It’s a fair bet that Kilimanjaro’s first inhabitants, when they weren’t fashioning stone bowls out of the local terrain, would have spent much of their time hunting and gathering the local flora and fauna, Kilimanjaro being a fecund source of both.
Add to this its reputation as a reliable region both for fresh drinking water and materials – wood, stones, mud, vines etc – for building, and it seems reasonable to suppose that Kilimanjaro would have been a highly desirable location for primitive man, and would have played a central role in the lives of those who chose to take up residence on its slopes.
Unfortunately, those looking to piece together a comprehensive history of the first inhabitants of Kilimanjaro rather have their work cut out. There are no documents recording the life and times of the people who once lived on the mountain; not much in the way of any oral history that has been passed down through the generations; and, stone bowls apart, little in the way of archaeological evidence from which to draw any inferences.
So while we can assume many things about the lives of Kilimanjaro’s first inhabitants, we can be certain about nothing and if Kilimanjaro did have a part to play in the pre-colonial history of the region, that history, and the mountain’s significance within it, has, alas, now been lost to us.
Nevertheless, that part of Kilimanjaro’s history that we can piece together is completely fascinating, as I hope you’ll discover in the following pages.
Early historical references to Kilimanjaro >>
When Outsiders Arrived >>
Kilimanjaro Pioneers >>
Preachers of Kilimanjaro >>
Rebmann’s Journey >>
First attempts at the Summit >>
German Colonization >>
Kilimanjaro Conquered >>
Germans in East Africa >>
After Meyer >>
Kilimanjaro Today >>