Wings Of Kilimanjaro : The Adventure Of A Lifetime : Adventure Travel | Adventure Sports | Extreme Paragliding

Tanzania’s natural-growth forests are in trouble. So much so that Tanzania could lose its entire forest cover in under a century if more is not done to reduce the current rate of deforestation – which is estimated at around 1 million acres each year and growing.

Besides the loss of habitat for so many of Tanzania’s amazing flora and fauna and other land degradation issues caused by this deforestation, Mt Kilimanjaro itself is severely affected by this practise. For thousands of years, the Serengeti winds would sweep over the cool and humid forest air, carrying this moisture to the top of the mountain and replenishing the glaciers and snows on the summit. The deforestation on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro has contributed to the melting of its glaciers, as the hot and dry East African Trade Winds now stay dry and warm accelerating the demise of the snowcaps as this airflow reaches the summit. These dry winds also no longer replenish the glaciers, therefore aiding in the demise of these magnificent mountains of ice.

The current glaciers of Kilimanjaro, made famous by Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Snows Of Kilimanjaro” in 1936 (and later movie released in 1952), are almost 12,000 years old. Hemingway once described the ice fields as “wide as all the world, great, high, and unbelievably white in the sun”. In the last century, these beautiful glaciers have lost 82 percent of their ice since 1912—the year their full extent was first measured.

According to the UN, Tanzania ’s population is growing by over 2% per year. This has led to an increasingly high rate of deforestation due to their reliance on charcoal as a cheap energy source for most households in towns and rural areas respectively. In addition to this, farmers are burning down and clearing forests to make ways for bigger crops to cater for this growth.

Wings of Kilimanjaro are working with Plant With Purpose to dramatically expand their already successful Village Community Banking (VICOBA) program, with the goal of establishing 67 new VICOBA groups in Suji, Siha and Moshi Rural districts.  These microfinance groups will directly involve 2100 people in weekly savings and loan meetings and directly benefit over 12,180 community members in the Kilimanjaro region. Weekly meetings strengthen the community and provide a venue for personal savings, educational opportunities, developing talents and business skills. Weekly trainings include teaching on the importance of reforestation, crop diversification, composting, water conservation, marketing of farm products, and organic pest control.  In all, these 67 new Village Community Banks (VICOBA’s) groups funded by Wings of Kilimanjaro will plant over 784,000 trees,  Install 3,300 wood-saving stoves and 3,300 raised garden beds, Save $167,500 for use as small business loans through micro-financing amongst poor farming communities.