Welcome to Kilimanjaro National Park
Photo by Michael Lund Markussen
Apart from being the highest peak in Africa Kilimanjaro is also the highest free-standing mountain in the world, rising from the surrounding plains to its snow-capped summit, Uhuru Peak, at 5,985 meters.
Photo by Inge Bolt
Kilimanjaro is formed by volcanic activity and is made up of three peaks - Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira. She has one of the world's most accessible high summits (Kibo), which attract visitors from all around the world to conquer her on the various climbing routes that take from five days to complete. There is however so much more to Kili than her summit, as the climb is a virtual climatic global tour from tropical to arctic.
As you leave the vibrating heat of the surrounding plains, you pass banana growths and sweet smelling coffee plantations on the cultivated foothills before you enter Mount Kilimanjaro National Park at 2,700 meters above sea level. Here the cultivation has already for some time given way to lush montane forest that is home to rarely seen elephant, leopard, buffalo, the endangered Abbots duiker, and other small antelope and primates. As you emerge from the forest you enter the moorland zone with its bewitching giant lobelias and giant heathers, some of which can grow to be over 10m in height. Higher still, on the so called Saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo, your hike will take you through an almost surreal alpine desert with volcanic rock dotted with mosses and lichen stretching all around you. The last climb on the vegetation-free scree of the lower part of the summit is always done at night. Then, as the day breaks and the first rays of sun colour the surrounding snow and ice pink you have truly reached the roof of Africa - and there is not much that will ever compare with it. Once you have experienced her
breathtaking beauty, Kilimanjaro will hold your heart forever! Photo by Michael Lund Markussen