There are no Tanzania ski resorts, nor any rudimentary ski lifts even, but it is technically possible to ski here on one of Africa’s highest mountains with glaciers and snow at the top and people have managed to do so since at least 1990 and possibly longer ago. The problem for people who wasn’t to ski or board there today however is disappearing snowpack and the disapproval of the national park authorities who control the mountain.
At 5895m (19,340 feet) high Mount Kilimanjaro is a spectacular sight rising from the African plains on the border of Tanzania and Kenya. It is the highest freestanding mountain in the world as well as Africa’s highest peak. The mountain is in fact made up of three separate volcanoes Shira, Kibo and Mawenzi which are altogether 50 miles (80 km) long and 25 miles (40 km) wide. Kilimanjaro’s glaciers flow down from either side of Kibo’s two mile (3 km) wide crater which, on the interior, dips about half a mile (800m).
The glaciers on Kibo have been rapidly diminishing over the past century, popularly believed to be due to global warming although one scholarly study reputed this saying solar activity was the reason in this particular case, not manmade climate change. Those that used to exist on Mawenzi are now gone.
There are currently 2.2 square kilometres of glacial ice but that number has declined by a third in the past twenty years on the previous volume and the glacial ice itself has diminished by 82% over the last century. Climatologists believe the snow and ice may be gone completely by 2030 causing water and hydroelectric power issues for the local population.
The glaciers now extend down to about 5000m and skiers report verticals of up to 600m are possible for those who are up to the comparatively easy but long ascent and the altitude and are fully knowledgeable about the dangers of glacier skiing and aware that most routes end with an ice cliff.
Skiing and boarding on the mountain are banned by the Kilimanjaro National Park authority. However that has not stopped several skiers making descents, including Slovenian Davorin 'Davo' Karničar in November 2001, a year after he had become the first man to ski the full skiable vertical of Everest in 2000 and on his way to becoming the first man to ski the highest peaks of all seven continents, a task he completed in 2006 in Alaska. read more...
Tanzania: latest snow conditions round-up
Summary of forecast snowfall and ski conditions for resorts in Tanzania. Fresh snow is forecast at 1resorts. Powder is reported at 0 resorts and 0 are reporting good piste conditions.