Kilimanjaro National Park
Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest peak on the African continent and the tallest free standing mountain in the world. For travellers it really is a must see and for some a must do. At SafariHQ, we offer Mount Kilimanjaro trekking safaris suited to a range of different requirements.
- The majestic Mount Kilimanjaro
- Chala Crater Lake
- Spectacular views
- Trekking safari - Mt Kilimanjaro
- Cultural tours
- Mountain biking
- Fishing safari
- Aerial safari
- Camel safari
- Walking safari
- Cycling safari
- 1668 sq km(641sq miles)
- Northern Tanzania, near the town of Moshi. Kilimanjaro National Park forms part of the northern circuit of Tanzania.
Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest peak on the African continent and the tallest free standing mountain in the world. It rises in breathtaking isolation from the surrounding coastal scrubland with an elevation ranging from around 900metres to an imperious 5,895 metres(19,336ft). Muont Kilimanjaro was born from catastrophic movements in the earth’s crust that created the Great Rift Valley.
Kilimanjaro is one of the worlds most accessible high summits. Most visitors will reach the crater rim with little more than a walking stick, proper clothing and determination. And those who reach Uhuru Point, the actual summit, or Gilman’s point on the lip of the crater, will have earned their climbing certificates.
The ascent of the slopes is a virtual climactic world tour from the tropics to the arctic. The cultivated foot-slopes give way to a lush montane forest inhabited by elusive elephant, leopard, buffalo, the endangered Abbot’s duiker and other small animals and primates. Higher still lies the moorland zone, where a cover of giant heather is studded with otherworldly giant lobelias.
Above 4000m, a surreal alpine forest supports little life other than a few hardy mosses and lichen. Then, finally, the last vestigial vegetation gives way to a winter wonderland of ice and snow and the magnificent beauty of the roof of the African continent.
Whether or not your intent is to scale the peak Kilimanjaro will fascinate you at every level.
Rainfall is higher in the lower and forest zones and as a result of the colder and drier conditions in the higher reaches, the plant and animal life are correspondingly reduced. Generally due to the altitude there are marked differences in the ecosystem as you advance to toward the summit. The zones are generally broken into 5 distinct bands as follows:
Zone 1: Lower Slopes
Mostly human use for the land such as the grazing of livestock and cultivation. You will not see any large wild animals at this zone however you can catch tree hyrax or greater galago. Most notable in this zone is the plentiful birdlife where cultivated areas and natural forest meet. Expect to see common bulbul, white browed robin chat, tropical boubou and speckled mousebirds.
Zone 2: Forest
This zone is the richest of the mountain and consists of a wide band of montane forest. An amazing 96%of the water on Kilimanjaro originates from this zone. Inhabitants of this zone are blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, olive baboons, antelope, birds and butterflies.
Zone 3: Heath and Moorland
Heather and heath like shrubs are predominant in this zone. There are few large animals here. If you see any they are usually on transit to other areas. It is possible to sight eland, duiker, african hunting dog, buffalo and elephant. Birds found in this zone include the hornbill and the turaco. Eagles and buzzards soar high above and smaller birds such as the alpine chat. Streaky seed eater can also be seen.
Zone 4 and Zone 5: Highland Desert and the Summit
These zones don’t offer wildlife. Enjoy the view.
Kilimanjaro is the highest peak on the African continent. It is composed of three extinct volcanoes named Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira. As the world’s highest free standing mountain it’s bulk looms 4800m above an undulating plain that averages around 1000m above sea level. It’s long axis lies in a north-west to south-east line for 60kms and at its widest Kilimanjaro is 40kms across.
Kilimanjaro grew out of the 3 volcanoes. As lava extruded the cones grew more and more over thousands of years to a height of about 5000m. Shira collapsed into a caldera and became inactive while Kibo and Mawenzi continued with their lavas intermingling to about 5500metres. Mawenzi died and exploded and Kibo continued producing several more lava flows and thus Kilimanjaro reached its towering height of 5,900 metres. About 350,000 years ago it stopped growing and erosion of the mountain has bought it to its current height of 5,895metres.
Equatorial to arctic conditions are experienced on Kilimanjaro. The range begins with the warm, dry plains with the average temperatures of 30 degrees celsius, ascends through a wide belt of wet tropical forest, through zones with generally decreasing temperatures and rainfall, to the summit where there is permanent ice and below freezing temperatures. Weather on Kilimanjaro is a direct result of season of the year and the side and altitude of the mountain.
If climbing Kilimanjaro allow at least 5 nights to avoid altitude sickness.
WHEN TO VISIT
The fact that most months of the year have so few rainy days makes it possible to climb in relatively good conditions year round. Generally June through to October, and December through to March are the preferred months for climbing Kilimanjaro. Within this period the clearest and warmest conditions are from December through to February while it is dry and colder July through August. Generally, April May and November are to be avoided as these are the wettest months.
Accommodation at Kilimanjaro National Park
Barafu Camp is your campsite on night 5 of the Machame route and night 6 for the Lemosho route.
Barranco Camp is your campsite on day 4 of the Machame, Lemosho and Shira routes.
First Cave Campsite is the first stop on the Rongai route sitting at an elevation of (2880m), situated on the edge of the moorland zone with extensive views over Kenya.
Forest Camp is the first campsite on the Lemosho route.
Horombo Hut is a collection of A-frame huts situated on the Marangu Route at 4600m in altitude. It is the second and third nights accommodation for the Marangu route.
Facing the snow-capped peaks of Kilimanjaro and the endless African savannah, Kambi Ya Tembo offers fantastic views.
Karanga Camp is your campsite for day 4 on the Machame route and day 5 on the Lemosho and Shira routes.
Situated at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall at an elevation of (4,750m), Kibo Hut is the final camp before the Summit attempt to Uhuru Peak on the Marangu and Rongai routes.
Positioned amongst the giant lobelias, Kikelewa Cave Camp is the second camp on the Rongai route.
The Lava Tower Camp is used as the third nights campsite on the Shira Route or as an alternate acclimatisation excursion for climbers on the Machame Route.
Machame Camp is the 1st camp you will encounter upon trekking the Machame route.
Mandara hut, is a village of A-framed huts in a forest clearing on the Marangu Route.
Mawenzi Tarn Camp Site is the third nights camp site on the Rongai route.
Millenium Camp is a camp used on the descent of Shira, Lemosho, Machame and Umbwe Routes.
Moir Hut Camp is a less frequented camp on Kilimanjaro and is only used on the Lemosho Route.
Mweka Camp is a descent only campsite from the Shira, Lemosho, Machame and Umbwe routes.
Second Cave Campsite lies on the Rongai route and enjoys superbs views of Kibo peak and the eastern ice fields on the crater rim.
Shira Camp 1 is the 2nd campsite ascending the Machame and Lemosho routes.
Shira 2 Camp is the third campsite on the Lemosho route and the second campsite for the Shira route.
Shu’mata Camp consists of 5 comfortable tents in the true Hemingway style. All have en-suite bathrooms decorated colourfully with Maasai art.
Situated on the edge of the rainforest at 3,600m, Simba Camp is the first stop on the Shira Route.
Third Cave Camp is the third nights campsite for the Rongai route.