement – well done Liz.
Members will have an opportunity to get a flavour of Liz’s experience very soon. More details to follow.
The mountain may have been known to non-Africans since antiquity. Sailors’ reports recorded by Ptolemy mention a “Moon Mountain” and a spring lake of the Nile, which may indicate Kilimanjaro; although available historical information does not allow differentiation among Mount Kenya, the mountains of Ethiopia, the Virunga Mountains, Kilimanjaro, and the Rwenzori Mountains.
Before Ptolemy, Aeschylus and Herodotus referred to “Egypt nurtured by the snows” and a spring between two mountains, respectively. One of these mentions two tall mountains in the coastal regions with a valley with traces of fire in between. Martín Fernández de Enciso, a Spanish traveller to Mombasa who obtained information about the interior from native caravans, said in his Summa de Geografía (1519) that west of Mombasa “stands the Ethiopian Mount Olympus, which is exceedingly high, and beyond it are the Mountains of the Moon, in which are the sources of the Nile”.
The German missionaries Johannes Rebmann of Mombasa and Krapf were the first Europeans to try to reach the snowy mountain. According to English geographer Halford Mackinder and English explorer Harry Johnston, Rebmann in 1848 was the first European to report the existence of Kilimanjaro.
Hans Meyer has claimed that Rebmann first arrived in Africa in 1846 and has quoted Rebmann’s diary entry of 11 May 1848 as saying, “This morning, at 10 o’clock, we obtained a clearer view of the mountains of Jagga, the summit of one of which was covered by what looked like a beautiful white cloud. When I inquired as to the dazzling whiteness, the guide merely called it ‘cold’ and at once I knew it could be neither more nor less than snow…. Immediately I understood how to interpret the marvelous tales Dr. Krapf and I had heard at the coast, of a vast mountain of gold and silver in the far interior, the approach to which was guarded by evil spirits. In light of these sources, J. Shearson Hyland’s assertion that Rebmann first saw the mountain in 1840 appears to be erroneous.