Kilimanjaro; what's in a name

Another Kilimanjaro fact that seems to create a great deal of confusion is what the name actually means. I've seen writers define it any number of ways. But the fact is, no one is entirely sure of the origin or even the native language of the name itself.

In the local Chagga dialect it could mean Mountain of Greatness or even Mountain of Caravans. The nearby Maasai tribes might call it White Mountain. In Swahili it could be translated into Shining Mountain, the unlikely Little Mountain or even Mountain of the Cold Devils. It was believed by early tribes that there were devils on the mountain who punished anyone who tried to climb it by turning limbs black. This is believed to have been frost bite.

The translation that seems to have the most support is Swahili. One translation of kilima is "top of the hill" and njaro is believed to refer to snow or white. Even the locals don't know for sure where the name comes from. But after Hemmingway and a few thousand adventure toursits have shared stories about the fabled flat top mountain, most people these days agree it means adventure.
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