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Mount Kilimanjaro

The Mount Kilimanjaro receives over 50,000 people every year. The mountain has beautiful views with animals and stunning vegetation. The Kilimanjaro Mountain is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Being the tallest mountain in Africa makes its obvious that it has to be on this list. It’s also among the iconic mountains of the world that include Everest and Denali mountains. So people that have visited these other mountains would love to visit this one too.

The Mount Kilimanjaro boosts of about 180 bird species and over 140 mammal species. You can view most of these without reaching the summit but just within the tropical rain forest and the cultivated foothills of the Kilimanjaro Mountain. The Cultivated zone of the Kilimanjaro may not have the animals due to a lot of human activities going on but you will definitely see some special species of birds. You can book your walking safari though your tour operator and they will advise on several things. You may still need some altitude training since you will have to hike a little bit of the Kilimanjaro Mountain. The southern routes are more productive in terms of wild life but the northern routes have more scenery.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

While the climb to Mount Kilimanjaro summit isn’t easy, you’ll be rewarded with seemingly endless views of Mawenzi jagged peaks, the Shira plateau, and a bird’s eye view of Tanzania’s and Kenya’s distant horizons below. We can also arrange for you to climb with the best, most experienced guides to ensure that you reach the summit safely.

Mount Kilimanjaro is a natural wonder: a snow-capped mountain on the Equator, it has five unique climatic zones, each with its own vegetation. Climbing the mountain seems like a week-long trip through four seasons. Because of the high altitude, unusual life forms such as the alien-looking giant groundsel plant and the delicate elephant flower have thrived.

You may have seen media coverage of a number of celebrities who have summited Kilimanjaro, or you may personally know someone who has. The peak draws both novice and expert mountain hikers due to its non-technical nature and ease of ascent among the Seven Summits.

Altitude and Size

The highest mountain in the world is Everest which stands at an altitude of about 8,848 meters above sea level. The Mount Kilimanjaro stands at an altitude of about 5,895 meters above sea level. This makes the Kilimanjaro about 2,950 meters shorter than the tallest mountain in the world. However the Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa.

The mountain covers an area of about 388,500 hectares.

Geology

The Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mounts in Africa and also among the biggest stratovolcanoes in the world. A stratovolcano is a mountain formed by vulcanicity with a serious of lava and ash laying on top of each other. This is caused by the volcano going through a series of volcanic eruption phases. The Kilimanjaro covers an area of about 388,500 hectares and has an altitude of about 5895 meters above sea level.

It is believed that Mount Kilimanjaro was formed over 3 million years ago. It was formed by the process of Vulcanicity as molten magma as forced through a vent to from molten rock when it reached the surface which later turned into the Mount Kilimanjaro. The mountain erupted several times to make it bigger and that’s the current Kilimanjaro that we see today.

Climate

It’s possible that you can trek the Kilimanjaro any time throughout the year but some months are covered  in cold weather and rains and snow especially the top and yet some are dry and a lot more favorable. Its best advised to hike the Kilimanjaro is between the months of December to February and Mid June to September. Ideally these are the dry months but even then, sometimes it can and gets abit messy. The wet months are March to Mid June and October to November.

15 Days Tanzania Wildlife Safari & Mount Kilimanjaro Climb

Vegetation Zones

There are about five distinct vegetation types on the Kilimanjaro. Every vegetation type runs about 100 meters. In the range of about 800 to about 1800 meters there will be human settlement and human activity

The ranges from 1800 to about 2800 meters is another level of vegetation that as lush green growth. This lush vegetation is so because this area receives between 1000 t0 2000mm of rain. While in this level of the ranges you will see a lot of huge tree ferns, moss, Junipers and sycamore trees. This place is abit humid and this supports a range of plants like the impatiens Kilimanjaro.

The level between 2800to 4000meters is the Semi-Alpine vegetation. At this level you will see a lot of Lobelias, giant goundsel, colorful red pokers and Senecios trees. This area of the mountain mainly receives rain through the mist which usually covers the area without notice. The temperatures here of course will be below 0 degrees.

The other level above the 4000meters comprises of the Alpine desert vegetation zone. This area has lot temperature variations during the days and night. This level of the mountain will barely have any plant life. The landscape is abit desolate with some yellow daisies.

The nights usually cold to the extreme and the sun has scotching rays during the day. This area has no life that survives and those small plants that try to grow can’t go beyond.

The lower mountain levels that have forested lands have good animal presence and birds like Green Wood Hoopoes, Hartlaub Turacos, and Silvery cheeked, tropical Boubous. There will be primates like olive baboons and more, mongoose monkeys. There is presence of elephants and duikers.

Animals and plants struggle to survive in the higher altitudes of Moorland and the Heath vegetations. But you will see some mouse, doves, ravens and sunbirds at this altitude. The mice may be had to locate as move in the undergrowth.

Glaciers on the Kilimanjaro.

The rest of the vegetation zones above 4000 meters above sea level are too harsh for any animals to survive and so you won’t find animals in the Arctic and Alpine zones. Glacier are rare in Africa and can only be found In Uganda (Ruwenzori), Kenya (Mountain Kenya) and the Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. These being tropical countries, the occurrence of glaciers are such a unique thing and it bits the laws of science. Here are some of the glaciers of the Kilimanjaro ranges.

The Rebmann Glacier

The Rebmann Glacier is an active glacier and it one among the few that are still active on the Kilimanjaro ranges. When the fields of ice of the Kilimanjaro were broken down, there were many ice masses that were forced but only a few of them remained intact as some were melted right away. This process is believed to have taken place about 100 years ago. Over 80percent of the glaciers of the Kilimanjaro have been lost since 1912.  These particular glaciers were named after Johannes Rebmann who also is believed to have discovered the glaciers in 1849. The final hike f the Kilimanjaro will take you through the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers to Stella Point. At this point you will be at altitude 5,685 meters above sea level. The glaciers are particularly on the Kibo peak at the south eastern part of the Kilimanjaro.

The Rebmann glacier is among the few glaciers that descend the rim of the cater on the Kibo cone. The other major ones are the Kersten and Decken Glaciers. It is odd that there are glaciers in equatorial after due to the temperature expected here. This has defied the laws of the sun. It is said that the summit of the Kilimanjaro is very cold at night and in the morning and extremely hot during the day. The rays of the sun are too hot and direct and it always advised that one should have option to protect them from the sun. Johannes Rebmann was the first European to prove the presence of the glaciers at the top the Kilimanjaro.

Credner Glacier

The Credner Glacier is located on the Kibo peak on the north western side of the Kilimanjaro Mountain. It is also one of the largest glaciers on this mountain. The glacier is still in the ice form up to now and is present at the top the Kilimanjaro. Between the mark of 5,500 and 5,800 meters above sea level is where you will find these glaciers. The glacier are quickly melting and it is believed according to research that in the next 10 years the glaciers may cease to exist if no strict measure are taken to control the factor that are affecting the glaciers. The Credner Glacier is said of have lost half their size in the last 10 years and if the trend continues then there will be almost one of them in the next 5 years.

The Credner Glacier is one of the feeders of the Drygalski Glacier, the Uhlig glacier, Penck glaciers and the great and little glaciers.

The Ratzel Glacier

The Ratzel Glaciers are a product of the southern Ice field of the Kilimanjaro Mountain. Just like most of the glaciers, these are also located on the Kibo peak. This is because probably it is the highest point of the mountain. It is north of the Gilman’s point. While on the Gilman’s point therefore you can see the Ratzel Glacier further south since they are in so much isolation from the crater rim in the south. The southern ice field is a source of four glaciers which are Kersten, Rebmann, Decken, and Heim Glaciers

Meyer in his book “Across East African Glaciers” goes ahead and explains the details of how the glacier is another challenge of the Kilimanjaro hike. Meyer and his team spent the entire morning trying to get the ladder out of the ice cliff until around 2am when they made their attempt to reach the summit. Coincidentally, the ice cliff they were describing is the current Ratzel Glacier. He further describes that to get each stair out; they would need to strike with an axe about 20 times to see a crack. This glacier was named by Meyer in honor of a Professor of Geography who was from Leipzig in Germany where Meyer was born.

Arrow Glacier

The Arrow glacier was also known as the Little Barranco. These glaciers have melted over time and no longer exist. The Drygalski Glacier and the Arrow glaciers have both melted away and ceased to exist on the Kilimanjaro. This is as a result of global warming. The effects of global warming have had a big effect on the glacier and most of them have lost over 80% of their masses. If the effects are not controlled, then we may not have any glaciers on the Kilimanjaro by 2030.

These glaciers are in the altitude of about 5,300 meters and 5,470 meters above sea level. They are on the western slopes of the Kibo peak on the Kilimanjaro Mountain. Glacier is very close to the hazardous Western Breach Route otherwise known as the Arrow Glacier Route and it also sits close to the Lemosho Route.

The Heim Glacier

The Heim Glacier used to be a famous spot for the hiker on the Kilimanjaro before it eventually disappeared in the year 1996. This has been the fate for most of the glaciers of the Northern ice field. Most of them have disappeared and some have shrunk in size some even more than half like the Furtwängler Glacier.

The glaciers were best viewed from the Karanga Valley on the southern circuit of the Kilimanjaro Mountain. On the left as the Kersten Glacier that was forming from the southern ice fields. These glaciers were viewed foe the Barranco camp that is on the right at an elevation of about 3,950 meters above sea level. On the left were the Balletto glacier and the Diamond glaciers which are above it.

In the late 1880s, Meyer made his first study of the Kilimanjaro Mountain. Since then, there have been significant decline in the amount of glacier but surprisingly there have been no conclusive map of the glaciers on the Kilimanjaro Mountain. Most of the important people use up to date is information put out by Meyers. For example he has photo editions of the area for years, 1891, 1900, 1909. Most of the recent information is from aerial photography and satellites.

The Balletto Glacier

The Balletto Glacier like most of the glacier is on the Kibo peak which is the highest of the Kilimanjaro and is located on the southern slopes o this peak. This among the few intact glaciers remaining on this mountain. This glacier is located between the altitude of between 5,000 meter and 5,400 meters above sea level. This glacier a base of about 1200 meters that it rests on a big rock commonly known as the “Western Breach Wall” or the kissing rock. It is a few meters below the Diamond glaciers. A small rock inter connects the two glacier and is about 90 meters long.

This is more like myth but it’s really interesting. This route has been the most successful route of the Kilimanjaro and we can’t attribute any of this to it. The big glacier was therefore named after Balleto for his role on finding the roué that eventually leads to this glacier.

The Drygalski Glacier

This glacier is among those that no longer exist on the Kilimanjaro ranges. It used to be found at the tallest peak of the Kilimanjaro, the Kibo peak. It was part of the northern ice field and most of the glacier on this side of the mountain have either shrunk or melted to disappearance. This is attributed to the increased global warming in the area.  The glacier used to be at the altitude of about 4.800 feet above sea level. Erich von Drygalski, a German geographer, is the one that the Drygalski Glacier was named after.

12-Day Kilimanjaro Climbing & Serengeti Wildlife Safari

Animals on the Kilimanjaro

These are some of the animals that you expect to see while on the Kilimanjaro Mountain Ranges:

Bush Baby

These animals are known by very any names such as little night monkeys, galagos and nagapies. These monkeys cry like human babies at night thus the name little night monkey. The bush babies are nocturnal animals with round eyes that give a good night vision. They eat grasshoppers and most insects as well as moths. Catch some of these since they can hop from tree to tree. They also eat fruits and gums of trees.

The White Necked Raven

This raven is named appropriately as it has a dominant white band around its neck. It’s an intelligent bird just like most of the raven. It is assumed that a raven is smarter than a 7 year old child. They have good reasoning, have good problem solving abilities and have the ability to hold group discussions.

These ravens eat grains, fruits, insects and small reptiles. Human food is also something they can eat.

Blue Monkey

This is also referred to as the Diademed Monkey. The most common sighting have been around the Big forest Camp on the Lemosho trail. These monkeys are actually nothing like their name, they are not blue like the name suggests. They have an olive patches and grey fur. The faces have some yellowish color and are darker with reddish brown foreheads.

Jackson’s Chameleon

They among the only creatures that can camouflage or change color according to environment, light, temperature and emotions.

Each eye of the chameleon can move on its own without depending on the other and can look in different directions. They are slow in movement but they have the ability to move their tongue at a very high speed and at long distance almost twice their body length to catch their prey.

Colobus Monkey

This monkey gets its name from a Greek word “kolobos” which means Mutilated. This is because that these monkeys don’t thumbs like other primates. These colubus monkeys don’t have thumbs because this helps them swing on the canopies better than the rest of the other primates. When the colobus monkey is born, it’s white in color but as they grow older, they transform into the usual black and white. They have a long tail that is really fluffy.

Four Striped Mouse

There are a lot of human activities around this area and this explains the presence of rodents. This type is specifically larger than the normal house mice. It has stripes that run down the back and are black and these are one of the special features. These are very active in the early hours unlike the other mice. They rest most of the time of the day but may come out a little more in the afternoon.

Best time to visit

If you are thinking about trekking the highest mountain ranges in Africa or have you have already booked your safari to Kilimanjaro? The most common thing will be what’s the best time to visit and the other terms and conditions for the hike.

Its best advised to hike the Kilimanjaro is between the months of December to February and Mid June to September. Ideally these are the dry months but even then, sometimes it can and gets abit messy. The wet months are March to Mid June and October to November.

How to Prepare your Kilimanjaro Hike

Like any other mountain, hiking the Kilimanjaro ranges is a common thing on traveler’s lists and this mountain is even more special as it is the tallest in Africa. There about 30,000 people that hikes this mountain every year. This number doesn’t mean that the hike is an easy thing, you will need to have prepared yourself fit to hike this mountain.

Here are some of the things you can consider to prepare yourself for this hiking adventure.

  • Fitness Training

You will need to test your strength and see how far you can go. The emphasis is on the legs and how your heart and the cardio system can hold up.

  • Altitude Sickness

The altitude sickness is the most common factor that affects most hikers of the Kilimanjaro. Therefore, you may have the fitness but then suffer altitude sickness. This inability to adapt to high altitude is known as the attitude sickness. This sickness can increase your chance of getting a cold or flu.

  • Hiking Gear

You will need to prepare camping equipment and food supplies that will be carried by your allocated helpers. Make sure you have quality gear that will be able to with stand all the terrible conditions in the wild. Pay a lot of emphasis on clothes and foot wear.


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