Mount Kilimanjaro

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About Kilimanjaro National Park

Kilimanjaro; the name itself is a mystery. 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 that encompasses the entire mountain mass, except the simple word Kipoo (now known as Kibo) for the familiar snowy peak that stands imperious over the continent; the summit of Africa.

Kilimanjaro, by any name, is a metaphor for the compelling beauty of East Africa. When you see it, you will understand why. Not only is this the highest peak on the African continent, it is also the tallest free-standing mountain in the world; rising in breathtaking isolation from the surrounding coastal scrubland, elevation around 900 meters (559 miles), to an imperious 5,895 meters (19,336 feet).

Abount Mount Kilimanjaro

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 determination. Those who actually reach Uhuru Point, the true summit, or Gillman’s Point on the lip of the crater, will have earned their climbing certificates and wonderful memories.

Mount Kilimanjaro Trekking

But there is so much more to Kili than her summit. The ascent of the slopes is a virtual climatic world tour, from the tropics to the Arctic. Even before you cross the national park boundary (at the 2,700 m 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 4,000 m, a surreal alpine desert supports little life other than a few hardy mosses and lichen. 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.

Details

Size: 1,668 sq km (641 sq miles).
Location: Northern Tanzania, near the town of Moshi.

Getting there

128 km (80 miles) from Arusha. About one hour’s drive from Kilimanjaro airport.

Mount Kilimanjaro Details
Kilimanjaro National Park
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, and a visit to Chala Crater Lake on the mountain’s southeastern slopes.

When to Go

The clearest and warmest conditions are from December to February. It is dry and colder from July through September.

Accommodation

Huts and campsites on the mountain. Several hotels and campsites outside the park in the village of Marangu and town of Moshi.

NOTE:

  • Climb slowly to acclimate yourself to the altitude and to maximize your chances of reaching the summit. To avoid altitude sickness, allow a minimum of five nights or more for the climb. It is always best to take your time and enjoy the beauty of the mountain.