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Mount Kilimanjaro National Park

TANZANIA DESTINATIONS

Mount Kilimanjaro National Park

Undisputed on its majesty, this freestanding mountain is the highest peak in Africa Kilimanjaro is also one of the world’s highest volcanoes, and it’s the highest free-standing mountain on earth covered about 5,895meters, rising from cultivated farmland on the lower levels, through lush rainforest to alpine meadows, and finally across a lunar landscape to the twin summits of Kibo and Mawenzi. Kilimanjaro’s third volcanic cone, Shira, is on the mountain’s western side. The lower rainforest is home to many animals, including buffaloes, elephants, leopards and monkeys, and elands are occasionally seen in the saddle area between Kibo and Mawenzi.

A hike up Kili lures around 25,000 trekkers each year, in part because it’s possible to walk to the summit without ropes or technical climbing experience. Non-technical however does not mean easy. The climb is a serious (and expensive) undertaking, and only worth doing with the right preparation. There are also 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.

Mount Kilimanjaro lives forever in the hearts of those who have climbed it.

Best time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro

It is possible to trek Kilimanjaro all-year-round. However, certain months are characterized by colder weather, more rain and potentially loads of snow on the summit.

There are two distinct trekking seasons which constitute the best time to climb Kilimanjaro. They are January-March and June-October.

January-March is generally colder than June-October and there is a higher probability of encountering snow on the summit. For some this might be seen as a negative, but the benefits of a January-March trek is that the slopes are often quieter at this time of the year.

The June-October trekking season coincides with the summer holidays in Europe and North .America and hence certain routes are often quite busy.

March, April and November are the wettest months on Kilimanjaro, and not ideal of trekking. Snow fall and cold temperatures are common during December-May.

Weather and climate in Mount Kilimanjaro

There are four distinct climatic zones on Kilimanjaro – the rainforest zone (~800m-3,000m) is warm and humid. Rain is common in the zone, particularly during the wet season and temperatures average around 12-15 degrees Celsius at 2,870m. The second zone is often called the low alpine area (~3,000m-4,200m) and is a semi-arid zone where average temperatures range between 5-10 degrees Celsius at 3,630m. The high alpine zone (4,200m-5,000) is desert-like. Here temperatures average around the freezing point at 4,970m, and at the summit in the glacial zone (above 5,000m) temperatures average around -6 degrees Celsius.

Although the summit temperature doesn’t sound too cold, wind chill is a major factor. You are almost guaranteed relatively high winds. Moreover, the effects of cold temperatures at high altitude are more pronounced as your body expends more effort trying to get your skin and vital organs well-oxygenated in an oxygen depleted environment. This results in vasoconstriction near the extremities (like your hands, feet and nose) and means that you will feel the cold a lot more at high altitude. In other words -6 degrees Celsius can feel like -20!

How to get to Mount Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro National Park can be connected by both road ways and air ways.

African Diurnal Safaris team will pick you when you arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport.  From Arusha, this airport is located about 46 km .Using a domestic flight, it is also possible to fly to Arusha Airport (ARK) while flying from the Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam  or Mwanza Airport (MWZ).