Kilimanjaro is one of the most well-known and most recognized mountains in the world. It’s famous for being the highest mountain in Africa, but there are more reasons to visit and climb Kilimanjaro than just to reach the top!
One of the Seven Summits
Kilimanjaro is one of the famed Seven Summits, which are the seven tallest mountains in the world. While the other mountains on the list (like Everest and Denali) require technical skills to climb, Kilimanjaro can be climbed by anyone who meets the minimum athletic requirements. No special equipment is required, and anyone can climb it, as proven by a diverse bunch of individuals who’ve set Kilimanjaro world records.
As the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, hiking to the summit can take you through different kinds of climates as the altitudes rise. Sometimes you can get different weather conditions within minutes of each other! The mountain has five climate zones: Zone 1, or the tropical zone, which is mostly composed of fertile farmland; Zone 2, the forest zone, is full of plants and wildlife; Zone 3 is heather and moorland, where temperatures can vary wildly; Zone 4, the highland desert zone, is surreal scenery and serves as a visual reminder of Kilimanjaro’s past as an active volcano; Zone 5 is the arctic zone, where barely anything lives due to the extremely cold temperatures at 16,000 ft and higher.
The park surrounding Kilimanjaro, as well as the mountain itself, is strictly regulated by the Tanzanian government in order to keep them as untouched as possible. In fact, the reason hikers need porters is because there are so many rules and regulations that only specially trained personnel can become guides, cooks, and porters to accompany trekkers into Kilimanjaro. As a result of these regulations, however, much of the surrounding areas and most of the mountain is pure wilderness. This allows hikers to see and experience Kilimanjaro’s flora and fauna in their most pristine and natural state.
Unique Flora and Fauna
Kilimanjaro is home to a multitude of species, some of which are endemic to Kilimanjaro. Located mostly in the Zones 1 and 2, animal sightings are not uncommon. Species like blue monkeys, colobus monkeys and olive baboons can be heard as you hike through. Other species like civets, leopards, mongooses, red eyed doves, white necked ravens and Malachite sunbirds can occasionally be spotted in Zone 2 and 3. Your guide should be able to point them out and tell you more!