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Kilimanjaro National Park

Reach The Top Of Africa
Reach the roof of Africa, and summit the world's highest free standing mountain.
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BEST FOR

trekking

CLIMBING

Reach the roof of Africa, and summit the world's highest free standing mountain.
Our Rating of Kilimanjaro National Park
  • Remoteness 25% 25%
  • Family 0% 0%
  • Animal Viewing 10% 10%
  • Landscape 85% 85%
  • Flora 90% 90%
  • Birding 85% 85%
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BEST FOR

trekking

CLIMBING

Reach the roof of Africa, and summit the world's highest free standing mountain.
Safaris in Kilimanjaro National Park
Our Rating of Kilimanjaro National Park
  • Remoteness 25% 25%
  • Family 0% 0%
  • Animal Viewing 10% 10%
  • Landscape 85% 85%
  • Flora 90% 90%
  • Birding 85% 85%

Reach The Top Of Africa

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Kilimanjaro National Park

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. 

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.

Our Top Tips For Kilimanjaro National Park
  • Day or overnight hikes on the Shira plateau.
  • Nature trails on the lower reaches.
  • Trout fishing.
  • Visit the beautiful Chala crater lake on the mountain’s southeastern slopes.
  • Climb Kilimanjaro Uruhu summit: Climb slowly to increase your acclimatisation time and maximise your chances of reaching the summit. To avoid altitude sickness, allow a minimum of five nights, preferably even more for the climb. Carefully choose your route, take your time, and enjoy the beauty of the mountain

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CAMP SITES

17

CAMPING HUTS

5

CLIMBING

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.

MOUNTAIN

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. 

Kilimanjaro National Park Map

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

ARUSHA
About 194 km West

When To Visit Kilimanjaro National Park

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun

Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec

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Mount Meru

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Kilimanjaro National Park

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