The Mt. Kilimanjaro Snowcap

The Mt. Kilimanjaro Snowcap

The glorious Mt. Kilimanjaro as seen from Moshi.

Throughout the years, it has inspired many artists; Ernest Hemingway has described it as “wide as all the world, great, high, and unbelievably white in the sun” but today, these same glaciers of Mt. Kilimanjaro are menaced of disappearing. 

Photograph by NASA illustrating the decrease of the snowcap between the years 1993 and 2000.

The highest peak in Africa is slowly losing an essential component for the local ecosystem: the glaciers. In 2009, a study had determined that the snowcap on Mt. Kilimanjaro would completely disappear by 2022.  An unbelievable 85% of the ice has melted since 1912.  The Kilimanjaro’s mountain top crater is thinning at a rate of 5.2 m per year. While visiting in mid-September, we had the opportunity to discuss the effect of the disappearing snow on the local communities and find out what actions are being done to help counteract the current situation.

The primary cause of the disappearing glaciers is the drying of the air. This is caused by deforestation and urbanization around the mountain. However, one might ask, how can air dry up?

By cutting down trees, the water cycle is disrupted causing the water particles to directly undergo sublimation. This signifies that instead of becoming liquid water before condensing into the gaseous state (clouds), the solid water particles(snow) is directly becoming gas. While visiting Tanzania, we had the opportunity to see Mt. Kilimanjaro for only a brief couple of hours during our 2-week stay. This is due to the large clouds around the entire mountain, and the pollution of the surrounding cities. This was not only disappointing for us, but it has had a direct effect on the local, rural, communities.

But how does this relate to the disappearing snow?

Due to the disruption of the water cycle, there is less precipitation. Meaning there is less snow falling than necessary. Think of it as a bank account, if you are putting 100 $ into your account every month, but you spend 27$ a week, your bank account is losing more money. This is what is happening to the snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro, there are still snow falls, however the amount of snow falling is not enough to sustain a long lasting glacier. 

The local community showing us one of their popular river water sources.

“About 4 years ago, the river water [passing near the village] was very weak” stated one man from the local community.

There has been a continuous decline, over several years, of the amount of water coming down from the mountain. The rivers coming from the mountains being the primary sources of drinking water for the community.


Two crops planted by local community: one using soil and the other using their natural fertilizer.

Each year, the local communities associated to this project plant approximately 1.5 million trees at the base of the mountain and their water sources. Since the start of this initiative, the local community stated they observed an increase in the water levels of the rivers. They continued to say that this was a good start however there is still much that must be done to conserve this ecosystem. 

The community is also benefiting economically. Due to their crops, they have been able to purchase cattle, vehicles and also develop their organic agriculture.  

This small community, in rural Tanzania, proves that one can help improve the local environment while also profiting economically.

Written by The Good Bears


  • Let's celebrate #EarthHour together. Turn off all your lights at  8:30pm.
You could be amazed at what you can see in the dark! 🌌
Célébrons ensemble #UneHeurePourLaPlanete. Éteignez toutes vos lumières à 20h30.
Vous pourriez être surpris de ce que l'on peut voir dans le noir!🌌
#InAWink #EarthHour2018
  • Corals are animals. They make a calcium carbonate skeleton that looks similar to rocks.
When water is too warm, corals expel the algae living in their tissues causing the coral to turn completely white. This is called coral bleaching.
Les coraux sont des animaux. Il fabrique un squelette en carbonate de calcium qui ressemble à de la roche.
Quand l'eau se réchauffe, le corail expulse les algues qui se trouvent dans ses tissus, il devient alors tout blanc. C'est ce que l'on appelle le blanchissement du corail.
#InAWink #Seychelles #coral #conservation
  • We found some motivated buddies ready to fight coral bleaching with us!💪
Between 2014 and 2016, the longest global bleaching events ever were recorded. It killed coral on an unprecedented scale.
Nous avons trouvé quelques amis prêts à combattre le blanchissement des coraux avec nous!💪
Entre 2014 et 2016, le plus long événement de blanchissement du corail à l'échelle mondiale a été enregistré. Celà a tué les coraux à un rythme sans précédent.
#InAWink #Seychelles #coral #conservation
  • Seychelles is one of those countries where the crystal-clear waters are home to the most beautiful colorful fish. Unfortunately, due to coral bleaching, these stunning ecosystems are menaced. In some areas 90% of the coral reefs have already disappeared.
Rise of ocean temperatures, overfishing and pollution are the main threats, so it's our responsibility to take action!🐠
Les Seychelles font parties de ces pays où les eaux cristallines abritent certains des plus beaux poissons multicolores. Malheureusement, en raison du blanchissement des coraux, ces superbes écosystèmes sont menacés. À certains endroits, 90% du corail a déjà disparu. Le réchauffement de la température des océans, la surpêche et la pollution sont les principales menaces, c'est donc à nous d'agir!🐠
#InAWink #Seychelles #coral #conservation
  • Namibia is home to some of the largest dunes in the world. The highest one, Dune 7, has been measured at over 383 meters.
What a view from above!
La Namibie abrite quelques unes des plus hautes dunes du monde.
La plus haute, Dune 7, a été mesuré à plus de 383 mètres!
Quelle vue une fois arrivé au sommet!
#InAWink #Namibia #Africa #conservation #desert #dune
  • The recent death of Sudan, the last male Nothern White Rhino remember us our ''Rhino Tracking'' experience in Namibia. Thanks to @namibia_nature_foundation, we learned a lot about the threats facing the Black Rhino in Africa. We cannot let another species disappear! 💪
La récente mort de Sudan, le dernier rhinocéros mâle blanc du Nord nous rappelle notre expérience de ''Rhino Tracking'' en Namibie. Grâce à @namibia_nature_foundation, nous en avons appris beaucoup concernant les menaces qui pèsent sur le rhinocéros noir en Afrique. Nous ne pouvons pas laisser une autre espèce disparaître! 💪
#InAWink #Sudan #Rhino #Namibia #Africa #conservation
  • Dead Vlei is one of the many wonders of Namibia. Once a temporary shallow pool, the abundance of water allowed camel thorn trees to grow in this clay pan.
The remaining skeletons of the dead trees are now black because the sun has scorched them. A really unique ecosystem where some plants still live! ☀🌿
Dead Vlei est une des merveilles de la Namibie. Autrefois un petit marais temporaire, l'abondance d'eau a permis à des acacias du désert de pousser. Les troncs d'arbres morts sont devenus noirs, brûlés par le soleil. Un écosystème vraiment unique où des plantes vivent encore! ☀🌿 #InAWink #Africa #Namibia #ecosystem #deadvlei #conservation
  • It is amazing to see how fast the landscape can change in Namibia. This country has our hearts!
C'est incroyable de voir à quelle vitesse le paysage peut changer en Namibie. Ce pays est un véritable coup de coeur pour nous!
#InAWink #Africa #Namibia #desert #roadtrip