Buy from Amazon.comThe glaciers of Kilimanjaro are featured in my book Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, which chronicles my attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. The book is on sale now as an e-book for $3.99 and in paperback for $9.99 from Amazon and other booksellers.

When I attempted to summit Kilimanjaro in 2010, I noticed that it had few glaciers and virtually no ice or snow. I thought this odd for a mountain that rises 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) above sea level — even one located near the Equator. Kilimanjaro often appears in photos capped with pristine white snow. When I climbed, however, it looked more like the photo below — mostly brown with a few glaciers near the summit. I saw the large Northern Icefield and a small glacier to the south but none below the rim of the crater on Kibo Peak pictured in the photo.

Kibo Peak is the tallest of three dormant volcanic cones that cap Mount Kilimanjaro, a massive mountain that covers an area of more than 750 square kilometers in northeastern Tanzania. The other cones, Mawenzi and Shira, have little or no ice or snow.


As I gathered research for my book, I came across some photos of Kilimanjaro taken by NASA in 2003 from the International Space Station. The glaciers in these photos were larger than they were when I was on the mountain in 2010. According to NASA, Kilimanjaro’s glaciers will disappear completely by the year 2020. Based on my own observations, I think it will happen sooner.



I took the same NASA photo above and identified below the major glaciers on Kilimanjaro to see which ones have melted or still exist.


Based on a recent satellite photo taken by the Harris Corporation, most of Kilimanjaro’s glaciers, snow and ice have already melted. The Northern Icefield, the largest glacier, was intact, as were some remnants of the Southern Icefield and Heim Glacier. Some of the more famous ones such as Furtwängler Glacier, Rebmann Glacier, and Arrow Glacier are extinct or on the verge of being consigned to history.

Theories abound as to why the glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro are melting. Some say that it’s due to climate change and decreased precipitation caused by global warming; others believe it’s a natural occurrence. Some attribute the melting partly to the body heat and footprints made by the thousands of people who climb Kilimanjaro every year. What is certain is that its glaciers are melting, and the beautiful snowcap on Africa’s highest mountain is almost history.

Map pictureCopyright note:  The first photo has been licensed from Shutterstock. Photos taken from the International Space Station are public domain courtesy of NASA. The Bing map is courtesy of Microsoft. All rights reserved.


More About Tanzania and Kilimanjaro
Click on the icons below for more articles about Tanzania and Kilimanjaro
[table “” not found /]

Books by MG EdwardsMG Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures and children’s books. A former U.S. diplomat, he served in South Korea, Paraguay, and Zambia before leaving the Foreign Service to write full time.

Edwards is author of six books. His memoir, Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, was finalist for the Book of the Year Award and the Global eBook Award. He has published four children’s picture books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series: Alexander the Salamander; Ellie the Elephant; Zoe the Zebra; and a collection featuring all three stories. His book Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories is an anthology of 15 short stories.

Edwards lives in Taipei, Taiwan with his family. He has also lived in Austria, Singapore and Thailand. For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at or contact him by e-mail at or on Twitter @m_g_edwards.

Bitcoin donations: 3NocgF7mH21zKC4EV2iYKftrSMW1BX71tx

Ethereum donations: 0x06d5c0421503536efb7333f3901b98ec4b9750964

© 2019 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author. World Adventurers and BE. Brilliance Equity are registered trademarks of Brilliance Equity LLC.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Dev's Gravatar Dev
    February 22, 2012    

    You should visit India. I’m sure you could find a lot to explore

  2. Diane's Gravatar Diane
    June 8, 2012    

    Wont be recognizable without the frosting 🙁

  3. August 5, 2013    

    We got three highest mountains in Africa,all of them in eastafrica,Mount Kilimanjaro,Mount Kenya,and Mount Ruwenzori which is in between Uganda and Congo,but because of human encroachment everything in this world we be history,feel really sad to see beautiful beloved Mount Kilimanjaro the highest free standing Mountain in the World,with thin ice on the top of its cap,what a shame,hope people around it,will care and conserve the beauty of the eye.

  1. The Snows of Kilimanjaro « World Adventurers on February 22, 2012 at 4:00 pm
  2. The Kilimanjaro Sign–Old and New « World Adventurers on March 4, 2012 at 1:07 am
  3. The Porters of Kilimanjaro « World Adventurers on March 14, 2012 at 8:33 am
  4. The Plant Life of Kilimanjaro « World Adventurers on April 11, 2012 at 8:03 am
  5. The Majesty of Kilimanjaro « World Adventurers on April 15, 2012 at 7:56 am
  6. The Routes of Kilimanjaro « World Adventurers on May 1, 2012 at 9:09 am

Leave a Reply