Mount Kilimanjaro National Park

Mount Kilimanjaro National park is a tour destination typically known for the highest mountain in Africa, natural or cultural value, historical significance, natural or built beauty, offering leisure, adventure and amusement.

Kilimanjaro National Park is a Tanzanian national park, located 300 kilometres (190 mi) south of the equator and in Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania. The park is located near the city of Moshi. The park includes the whole of Mount Kilimanjaro above the tree line and the surrounding montane forest belt above 1,820 metres (5,970 ft). It covers an area of 1,688 square kilometres (652 sq mi), 2°50’–3°10’S latitude, 37°10’–37°40’E longitude.

Overview: Mount Kilimanjaro National Park

Mount Kilimanjaro National Park has the highest mountain in Africa, is located between latitude 2o50” and 3o10”E, about 330km South of the Equator, Northern Tanzania. Its size is 1688Km2 and comprises of two dormant [Kibo 5,895m a.m.s.l and Mawenzi 5,149m a.m.s.l] and one extinct [Shira 3,962m a.m.s.l] volcanoes respectively. It is the World’s highest free standing mountains that rise on the undulating surrounding plain that averages around 1000m above sea level. It was declared as a National Park in 1973, officially opened for tourism in 1977, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987 and Natural Wonder of Africa in 2013. The Park Headquarters is at Marangu, about 44 Km from Moshi town and 86km from Kilimanjaro International Airport.

History:

In the early twentieth century, Mount Kilimanjaro and the adjacent forests were declared a game reserve by the German colonial government.[3] In 1921, it was designated a forest reserve. In 1973, the mountain above the tree line (about 2,700 metres (8,900 ft)) was reclassified as a national park. The park was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 1987. In 2005, the park was expanded to include the entire montane forest, which had been part of the Kilimanjaro Forest Reserve

Climate:

The climate is mainly influenced by the prevailing trade winds. There are two rainy seasons in a year. The wet season is from March to May during which it rains around the mountain base and snow accumulates on its peak. The dry season is from late June through September during which the nights are cool and the days completely clear. During the short rainy period of October – December there is rain during the day whereas the nights and mornings remain clear with excellent visibility. January and February are usually dry, warm and clear with brief rain showers that provides for good climbing conditions.

How to Get There: Mount Kilimanjaro National Park

  • By Air: Several companies like zantas air, Safari air link (SAL) arrange charter flight from Dar es Salam, Mwanza or Arusha cities to either Mpanda airport which is located in Mpanda town or to Sitalike and Ikuu airstrips inside the park. Usually every Monday and Thursday. Coastal Aviation Charted flight within the park Ikuu airstrips.
  • By Road: From either Dar es Salaam via Mbeya (1513Km), Dar es Salaam via Tabora (1392km), Arusha via Tabora (1015.7km) or Mwanza via Tabora-Inyonga (741 km).
  • By Rail: It is also possible to reach Mpanda by train from Dar es Salaam via Tabora then catch a public transport to Sitalike, where game drives can be arranged.
Activities: Mount Kilimanjaro National Park

The park is endowed with various tourism activities that visitors can do during their visit. The activities includes; Mountain Climbing to the Summit, Paragliding, Nature Walking Safaris, Long Walking Safaris, Mawenzi Technical Climbing, Picnicking, Filming, Non-Summit Bound Climbers, Crater Camping and Mountain Cycling.

Mountain Climbing:

  • Climbing to Kibo peak takes 5 to 8 days depending on the route. The more days, the higher the possibility to conquer the summit. An extra day in any station above 3000m above sea level during the climb is highly recommended for adequate acclimatization

Paragliding:

  • Paragliders should feel home at Mount Kilimanjaro as freeflying the Worlds biggest free standing mountain is now under operation.

Crater Camping:

  • Camping in the crater provides unique visitors’ night experience. While inside the crater tourist can visit the unique bench-shaped glaciers, the formation that can only be found at Mount Kilimanjaro.

Filming:

  • Kilimanjaro, the highest free standing mountain, not only attracts climbers but also professional filmers. The famous film, “The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952)” centered on Ernest Hemingway work that also worn two Oscars at the 25th Academy Awards was shot from this park.

Mountain Cycling:

  • Tourists have a chance to cycle inside the park. There are two routes, one for summit bound visitors (Kilema route) and second one for non summit visitors (Shira plateau). These routes are equipped with picnic sites and resting points.
Where to Stay: Mount Kilimanjaro National Park

Inside the park

  • The Park provides a variety of accommodations ranging from Mountain huts, hostel and 32 public Campsites. Booking for huts and hostel is done through licensed local tour operators

Mandara Hut:

  • It a first station located along the Marangu ascending/descending trail 8kms from Marangu gate. The word Mandara originate from the name of the former Chief of Marangu whose name was Mandara. The reason is to keep the good memory of the chief Mandara who was in charge during the time when the hut was opened in 1942.

Horombo Hut:

  • This is a second station allocated 19kms from Marangu gate, at an altitude of 3720m amsl. The word Horombo originate from the name of the former Chief of Rombo district (Keni) whose name was Horombo Urio. The reason is to keep the good memory of the chief Horombo.

Kibo Hut:

  • This is the third and base station located 28kms from Marangu gate at an altitude of 4720m amsl. It originates its name from the peak “Kibo”

Machame Camp:

  • This is the first camp along Machame route located 11kms and at an altitude of 2835M amsl.

Shira Cave Camp:

  • This is the second camp along Machame route located 16kms from Machame gate and at an altitude of 3750M amsl.

Lava Tower Camp:

  • This is a camp (used mostly for acclimatization) along Machame route located 23kms from Machame gate and at an altitude of 4600M a.m.s.l.

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Best Time To Visit:

Attractions: Kilimanjaro National Park

These are places of interest where tourists can visit while at Kilimanjaro National Park, typically for its inherent or exhibited natural or cultural value, historical significance, natural or built beauty, offering leisure, adventure and amusement.

Mount Kilimanjaro:

  • Kibo Peak: Kibo, the highest peak (5,895m), is covered by snow throughout the year despite being close to the equator. Conquering this peak is an adventure of a lifetime.
  • Mawenzi Peak: Mawenzi, the rugged peak (5,149m), can only be attempted by technical climb. Only people with specialized knowledge, skills and equipment are allowed.
  • Shira Peak: Shira with the height of 3962m, is the oldest peak that collapsed some 750 years ago while before collapsing was the highest of the thre
  • Cathedral Point – ShiraPeak: Cathedral is the point found on Shira Peak and can be climbed easily during day hike or summit.

Kifinika Cultural Site

  • This is a site along Marangu route that is sacred by the local Chagga people. Historically, the site was used for cultural rituals. Several sites in the Western part of the mountain were also used by the Maasai tribe for ritual purposes.

Wildlife: Mount Kilimanjaro National Park

  • A variety of animals can be found in the park. Above the timberline, the Kilimanjaro tree hyrax, the grey duiker, and rodents are frequently encountered. The bushbuck and red duiker appear above the timberline in places. Cape buffaloes are found in the montane forest and occasionally in the moorland and grassland. Elephants can be found between the Namwai and Tarakia rivers and sometimes occur at higher elevations.[3] In the montane forests, blue monkeys, western black and white colobuses, bushbabies, and leopards can be found.