Fairend Safaris

Kilimanjaro National Park

Kilimanjaro National Park is located in the northern part of Tanzania neighboring Kenya’s Amboseli National Park. The park is home to Mount Kilimanjaro which is the tallest mountain in Africa. Besides, its highest peak is Uhuru Peak standing at 5,895 meters above sea level.   Mountain Kilimanjaro is engulfed with a thick rim of rainforests that harbor a lot of mammals, birds, and primates.

This park is a great destination for adventurous travelers who are interested in hiking and this can be done at different peaks like Kibo, mawenzi, and Shira.

Hiking from the base of the mountain takes you through three vegetation zones. The lower slopes are covered with thick montane forests, then the heath and moorland which are succeeded by the alpine vegetation. Finally, at the top, there is a snow-capped summit with scanty vegetation.

How to get to there

Travelers may get to Kilimanjaro National Park by driving from Arusha or Moshi town which is the closest town to the park. It takes about 2 hours’ drive from Arusha and one-hour drive from Moshi to get to the park.

Alternatively, travelers may use Kilimanjaro International Airport as their point of entry especially tourists coming from outside Tanzania. Meanwhile, guests using flights must drive for about 45 minutes to get to the park.

Activities to do in Kilimanjaro National Park

Mountain hiking

Climbing Kilimanjaro mountain is one of the most adventurous activities that attracts most travelers to this park. Although it takes about 6 to 9 days to get to the highest peak, most tourists who visit are always looking forward to this activity. There are different trails to use for experienced hikers and none experienced hikers thus every person interested can participate.

Among the trails, there are easy climbing trails that lead to Shira Peak which formed up a plateau that has grasslands and different plant species. Other trails lead to Kibo and Maweza however, there are other routes to use based on the interest and fitness. Some of these trails include the Machame route, Umbweze route, Lemosho route, and lastly Kilema route.

Wildlife viewing 

There are several animals to see which live on the slopes of Mountain Kilimanjaro. They are usually seen in the montane forests which are at the base of the mountain. The animals to look out for include mammals and primates. These species are; elands, elephants, black and white colobus monkeys, blue colobus monkeys, warthogs, gazelles, hyenas, and baboons among others.

Camping 

Adventurous travelers are usually rewarded with amazing opportunities to camp on the slopes of Kilimanjaro Mountain. In addition, there are over 32 camping sites along the hiking routes to the top of the mountain. The camping sites are well established with shades, accommodation, and toilets. Hikers may carry their gear and food however most of the camping sites offer catering services.

Nature walks 

 Kilimanjaro National Park offers natural walks which are conducted along the slopes of the mountain, travelers get a chance to see a number of animals that live on the slopes at a closer range but keeping a safe distance, and the animals to look out for are primates and other creatures like plant species, birds, lizards and butterflies among others.

Birding

Kilimanjaro National Park is home to over 150 bird species including permanent residents and migratory birds which are present from November to April migrating from southern Europe and North Africa. Travelers who visit this park will get an opportunity to see some of the rare bird species including the white checked raven, the resident black-shouldered kite, the long-tailed trogon, blue blue-napped mouse bird, the African fish eagle, and hornbills among others.

Cycling 

Travelers may participate in mountain biking which is adventurous and there are cycling trails to follow, with the guidance and company of an experienced guide you will ride through Chaga farm lands and bicycles to use are hired at the park 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 farmlands. To note, cycling should be conducted or led by a guide who is well-versed by the park premises.

Where to stay in Kilimanjaro National Park

There are camping sites at different altitudes on the mountain. This is the only accommodation option for travelers hiking the mountain, the different sites include Kibo hut, Machame camp, Shira cave camp, Lava tower camp, Mti Mkubwa camp, Allow glacier camp, Karanga hut camp, Mweka camp, Mior hut camp, Simba camp and Pofu camp among others.

The best time to visit Kilimanjaro National Park

Most travelers who visit Kilimanjaro National Park are mostly interested in hiking to the tallest peak in Africa therefore the best time to visit is during the dry season from June to October  and from December to February. During this period there is little or no rainfall making trails easy to hike. During wet seasons most routes are impassable and there is too much snow at the peak which makes it difficult to hike, especially the western breach.