HOME OF THE Africa’s highest peak - THE Mount Kilimanjaro
THE KILIMANJARO NATIONAL PARK
Kilimanjaro National Park is one of Tanzania’s popular parks. Its Headquarters is at Marangu, northern Tanzania about 44 Km from Moshi town and 86km from Kilimanjaro International Airport. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO IN 1987 due to its uniqueness. Mount Kilimanjaro at 5,896m – Africa’s highest peak has three main volcanic peaks, Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. It is a dormant but not extinct volcano. Apart from the mountain, the park offers other attractions and there are some rare and endemic species of flora and fauna. The ascent of the slope’s ecosystem is a virtual climatic world tour, from the tropics to the Arctic. Once inside the park, thick lowland forest covers lower altitudes inhabited by elusive elephant, leopard, buffalo, the endangered Abbot’s duiker, small antelopes 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. Near the peak, the landscape is harsh and barren, with rocks and ice as predominant features. 2,500 species of plants and 140 mammal species have been recorded. Major tourism activity in the Park is mountain climbing in which tourists climb the mountain by using routes available. Total climb normally take five to six days and involves four or five overnight stays in comfortable mountain huts. There are several routes including Marangu, the easiest to climb. Machame, Shira, Umbwe and Rongai are other routes. Climbers who reach Uhuru Point – the actual summit, or Gillman’s Point on the lip of the crater, earn their climbing certificates and lasting memories.