Welcome to Kilimanjaro National Park
The highest mountain in Africa, snow caped and world’s highest free standing volcano. It
comprises of two dormant volcanoes (Kibo 5,895m a.m.s.l and Mawenzi 5,149m a.m.s.l) and
one extinct volcano (Shira 3,962m a.m.s.l) respectively. The origin of the word is not well known but it said to be a combination of the Swahili word Kilima meaning “Mountain” and the KiChagga word Njaro, loosely translated as “Whiteness” giving the name “White Mountain”.
Short history about Kilimanjaro national park
Its size is 1,712Km2 and 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. Climbing to the top which is far up into the sky it’s a life time experience that no one can
Climate of Mt. Kilimanjaro national park.
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. The park is located at an altitude between 1700 m to 5895 meter with annual average rainfall ranging from 828 mm at alpine desert to 2500 mm at Montane forest.
How to Get to Mt. Kilimanjaro national park?
The park can be accessed by road or flight via Kilimanjaro International Airport – about 45km to the west. The Park Headquarters and one of the ascending gates are at Marangu, about 41Km from Moshi town and 86km from Kilimanjaro International Airport. The other seven gates of
- Mweka and
are located around the mountain base and can be reached by road. Park Attractions
The Park is endowed with a diverse variety of attractions ranging from terrestrial wilderness to permanent glaciers on the mountain peaks.
Three peaks of Mt. Kilimanjaro national park
Kibo, the highest peak (5,895m) on Mount Kilimanjaro, is covered by snow throughout the year despite being close to the equator. Conquering this peak is an adventure of a lifetime.
Mawenzi Peak is Mount Kilimanjaro’s second highest peak after the Kibo peak. Standing at a staggering 5,149 meters (16,893 ft.)The first persons proven to have reached the summit of the mountain were Hans Meyer, and Ludwig Purtscheller in 1889.
With an altitude of 3,962m, is the oldest peak that collapsed and forms a Shira plateau with
outstanding scenic beauty on the mountain with several kinds of migratory large mammals such as buffaloes, elephants and especially elands.
Montane Forest – A wide band of exceptionally beautiful montane forest encircles the whole
of Kilimanjaro from about 1800 –2800m. The forest zone is worth a visit even if you are not
climbing to the peaks. Marangu nature trails is particular taking you through this forest belt
which supports several plant species, including endemic plants like Impatiens Kilimanjaro.
Zonation of Vegetation of Mt. Kilimanjaro national park.
Five eco-climatic zones take you to the equivalent of a trip from the equator to the arctic in
a brief tour. As one climb Kilimanjaro, vegetation and weather changes in response to the
changing elevation from montane forest, heath and moorland, alpine desert and the summit
zone (arctic). The mountain peak is covered by snow all year-round
Lauwo Waterfall – Located along Marangu route 2.8Kms provides a spectacular experience while enjoying walking inside the thick montane forest.
Located just 15 minutes walk past Mandara huts on the Marangu route the crater provides a
panoramic view of Lakes Chala, Jipe and Nyumba ya Mungu, all of which derive their waters from the Majestic Kilimanjaro.
Birds and Animals
The park harbors a total number of 140 species of mammals; 7 primates, 25 carnivores, 25
antelopes, 24 species of bat and 179 bird species
The park is endowed with various tourism activities that visitors can do during their visit. The
- Mountain Climbing to the Summit (MC),
- Nature Walking Safaris
(Short Walking Safaris (SWS)),
- Long Walking Safaris (LWS),
- Mawenzi Technical Climbing (MTC),
- Picnicking, Filming,
- Non-Summit Bound Climbers,
- Crater Camping and Mountain Cycling (MB).
Mountain Climbing of Kilimanjaro national park
Climbing to Kibo peak takes 5 to 8 days depending on the route. The more days, the higher the possibility to conquer the summit. Six mountain trails can take a climber to the highest point in Africa, each route offering different attractions and challenges.
Mountain Cycling on Kilimanjaro national park
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.
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.
Non-Summit Bound Climbers
Activities for non-summit bound climbers include:
- Visit to the water falls (Lauwo)
- Visiting the Shira Plateau
- Watching wildlife including high altitude birds
- Walking through the Mountain Forest
- Day walk to Maundi crater in the park,
- Lake Chala and
- cultural sites such as Kifunika and cultural
camps in the villages around.
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.
The park provides accommodation for Mountain climbers using Marangu route at Mandara,
Horombo and Kibo mountain huts Mandara 118beds, Horombo 238 beds and Kibo 90beds.
Explore more that 22 camping sites within the park.
These are affordable accommodations for students and low budget tourist