Mount Kilimanjaro National Park
Mount Kilimanjaro National Park obtained its name from the stunning Mount Kilimanjaro which is the highest mountain in East Africa regions and the entire Africa continent with its highest peak situated at 5,895m high above the sea level Uhuru peak basically known as Kibo peak. Mount Kilimanjaro is known as the largest free standing mountain in the whole world whose beauty attracts several tourists especially the adventurous travelers to visit the park and summit the highest peak of Kilimanjaro that is snowcapped shinning in the morning as the sun rise and during the sunset as viewed also from different locations in the park. The mountain comprises of three peaks which include Shira peak situated at 3,962M high, Kibo peak at 5,895M high which is the highest peak of Kilimanjaro mountain and Mawenzi at 5,149M above the sea level with the craters and the glacier while the entire Mount Kilimanjaro national park comprises of the mountain itself, wildlife species, forest and the plants that all together bring up a picture of a true natural beauty in Tanzania. Kilimanjaro national park is situated in the Northern part of Tanzania near Moshi city and was established in the year 1973. The vegetation cover of Kilimanjaro national park Montane forest, heather, alpine desert, and gentle slopes whereas the mountain comprises of Montane forest with savanna grassland that attract several wildlife species and yet its height and the snow at the peak of the mountain is yet another reason as to why Kilimanjaro national park is a must visit while on a Tanzania safari.
Tourist activities in Mount Kilimanjaro national park
Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro: A hike to summit the highest peak in entire African continent is every travelers dream and it can only be achieved by visiting Mount Kilimanjaro national park in Tanzania. The hike to summit the peak starts from the bottom of the mountain with in the park where a lot is seen along the hike from the rain forest to the Moonscape at the summit. The vegetation cover on Mount Kilimanjaro consists of Tropical rain forests at the bottom of the mountain which harbors several wildlife species that are encountered by tourists during hiking to summit the peak such as Buffaloes, elephants and plenty of bird species etc. Along the hike past the tropical forest, the vegetation start changing slowly by slowly as the trees start to diminish and there exists sparse moorlands at about 3,100M above the sea level basically known as uplands. At about 4,000M, the vegetation cover changes to Alpine desert where only the flowers and mosses are seen and this point the oxygen is reduced probably due to the coldness at the peak of the mountain. Past the Alpine desert exists the moonscape that is past 5,000M high and at this point one is sure of summiting the Africa’s highest peak known as Uhuru peak at 5,895M. At this point the oxygen level is completely very low. There are 7 major routes used by hikers on Mount Kilimanjaro and these include; Lemosho route, Marangu route, Machame route, Rongai route, Mweka route, Umbwe route and Shira route. All these routes lead to the Summit at Uhuru peak.
Packing list for Mount Kilimanjaro hiking
Being the tallest mountain in Africa and putting in consideration that the higher you go, the cool it becomes, trekkers/hikers who intend to summit Kilimanjaro mountain need to pack the following for the successful hike;
Sleeping bags since the mountain cannot be hiked to the summit in one day thus hikers require sleeping bags where they have to sleep during the night in the camps situated along the hiking trails.
Warm attire that will keep your body warm at all the time since the higher you climb, the more you get closer to the snow and this attire include, long sleeved and warm shirt, long trouser, a warm sweater, warm stockings, warm gloves, a warm scuff, a cap etc.
Rain jacket is also an essential to include on the packing list since it might rain at any time while on a hike.
Enough drinking water which is usually offered by the tour operator in case one uses the operator. Water is highly needed to keep you hydrated since the cold wind can drain you easily thus you ought to drink as much water as possible to balance your internal temperature with the external temperatures.
A hiking stick is usually provided at the park headquarters and also do not forget to hire the porters and cooks.
Note: Apart from the packing list, one needs to be in good shape and fit for the hike and in case you feel weak, headache, dizziness, diarrhea or any unusual symptom, one needs to inform the concerned people and probably stop the hike for safety purposes.
Other activities/ things to do in Mount Kilimanjaro national park
Apart from Hiking/ Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, there are other activities taking place in the park and these include wildlife viewing, exploration of crater lakes and guided nature walks/ hikes.
Wildlife viewing: Mount Kilimanjaro national park is a home a plenty of wildlife species including the primates, mammals, birds, butterflies among others thus taking a wildlife viewing safari rewards tourists with a stunning view of all these wildlife as they graze in the lush vegetation cover at the base of the mountain where the vegetation is rich and provides food for several wildlife that call Kilimanjaro national park their home. Amongst the wildlife seen in the park include; Elephants, buffaloes, Leopards, Bush pigs, mongoose, baboons, monkeys, and several birds all within the moorland at the bottom of the mountain Kilimanjaro which is filled with the tropical rain forests.
Visiting the Crater Lake: visiting Chala Lake is also amongst the best thing to do while on a Tanzania safari in Kilimanjaro national park. The stunning color of the water in this Crater Lake that changes from one color to another as seasons change is another reason as to why one needs to visit it at least once in a life time.
Short Hikes: Tourists who are unfit to summit the highest peak of Mount Kilimanjaro can opt for shorter hikes to explore some unique attractions such as a short hike to visit the Shira plateau that was formed as a result of Shira peak shrinking thus forming a plateau or any other short hike that takes about 3 days to make a complete circuit are so rewarding with unique encounters along the way and stunning view of the park.
By road, Since Mount Kilimanjaro national park is strategically positioned in that tourists on a northern circuit safari can easily combine their safari with a visit to Kilimanjaro national park. The nearest city is Moshi and park also borders with Kenya to the south and close to Arusha national park thus whichever way one takes, it’s possible to get to Kilimanjaro national park by road.
By air, international tourists can fly into Kilimanjaro international airport which is situated about 46km from Arusha or fly to Arusha international airport and then connect to the park by road drive.
Where to stay /accommodations in Mount Kilimanjaro national park
Worried about where to stay in Mount Kilimanjaro national park?, here are some of the accommodations where tourists on a safari to Mount Kilimanjaro national park can stay and they cater for luxury travelers, budget travelers and midrange travelers. They include both hotels, lodges, camps, and camping sites such as Kilemakyaro Mountain Lodge, SalineroMillie lodge, Mount Kilimanjaro View lodge, Kilinopark Hotel Machame gate, Aishi Machame Hotel, Shanty Town doctors home, Amans Hotel, Kilimanjaro Whitehouse hotel, and several camps and camping sites.