Things to Do in Kilimanjaro National Park

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The image of the towering funnel of Mount Kilimanjaro is burnt into most people’s memories. After all, once viewed, it is a sight one is unlikely to forget. However, a lot of people are not aware of the fact that Mount Kilimanjaro is not just the mountain itself- it is also the national park surrounding it. 

This 291-square-mile park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and houses a number of attractions you should not miss while on a trip to Tanzania. Here are some of the top things to do in Kilimanjaro National Park. 

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Mount Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro

A lot of people travel to Tanzania to summit the mountain, and get a once-in-a-lifetime view that they’ll forget. Of course- this is the crowning glory of the national park (actually, it is a strong contender to be the crowning glory of all of Tanzania).

 Solo trekkers are not allowed on to the mountains- so you would definitely need a guide. There are various routes, with different views, durations, and difficulty levels, out of which Marangu Route and Machame Route are the most popular.

 The trek will take between 4-7 days.

2. Climb Kibo Peak

Kibo Peak
Kibo Peak

Do you want to climb to the top of the world? Kibo Peak should definitely be on your list. It’s one of the three volcanoes of Mount Kilimanjaro, and is the highest peak of the mountain and of Africa! Wonderful views all year round guaranteed.

The only peak which retains its snow throughout the year

The trek up to the peak can be rather strenuous and is recommended for professional climbers. Don’t worry, though. There are a lot of base camps at the lower levels where you can camp and soak in the views!

3. Walk the Shira Plateau

Shira Plateau
Shira Plateau

Shira Plateau lies on one of the routes to climb up Mount Kilimanjaro, a few kilometers to the west of Mount Kibo. This stunning plateau is a caldera.

When you walk through the plateau, you’ll be stepping on the remnants of a volcano that expired over 500,000 years ago. This is a beloved place for wildlife enthusiasts due to its extremely rich biodiversity, especially among fauna.

You can take your time and spot elephants, buffalos, elands, and lions in this region- although you should be aware that the area is pretty dense, so you might have to search for views of the animals.

4. Witness Chala Crater Lake

Chala Crater Lake
Chala Crater Lake

Chala Crater Lake lies in the shadow of the Kilimanjaro, on the border between Kenya and Tanzania in a caldera that was most likely formed after volcanic activity on the mountain. Depending on the time of the year you’re visiting, the clear waters of the lake might be turquoise blue, midnight blue, or even a stunning emerald.

This transparent lake is what dreams are made of

You can go hiking around the lake, down the crater walls, and spot the endangered Chala tilapia that’s only found here. There are some other activities available as well- but during the low season, it will be pretty isolated. There are no lifeguards available- but swimming is also permitted!

5. Discover Olpopongi

Olpopongi cultural village
Maasai tribesmen checking out new world toys

Discover the best of culture at Olpopongi, home to one of the most authentic Maasai experiences in all of Africa. You also see the Kraals in which these early settlers have lived in for a long time, learn more about Maasai family traditions and mores, enjoy the local foods, and interact with the Maasai about their heritage!

What makes Olpopongi so unique is that it lets you experience authentic Maasai culture without disrupting their daily lives or intruding into their private homes and villages.

Published by Rasmus Juul Olsen, updated on September 21, 2023

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