Mount Kilimanjaro National Park
Mount Kilimanjaro National Park is one of the most frequented attractions in Tanzania and home to Africa’s highest mountain peak. Unlike other parks in northern Tanzania, this one is not visited for the wildlife but for the chance to stand in awe of this majestic snow-capped mountain and, for many, to climb to the summit. Mount Kilimanjaro can be climbed at any time, although the best period is from late June to October, during the dry season.
Kilimanjaro, a World Heritage Sites, was formed over 1 million years ago by volcanic movement along the Rift Valley. Three points – Shira, Kibo, and Mawenzi came to be about 750,000 years ago. The highest point is Uhuru Peak on Kibo, which is one of the Seven Summits of the world.
The mountain rises from farmland on the lower level to rainforest and alpine meadow and then barren lunar landscape at the peaks. The slopes of the rainforest are home to buffaloes, leopards, monkeys, elephants and eland. The alpine zone is where bird watchers will find an abundance of birds of prey.
Activities in Mount Kilimanjaro.
Mount Kilimanjaro national park boasts of all kinds of attractions and there’s just so much to keep you occupied, this wondrous park has something to offer irrespective of when you’re visiting. From abundant wildlife viewing and beautiful rolling plains to stunning crater lakes, these are the top things to do in Mount Kilimanjaro National Park.
The most common activity done in Kilimanjaro is mountain climbing, Climbing africas free standing mountain will give you a thrilling experience you never imagined Kibo peak is the highest peak snowcapped throughout the year offering magnificent views of the surrounding towns from a far, one of the peaks and the oldest known as shira peak formed up a plateau providing spectacular grasslands and various plant species with a lot of wild life.
A number of various animals can be seen at Mount Kilimanjaro national park though it cannot be compared to other national parks in Tanzania, some of the wild lives to expect while on safari at Mount Kilimanjaro are; vervet monkey, genet cat, honey badger, aardvark, baboon, Columbus monkey, bush baby, elands and elephants mostly seen at the Shira plateau plains and different species of birds, it is believed to be a home to over 150 bird species some of which are migratory birds and others endemic to this area, some of the birds include; white necked Raven, resident black shouldered kite, long tailed trogon, Gabar goshawk, blue napped mouse birds, grey hornbill, African fish eagles, white cheeked barbet, African pygmy kingfisher and red capped robin chat among the rest. The best time to do bird watching is in November to April when migratory birds from Europe and North Africa are present
Visiting the Chala Crater Lake
Located on the edge of Mount Kilimanjaro, Lake Chala is inside a high crater rim. The lake covers an area of 1.6 square miles and is 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. Lake Chala Safari Camp is the only accommodation available near the lake, where visitors can rest or choose to join a tour of the area.
Travelers can also join hiking tours that explore the lower levels of the mountain, around the Shira Plateau. Most hikes take three days and require you to sleep in mountain camps. Expect steep trails and lots of climbing over rocks and tree roots, as these are not well maintained, smooth trails. Hikes will take you to see craters, giant ferns, wildlife and plenty of scenic views.
Tourists can make their safari more experimental by cycling to the highest peak of Africa through the Kilema route; additional fee might be added for this activity. There are three main stations. The cycling will expose you to farmlands of the chagga people. However this activity should be done by well experienced mountain bikes accompanied by a tourist’s guide who’s knowledgeable about Kilimanjaro.
To have an exclusive bush experience, camping within the 32 camping sites along the second hiking routes will be memorable. The campsites provide comfortable accommodation and bush toilets as well as mouthwatering meals to suit your hiking experience.
Nature guided walks
Guided nature walks can be done at the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro forest canopy and tourists can encounter a lot of primates like the red tailed monkey, olive baboon, white and black Columbus monkey and a lot of plant species not forgetting the panoramic views of the chagga farmlands and neighboring towns.
Mount Kilimanjaro national park boasts with the 13 picking sites where tourists can enjoy this activity in the uninterrupted wilderness, the picnic sites are; Daraja refu, Kilimamchele, Wona, Last water, Machame half way and Jiwe la mbula among the rest. Tourist can enjoy their packed lunch from one of this site.
Mount Kilimanjaro being Africa’s free standing mountain offers panoramic views suitable for filming adventure movies, one of the famous films that scooped an award was done from Kilimanjaro this was done in 1952 and the title was the snows of Kilimanjaro.