Kilimanjaro National Park

Kilimanjaro National Park is already famous from the huge name it carries of the renowned mountain of light, also known as Kilimanjaro. The national park is one of the national parks which are found in one of the East African countries, Tanzania. The park features the highest snow-capped mountain in Africa, called Kilimanjaro national park. Kilimanjaro national park is located in the northern part of Tanzania, just above the gentle rolls of hills and the plateau of Amboseli national park. The park is located near the renowned town is Moshi about 300km from the equator. Kilimanjaro national park is among the best adventure holiday destinations in Tanzania and, perhaps, east Africa at large.

Mount Kilimajaro National Park

Kilimanjaro Mountain rises above sea level to over 4877m for the lowest peak an5895m for the highest peak of the mountain. Kilimanjaro Mountain is the highest volcanic massif in the whole African continent; its snow peak is shining in the morning and in the evening during the sunset in the savannah plains. Mountain Kilimanjaro is engulfed with a thick rim of rain forests which harbor a lot of primates like monkeys and birds plus other mammals. The high peaks of the park; kibo, mawenzi, and shira, are good areas for hiking.

The base or the low slopes of mountain kilimanjaro are easily reached by trekking through the hiking trails which go through the thick rain forest which is home to a lot of primates, majorly the black and white monkeys. The trails also passes by the caldera lake of chala as toy are reaching uhuru summit where the slopes get steep with patches of glaciers. Mountain Kilimanjaro has three major peaks; kibo, mawenzi and shira. Hiking from the base of the mountain takes your through three vegetation zones; the lower slopes of the mountain are covered with thick montane forests, then the heath and moorland which are succeeded by the alpine vegetation and then the snow caped summit with scanty vegetation. The vegetation zones on mountain kilimajaro national park provide an example of an extraordinary natural phenomenon.

Brief history about mountain Kilimanjaro national park

During the colonial dominancy in Tanganyika, this is currently known as Tanzania, the British and the Germany demarcated the boundaries of the great Kilimanjaro game reserve then. In 1973, the park was established and Kilimanjaro national park initially comprised of the whole mountain. But then, mountain Kilimanjaro was still naturally congested with over six forest corridors upwards from the montane corridor.

However, in 1987, Kilimanjaro national park started getting threats from the humans living around, and the forest which acted as a buffer zone to separate the parkland from the local communities was no more. In 1995, a number of scholars from different universities in Europe such as oxford and Princeton were sent to conduct a study on the wildlife of the area, coming up with a good result of about 154 species of mammals. It was these findings from the students that alerted the international conservationist organizations about the protection of kilimajaro national park which was then being gradually encroached. 

After sometime, in 2005,  the world heritage committee proposed and recommended the area of the park to also be extended, and the boundaries of Kilimanjaro park where moved covering the whole of the mountain and the natural forest around the base of mountain Kilimanjaro. Currently, Kilimanjaro covers up an area of about 1688 square kilometers inhabited by diverse mammals and birds plus other wildlife species; it is the best adventure holiday destination in Tanzania.

Wildlife of Kilimanjaro national park

Kilimanjaro national park is a distinctive protected area found in Tanzania, the uniqueness of its wildlife makes it an outstanding destination for wildlife safaris in the country. The wildlife in Kilimanjaro national park might not be comparable to that found in the other national parks like Serengeti, but it is worth a visit. Kilimanjaro is a home to a number of wild animals like elephants, cape buffaloes, and antelopes among others. 

The wild population in Kilimanjaro national park is supported by the park’s proximity to a number of other more dense national parks in terms of wild animals. Kilimanjaro national park is connected to Amboseli national park, It also acts as a corridor to Arusha national park and tsavo national park; even though the corridors are encroached which has led to the migration of the wildlife to other national parks.

The wildlife in Kilimanjaro park is still at stake from the stress exerted by the external forces such as the local communities like gardening on the park’s land and harvesting of resources from the national park without permission, downstream pollution, invasive species, wildfires and the climatic change, development of tourism infrastructure, plus other activities that result into encroachment on the park’s land. However, education and involvement of all the Kilimanjaro national park stakeholders are vital to helping reduce the threat to the wildlife in the national park.

What to do in Kilimanjaro national park

There is a long list of activities you can do when you visit Kilimanjaro national park, but, mountain climbing is the most famous activity booked by most of the visitors to Kilimanjaro national. Kilimanjaro mountan climbing is one of the most adventurous climbs in Africa, number visitors can book for different climbing sessions to the peak of the mountain, kibo which is snowcapped and provides a view of the other peaks like shira and Maweza. Other easy climbing trails lead to shira peak which formed a plateau on top thus facilitating the growth of plants and grass. To note, there are a number of climbing routes which are booked by guest basing on the interest of the visitor, they include Machame route, umbweze route, lemosho route, and Kilema route. However, you can choose to book for all the routes for an extremely adventurous feel in mountain Kilimanjaro national park.

Another activity is wildlife viewing which is mainly conducted in the montane forest of Kilimanjaro national park. Forests on the base of Kilimanjaro national park provide a home for primates such as black and white colobus monkeys, blue colobus monkeys, and baboons among others, elands, elephants are common at shira plateau plains. You can also find some warthoghs, gazelles, cheetahs, lions, jackals, hyenas, honey bajas among others, althogu very rare. Kilimanjaro national park has quite a number of wild animals even though not much as in the other national parks with in Tanzania.

Birding is also possible in Kilimanjaro park due to the presence of ecosystems that support the flourishing of avian life on the mountain slopes and the base of Kilimanjaro Mountain. Kilimanjaro national park is home to over 150 bird species some of which are migratory birds form southern Europe and North Africa. Visiting Kilimanjaro national park is a chance for you to spot birds like the white checked raven, resident black shouldered kite, the long-tailed trogon, the gabar gashawk, blue napped mouse bird, the African fish eagle, horn bills, among others. The chance for you to see the migratory birds is greater during November to April.

Nature walks in mountain Kilimanjaro national park are conducted along the gentle slopes of mountain Kilimanjaro itself. The nature walks in the park offer you with a chance to see a number of animals at a closer look, for example the primates in the tree canopies of the mountain forest, lizards, butterflies and a number of birds.

Camping is yet another activity to do during your visit to Kilimanjaro national park. Camping offers an exclusive epic time in the bush. There are over 32 camping sites along the hiking routes to the top of mountain Kilimanjaro. The camping sites are well supplied with shades, accommodation and bush toilets; also a number of camp sites offer catering to the hikers. 

Cycling and mountain biking is awesome within mountain Kilimanjaro national park; however an additional fee is expected for hiring the bikes and bicycles. The cycling trails will take you through the chaga farm lands. To note, cycling should be conducted or lead by a guide who is well versed by the park premises.

Other activities include, picnicking which is conducted from a number; over 13 sites, like filming, daraja refu, kilimamkhele, jiwe la mbula site, last water and wona site among others. You can also enjoy filming in Kilimanjaro national park since it provides an epic scenery and view of a wide are plus spectacular wildlife species.

Mount Kilimajaro National Park
Mount Kilimajaro National Park

Accommodation in Kilimanjaro national park

Most of the accommodation in mountain Kilimanjaro national park is concentrated in the western part of the park called African mecca. There are a number of huts, campsites on the mountain slopes within the park; however, you can choose to stay in the   other hotels and campsites outside Kilimanjaro national park-like in the village of Marangu and Moshi town. There is a sum of three recommendable accommodations in western Kilimanjaro which offers awesome accommodation services to the visitors, plus special activities such as bird watching and nature walks.

Shu’mata camp is one of the accommodations found in Kilimanjaro . It is isolated on the hilltop below the steep slopes of mountain kilimnajaro or the view summit of the mountain. Shumata has a private concession with in the Maasai homelands; no other can go besides the guests to shumata camp guests. You have a full opportunity to see the animals in the national park that move freely around the lodge.

At shumata camp, you are offered a chance to meditate and also enjoy yoga in one of the Maasai guided sessions conducted by a Maasai traditional healer. You can also enjoy learning a lot about the Maasai people since the camp is located in the vast Maasai land of Tanzania.

Ndarakwai ranch is another accommodation situated on the valley floor west of Kilimanjaro Mountain, with in Kilimanjaro park in Tanzania. The lodge offers about 15 self-contained tented cottages.  Your stay at Ndarakwai ranch is a chance for you to enjoy the comfort of the wild in relaxing accommodation. The cottages offer a view of the wildlife in the area such as elephants, plus the surrounding communities. To note; the Ndarakwai ranch is one other conservation projects, near mountain Kilimanjaro park, funded by tourism.

Kambi ya Tembo is another accommodation choice in Kilimanjaro park which offers free local adventures and access to the Maasai homesteads. You can enjoy shared trips with the Maasai people around the Kilimanjaro Mountain plus day treks to the mountain. Associability is a challenge through a bumpy and long road; however, the camp is worth the endurance. The camp uses lanterns to light up the cottages and the good warm welcome form the joyful staff is enough for the delightful first impression.

The best time to visit Kilimanjaro park in Tanzania is no different from the other national parks in east Africa. The dry season is the best time for Kilimanjaro national park; this is between the months of December to February. The clear and warm conditions of the dry season are conducive for game viewing in mountain Kilimanjaro park.

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