Lava tower

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

A volcanic rock tower on mount Kilimanjaro that was formed by the volcanic activity that happened on the mountain many years ago.

It is about 90m tall from the base and also is what is known as a volcanic plug.

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

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.

What to do thereCamping, hiking, picnics, rock climbing, trekking.

Best time to visitAny time not in the colder season of March to June every year

Location of Lava towerThe lava tower is located on the western slopes of Kibo, well inside mount Kilimanjaro national park and along the path 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, three hours to Barranco campsite and about a one hour hike to the Arrow glacier campsite.

The vegetation around the area is that found in the Alpine desert region of the mountain, i.e. little to no plants, no rainfall and almost no animals in sight

Although the area does receive occasional snowfall, a more common phenomenon 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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