Destinations | Mount Kilimanjaro National Park

Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa. It rises 5895 meters above sea level, and it is the highest free-standing mountain in the world. It is a volcanic mountain, meaning that it was formed through successive volcanic eruptions, as opposed to mountains like the Himalayas, which were formed through tectonic activity. Mt. Kilimanjaro is one of the largest volcanic mountains in the world. With an area of 756 square kilometers, Kilimanjaro National Park was established in 1973 to preserve the mountain's outstanding scenic features and its flora and fauna.

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 is one of the world's most accessible high summits, a beacon for visitors from around the world. Most climbers reach the crater rim with little more than a walking stick, proper clothing and shoes. Besides the peaks and moorland, the park consists of mountain forest with relics of old vegetation. Also, significant numbers of mammals, birds, and insects inhabit the area. Mammals include Elephant, Buffalo, Eland, Duicker, Fox, Leopard, Baboon, Black and White Colobus Monkey. The area is also frequented by a variety of colourful birds.

The outstanding features are three major volcanic centers: SHIRA in the west (3962 metres). MAWENZI in the east (5149 metres), and snow - capped KIBO in the middle (5895 metres). The most recent volcano.

To climb the mountain, the ascent and descent takes between five and nine days. The mountain can be climbed by any normal fit person, with the assistance of a guide and porters. The park has six hiking routes through the Kilimanjaro Forest Reserve: Marangu, Machame, Umbwe, Shira (Lemosho and Londorossi), Mweka and Rongai. 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.

About Kilimanjaro National Park:
Size: 755 sq km.
Location: Northern Tanzania, near the town of Moshi.

Getting there
128 km from Arusha.
About one hour's drive from Kilimanjaro International Airport.

What to do:
Six usual trekking routes to the summit and other more-demanding mountain treks.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 south-eastern slopes.

When to go:
Clearest and warmest conditions from December to February, but also dry (and colder) from July-September.

Click here for more information about climbing the Kilimanjaro

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