Kilimanjaro National Park

Kilimanjaro, 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

Kilimanjaro National Park

Quick facts About Kilimanjaro National Park:

  • Size of the national park: 75, 353 ha
  • Size of the surrounding forest reserve: 107,828 ha
  • Mt Kilimanjaro and its forests were declared a game reserve in 1910 by the German colonial government.
  • In 1921 the area was gazetted as a Forest Reserve and in 1973 the mountain above the tree line (2700m) was reclassified as a national park.
  • The national park also protects some of the montane forest, and six access corridors through the forest belt below.
  • Kilimanjaro National Park was opened for public access in 1977
  • In 1987 the park was inscribed as a World Heritage Site for its natural value
  • The park is administered by the Tanzania National Parks Authority

 

Climate Of Mount Kilimanjaro National park

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 To Kilimanjaro National Park

The distance from Arusha City to Moshi Town is 123Km and it takes two hour (2hrs), reaching to Marangu (Park Headquarter) from Moshi Town is 48 km and takes an hour (1Hour) drive.  It is about 86Km from Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) to Park Headquarter (Marangu) by road and it take one and half hour (1Hr30Min). The park can only be reached by road. Read more on how to get to Kilimanjaro

 

Best Time to Visit Kilimanjaro National Park

Mountain climbing can be done throughout the year. However, the best time is mid June-October and December-mid March.

 

Kilimanjaro National Park Attractions

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

 

Kibo Peak:  Image Glaciers at 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.

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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 three.

 

 

Cathedral Point – ShiraPeak
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Cathedral is the point found on Shira Peak and can be climbed easily during day hike or summit.

Shira Plateau

After collapsing, the Shira peak formed a plateau of outstanding scenic beauty on the mountain. This plateau has an open grassland, heath and moorland with a large concentration of endemic plants including Senecio and lobelias. While on the plateau, one can visit the Shira central cone, the Cathedral and the Needle. Several kinds of migratory mammals such as buffaloes, elephants and elands use this plateau for feeding or salt licking.

 

 

Montane Forest

A wide band of exceptionally beautiful montane forest encircles the whole of Kilimanjaro from about 1800 –2800m. About 96% of water on Kilimanjaro originates from within this zone. The forest zone is worth a visit even if you are not climbing to the peaks. Marangu nature trails in particular take you through this forest belt. This belt supports several plant species, including endemic plants like Impatiens kilimanjari.

Lake Chala

Lake Chala is located about 30 minutes’ drive from Himo town. Although situated outside the Park, the lake is an important geological link to the park. It draws its water via underground streams that originate from Kilimanjaro. This deep fresh water lake can be visited prior to, or after climbing the mountain.

 

Vegetation Zonation

Mount Kilimanjaro supports a unique combination of eco-climatic zones that takes you to the equivalent of a trip from the equator to the arctic in a brief tour.

As one climbs Kilimanjaro, vegetation and weather changes in response to the changing elevation. Between 1800-2800m, one goes through a montane forest.

From 2800-4000m, vegetation is mainly heath and moorland composed of Helichrysum [Everlastings], Lobellia and Senecio.

From 4000-5000m, vegetation is alpine desert with sparse plants adapted to harsh conditions.

The summit zone has temperatures below the freezing point throughout the year. 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.

 

Marangu Waterfall

Located along Marangu route 1Km provides a spectacular experience while enjoying walking inside the thick Montane forest.

Maundi Crater Rim-Mt. Kilimanjaro-Marangu Route-Tanzania | Flickr

Maundi Crater

This crater is about 15 minutes walk past Mandara huts on the Marangu route. On clear days, the crater provides a panoramic view of Lakes Chala, Jipe and Nyumba ya Mungu, all of which derive their waters from the Majestic Kilimanjaro

 

Welcome to Kilimanjaro's Rainforest - Kilimanjaro

Animals

Mount Kilimanjaro inhabits 140 species of mammals; 7 primates, 25 carnivores, 25 antelopes, 179 bird species and 24 species of bat. Hikes may view various animals including The Black and White Colobus Monkey, Blue monkey, Forest Duikers and small mammals like Myosorex zinkii which is endemic to Mt. Kilimanjaro. Buffaloes, Elands and Elephants are the large mammals often seen on Shira plateau and Rongai.

Zebra Rock

This stripped rocks are allocated along the Horombo -Kibo alternative trail 3Kms from Horombo huts. Visitors can have a short walk to this rocks as a part of the slogan “Go higher slip low”.

 

Kilimanjaro National Park

Uhuru Point

This is first highest point reached by climbers trying to conquer Kibo peak, 6km from Kibo hut (5895m). Visitors reached at this point are provided with the gold certificates and recorded as a successful climber.

 

Stella Point

This is a second highest point reached by climbers trying to conquer Kibo peak, 5.3km from Kibo hut (5739m). Visitors reached at this point are provided with the silver certificates and recorded as a successful climber.

 

Gilman’s Point

This is a third highest point reached by climbers trying to conquer Kibo peak, 5km from Kibo hut (5685m). Visitors reached at this point are provided with the bronze certificates and recorded as a successive climber.

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Ash Pit

This is a recent volcanic landmark on the highest point of Africa (100,000yrs). Visitors after reaching the summit may have a visit to this unique area.

 

Kilimanjaro National Park Tourism Activities

The park is endowed with various tourism activities that visitors can do during their visit. The activities includes; Mountain Climbing to the Summit (MC), Paragliding, 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

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. Six mountain trails can take a climber to the highest point in Africa, each route offering different attractions and challenges.

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.

 

 

Mawenzi Technical Climbing

Mawenzi is the second highest peak on Mount Kilimanjaro. The rugged peak of Mawenzi (5,149 m) lies to the East. The top of its Western face is fairly steep with many crags, pinnacles and dyke swarms. Its Eastern side falls in cliffs over 1,000m high in a complex of gullies and rock faces, rising above two deep gorges. The terrain of Mawenzi peak makes it unreachable but by technical roped ascents (supplied by an individual client). Technical climbers can hike the present seven sub-peaks namely Nordecke 5136 m, Hans Meyer 5149 m, highest point, Purtscheller 5120 m, Borchers 5115 m, Klute 5096 m, Latham 5087 m and Londt point 4945 m depending on the time and season of the year.

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African Adventures: Small Groups and Private VIP Tours in Tanzania | Altezza Travel

Paragliding

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

 

Mountain Cycling (Kilema Route)

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.

 

It takes 5 to 7 days to reach the summit.

Day 1: From Kilema gate to Kilema camp (12Kms; ~2900m)

Day 2: From Kilema camp to horombo huts (7Kms; 3720m)

Day 3: Acclimatization at Horombo huts short ride to Zebra Rocks (3km)

Day 4: Departing from Horombo to Kibo hut using Kibo alternative route via Jiwe la Ukoyo (10.16Km, 4720m)

Day 5: Carry bicycle to Hans Meyer cave, lock there and back to Kibo hut to overstay

Day 6: Walk to Hans Meyer, pick the bicycle to summit (6Km; 5895m) then back to Horombo hut to overnight

Day 7: Downhill ride to Kilema gate

 

Mount Kilimanjaro cycling is named as a “Worlds’ most challenging mountain cycling” and also “Worlds’ longest mountain downhill ride” with a difference of 4000m within a strip of 34Kms!

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Kilimanjaro National Park Picnicking

There are total of 13 picnic sites along the hiking routes (Rongai starting, Kisambioni, Lauwo, wona, last water, Jiwe la Ukoyo, Machame half way, Jiwe la Mbula, Baranco junction, Morum, Uwanja wa ndege, Mgongo wa Tembo, Daraja Refu, Kilimamchele) that offer a spectacular view of the attractions found in and outside the park. They are best places for taking packed meals on your way to the roof of Africa.

Marangu via Lauwo to Mandara Route (SWS) :

The Route starts from Marangu via Lauwo Waterfall to Mandara Hut then back to Marangu. The route covers a distance of 12Km.

Machame Gate to Macham Hut Route (SWS)

The Route starts from Machame Gate to Macham Hut then back to Machame Gate. The route covers a distance of 11Km

Morum Barrier to Shira I Route (SWS)

The Route starts from Morum Barrier to Shira I then back to Morum Barrier Gate. The route covers a distance of 6Km.

Rongai Gate to Simba Camp

The Route starts from Rongai Gate to Simba Camp then back to Rongai Gate. The route covers a distance of 5Km.

 

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.

 

Lemosho Route (LWS)

This route is also for ascending located on the western side of the mountain and it comprised of six stations of Mti Mkubwa then join Londorosi route at Shira I.

Londorosi Route (LWS)

This is ascending route located on the western side of the mountain and it comprised of five stations namely Shira I, Shira II, Baranco, Karanga and Barafu. It also offers the chance of using the Northern circuit and Western breach.

Machame Route (LWS)

This is ascending route located on the South-West of the mountain and it has five stations namely Machame hut, Shira cave, Baranco, Karanga and Barafu.

Mweka Route (LWS)

This is a descending route located on the southern side of the mountain. It comprised of three stations namely Mweka hut, High camp (Millenium) and Barafu. Visitors form Londorosi, Lemosho, Machame and Umbwe descent using this route.

Umbwe Route (LWS)

It is ascending route located on the South-West of the mountain and it has four stations, the Umbwe cave inside the forest belt and the other three after join Machame route at Baranco camp.

Kilema Route (LWS)

This route is for cycling. It has three stations namely Kilemamchele, Maua and Kibo; it is two way traffic.

Marangu Route (LWS)

This is ascending-descending route with provision of huts along the trail. It has three stations namely Mandara, Horombo and Kibo. On the mountain stations, there are toilets, kitchens, dinning and rooms for clients. Advance booking through a licensed mountain tour operator is mandatory.

Rongai Route (LWS)

It is ascending route with an option of using four or five stations depending on the choice of the climber. Visitors who ascend through this route will descend through Marangu route. Option of four stations includes Simba camp, second cave, third cave and school hut and the second option for five stations is Simba camp, second cave, Kikelelwa, Mawenzi tarn hut and School hut.

 

Kilimanjaro National Park Accommodation Facilities

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

 

The hut has a capacity of 100beds for tourists and 200beds for guides and porters; therefore total number of people being 300 at a time.

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.

 

The hut has a capacity of 170 beds for tourists and 900beds for guides and porters; therefore total number of people being 1,070at a time.

 

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.

 

Allow Glacier Camp

This is the third camp along Machame route located 24kms from Machame gate and at an altitude of 4903M a.m.s.l. It is used by visitors who attemps their summit using the Western breach to uhuru.

Baranco Hut Camp

This is the fourth/third camp along Machame route located 26kms from Machame gate and at an altitude of 3900M a.m.s.l.

 

Karanga Hut Camp

This is the fifth camp along Machame route located 32kms from Machame gate and at an altitude of 3995M a.m.s.l

Barafu Hut Camp

This is the sixth camp along Machame route located 36kms from Machame gate and at an altitude of 4673M a.m.s.l.

 

High Camp

This is the second camp along Mweka route located 13.5kms from Mweka gate and at an altitude of 3950M a.m.s.l.

Mweka Camp Mweka Camp, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania | Discover Africa Safaris

Mweka camp

This is the last camp along Mweka route located 10kms from Mweka gate and at an altitude of 3100M a.m.s.l. This camp is used by visitors after summit.

Mti Mkubwa Camp

This is the first camp along Lemosho route located 3.5kms from lemosho gate and at an altitude of 2650M a.m.s.l.

Shira I Camp

This is the second camp along Lemosho route located 10.5kms from lemosho gate and at an altitude of 3610M a.m.s.l.

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Shira II Camp

This is the third camp along Lemosho route located 20.5kms from lemosho gate and at an altitude of 3850M a.m.s.l.

Tents at Moir Hut Camp - Kilimanjaro National Park - Tanza… | Flickr

Moir Hut Camp

This is a first camp located 10Kms from Shira I camp and it is used for overnight for visitors using the western circuit.

 

 

DAY 5 - Pofu 2 camp 3998M to 3rd Caves camp 3972M | Kilimanjaro

Pofu Camp

This is a second camp after Moir hut were visitors overnight before joining the Rongai route at Third cave or School hut.

Simba Camp

This is the first camp along Rongai route located 5kms from Rongai gate and at an altitude of 2671M a.m.s.l.

 

Second Cave Camp

This is the second camp along Rongai route located 13kms from Rongai gate and at an altitude of 3450M a.m.s.l.

Tents at Moir Hut Camp - Kilimanjaro National Park - Tanza… | Flickr

Moir Hut Camp

This is a first camp located 10Kms from Shira I camp and it is used for overnight for visitors using the western circuit.

 

 

Third Cave Camp

This is the third camp along Rongai route located 16kms from Rongai gate and at an altitude of 3800M a.m.s.l.

Kikelelwa Camp

This is the third camp via Mawenzi hut along Rongai route located 1kms from Rongai gate and at an altitude of 3600M a.m.s.l.

 

Mawenzi Tarn Hut Camp

This is the fourth camp along Rongai route located 21kms from Rongai gate and at an altitude of 4315M a.m.s.l.

School Hut Camp

This is the fifth and a base camp along Rongai route located 31kms from Rongai gate (via Mawenzi tarn hut) and at an altitude of 400M a.m.s.l.

 

Maua Camp

This camp is under development and it will be used by visitors from Rongai route. It is located adjacent to Horombo huts.

Umbwe Cave Camp

This is the first camp along the Umbwe route “the whisky route”

Kilimanjaro National Park Fees

  1. Of or above the age of 16 years – 70 USD
  2. Between the age of 5 years and 16 years – 20 USD
  3. Children below the age of 5 years – free

Permit for camping in Kilimanjaro National Park

  1. Of or above the age of 16 years – 60 USD
  2. Between the age of 5 years and 16 years – 20 USD
  3. Children below the age of 5 years – free

Huts, Hostel, Rest Houses Fees

  1. Kilimanjaro National Park: Mandara, Horombo and Kibo (Huts and Camping) 50 USD

Rescue Fee for Mount Kilimanjaro

  1. Rescue fee – 20 USD