Kilimanjaro national park hosts Mt Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa with snow at the top and world’s highest free standing mountain. It comprises two dormant volcanoes, Kibo 5,895m, Mawenzi 5,149m and one extinct volcano Shira 3,962m. The size is 1,712Km2. It was declared as a National Park in 1973 and opened for tourism in 1977. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site by in 1987.
KILIMANJARO NATIONAL PARK WEATHER
Kilimanjaro national park has 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 other season is around November.
Dry season is from late June through September during which the nights are cool and the days completely clear.
With the park at an altitude between 1700 m to 5895 meter, the annual average rainfall ranges from 828 mm at alpine desert to 2500 mm at Montane forest.
KILIMANJARO NATIONAL PARK ATTRACTIONS
Kilimanjaro national park is endowed with a diverse variety of attractions ranging from terrestrial wilderness to permanent glaciers on the mountain peaks.
The mountain has three peaks which attract hikers:
This is highest peak ( at 5,895m) on Mount Kilimanjaro. It is covered by snow throughout the year despite being close to the equator.
It is the second highest peak which forms mount Kilimanjaro at 5,149m. It is rugged and maintain the features of glaciation.
- Shira peak
With an altitude of 3,962m,it is the oldest peak and forms a Shira plateau with outstanding scenic beauty on the mountain with several kinds of migratory large mammals such as buffaloes, elephants and elands.
A wide band of beautiful montane forest encircles the whole of Kilimanjaro from about 1800M to 2800m.It supports several plant species, including endemic plants like Impatiens kilimanjari. The forest zone is worth a visit even if you are not climbing to the peaks.
Five climatic zones provides you with the equivalent of a trip from the equator to the arctic. As one climbs 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.
It is located along Marangu route at a distance of 2.8Kms and provides a spectacular experience while enjoying a trek inside the thick montane forest.
Maundi crater is 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 Mount Kilimanjaro.
KIFINIKA CULTURAL SITE
This site is also along Marangu route that is sacred by the local Chagga people. Historically, the site was used for cultural rituals.
KILIMANJARO NATIONAL PARK WLDLIFE
Wildlife recorded in Kilimanjaro national park include 154 species of mammals on the mountain, 7 primates species and hundreds of bird species. Rare but can be spotted include elephants, giraffes, buffalos as well as smaller, unique mammals such as porcupines, honey badgers and aardvarks. Most of the time, these animals stay away from humans and hide in the thick, lush rain forest.
ACTIVITIES IN MOUNT KILIMANJARO NATIONAL PARK
The park has various tourism activities that visitors can engage in during their visit. The activities includes; Mountain Climbing, Paragliding, Nature Walking , Picnic, Filming, Non-Summit Bound Climbers, Mountain Cycling and Crater Camping.
CLIMBING MOUNT KILIMANJARO
Climbing to Kibo peak can take about 5 to 8 days depending on the route. The more days, the higher the possibility to conquer the summit. There are six mountain trails that can take a climber to the highest point of the mountain, each route offering different attractions and challenges.
CYCLING IN KILIMANJARO NATIONAL PARK
It is possible 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.
MAWENZI TECHNICAL CLIMBING
Mawenzi is the second highest peak on the Mountain. Climbers can hike the present seven sub-peaks enjoying the view of cliffs, complex of gullies and rock faces.
PARAGLIDING IN MT KILIMANJARO
It is possible to paraglide from Mount Kilimanjaro and one may use parachutes or wing suits while undertaking this activity.
ACCOMODATIONS IN KILIMANJARO NATIONAL PARK
The Park provides a variety of accommodations ranging from Mountain huts, hostel and public campsites.
Accommodation is provided for mountain climbers at Mandara, Horombo and Kibo when using Marangu route.
There are more that 22 camping sites within the park.
They are also available and are low cost.