Anyone who climbs Kilimanjaro and has a smartphone with them can now share their experiences directly from there. Tanzania has set up a broadband network on the slopes of Africa’s highest mountain at 3720 meters, making it suitable for services such as WhatsApp, Instagram and Twitter. Information Minister Nape Nnauye described the development as historic.
Without the internet, it had been “somewhat dangerous” on Kilimanjaro so far, Nnauye said at the inauguration of the new service on Tuesday attended by government officials and tourists. But now all visitors “up to this point on the mountain would be connected to the internet,” he explained at the Horombo huts, one of the camps on the way to the summit. By the end of the year, the summit of the 3720 meter high mountain will also be connected to the internet, Nnauye added.
According to The Citizen newspaper Nnauye hopes that the network connection will improve safety for mountaineers and porters on the one hand and on the other hand but also that the mountain is becoming more present worldwide through internet photos and thus attracting more visitors. He also expects the state-owned Tanzania Telecommunications Corporation (TTCL), which implemented the project, to generate income from tourists using the mobile network. “The government lost revenue due to the lack of this service,” quotes “The Citizen” from the minister, who also asked the TTCL to connect national parks that have not previously had internet to the network.
Tanzania has been trying for a long time to make Kilimanjaro more tourism-friendly. Last year, the country’s government announced plans to build a cable car on the south side of the mountain, sparking an outcry from climbers, expedition operators and environmentalists.
Kilimanjaro is an important source of tourism revenue in Tanzania and neighboring Kenya. Every year around 35.000 people vomit to climb a mountain.