Peak Uhuru is the highest summit on Kibo’s crater rim. The Tanzania National Parks Authority, a Tanzanian agency, and therefore the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization list the peak of Uhuru Peak as 5,900 m (19,357 ft), supported a British survey in 1952.
Peak Uhuru has since been measured as 5,892 metres (19,331 ft) in 1999, 5,902 metres (19,364 ft) in 2008, and 5,899 metres (19,354 ft) in 2014.
The origin of the name Kilimanjaro isn’t known, but a variety of theories exist. European explorers had adopted the name by 1860 and reported that Kilimanjaro was the mountain’s Kiswahili name. The 1907 edition of The Nuttall Encyclopædia also records the name of the mountain as Kilima-Njaro.
Johann Ludwig Krapf wrote in 1860 that Swahilis along the coast called the mountain Kilimanjaro. Although he didn’t offer any support, he claimed that Kilimanjaro meant either mountain of greatness or mountain of caravans. Under the latter meaning, kilima meant mountain and Jaro meant caravans.
Jim Thompson claimed in 1885, again without support, that the term Kilima-Njaro “has generally been understood to mean” the mountain (kilima) of greatness (njaro). He also suggested “though not improbably it’s going to mean” the white mountain.
Njaro is an ancient Kiswahili word for shining. Similarly, Krapf wrote that a chief of the Wakamba people, whom he visited in 1849, “had been to Jagga and had seen the Kima jajeu, mountain of whiteness, the name given by the Wakamba to Kilimanjaro….” More correctly within the Kikamba language, this is able to be kiima kyeu, and this possible derivation has been fashionable several investigators.
The climate of Kilimanjaro is influenced by the peak of the mountain, which allows the simultaneous influence of the equatorial trade winds and therefore the high altitude anti-trades; and by the isolated position of the mountain. Kilimanjaro has daily upslope and nightly downslope winds, a regimen stronger on the southern than the northern side of the mountain. The flatter southern flanks are more extended and affect the atmosphere more strongly.:3–4
Kilimanjaro has two distinct rainy seasons, one from March to May and another around November. The northern slopes receive much less rainfall than the southern ones. The lower southern slope receives 800 to 900 millimetres (31 to 35 in) annually, rising to 1,500 to 2,000 millimetres (59 to 79 in) at 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) altitude and a peaking “partly over” 3,000 millimetres (120 in) within the forest belt at 2,000 to 2,300 metres (6,600 to 7,500 ft). within the alpine zone, annual precipitation decreases to 200 millimetres (7.9 in).:18
The average temperature within the summit area is approximately −7 °C (19 °F). Nighttime surface temperatures on the Northern ice mass (NIF) fall on the average to −9 °C (16 °F) with a mean daytime high of −4 °C (25 °F). During nights of utmost radiational cooling, the NIF can cool to as low as −15 to −27 °C (5 to −17 °F).:674
Snowfall can occur at any time of year but is usually related to northern Tanzania’s two rainy seasons.:673 Precipitation within the summit area occurs principally as snow and graupel of 250 to 500 millimetres (9.8 to 19.7 in) per annum and ablates within days or years.
Bushland / Lower Slope:, 800 m – 1,800 m (2,600 ft – 5,900 ft);
Rainforest Zone: 1,800 m – 2,800 m (5,900 ft – 9,200 ft);
Heather / Moorland: 2,800 m – 4,000 m (9,200 ft – 13,100 ft);
Alpine Desert Zone: 4,000 m – 5,000 m (13,100 ft– 16,400 ft);
Arctic Zone: 5,000 m – 5,895 m (16,400 ft – 19,300 ft).