Stella Point, Gilman’s Point, and Uhuru Peak are three official summit points on Mount Kilimanjaro.
The true summit is called Uhuru Peak. Stella Point and Gilman’s Point are lower points located along the crater rim. Each summit point is marked with a wooden signboard. The Kilimanjaro National Park issues summit certificates to climbers who successfully reach these places during their expeditions.
These points are located in Kilimanjaro’s arctic zone.
This represents the highest ecological zone on the mountain, typically starting at around 5,000 meters (16,400 feet) above sea level and extending to the summit. This zone is characterized by extreme weather conditions, particularly regarding temperature. At Uhuru Peak, temperatures can be severe, with early morning summit attempts often encountering the lowest temperatures.
Gilman’s Point (18,652 feet/5,685 meters)
Gilman’s Point is located on the path to the true summit for climbers approaching from School Hut and Kibo Hut – campsites used on the Rongai, Marangu, and Northern Circuit routes. The signboard stands where the trail up the steep, rocky slope meets the crater rim. From Gilman’s point, you can see the open crater as well as Uhuru Peak across the way.
This point bears the name of Clement Gilman, an early European explorer of Kilimanjaro, in recognition of his contributions to the exploration and mapping of the region.
The hike from Gilman’s Point to the true summit takes about 2 hours.
Stella Point (18,885 feet/5,756 meters)
Stella Point is located on the path to the summit for climbers approaching from Barafu Camp – the campsite used on the Shira, Lemosho, Machame, and Umbwe routes. The signboard marks the area where the strenuous climb up the scree meets the crater rim. This is a great place to take a short break before heading to Uhuru Peak.
The name ‘Stella Point’ comes from the latin word “Stella,” which means star, in reference to Kilimanjaro’s glimmering night skies.
The hike from Stella Point to the true summit takes about 1 hour. Those trekking from Gilman’s Point will pass Stella Point on the way to Uhuru Peak.
Uhuru Peak (19,341 feet/5,895 meters)
Uhuru Peak is the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro. The night time temperatures can range between 20 and -20 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 to -29 degrees Celsius) at this elevation.
The name “Uhuru”, meaning “freedom” in Swahili, was given to the peak in 1961 to celebrate Tanzania’s independence from British colonial rule. To read the story behind the name, see this article here.