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Kilimanjaro National Park

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, by any name, is a metaphor for the compelling beauty of East Africa. When you see it, you 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 metres – to an imperious 5,895 metres (19,336 feet).

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. And 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.

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 2,700m 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 4,000m, a surreal alpine desert supports little life other than a few hardy mosses and lichen. Then, 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.

You Will See

Buffalo

Buffalo

100%
Giraffe

Giraffe

80%
Wildebeest

Wildebeest

100%
Elephant

Elephant

100%
Lion

Lion

80%

Fox

30%
Zebra

Zebra

100%
Leopard

Leopard

80%
Hippo

Hippo

90%
White Rhino

Rhino

15%

When to go

The park is open to visitors year round, but the months of January,

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The park is open to visitors year round, but the months of January, February, July, August, and then September to early October are considered the best time to visit.

During rainy season in the months of April and May, the park and the mountain slopes become impassable. Hence, visitors are advised to avoid the rainy season.

Art & Culture

If you know about Kilimanjaro then you should also be aware that Kili and the

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If you know about Kilimanjaro then you should also be aware that Kili and the Chagga people are inseparable. The fertile slopes of Kili have been the sanctuary for the Chagga clan for years, who are earn their livelihood through agriculture with banana, coffee, maize and beans, and finger millet being the major crops. For the culturally inured always looking for fascinating insights, a visit to the live Chagga museum is must do. Take a hike down to their banana and coffee plantations. if you are interested you can learn how the coffee is grown harvested and brewed and even enjoy a cup in the local style. If you spot the underground tunnels remember to ask of its significance. A trip to the local blacksmith can help you know of the intricacies of forging a spearhead. And there are still different artifacts to see, pottery making to try and various stone tools to be curious about.

Culinary

The Chagga grow a lot of crops like maize, beans, yams, and millets but their

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The Chagga grow a lot of crops like maize, beans, yams, and millets but their culinary traits also a good amount of meat and fruits. As a country where bananas and plantains rule ripe Ndizi na nyama Swahili for “bananas/plantains and meat,” is hard to miss. The ubiquitous Ugali, nyama choma, Maandazi - a small triangular sugared donut, Vitumbua (rice cakes, Mshikaki which is meat kebabs are a regular on the culinary canvas. If you are looking for snacks the meat-filled samosas are grilled pweza (octopus) at the roadside stalls will leave you craving for more. Remember the stone tools you saw? That’s used to grind millet the traditional way – to create 'mbege', a traditional banana brew which is a sweet, slightly sour boozy beverage, rich in vitamins and probiotics. Knock back a few to give an authentic feel to your culinary exploits.

How to go

The national park of Kilimanjaro is easily reachable from Arusha which is just

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The national park of Kilimanjaro is easily reachable from Arusha which is just 82 kms away. You can travel to Moshi which is 45-minute drive from the park’s entrance gate and get accommodated there. It is reachable both by road and by air.

Roadways:

You can take shuttle buses or private taxi from Arusha to Moshi and then further to Kilimanjaro National Park.

Waterways:

Tourists can take a domestic flight from any international airport in Tanzania to Kigoma from where a boat ride will lead them to the park. The distance between Gombe and Kigoma is about 20 km.

Activites

When you get into Kilimanjaro National Park, you’ll have tons of things to

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When you get into Kilimanjaro National Park, you’ll have tons of things to do at your disposal. Some of them are:

  • Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro
  • Game Drives
  • Walking Safaris
  • Swimming
  • Cultural trips
  • Camping

What to see?

The main highlight of this park is the mountain of Kilimanjaro, the tallest

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The main highlight of this park is the mountain of Kilimanjaro, the tallest of its kind in Africa. Climbing it is a lifetime achievement for many and it can take somewhere from 5 days to 12 days.

In the lower reaches which are primarily rainforest, you can see wild animals like lion, elephant, zebra, giraffe, baboon etc. In its immediate upper reach, there are plantation fields to see and admire.

The Uniqueness of Kilimanjaro National Park

  • Mount Kilimanjaro National Park is rich in both small and big game.
  • You can spot baboons, bush pigs, mongooses, elephants and a number of other animals during your trail.
  • Chala Crater Lake one of the park’s most famous sights because of its incredible waters, which range in color from turquoise to emerald green depending on the time of the year.

Suggested Itineraries

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