Mount Kilimanjaro National Park is 128 kilometers from Arusha town, which covers an area of 755 square kilometers (about 470 square miles). Rising in absolute isolation, at 5,895 meters (19,339 feet), Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain and one of the most accessible high summits making it a beacon for visitors from all around the world. Most climbers reach the crater rim with little more then a walking stick, proper clothing, and determination. Kilimanjaro can be climbed at any time of the year but the best time to ascend is from August to October and January to March.
Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest, as well as the youngest, of the three volcanic peaks of east Africa, Mount Kenya and Mount Elgon being the other two. The oldest lava may be only 1 Million years old, and small-scale activities on the Kibo peak have probably taken place within the last couple of hundred years. Kilimanjaro is a “central vent” type of Volcano, which gives it an oval shape in plain view.
The dimension of its base are about 80 x 48 kilometers, elongated in the east-south-east direction. The older rock of its three main peaks are broadly similar, being mainly trach basalts, dark grey rocks containing lighter colored feldspar crystals. The younger rock of Kibo is, however, of a different composition, and includes nephelirites and nepheline – synites which contain glassy crystals of nepheline.
Mawenzi to the east rises 5,149 meters and has a steep craggy profile, due in part to intensive action of glacial ice. Kibo, the central peak is the youngest and best preserved of the three. Its crater area has a complex structure consisting of a number of more or less concentric features. There is an outer caldera not larger than 2.5 kilometers in diameter, resulting from an eruption followed by the collapse inwards of part of the summit.
The highest point, Uhuru peak is on the southern rim of the Kibo caldera. Within the caldera is an inner cone some 820 meters cross, which also contains another cone and crater called the Reusch Crater, some 340 meters in diameter.