Kilimanjaro National Park is home to the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free standing mountain in the world. Mount Kilimanjaro is made up of three volcanoes, Shira in the west (4,269 m) Mawenzi in the east (5,280 m) and the youngest volcano Kibo (5,895m). Shira and Mawenzi are extinct and the last major eruption of Kibo was between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago. Today Kibo is dormant but could awaken any day.
The vegetation on the mountain is also very varied and some 2,500 species of plants are found here including the endemic and beautiful red and yellow impatiens kilimanjari as well as the colorful violet viola. The lower regions of the park are dominated by lush green montane forests with almost 140 species of trees. A bit higher up, distinctive giant lobelias grace the moorland zone. Above 4,000 m one finds the moon-like desert, where not much grows and the land is full of rocks and dust. Closer to the summit, hikers will be rewarded with beautiful sights of glaciers and a deep crater.
Out of the approximately 140 mammal species that live in the park, 87 of them are forest species. Animals that roam here include elephants, leopards, buffaloes, varies antelopes including the rare and endangered abbot duiker as well as primates such as the colobus and the mitis monkey. In addition hereto, 24 species of bats and 179 highland bird species have also been spotted in the Kilimanjaro National Park.
The majority of visitors to the park are hikers. As is to be expected, all have the same goal in mind – to make it to Africa’s highest peak. There are seven official routes to choose from with Marangu being one of the easiest routes for unexperienced hikers and those in search for a bit more comfort (overnights take place in huts). The Rongai route is the quietest route and the best choice if you are climbing in the rainy season as this part of the mountain gets the least precipitation. Camping routes include Lemosho, Shira and Machame and all are a bit more challenging but also much more scenic. The most demanding but also the least used route is Umbwe. Apart from Marangu and Rongai all other routes descend on the Mweka route.
Before you embark on your trekking adventure, you will meet with our Trekking Operations Manager for an extensive briefing. Route, safety procedures and health issues will be discussed in detail and you have enough time to ask any remaining questions. Your trekking gear will be inspected to ensure that you have everything you need to be safe and comfortable. If you are missing any gear, you can rent it from us.
During your climb, you only carry your backpack with essentials such as water for the day’s hike. Our porters will carry all equipment, food and additional luggage – they are tough climbers and the true heroes of the mountain.
Our permanent mountain guides will lead the way. They are responsible for your safety and will encourage you and lend a helping hand, but also call the climb off due to weather, altitude sickness or injury, if necessary. Your safety is paramount to us. Most of our mountain guides have been part of our team for many years, been up Kilimanjaro hundreds of times and all receive regular training. You are in good hands.
Our cooks are miracle workers. With simple gas cookers, they conjure up 3-course feasts, hot drinks and snacks to revive and nourish you when you need it most. Drinking water comes from mountain streams and is boiled before you drink it.
On most routes, you will sleep in high-quality two-person tents. The tents will be pitched and taken down by our team of porters. You can concentrate on getting to the top, one step at a time. When you arrive at camp after a long day’s hike, your tent will already be waiting for you. Our camping gear is imported from South Africa and Germany and of the highest standard. It is inspected and cleaned regularly by our equipment team in Arusha. While there are no showers on the camping routes, you will be provided with a bowl of hot water in the morning to start the day fresh. When climbing Kilimanjaro on the Marangu Route, you will overnight in mountain huts.
You may climb the Mount by several routes, which have been established by the Tanzania National Parks Authority to avoid unauthorized Kilimanjaro hiking and preserve the pristine beauty of the wilderness for the generations to come.
We recommend Lemosho and Rongai routes for novices, Machame for the beginners, and Marangu and Umbwe for climbers with prior hiking experience. Camping on all routes except Marangu (where the night stops are in huts).