Mount Kilimanjaro Gets Connected to the Internet
Climbers and sightseers can now share their adventures online.
By: Kirsten Brooker | September 7, 2022 | 586 Words
Imagine standing at the top of one of the world’s tallest mountains and pulling out your cell phone to post a photo on social media or make a call. This will soon be possible for those who reach the top of Mount Kilimanjaro – the highest peak in Africa. People can now access the internet in some of the world’s tallest places – including Base Camp at Mount Everest in the Himalayas. Tanzania, the location of Mount Kilimanjaro, decided to join in by making sure its own mountaineers can use the internet, too. High-speed internet now runs about halfway up the mountain but will eventually reach the top.
Boosting Safety for Climbers
The Tanzanian government decided that providing internet to climbers was a wise decision for safety as well as promoting tourism in the area. A Wi-Fi connection will allow tourists to maps access and make emergency calls if something were to go awry while climbing.
Around 50,000 people per year visit Kilimanjaro National Park, and about 35,000 attempt to scale their way up the mountain. About one third of the adrenaline-seekers give up before reaching the top, while many others experience injury or distress while climbing. Tanzanian officials felt that climbers would be safer if they had access to the internet in case of accidents, or people getting lost. Tanzania’s information minister, Nape Nnauye, stated: “It was a bit dangerous for visitors … without internet.”
Benefits of Tourism
Those who take and post pictures during their climb help to increase tourism, which provides money for the area.
Tourism is a handy way for cities and countries to boost their economies and make money. It is no different in Tanzania, and Mount Kilimanjaro attracts tourists from around the world. Offering internet connection on the mountain is the latest idea to attract more people and get the word out about what the mountain offers. However, not everyone is thrilled about the upgrade.
Locals Feel Left Out
Only about 83% of locals have cell service or internet access. Many feel that people who live in the area but don’t have access to the internet should be first on the list to get connected rather than tourists.
This isn’t the only controversy surrounding the mountain. In 2021, the country approved a $72 million project to build a cable car up the side of the mountain. The aim was to let non-climbers see the amazing views that now only a few brave mountaineers get to enjoy. This idea enraged climbers, guides, and locals as well. Many had concerns about how the lift would affect the mountain’s natural environment.
Facts About Mount Kilimanjaro
Although Mount Kilimanjaro is not usually counted among the world’s tallest mountains, this can change depending on how you measure the height. In fact, it is the tallest free-standing mountain in the world and stands 5,895 meters (19,341 ft.) above sea level. The giant hill was formed by volcanoes and has three volcanic cones, Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. The Mawenzi and Shira cones are extinct, meaning there is no threat of another eruption. Kibo is dormant, so there is a chance the volcano could erupt again.
Now that people can use the internet on one of the world’s highest peaks, is there anywhere on Earth that will stay unconnected?