Installation of a cable car on Mount Kilimanjaro
Installation of a cable car on Mount Kilimanjaro: The Tanzanian government approved the installation of a cable car on Mount Kilimanjaro which is the highest mountain in Africa at 5895 meters and is located in the northern part of Tanzania. Mount Kilimanjaro is also a UNESCO world heritage site.
The plan of the cable car being installed on Mount Kilimanjaro was first brought up in May 2019 and it was discussed that the cable car would run up to 3700 meters in hopes of boosting tourism numbers.
Over 50,000 tourists visit Mount Kilimanjaro annually and attempt to get to the summit of the mountain. The installation of the cable car on Mount Kilimanjaro raised concern among the porters as well as mountain guides who became worried for their livelihoods since the mountain is a source of income for many people.
Among the issues discussed was that the installation of the cable car would make the mountain accessible for the physically disabled, the elderly as well as children who wish to visit mountain Kilimanjaro and experience the beauty of the mountain.
It is not clear how the project for the installation is going to continue since the officials are not commenting on the issue of the cable car. In December 2020, an official from Tanzania national parks authority commented that approving of the cable car does not mean that it has been confirmed.
Officials also commented on the issue of the installation of the cable car on mount Kilimanjaro saying that incase of any plans in regards to the cable car, the public will be informed. Members of the tourism industry however argue that they do not know any of the negative impacts which installation of the cable car on the mountain will mean for the current generation and the future generations.
The many numbers of tourists visiting Mount Kilimanjaro has brought a lot of revenue to the region and has also benefited the people in the neighboring towns like Moshi which is a gateway to Kilimanjaro national park.
The deputy minister of tourism and natural resources of Tanzania also echoed that the project of installation of the cable car on Mount Kilimanjaro will be a big plus to the tourism industry and that despite the changes with some effects, people should not be worried about losing their jobs.
Environmental as well as social impacts as a result of the installation of the cable car on Mount Kilimanjaro are also to be carried out before the cable system is put in place.
The route for the Kilimanjaro cable car according to sources will be along the Machame route which is a scenic route used during hikes. Machame route takes hikers about 6 to 7 days to get to the top of the mountain.
Machame which is also known as the whiskey is a popular hiking route on Mount Kilimanjaro and it has steeper slopes compared to other routes like Marangu. The route goes through the 5 climatic zones from Machame gate, Shira camp, lava tower, Barranco camp, Karanga camp, Barafu camp, Uhuru peak, & Mweka gate.
The capacity for each cable car on Mount Kilimanjaro it was said would be 6 people in each car and in the plan for the installation of the cable cars according to tourist representative was to have about 15 cable cars.
The cable cars which were to be installed on Mount Kilimanjaro were to go up to Shira which will take about 20 minutes. Some of the questions raised included the altitude sickness and whether passengers on the cable cars would experience it during their ride to the 3700 meters.
Assessment of the environmental impact of the cable car on Mount Kilimanjaro was carried out and was complete by August 2019 according to the former deputy minister of tourism as a way of protecting the natural beauty and ecosystem on the mountain.
There is also concern among different parties whether the installation of the cable car on Mount Kilimanjaro will be an easier route for the trekkers who will have to choose between the cable car and trekking for the 6 or 7 days.
It was also said that whether to use the cable car or trekking to the top of the mountain will highly depend on the choice of the person visiting Mount Kilimanjaro.