Kilimanjaro National Park

Kilimanjaro National Park is located in Tanzania along the northern border shared with Kenya.  It covers an area of 652 square miles (1,688 sq km) which includes the montane forest that surrounds Mount Kilimanjaro.  Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Africa and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Kilimanjaro National Park is home to Mount Kilimanjaro which is the tallest mountain in Africa and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world.  It reaches a maximum height of 19,341 feet (5,895 m) at Uhuru Peak.  Uhuru peak is part of the Kibo cone, which is one of three volcanic cones found on the mountain.

Mount Kilimanjaro and the surrounding national park area is unique compared to most national parks because almost all ecosystems are accounted for from the area between the base and summit.  The summit provides for an arctic ecosystem with a trek up the mountain delivering visitors through cultivated land, rainforest, heath, moorland, and alpine desert.

Mount Kilimanjaro is the easiest climb of the Seven Summits; the “seven summits” include the tallest mountain from each of the seven continental regions.  Accordingly, Mount Kilimanjaro is the most frequently climbed mountain as well.

There are seven different official routes up the mountain.  The Marangu route, which includes shared sleeping huts, is considered the easiest and the most common.  Failure to acclimate to the altitude is the most common reason that people do not reach the summit.

Wildlife is not abundant in this area; however, elephants, leopards, and buffalo may be seen in the montane forest.  These sightings are not something to anticipate with a climb up Mount Kilimanjaro.  One of the fun wildlife sightings is the western black and white colobus monkeys as they jump from tree to tree.

Highlights:

  • Seeing the tallest mountain in Africa
  • Climbing to the summit of the tallest free-standing mountain in the world
  • Checking off one of the Seven Summits

Any visitor who sees Mount Kilimanjaro uncovered from the clouds can’t help but stand in awe.  This is a highlight in and of itself, however making the trek up the mountain is a pinnacle experience for any who undergo the journey up.

The climb up is an amazing experience even if you are one of the climbers who does not reach the summit because of altitude sickness or possible exhaustion.  Amazing views of the surrounding plains await travelers along the way up the mountain.

A trek up to the summit allows a traveler to experience almost every type of ecological system in one single adventure.  Ecosystems include cultivated land, rainforest, heath, moorland, alpine desert, and an arctic summit.

 

Sources: 

National Geographic, Ten Reasons to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/adventure-blog/2012/06/21/ten-reasons-to-climb-kilimanjaro/, retrieved July 2019.

Tanzania Tourist Board, Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, https://www.tanzaniatourism.go.tz/en/destination/mount-kilimanjaro-national-park, retrieved July 2019.

UNESCO, Kilimanjaro National Park, https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/403, retrieved July 2019.

World Wildlife Fund, Ten Interesting Facts About Mt. Kilimanjaro, https://www.worldwildlife.org/blogs/good-nature-travel/posts/ten-interesting-facts-about-mt-kilimanjaro, retrieved July 2019.