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Kilimanjaro National Park is a Tanzanian national park located 300 kilometers south of the equator and in Kilomajaro region, Tanzania. The park is located near the region of Moshi. The park includes the whole of Mount Kilimanjaro above the tree line and the surrounding montane forest belt above 1,820 meters. It covers an area of 1,688 square kilometers. The park is administered by the Tanzania National Parks Authority.

The park generated $ 51 million in revenue in 2013, the second most of any Tanzanian National park and was one of only two Tanzanian National parks to generate a surplus during the 2012-13 budget year. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area includes the heavily visited Ngorongoro crater, is not a national park. In the early twentieth century, Mount Kilimanjaro and the adjacent forests were declared a game reserve by the German colonial government. It was designated a forest reserve in 1973 and it was reclassified as a national park. It was declared a world Heritage site by the united Nations Educational, scientific and cultural organization in 1987.

There are variety of animals that can be found in the park. The Kilimanjaro tree hyrax, the grey duiker, and rodents are frequently encountered. The bushbuck and red duikers appear above the timberline in places. The cape buffaloes are found in the montane forest and occasionally in the moorland and grassland. Elephants can be found between the Namwai and Tarakia rivers and sometimes occur at higher elevations. In the montane forests, blue monkeys, western black and white colobuses, bush babies and leopards can be found.

Since its official opening in 1977, Mt Kilimanjaro National park has become one of Tanzania’s most visited parks. Unlike the other northern parks, this isn’t a place to come for the wildlife, although it’s here. At the heart of the park is the 5896m, Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and one of the continent’s most magnificent sights. Kilimanjaro is also one of the world’s highest volcanoes, and it’s the highest free standing mountain on earth, rising from cultivated farmland on the lower levels, through lush rain forest to alpine meadows. The lower rain forest is home to many animals, including buffaloes, elephants, leopards and monkeys and elands.

Trekking Mount Kilimanjaro

A hike up Kili lures around 15,000 trekkers each year, in part because it’s possible to walk to the summit without ropes or technical climbing experience. The Non-technical, however does not mean easy. The climb is so serious and undertaking, and worth doing with the right preparation. There are many opportunities to explore the mountain’s lower slopes and to learn about the Maasai and the chagga, two of the main tribes in the area.

The park has got many entry gates at Machame, Marangu, londorosi and several other points. The trekkers using the Rongai route should pay their fees at Marangu gate.

There are seven official trekking routes by which to ascend and descend Mount Kilimanjaro: Lemosho, Machame, Marangu, Mweka, Rongai, Shira and Umbwe. Of all the routes, Machame is considered the most scenic, albelt steeper, route.  It can be carried out in six or seven days. The Rongai is the easiest and least scenic of all camping routes.  The Marangu is also relatively easy, but this route tends to be very busy, the ascent and descent routes ae the same, and accommodation is in shared huts with all other climbers.

The people who wish to trek to the summit of Kilimanjaro are advised to undertake appropriate research and ensure that they are both properly equipped and capable. Though the climb is technically not as challenging as when climbing the high peaks of the Himalayas or Andes, the high elevation, low temperature, and occasional high winds make the experienced trekkers suffer some degree of altitude sickness.

The other activities

There are the six usual trekking routes to the summit and other more demanding mountaineering routes.

There are Day or overnight hikes on the Shira plataeu. The Nature trails on the lower reaches.

Trout Fishing; get to visit the beautiful chala crater lake on the mountain’s southeastern slopes.

The clearest and warmest conditions from December to February, but also dry (and colder) from July- September.

The accommodation found in Kilimanjaro National Park are mostly huts and campsites on the mountain. Several hotels and campsites outside the park in the village of Marangu and town of Moshi.

It also noted that hikers should climb slowly to increase your acclimatization time and maximize your chances of reaching the summit. To avoid altitude sicness, allow a minimum of five nights, preferably even more of the climb, always take time and enjoy the beauty of the mountain.

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