A series by Gisela Graichen
On the trail of explorer Alexander von Humboldt one discovers the secrets of a sacred mountain, searches for the origin of a deadly virus or the ruins of a lost civilization.
Im Reich der Chagga
When Portuguese seafarers in the 17th Century reached the east coast of Africa, Arab slave traders told them about two wonders of the world further inland. There was supposed to be a mountain with a summit made of pure silver, and on its slopes water flowing uphill. The white researchers soon solved the first puzzle: it was the eternal snow on the nearly 6,000-metre high summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Today a professor from Germany is on the trail of the second miracle: Christoph Winter, anthropologist at the University of Bayreuth, has been studying the irrigation system of the Chagga, who have been living on the slopes of Kilimanjaro for hundreds of years. He came across a lost civilization. The Chagga dominated not only a highly sophisticated irrigation system that in some places really looks as if the water flows uphill. They intensified their agriculture, making it one of the most effective in Africa. To explore the world and kingdom of the Chagga from different sides, Winter brought the zoologist and biologist Claudia and Andreas Hemp to the Kilimanjaro. At the highest freestanding mountain in the world, the Bayreuth scientists discovered many previously unknown animals and plant species whose development and changes in behaviour they watched. Their paradise is threatened. Global climate change is melting the glaciers at the summit. According to Hemp’s projections, there will be no more snow left on Kilimanjaro in 2020.