- Remoteness 25% 25%
- Family 0% 0%
- Animal Viewing 10% 10%
- Landscape 85% 85%
- Flora 90% 90%
- Birding 85% 85%
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- Safaris To Kilimanjaro
- Accommodation Options In Kilimanjaro
- Kilimanjaro Activities
- Kilimanjaro Wildlife
- Kilimanjaro Vegetation
- Kilimanjaro Location & Map
- Kilimanjaro Fun Facts
- Other Tanzanian Mountains
Kilimanjaro National Park Flora & Fauna
At the foot of the mountain area local farming creates a cultivated landscape but as soon as you get above the 2,700m mark that opens the boundary of Kilimanjaro National Park, a lush montane forest opens up to a thriving wildlife population including big game such as elusive elephants, leopard, buffalo, the endangered Abbot’s duiker as well as other small antelope and primates.
Common species include the Kilimanjaro tree hyrax and the grey duiker as well as frequenting rodents. The elephants are difficult to spot but can be found between the Namwai and Tarakia river channels, rarely making their way to the higher parts of the park. Blue monkeys and western black and white colobus monkeys can be spotted and heard along with bush babies.
While you should not expect to see big game on the mountain itself as you ascend to the peak, the best place to see the flora and fauna is while traversing the Lemosho Route where wild buffaloes, elephants, and leopards may be seen.
Ascending further however, the moorland zone gives way to giant heather coverage spotted with giant lobelias as life begins to struggle. By the time you get above 4,000 meters, a surreal alpine desert supports little life other than a few hardy mosses and lichen. Then, finally, the last vestigial vegetation gives way to a wintery ice and snow that permanently cap the peak, creating the magnificent beauty at the roof of the African continent.
Kilimanjaro National Park Location
In the early twentieth century, Mount Kilimanjaro and the adjacent forests were declared a game reserve by the German colonial government and later as a forest reserve. In 1973, the mountain above the tree line was reclassified to include today’s park and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987. In 2005, the park was expanded to include the entire montane forest.
Today the Kilimanjaro National Park protects the area around the mountain above the 2,700m level and includes the moorland and highland zones, the Shira Plateau, and Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. The word Kilimanjaro is said to mean “Mountain of Light”, “Greatness” or even “Mountain of Caravans”. No one actually knows. However, the local Wachagga people simply call the snowy peak Kibo, which is the central volcanic formation of the large mountain massif.
Standing at 5,895m to its permanently snow capped peak, Kilimanjaro dominates the regional landscape and can be seen for miles. Despite its imperious height, it is one of the world’s most accessible high summits and attracts climbers from all over the world. Even inexperienced climbers manage to reach the crater rim around the peak with little more than a walking stick, proper clothing, and steely determination. But for reaching the summit at Uhuru Point or Gillman’s Point on the lip of the crater, you will earn an official climbing certificate which reflects just how many people fail to reach the top: do not underestimate Kilimanjaro, 50% do not make the summit due to altitude sickness and accident.
The ascent around the slopes is a virtual climatic world tour, with temperatures and life ranging from the tropics to the Arctic, that make for unforgettable climbing but a test for the human body. This is because the routes to the Uruhu peak cross different ecological zones. Throughout the climb, temperatures vary considerably with the altitude and time of day. Mount Kilimanjaro has five major ecological zones, each approximately 1,000m in altitude. Each zone is subject to a corresponding decrease in rainfall, temperature, and life as the altitude increases.
Which Route to The Summit
Of the five routes, the most popular are the Marangu and Machame paths. However, the choice depends on your own preference and experience. Umbwe route hosts small mammals and forest birds among dense forestry and the greater Baranco wall. It is the shortest route of all five but, then again, is by far the toughest, so be careful in your choice.
Total Land Area
1688 sq km About the same size as Comores
Elevation above sea level
1820 – 5895 m
About 954 stacked giraffes
Nearest Major City & Airport
About 194 km West
When To Visit Kilimanjaro National Park
Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec