Kilimanjaro is a dormant, but not extinct volcano. Worrying thunder can sometimes be heard and gases emerge from the fumaroles in the crater. Although just three degrees south of the Equator, the peaks of both Kibo and Mawenzi have permanent caps of snow and ice.
During their time on the mountain, climbers pass from a tropical to arctic environment in just a few days. The various trails first pass through lush rainforests before reaching heather and open moorland where giant lobelia and huge, cactus-like groundsel grow.