Mount Kilimanjaro was formerly established as a game reserve in 1900�s then as a Forest Reserve in 1921. Kilimanjaro National Park was established in 1973 following a 1957 request by The Tanganyika National Parks Authority. The park was established by Government Notice No 50 of March 16, 1973 after the establishment of its boundaries by the Presidential Proclamation of March 8, 1973. The park comprised all the area of land above the upper forest line (2,700m or 9,000ft a.m.s.l.) to the peak of the mountain.


In September 2005, the Government expanded the park area to include all the Forest Reserve on the mountain. The current lower boundary of the park therefore, is the lower boundary of the montane forest (1,820m a.m.s.l.). The excision of the Forest Reserve to the Park was effected and notified via Government Notice No 278 of September, 2005.



During its establishment, Kilimanjaro National Park covered land surface area of 756km2. The 2005 expansion saw the park�s land surface area increase more than double to over 1,688km2.


Mount Kilimanjaro rises from about 1000m of the surrounding plains to almost 5000m.

This magnificent volcanic massif is composed of one extinct and two dormant volcanoes lying in a west easterly axis. These distinct volcanoes which form the three peaks of the mountain are Shira to the west, Kibo in the middle and Mawenzi to the east. Shira is extinct while the other two are dormant. Shira is 3,962m (13,000ft), Kibo (the main and tallest peak) 5,895m 919,340ft) and Mawenzi 5,149m (16,803ft) a.m.s.l. The mountain is located between latitudes 2050″ to 3010″ S and longitudes 37010″ to 37040″ E, 330 km south of the equator on the northern boundary of Tanzania with Kenya.




The majestic Kilimanjaro, considered being Africa�s most scenic mountain, has immense ecological/scientific, socio-economic, cultural, authentic and ethical importance locally, nationally and internationally.


Park purpose

The park was established;

        to protect and interpret Africa�s highest mountain and one of the world�s largest free standing mountain and one of the world�s best known geologic features with exceptional natural and scenic beauty.

        to protect the ecological integrity of the mountain, its habitats for threatened, endangered, endemic and rare species, and

        to protect the mountain�s vital function as a watershed.



        The Kilimanjaro volcanic massif is one of the world�s largest volcanoes, reaching over 5,000m above the surrounding plains with snow-capped summit, is an area of exceptional beauty and superlative natural phenomena.

        Mount Kilimanjaro represents the worldwide image of Africa, its massiveness, tallness and snow-capped summit has instilled mystery and inspired a sense of learning, exploring and climbing to all mankind worldwide.

        Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest point in Africa. It supports a series of eco-climatic zones to those found in the equator/tropics to those in the arctic/tundra within its altitudinal range.

        Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the few mountain ecosystems located close to the equator, has large expanse of ice glaciers with the greatest extent of alpine desert of all the glaciated equatorial mountains in East Africa.

        Mount Kilimanjaro�s montane forest is one of the most important water catchment areas in all of Tanzania.

        Mount Kilimanjaro supports a wide range of plant and animal life. It supports endemic vegetation that have uniquely adapted to the extreme climatic conditions.




Kilimanjaro National Park was nominated in 1987 and eventually declared a World Heritage site/property in 1989 by IUCN. Justifying reasons for the declaration were:

a) Natural property

(iii) ��Superlative natural phenomena, exceptional natural beauty. As the largest�� single free-standing mountain mass in the world, Mount Kilimanjaro snow-capped summit stands almost 5km above the surrounding plains.

(iv)�� Habitat of rare and endangered species. The park supports a variety of rare and endemic plants and animal species.




The formation of Mount Kilimanjaro is closely related to the formation of the Great East African Rift Valley which was formed about one or two million years ago. Where Kilimanjaro stands today was a lowland plain. About a million years ago, the plain fractured, faults developed and three volcanoes (Ol Molog, Kibongoto and Kilema) erupted and the Kilimanjaro basin was created. About 750,000 years ago, the three volcanoes (Shira, Kibo and Mawenzi) that formed Kilimanjaro, began erupting. They continued to erupt and their cones to grow for thousands of years.Shira died first, became extinct and collapsed, leaving behind a wide caldera. Mawenzi subsided and became dormant about 450,000 years ago when all growth stopped although Kibo continued to be active with its final extensive eruptions occurring about 360,000 years ago. These eruptions produced a lot of black larva (rhomb porphyry) that filled up the Shira caldera, spread on the entire mountain (except on the entire Mawenzi peak). Kibo also stopped and became dormant.


The current shape of Mount Kilimanjaro is a result of the erosive actions of glaciers and rivers and the establishment and growth of vegetation on the mountain.




The climate is mainly influenced by the prevailing trade winds. There are two distinct main seasons in a year. A wet season (March to May) associated with heavy downpours, clouds and low temperatures. The dry season (June to October) has relatively moderate temperatures and frequent sunny days. There is however, a span of short rains (October to December) with light rains and a short dry spell (January to February) with dry, warm, clear days and light rain showers.




Due to its massive size and height, Kilimanjaro Mountain has five distinct ecological zones that form belts around the mountain. These are the lower slopes, the montane forest, the heath/moorland, the highland/alpine desert and the summit (the lower slopes are outside the park boundaries). Each zone has distinct plants and animal life best adapted to the set of environmental conditions at that altitude, especially the range of temperatures and the amount of rainfall. However, the montane forest is the most important ecological zone in terms of biodiversity perpetuation and watershed functions. Approximately 69% of the park�s flowering plants species, 78% of the bird species and 80% of the large mammal species are contained in the montane forest. About 96% of the water produced by the mountain comes from this zone.


Mount Kilimanjaro is known to have a variety of both lower and higher plans. Estimate of 2,500 plant species are thought to be on the mountain. However, only 370 species have so far been identified. Of these, 130 are trees species (of 100 genera in 50 families). Examples include Macaranga kilimandschari, Juniperus procera, Podocarpus milanjianus, Olea kilimandscharica and Ocotea usambarensi. Lianas (climbers) already identified are 100 species of 80 genera in 46 families. Lower plants (pteridophytes) already identified are 140 species which are 35% of all lower plants so far identified in Tanzania. Examples include Lycopodium spp. and Sellaginela spp. Plants endemic to Kilimanjaro include Impantiens kilimanjari, Lobelia deckenii and Senecio kilimanjari.


Mount Kilimanjaro is also a home to many wild animals. Most resident species are found in the forest. There are 140 species of mammals of which 87 are pure forest species. There are 25 species of carnivores and 7 species of primates. Examples include the black and white colobus (Colobus abbyssinicus, blue monkey (Cercopithecus mitis), Olive baboon (Papio anubis) Leopard (Panthera pardus), several species of Viverridae family (example serval cat, African civet, genets and mongoose). Also bush pig (Potamochoerus porcus), suni, bushbuck, crested porcupine, tree and ground squirrels, duikers and mouse. African buffaloes, African elephants, Maasai giraffe and zebra are frequently seen on the northern side of the mountain. Lions and eland on Shira plateau.


There is also abundant bird life represented by 405 species of which 179 are highland species. Examples are silvery cheeked hornbill, Hartlaub�s turaco, yellow vented bulbul, Alpine chat, streaky seed eater, Augur buzzard, Mountain buzzard, African crowned eagle, The Lammergeyer, white necked raven, Alpine swift, common stonechat and Scarlet-tufted malachite sunbird.


There is also a variety of insects, reptiles and amphibians. Beatles are extremely abundant, represented by 1,310 species.




Kilimanjaro National Park is managed by Tanzania National Parks under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism. It has a General Management Plan that is now under review. The plan provides the objectives and guides what management activities, where, when and how they should be conducted.


Research and Ecological Monitoring

The park has an ecological monitoring programme that oversees all environmental and scientific issues and coordinates all scientific undertakings. Current undertakings include:continuous collection and recording of weather parameters (temperatures, rainfall), periodic water quality assessment (sampling and analysis), monitoring of the effectiveness of the trash control system along climbing routes, survey of human/wildlife conflicts in the Kitendeni area and monitoring of effects of fire in burnt areas on the north eastern side of the mountain.



Various law enforcement, educational and community involvement activities are, all the time, carried out to protect and safeguard the park�s natural resources, particularly the montane forest and the wild animals.



Mount Kilimanjaro is endowed with a whole range of attractions including its geological features, the snow-capped peak, the quest to conquer the mountain, cool/cold weather, the wild animals, plant and bird life, the montane forest, the various water falls and Kifinika cultural site.


Tourist activities include hiking to the summit, site seeing especially Shira plateau and Mahundi crater, forest walks along trails, animal and bird watching, and visits to cultural sites especially Kifinika. Tourists� infrastructures and facilities include the routes, camp sites, mountain hut stations, entrance gates and rescue unit.


The number of tourists visiting the park has been steadily increasing for the past 15 years. Average for the past five years was 29,000 annually.


Community involvement

Kilimanjaro National Park is surrounded by 87 villages. These surrounding communities

Are involved in the management of the park in the preparation of the Park�s General Management Plan and in the various programmes under the park�s community Conservation Services set up. In this set up, the park:

(i)                  carries out activities to maintain and foster good neighbourhood (including conflict resolution, livestock-wildlife disease control and crop protection). The park also receives communities� support in protecting the park�s natural resources,

(ii)                conducts conservation education and sensitization programmes (school visits, village, ward and division meetings and awareness campaigns), and

(iii)               financially supports communities� initiated development/income generating projects.



Marangu park Headquarters is only 45km east of Moshi town, the Kilimanjaro regional HQ, and 91 km east of the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA). There is a tarmac road from Arusha or KIA via Moshi all the way to Marangu Park HQ. Tourists flying in to KIA can easily reach any of the park�s six gates (Marangu, Mweka, Umbwe, Machame, Londorosi and Rongai/Nalemoru) by road from Arusha or Moshi.




For further information, please contact:

The Chief Park Warden,

Kilimanjaro National Park,

P.Box 96,

Marangu, Tanzania.




E-mail : [email protected]

Web:���� www.tanzaniaparks.co����������������������������������� �����



Mafuru, N.N.

Chief Park Warden.


November 2005.