Lava Tower


Altitude: 4630 m.a.m.s.l.

The Lava tower of mount Kilimanjaro is a volcanic rock tower that was formed by the volcanic activity that happened on the mountain many years ago. It is around 90m tall from the base and also is what is known as a volcanic plug, i.e. at some point in the distant past, lava shot out of a vent at the base of where the tower now stands, cooled, and hardened, thus stopping the venting of lava from beneath.

In the previous years, the tower used to be a point of interest for rock climbers, both novices and experts who would scale it to enjoy what is a 360 degree view of the surroundings and the peaks; However, this practice has since been banned for safety reasons. At the base of this tower is the Lava tower camp, which was formed as a resting point for these climbers, but even after the ban, the camp is still used as a general resting point for people on the Shira, Lemosho, Northern circuit and Machame routes, while on their way to the summit.

Location of Lava Tower

The lava tower is located on the western slopes of Kibo (one of the three peaks of Kilimanjaro), well inside the national park and along the route that is used by the Shira, Machame, Lemosho and Northern circuit routes. It is about a five hour hike from the Shira 2 and Shira cave campsites (or less depending on fitness), three hours to Barranco campsite and about a one hour hike to the Arrow glacier campsite.

The vegetation around the area is characteristic of that found in the Alpine desert region of the mountain, i.e. little to no plants, no rainfall and almost no animals in sight; However, the area does receive the occasional snowfall. More common than the snow is the formation of ice crystals on the tower and surrounding areas, as a result of moisture condensation during the nights.

Abbreviationsm.a.m.s.l - metres above metric sea level
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