Kilimanjaro National Park covers an area of some 75,575 ha and protects the largest free-standing volcanic mass in the world and the highest mountain in Africa – Mount Kilimanjaro. The mountain rises 4,877m above surrounding plains to 5,895m at its peak. Visitors from around the globe who climb its snow-capped summit will not be disappointed.
At its base, the rich cultivated soils give way to lush montane forest, inhabited by elusive elephant, leopard, buffalo, the endangered Abbot’s duiker, and other small antelope and primates. Above this is moorland where giant heather is studded with giant lobelias. Above 4,000m, a surreal alpine desert supports little life other than a few hardy mosses and lichen. Finally, the last vestigial vegetation gives way to a winter wonderland of ice and snow – and the magnificent beauty of the roof of the continent.
The word Kilimanjaro, in the local language, means either “Mountain of Greatness” or “Shining Mountain”. Either way, both are perfectly apt for Mount Kilimanjaro, Kilimanjaro National Park’s most astonishing and breath-taking geographical feature.