Kilimanjaro National Park

Kilimanjaro National Park

Is a Tanzanian national park, located 300 kilometres (190 mi) south of the equator and in Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania. The park is located near the city of Moshi. The park includes the whole of Mount Kilimanjaro above the tree line and the surrounding montane forest belt above 1,820 metres (5,970 ft). It covers an area of 1,688 square kilometres (652 sq mi), 2°50’–3°10’S latitude, 37°10’–37°40’E longitude. The park is administered by the Tanzania National Parks Authority.

Mount Kilimanjaro

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Kibo Summit of Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro, with its three volcanic cones, Kibo (5,895 m (19,341 ft)), Mawenzi (5,149 m (16,893 ft)), and Shira (3,962 m (13,000 ft)), is a dormant volcanic mountain in Tanzania. 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 metres – to an imperious 5,895 metres (19,336 feet) (the Uhuru Peak/Kibo Peak).

Trekking Mount Kilimanjaro

There are seven official trekking routes by which to ascend and descend Mount Kilimanjaro: Lemosho, Machame, Marangu, Mweka, Rongai, Shira, and Umbwe. Of all the routes, Machame is considered the most scenic, albeit steeper, route. It can be done in six or seven days. The Rongai is the easiest and least scenic of all camping routes. The Marangu is also relatively easy, but this route tends to be very busy, the ascent and descent routes are the same, and accommodation is in shared huts with all other climbers.

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Sign at Uhuru peak, indicating to trekkers that they have reached the top

Wildlife in Kilimanjaro

A variety of animals can be found in the park. Above the timberline, the Kilimanjaro tree hyrax, the grey duiker, and rodents are frequently encountered. The bushbuck and red duiker appear above the timerline in places. Cape buffalo are found in the montane forest and occasionally in the moorland and grassland. Elephants can be found between the Namwai and Tarakia rivers and sometimes occur at higher elevations. In the montane forests, blue monkey, western black and white colobus and bushbaby.

kilimanjaro-forest

Kilimanjaro has a large variety of forest types over an altitudinal range of 3,000 m (9,843 ft) containing over 1,200 vascular plant species. Montane Ocotea forests occur on the wet southern slope. Cassipourea and Juniperus forests grow on the dry northern slope. Subalpine Erica forests at 4,100 m (13,451 ft) represent the highest elevation cloud forests in Africa. In contrast to this enormous biodiversity, the degree of endemism is low. However, forest relicts in the deepest valleys of the cultivated lower areas suggest that a rich forest flora inhabited Mt Kilimanjaro in the past, with restricted-range species otherwise only known from the Eastern Arc mountains. The low degree of endemism on Kilimanjaro may result from destruction of lower elevation forest rather than the relatively young age of the mountain.

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