Kilimanjaro National Park is a Tanzanian national park, located 300 kilometres south of the equator and in Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania. The park is located near the city of Moshi. The park includes the whole of Mount Kilimanjaro above the tree line and the surrounding montane forest belt above 1,820 metres. It covers an area of 1,688 square kilometres, 2°50'–3°10'S latitude, 37°10'–37°40'E longitude. The park is administered by the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TNPA).
Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest point in Africa with a summit of 5,895 metres at Uhuru Peak (higher than Everest Base Camp). It is the fourth highest of the Seven Summits and probably the easiest of all seven to conquer, requiring some endurance but no technical climbing skills. The mountain is a dormant, conical volcano lastly erupting about 200 years ago and mainly made of cooled lava. There is visible glacial ice at the peak, the Northern Ice Field although common opinion is that this is melting and is likely to disappear by 2040. There are several routes up the mountain (Northern Circuit, Machame, Marangu, Rongai, Lemosho, Umbwe and Shira), all of which require a permit from the Park Authority and all trekkers must be accompanied by an official guide. The routes vary in the number of days and rates of success; generally the routes with the greatest success are those requiring the greatest length of time so that trekkers can acclimatise. Common opinion is that there are approximately ten deaths per year on Kilimanjaro, the result of acute mountain sickness.
A variety of animals can be found in the park. Above the timberline, the Kilimanjaro tree hyrax, the grey duiker, and rodents are frequently encountered. The bushbuck and red duiker appear above the timerline in places. Cape buffalo are found in the montane forest and occasionally in the moorland and grassland. Elephants can be found between the Namwai and Tarakia rivers and sometimes occur at higher elevations. In the montane forests, blue monkey, western black and white colobus, bushbaby, and leopards can be found.
It is required to have a licensed guide to climb Kilimanjaro. Current park entry and camping/hut fees are over USD100 per day. Most climbers are accompanied with porters. All inclusive trips range from about USD800 to USD5,500. Over and above the amount you pay to the tour operator, it is obligatory on the part of the trekkers to pay tips to the guides, cooks and porters who accompany you on the mountain. though there is no set guidelines as to how much you should pay, it is sufficient if you can pay around 10% of the amount you pay to the tour operators with the guide getting the major share and equal distribution of the remaining amount to the porters. since the porters are the least paid by the tour operators and the ones who take the maximum load during the trek, your generosity would be of much help to them. But, it is not advisable to give the whole amount to one person and expect him to distribute it among the others. Chances are high that he may pocket the whole amount. It would be wise to personally hand over the amount to the individual in person. Also, the gear used by the porters is mostly substandard and in fact not at all fit for the trek. It would be generous if you could spare some of your gear if you think you can do it.
If you are coming from Nairobi, Kenya, you can fly with Kenya Airways, which works with Precision Air, and that would cost you about USD400/person for a return ticket. Alternatively, you can schedule shuttle buses, which are daily at 08:00 and 14:00, for about USD25/person, one way, and it's a 5-6 hour bus ride.
The various food requirements are met by the porters and cooks who come along with you on the mountain. However, the quality of the food depends on the reputation of the Tour Operator you are climbing with. The quality of the food tends to go down towards the end of the trek due to reduction in rations carried by the porters and also due to the food becoming stale by the end of the trek. It is recommended to carry along some High energy food like chocolates and nuts for surviving and successful completion of the trek. It would be worthy enough to carry along some readymade noodle packets etc for cooking them at the end of the trek.
Bring a lot of water. Also, a lot of oral rehydration salts (ORS) are recommended for preventing dehydration while trekking on the mountain.
Lodging on the mountain is limited to designated camp sites. Cave sleeping is now prohibited. A number of huts are available, but generally not advisable. Pre-climb lodging is generally found in Moshi or Arusha.
It is permitted to camp on Mt Kilimanjaro for as many days as you want by paying the designated fees to the Kilimanjaro national Park authorities and camp in any of the nearest camps like the Machame Hut or the Mweka Hut.
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