"Kilimanjaro Is in Tanzania, Because Mombasa Is in Kenya"

Many visitors to East Africa are surprised to discover that access to Kilimanjaro is from Tanzania rather than Kenya. This is not so much due to a poor grip on geography as to a rather active and canny Kenyan tourism board. Kenya's tourism authority (which predates its socialist neighbor by many years) has often marketed itself with great images of wildlife taken in Amboseli, the Kenyan reserve bordering Northern Tanzania, with the alluring backdrop of a snowcapped Kilimanjaro shimmering in the distance, thereby entrenching the East African landmark with the Kenyan brand.

Romantic history would have us believe that Kilimanjaro was given to Tanzania (previously German East Africa) by Queen Victoria (who "owned" Kenya) because she wanted to give her German grandson a special gift on his birthday. In reality, the British and the Germans both wanted seaports, and when the British claimed Mombasa, the Germans agreed, as long as they could have Dar es Salaam and Lake Victoria, in a compromise negotiated by Sir Percy Anderson in 1886. The northern border was thus a line drawn straight from the Indian Ocean, with a slight wiggle around the mountain, to Lake Victoria in the west. "Now it becomes evident why Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania: because Mombasa is in Kenya," quipped Dr. Heinz Schneppen, German ambassador to Tanzania, looking at the records of these negotiations more than a century later.

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