Kilimanjaro is a metaphor for the compelling beauty of East Africa. When you see it, you understand why. Not only is this the highest peak on the African continent; it is also the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, rising in breathtaking isolation from the surrounding coastal scrubland elevation around 900 to 5,895 meters. Kilimanjaro is one of the world's most accessible high summits, a beacon for visitors from around the world. Most climbers reach the crater rim with little more than a walking stick, proper clothing and determination. And those who reach Uhuru Point, the actual summit, or Gillman's Point on the lip of the crater, will have earned their climbing certificates and their memories.
But there is so much more to Kilimanjaro than her summit. The slopes have a diverse nature from the tropics to the Arctic with snow on the peak. Even before you cross the National Park boundary (at the 2,700 m contour), the cultivated foot slopes give way to a lush forest, inhabited by elephants, leopards, buffaloes, the endangered Abbot’s duiker, and other small antelopes and primates. Above 4,000 m, a surreal alpine desert supports little life other than a few hardy mosses and lichen. Then, finally, the last vestigial vegetation gives way to a winter wonderland of ice and snow – and the magnificent beauty of the roof of the continent.
128 km from Arusha.
About one hour drive from Kilimanjaro Airport.
What to do
- Six common trekking routes to the summit and other more-demanding mountaineering routes.
- Day or overnight hikes on the Shira plateau. Nature trails on the lower reaches.
- Trout fishing.
- Visit the beautiful Chala crater lake on the mountain’s South-Eastern slopes.
When to go
Clearest and warmest conditions from December to February, but also dry (and colder) from July-September.
Huts and camp sites on the mountain.
Several hotels and campsites outside the park, in the village of Marangu and town of Moshi.
Climb slowly to increase your acclimatization time and to maximize your chances of reaching the summit. To avoid altitude sickness, allow a minimum of five nights, preferably even more, for the climb. Take your time and enjoy the beauty of the mountain.