Kilimanjaro Mountains: Trekking in Tanzania.
The highest mountain in Africa, snow caped and world’s highest free standing volcano. It comprises of two dormant volcanoes and one extinct volcano respectively. The origin of the word is not well known but it said to be a combination of the Swahili word Kilima meaning “Mountain” and the KiChagga word Njaro, loosely translated as “Whiteness” giving the name “White Mountain”.
Its size is 1,712Km2 and 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. Climbing to the top which is far up into the sky it’s a life time experience that no one can forget.
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.
The park is located at an altitude between 1700 m to 5895 meter with annual average rainfall ranging from 828 mm at alpine desert to 2500 mm at montane forest
Attractions in Kilimanjaro Mountains National Park
Mountain climbing: The most common activity done in Kilimanjaro is mountain climbing. Climbing Africa’s free standing mountain will give you a thrilling experience you never imagined. Kibo peak is the highest peak snowcapped throughout the year offering magnificent views of the surrounding towns from a far, one of the peaks and the oldest known as shira peak formed up a plateau providing spectacular grasslands and various plant species with a lot of wild life.
Wildlife viewing: A number of various animals can be seen at Mount Kilimanjaro national park though it cannot be compared to other national parks in Tanzania, some of the wild lives to expect while on safari at Mount Kilimanjaro are; vervet monkey, genet cat, honey badger, aardvark, baboon, Columbus monkey, bush babies, elands and elephants mostly seen at the Shira plateau plains.
Bird watching: Mount Kilimanjaro national park boasts with different species of birds, it is believed to be a home to over 150 bird species some of which are migratory birds and others endemic to this area, some of the birds in Mount Kilimanjaro are; white necked Raven, resident black shouldered kite, long tailed trogon, Gabar goshawk, blue napped mouse birds, grey hornbill, African fish eagles, white cheeked barbet, African pygmy kingfisher and red capped robin chat among others. The best time to do bird watching is in November to April when migratory birds from Europe and North Africa are present.
Cycling: Tourists can make their safari more experimental by cycling to the highest peak of Africa through the Kilema route; additional fee might be added for this activity. There are three main stations. The cycling will expose you to farmlands of the chagga people. However, this activity should be done by well experienced mountain bikers accompanied by a tourist’s guide who’s knowledgeable about Kilimanjaro.
Camping: To have an exclusive bush experience, camping within the 32 camping sites along the second hiking routes will be memorable. The campsites provide comfortable accommodation and bush toilets as well as mouthwatering meals to suit your hiking experience.
Nature guided walks: Guided nature walks can be done at the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro forest canopy and tourists can encounter a lot of primates like the red tailed monkey, olive baboon, white and black Columbus monkey and a lot of plant species not forgetting the panoramic views of the chagga farmlands and neighboring towns.
Picnicking: Mount Kilimanjaro national park boasts with the 13 picking sites where tourists can enjoy this activity in the uninterrupted wilderness, the picnic sites are; Daraja refu, Kilimamchele, Wona, Last water, Machame half way and Jiwe la mbula among others. Tourist can enjoy their packed lunch from one of this site.
Filming: Mount Kilimanjaro being Africa’s free standing mountain offers panoramic views suitable for filming adventure movies, one of the famous films that scooped an award was done from Kilimanjaro this was done in 1952 and the title was the snows of Kilimanjaro.
Recommended Cars for Tarangire Trip
Best Time to Visit – Kilimanjaro Mountains
Kilimanjaro is accessible at any time during the year but the weather patterns on the mountain are erratic and hard to predict. Traditionally, the main seasons are from December through March and from June through October with temperatures in Moshi averaging 22 degrees Celsius and summit temperatures of around 7 degrees C.
The best time for climbing, however, is during the dry season from late June to October. The rains are in April, May and November but because of climate change, sometimes the rains come earlier or later. During the rains, we recommend the Rongai route as the northern side of the mountain is more sheltered.
How to get to Kilimanjaro national park
The park can be accessed by road or flight via Kilimanjaro International Airport – about 45km to the west. The Park Headquarters and one of the ascending gates are at Marangu, about 41Km from Moshi town and 86km from Kilimanjaro International Airport.
The other seven gates of Rongai, Machame, Londorosi, Lemosho, Kilema, Mweka and Umbwe are located around the mountain base and can be reached by road.