Kilimanjaro National Park
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Visitors will see some big game and other African animals on their trek, but this park is really all about summiting the tallest mountain in Africa.
What YAS members think
- Home to the tallest mountain in Africa.
- There is the ability to do smaller, day hikes and to see some of Tanzania’s wildlife.
- The park’s proximity to Arusha makes it easy for people to add a northern Tanzania safari on to their Kilimanjaro summit.
About Kilimanjaro National Park
In the northeastern part of Tanzania, and very close to the Kenyan border, lies the tallest mountain in Africa – Mount Kilimanjaro. At nearly 6000 meters – 5895 m (19,340 ft) – it is the largest free-standing volcanic mass in not only all of Africa, but in all of the world. Kilimanjaro is comprised of several peaks, with Uhuru Peak being the highest. The park was established in 1973 and encompasses the entire mountain above the tree line. In 2005, the park boundary was extended to include the Kilimanjaro National Forest Reserve.
The vegetation of the mountain varies dramatically as the elevation increases, and it is more pronounced that some other mountains as the base Mount Kilimanjaro or “Kili” starts at around 700 m (2296 ft) on the southern slopes. Climbers will start in a humid, rainforest zone and continue up into alpine desert and finally into the barren, glacial zone. The dramatic variation in climate means layers are a necessity for all those who wish to climb and summit Kilimanjaro. Most people who visit Kilimanjaro National park come to climb and not for a safari. It is, however, possible to see many animals in almost all of the zones, such as: black and white colobus monkeys, blue monkeys and olive baboons. Buffalo, elephants and elands also live here but they are seldom seen.
What are the climbing routes of Kilimanjaro?
It is generally agreed that Kilimanjaro has six official trekking routes: Lemosho, Machame, Marangu, Rongai, Shira and Umbwe. Marangu and Rongai are considered to be the easier routes, but also the less-scenic of routes, particularly Rongai. Marangu is nicknamed the ‘Coca-Cola Route’ due to the huts along the way where people can buy Coke and because it’s quicker and easier than most of the other routes. It also is not a circuitous route and climbers must use the same route for their descent. Rongai is the only northern approach to Kilimanjaro and, although it is one of the easier routes, its final summit is one of the most difficult. Of all the routes, Machame is considered the most scenic but steeper route, which also makes it one of the most popular and crowded routes. It has the highest success rate of the six routes. Shira and Lemosho routes also have good success rates and are scenic options with fewer visitors than Machame. Umbwe is a very direct route, which means it is a shorter option, but also offers much less time for acclimatization. It tends to be less popular than the other routes.
Climbers are advised to allot anywhere between five and nine days for summit and descent, depending on fitness levels and route selected. Many people also opt for an extra day for acclimatization, which can have a significant impact on success rate. It is recommended that climbers and trekkers thoroughly research their guide and outfitter, as the guide can make or break the trip. There are numerous companies offering guided treks up Mt. Kilimanjaro, and a bit of research prior to choosing an outfitter will pay off in the long run.
When is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro?
Kilimanjaro can be climbed year-round. The months which are considered to be optimum climbing months are January, February, and September. These months are high tourist season. The end of March through May is the heavy rains seasons, which means the mountain may be shrouded in heavy cloud. It does, however, mean the crowds are much thinner. The winter months of June through September are also recommended, but temperatures tend to be lower than in December through February.
A few of us were lucky enough to have the opportunity to climb Kilimanjaro in conjunction with an African safari. Due to our schedules, we had to do the climb after our safari, which I thought would be the wiser option, as we'd have time to get over jetlag. However, safaris are tiring events unto themselves and I was pretty tired at the end. We ended up needing an extra day to summit, but it was worth it as we made it. The route was pretty crowded, though, and I'm not sure I'd do it again. Our porters were amazing and I'm so grateful to them.
Make sure you take advice from Erick the Trip organizer from Alpine chat adventure he is professional for Tanzania safari and mount kilimanjaro climb.
It was a lifetime experience climbing the highest free standing mountain in the world Mt. Kilimanjaro. I enjoyed its spectacular sequence of natural ecosystems.
After speaking to a bunch of different tour operators, we decided to go with RA Safaris because they’re a small local business, owned and operated by Tanzanians - important in a time when tourism is still recovering. Zeph was very generous with his time and went back and forth over the itinerary with us to make sure we made the most out of our time, settling on 5 days with them - Tarangire, Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, plus a day hike at Kili. I wouldn’t recommend doing a day-hike of Kili - there’s surprisingly no animals at Kili, there wasn’t a rewarding view, and it’s an exhausting drive from Arusha. Maybe do Meru instead, which is much closer and seems to be more interesting at lower elevations.
The guides (Leonard and Aggrey) were truly exceptional and exceeded our expectations in every way. Their concern for our health and welfare and in helping us to achieve our goal was top-notch. The food on the climb was far better than we expected.
- Remember to takes rain jacket during the rain season - Lemosho route is the best since it offer grants panoramic vistas on various sides of the mountain. It also offers a great balance of low traffic, scenic views and a high summit success rate.
- Check your doctor for medical precautions as you might experience some altitude sickness -Private toilet is good -Please remember to tip your crew at the end of climbing
Leonard on the other hand is a consummate and attentive professional with lots of experience, great English and (just as important) excellent high altitude first aid training. We were checked each day for our blood oxygen levels and general condition. At least one member of our party almost certainly wouldn't have made it to the top without Leonard care and encouragement.
Listen to everything your guides tell you and you will be ok. Make sure you are in decent shape and listen to your guides about the appropriate equipment to bring.
- Don't forget to bring a good camera - Choose the right operator they do employ the qualified crew and pay them a reasonable wage - Gratitude is highly appreciated at the end of climbing - Just choose Machame 7 days over 6 days
The goal to begin with was to reach Uhuru Peak as a team and that’s exactly what we did. Thank you to all the team at Leken Adventures for the incredible journey.
Driving to Kilimanjaro National Park
Due to its proximity to JRO, Kilimanjaro Internationnal Airport, the drive to Kili is around an hour to 90 minutes, depending on which route you'll be climbing.
Riverside Shuttle also runs between Nairobi, Arusha, Moshi, Kilimanjaro and JRO and is an option for budget travelers.
The following airlines travel to Kilimanjaro National Park
Scheduled domestic services in Tanzania. Air Tanzania Corporation (ATC) the Tanzanian flag-carrier, was established on 11 March, 1977, to operate the services suspended following the dissolution of East African Airways (EAA), which was owned jointly by Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Visit website
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As Salaam Air has grown to be a leading air carrier between the Tanzanian Islands. Our experienced team understands that customer satisfaction is important to the creation of a successful flight operation. Thus, we go above and beyond to satisfy our clients. The airline plies eight routes to promote tourism within and outside the country. We have two fuel-efficient aircraft Cessna 208B Grand Caravan and Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia, which are good for the environment and the safety of our clients.We would like to help you discover more about our Islands here on our website and at every step of your journey Visit website
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Coastal Aviation is an airline operating out of Dar es Salaam - charter flights. Coastal Aviation flying to some 100 strips located in some of the most isolated pockets of the East African Region. The scheduled Coastal network also connects visitors to Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda with the world-famous Serengeti, links the emerging tourism destinations of Mozambique with the Southern Tanzania parks of Selous and Ruaha, and unites the tropical island paradises of Pemba, Zanzibar, Mafia and Fanjove Private Iaslandwith the National Parks and towns of the mainland. Our state of the art fleet is composed of 20 aircraft and has been expertly-adapted to the African safari environment, without compromise to safety and comfort. Visit website
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Flightlink is a scheduled airline with Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and Air Service License (ASL) granted by Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority & Kenya Civil Aviation Authority to conduct Private & Scheduled Flight under Public Transport category within the region. All the aircraft in our fleet are chosen for their excellent safety records and their ability to perform in even in the most hostile conditions, so landing be it in the bush or on tarmac is not at all taxing. Visit website
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At flydubai were committed to making air travel more affordable. Dubai based flydubai operates routes to more than 95 destinations across the Middle East, Subcontinent, Africa, Russia and Eastern Europe. flydubai is dedicated to reducing the cost of air travel in the region. We keep things simple, reducing our operating costs and passing the savings on to you. Visit website
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Precision Air is a publicly-listed Tanzanian airline and a leader in providing scheduled flight services to over 10 destinations within and outside Tanzania from its main hub Dar es Salaam. The company operates on the principle that quick, comfortable and reliable service is the best way to serve its customers. Through its customer-focused approach, many have become part of the Precision Air family. Precision Air started with its headquarters in Arusha - the midpoint between the Cape and Cairo, which is the entry point to many of Tanzania's world-renowned landmarks and national parks. The headquarters of Precision Air are now Dar es Salaam, the business complex of the country, which is home to a vast size of traffic travelling within and outside Tanzania. Visit website
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Premium Charter Service is an air charter broker based in Tanzania. We offer our valued clients a truly exclusive flying experience, one that combines luxury with the convenience of flying privately. Our network of domestic and international operators adheres to strict standards of quality. We deliver a superior experience to our clients with a high level of professionalism. Visit website
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Regional air is a recognized leader in the aviation industry in Tanzania, the airline began in 1997 with one pilot and one aircraft. They are affiliated to the long-established Nairobi-based domestic airline, Airkenya. We are based in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha. Arusha is the starting point of safaris into Northern Tanzania, as the airline also offers charters to these various parks and game reserves. Visit website
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Premier safari airline and charter. Safarilink is Kenya's premier safari airline with a network of connecting domestic scheduled services to all the best safari destinations within Kenya and across the border into northern Tanzania. From it's base at Wilson Airport, Nairobi SafariLink provides daily scheduled flights to Masai Mara, Amboseli, Tsavo West, Naivasha, Nanyuki, Lewa Downs, Samburu, Lamu, Kilimanjaro, Loisaba, Migori and Diani Beach. Additionally it can also provide private charter flights if a client's particular requirement as regards destination or timing cannot be met by the scheduled services. Visit website
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TANZANAIR was formed in 1969 and pioneered aviation throughout Tanzania. Today it continues to live up to its slogan as theComplete Aviation Company. It was founded by Dinos J Samaras who managed the Company until he passed away in April 2010. It is now headed by his son John Samaras who was his deputy since 1983. With 45 years experience, TANZANAIR offers tailor-made air travel to suit the needs of its customers. With a modern fleet of twin and single-engine Cessna and Beechcraft turbine aircraft, TANZANAIRs well-established reputation leads the way in air charter services throughout the region. TANZANAIR operates out of its own purpose-built Passenger Terminal located between Terminal I and II at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam. The passenger lounge is adjacent to the two hangars. It is housed within a secure wall enclosed compound with ample parking facilities. Visit website
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Flown by an international team of pilots, Zantas Air has one of the youngest fleets of Cessna Grand Caravans in Tanzania. These are maintained to the highest safety standards and comply with the ICAO, CESSNA, and TCAA directives. We have an exclusive lounge at Arusha airport. Guests can relax in our comfortable lounge while they wait for their flight. Our operations are designed to suit our client's needs with a customized itinerary based on their schedule. Zantas Air works with its sister company, Mbali Mbali Lodges and Camps, to offer shared charter flights. We fly passengers from Northern Tanzania to Western Tanzania twice a week on Monday and Thursdays. Visit website
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