The title can be read in both a literal and a figurative sense. Literally, it refers to the snow-capped peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, a dormant volcano in the East African country of Tanzania. On a figurative level, the title refers to the realm of death that Harry wishes to enter.
Tired of life, which he finds perennially boring and unsatisfying, Harry is prepared to die in Africa and in a fever dream imagines that he will be buried on the snows of Kilimanjaro, which in the local Masai language means “House of God.”
The figurative meaning of the story's title is therefore the most important as it relates to Harry's innermost desire to escape a life he doesn't enjoy and a wife he doesn't love. Such an escape can only come through death. And in his semiconscious state, his imagination as a writer, long suppressed by a life of indolent luxury, manifests itself once more as he experiences a feverish vision of being rescued by a plane and then subsequently buried in the “House of God.”
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