Mount Kilimanjaro Information

Kilimanjaro. The name itself is a mystery wreathed in clouds. It might mean Mountain of Light, Mountain of Greatness or Mountain of Caravans. Or it might not. The local people, the Wachagga, don't even have a name for the whole massif, only Kipoo (now known as Kibo) for the familiar snowy peak that stands imperious, overseer of the continent, the summit of Africa.

Kilimanjaro, by any name, is a metaphor for the compelling beauty of East Africa. When you see it, you understand why. Not only is this the highest peak on the African continent; it is also the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, rising in breathtaking isolation from the surrounding coastal scrubland – elevation around 900 metres – to an imperious 5,895 metres (19,336 feet).

Kilimanjaro is one of the world's most accessible high summits, a beacon for visitors from around the world. Most climbers reach the crater rim with little more than a walking stick, proper clothing and determination. And those who reach Uhuru Point, the actual summit, or Gillman's Point on the lip of the crater, will have earned their climbing certificates.
And their memories.

But there is so much more to Kili than her summit. The ascent of the slopes is a virtual climatic world tour, from the tropics to the Arctic.

Even before you cross the national park boundary (at the 2,700m contour), the cultivated footslopes give way to lush montane forest, inhabited by elusive elephant, leopard, buffalo, the endangered Abbot’s duiker, and other small antelope and primates. Higher still lies the moorland zone, where a cover of giant heather is studded with otherworldly giant lobelias.

Above 4,000m, a surreal alpine desert supports little life other than a few hardy mosses and lichen. Then, 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.

About Kilimanjaro National Park
Size: 755 sq km (292 sq miles).
Location: Northern Tanzania, near the town of Moshi.

Getting there
128 km (80 miles) from Arusha.
About one hour’s drive from Kilimanjaro airport.

Tanzania: General information
Tanzania; a name synonymous with the Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Zanzibar and of course - Kilimanjaro. With a population of 29 million people made up of over 100 tribes the country is as diverse in culture as it is in geography.

Tanzania covers 945 166km2 making it the largest country in East Africa. Located just below the equator (between 1oS and 11o45'S) most of Tanzania has a tropical climate although there are large regional variations. The coastal belt as well as the areas around lake Nyasa (known as Lake Malawi outside Tanzania) are hot and humid.

Tanzania is the largest of the 3 East African countries of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. It was a German colony before the First World War, and was under British administration from 1918 until independence in 1961. Formerly called Tanganyika, it formed a union with Zanzibar in 1964 to become the United Republic of Tanzania.

Seasons: When to visit.
Kilimanjaro can be climbed during any month of the year, although the rain forest can become unpleasantly muddy during the rainy seasons of late March to May, and November to mid December. If visitors plan to visit game parks as well as climb the mountain, it is wise to plan a visit outside of the rainy seasons when roads within game parks can become impassable. The busiest months of the year on Kilimanjaro, when early booking is essential, are July to September, and mid December to late February.

Clearest and warmest conditions from December to February, but als odry (and colder) from July-September.

Money: How much and what type
Most prices in Tanzania are expressed in US dollars. Although many things can be paid for with Tanzanian shillings, fees to the national parks must be paid in convertible foreign currency. It is wise to keep most of one's money in foreign currency and only buy the minimum amount of shillings.

Hazards: The travel dangers
Tanzania is a safe and peaceful country, but visitors should observe sensible safety precautions. Don't arrange trips with people who approach you in the street. Be careful on public transport not to lose baggage and valuables. Tourists are very much wealthier than the majority of Tanzanians and are attractive to pickpockets. We are able to collect visitors from Kilimanjaro airport or from the towns of Moshi or Arusha. Please contact us to arrange safe taxi rides for you.

Tips: What you should know.
Travellers cheques are widely accepted in Tanzania. Most prices are quoted in dollars, and paying in different currencies sometimes attracts a poor rate of exchange.

Don't expect to be able easily to obtain a cash advance using a credit card. Whilst it is possible in the larger towns at some banks and bureaux de change, the exchange rates used will be punitive. And payment of bills using a credit card or cheque is often not possible either.

Tipping is customary in Tanzania, if you are pleased with the service. In the hotel, we have a tip box located near the reception desk and tips left in that are distributed equally to all hotel staff, including those often not seen by guests. Having some small denomination bank notes is useful for tipping purposes.

Remember to keep a note of important numbers - your passport, travellers cheques, embassy contact number and so on. Keep these details separately from your wallet

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