Mount Kilimanjaro National Park
The Great Mount Kilimanjaro is a metaphor for the compelling beauty of Africa. Rising in absolute isolation, at 5,895meters (19,336 feet),Kilimanjaro is one of the highest walkable summits on the planet,a beacon for visitors from around the world. Just three degrees south of the equator,Kilimanjaro. The name itself is a mystery wreathed in clouds. It might mean Mountain of Light, Mountain of Greatness or Mountain of Caravans. Or it might not. The local people, the Wachagga, don’t even have a name for the whole massif, only Kipoo (now known as Kibo) for the familiar snowy peak that stands imperious, overseer of the continent, the summit of Africa. Kilimanjaro’s great peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi are nonetheless covered all the year round with snow and ice.
Most reasonably fit and properly guided climbers can experience tyhe triumph of reaching the Crater rim with little more than a walking stick, warm clothing and determination.And those who reach Uhuru Point, the actual summit, or Gillman’s Point on the lip of the crater, will have earned their climbing certificates. And their memories.
There is however, so much more to kill than the summit.A journey up to the slopes takes visitors on a climatic world tour,from the tropical to the arctic. Even before you cross the national park boundary (at the 2,700m contour), the cultivated footslopes give way to lush montane forest, inhabited by elusive elephant, leopard, buffalo, the endangered Abbot’s duiker, and other small antelope and primates. Higher still lies the moorland zone, where a cover of giant heather is studded with otherworldly giant lobelias. Above 4,000m, a surreal alpine desert 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 continent.
About Kilimanjaro National Park
1668 sq km (641 sq miles).
Northern Tanzania, near the town of Moshi.
128 km (80 miles) from Arusha. About one hour’s drive from Kilimanjaro airport
What to do
- Six usual trekking routes to the summit and other more-demanding mountaineering routes.
- Day or overnight hikes on the Shira plateau.
- Nature trails on the lower reaches.
- Trout fishing.
- Visit the beautiful Chala crater lake on the mountain’s southeastern slopes.
When to go:
Clearest and warmest conditions from December to February, but also dry (and colder) from July-September.
- Huts and campsites on the mountain.
- Several hotels and campsites outside the park in the village of Marangu and town of Moshi.
|Area||1668 sq km (641 sq miles)|
|Visa requirements||No Visa needed|