Kilimanjaro National Park: The Roof of Africa

AT 5,895 m, Kilimanjaro is the highest point in Africa. This volcanic massif stands in splendid isolation above the surrounding plains, with its snowy peak looming over the savannah.

The mountain is encircled by mountain forest. Numerous mammals, many of them endangered species, live in the park.

Outstanding Universal Value

Kilimanjaro National Park covering an area of some 75,575 ha protects the largest free standing volcanic mass in the world and the highest mountain in Africa, rising 4877m above surrounding plains to 5895m at its peak.

With its snow-capped peak, the Kilimanjaro is a superlative natural phenomenon, standing in isolation above the surrounding plains overlooking the savannah. Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the largest volcanoes in the world.

It has three main volcanic peaks, Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. With its snow-capped peak and glaciers, it is the highest mountain in Africa.

The mountain has five main vegetation zones from the lowest to the highest point: Lower slopes, montane forest, heath and moorland, alpine desert and summit.

The whole mountain including the montane forest belt is very rich in species, in particular mammals, many of them endangered species. For this combination of features but mostly its height, its physical form and snow cap and its isolation above the surrounding plains, Mount Kilimanjaro is considered an outstanding example of a superlative natural phenomenon.

Integrity

Kilimanjaro National Park, established in 1973, initially comprised the whole of the mountain above the tree line and six forest corridors stretching down through the montane forest belt.

At the time of inscription in 1987, the main pressures affected mostly the forest reserve which acted as a buffer zone to the park. The World Heritage Committee recommended extending the national park to include more areas of montane forest.

Following a 2005 extension, the National Park includes the whole of the mountain above the tree line as well as the natural forest (montane forest) which was under Kilimanjaro Forest Reserve, and as such fulfils the criteria of integrity. It is important that the extension of the National Park be reflected in the boundaries of the property.

The wildlife of the property is important to the experience of Kilimanjaro, although the property is not inscribed in relation to biodiversity criteria. Pressures on elephant, buffalo and antelope, and logging in the forest reserve area, were noted as integrity concerns at the time of inscription.

The park is connected to Amboseli National Park, however corridors to Arusha National Park and Tsavo National park have been encroached, impacting on wildlife migration.

Protection and management requirements

Kilimanjaro National Park is protected under national legislation as a National Park and a management plan is in place.

The property requires an effective and managing organization, including sufficient well equipped ranger presence to be able to carry out surveillance and implementation of the management plan. A key management issue is maintaining the aesthetic quality of the property as a spectacular natural site.

Protecting its visual integrity and sustaining its natural integrity are key management issues. Key viewpoints to the property also need to be protected, including from Arusha and Amboseli where the most famous views of the property can be seen.

An effective programme of research and monitoring of the property is also required.

Threats to the property include increasing and cumulative stress from sources such as adjacent land uses, downstream effects of air and water pollution, invasive species, fire and climate change.

The glaciers of the property are vulnerable to retreat, and are cited as a feature of particular vulnerability to global climate change. The impacts from these threats need to be closely monitored and minimized.

Tourism poses a significant threat and careful planning of related infrastructure and access development is required. Human pressure on the property needs to be managed, which can result otherwise in illegal harvest of its resources, encroachments to park boundary and blockage of migratory routes and dispersal areas. Education programmes and integration of park management with all involved partners and stakeholders, including the surrounding rural population, is essential.

-Climate

Ice fields inside the Kibo crater

There are two rainy seasons in a year. The wet season is from March to May during which it rains around the mountain base and snow accumulates on its peak. The dry season is from late June through September during which the nights are cool and the days completely clear. The park is located at an altitude between 1700 m to 5895 meter with annual average rainfall ranging from 828 mm at alpine desert to 2500 mm at Montane forest.

Getting there

Starting point -Marangu route The park can be accessed by road or flight via Kilimanjaro International Airport – about 45km to the west. The Park Headquarters and one of the ascending gates are at Marangu, about 41Km from Moshi town and 86km from Kilimanjaro International Airport.

The other seven gates of Rongai, Machame, Londorosi, Lemosho, Kilema, Mweka and Umbwe are located around the mountain base and can be reached by road.

Park attractions

The Park is endowed with a diverse variety of attractions ranging from terrestrial wilderness to permanent glaciers on the mountain peaks.

Three peaks

Kibo, the highest peak (5,895m) on Mount Kilimanjaro, is covered by snow throughout the year despite being close to the equator. Conquering this peak is an adventure of a lifetime.

Mawenzi Peak

Is the second highest peak which forms mount Kilimanjaro 5,149m. It is rugged and maintain the features of glaciation.

Shira peak

With an altitude of 3,962m, is the oldest peak that collapsed and forms a Shira plateau with outstanding scenic beauty on the mountain with several kinds of migratory large mammals such as buffaloes, elephants and especially elands. Lauwo Waterfall – Located along Marangu route 2.8Kms provides a spectacular experience while enjoying walking inside the thick montane forest.

Maundi Crater

Located just 15 minutes walk past Mandara huts on the Marangu route the crater provides a panoramic view of Lakes Chala, Jipe and Nyumba ya Mungu, all of which derive their waters from the Majestic Kilimanjaro.

Kifinika Cultural Site

This is a site along Marangu route that is sacred by the local Chagga people. Historically, the site was used for cultural rituals.

Birds and Animals

The park harbors a total number of 140 species of mammals; 7 primates, 25 carnivores, 25 antelopes, 24 species of bat and 179 bird species.

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