Mount Kilimanjaro is so prominent for its spectacular geographical features coupled with the beautiful mountain vegetation, plentiful bird life, and abundant game. Kilimanjaro National Park lies in Northern Tanzania, near the town of Moshi between the Kenyan border and Moshi River in an area above the 2,700m, on the mountain. It includes the moorland and highland zones, Shira Plateau, Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. The Park, in addition, has six corridors or rights of way through the Kilimanjaro Forest Reserve – which is also a Game Reserve established in 1921. Kilimanjaro National Park itself was established in 1973 and officially opened in 1977.

Kilimanjaro National Park

Kilimanjaro National Park

Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain and one of the most instantly recognizable landmasses on the African continent. Its unique profile and snow-capped peak form one of the most breathtaking sights on earth. This effective world’s largest single mountain and freestanding entity tower an incredibly 5km above the surrounding plains; and has a Size of 1668 sq km.

Kilimanjaro is a beacon for visitors from around the world. This is because it’s one of the world’s most accessible high summits. Most climbers reach the crater rim with little more than a walking stick 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.

Wildlife Attractions

Elephants in Kilimanjaro National Park

Elephants in Kilimanjaro National Park

There is an amazing quality of wildlife and flora in this region and a trek to Mount Kilimanjaro can be one of those precious moments in life, which anyone would never wish to forget. Inside the park, a number of mammal species have been registered above the tree line. They include elephants, several species of rodents, grey duiker and eland, bushbuck, red duiker, the endangered Abbott’s and buffalo.

Birdlife

Bird varieties like lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus, hill chat Cercomela sordida, Hunter’s cisticola Cisticola hunteri, and scarlet-tufted malachite sunbird Nectarinia johnstoni have also been found but most of them are few in numbers. The limited range of the bird species at higher altitudes includes Alpine chat and scarlet-tufted malachite sunbird.

There is limitless support for the wildlife in the National park zones because the montane forest, moorland, upland moor, alpine desert, and alpine bogs provide suitable vegetation in the park.

Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird

Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird

Best Time to Visit The Kilimanjaro National Park

The best time to visit Kilimanjaro National Park is from July to October and from December to March. These are the clearest and warmest conditions as well as the prime time to catch a clear glance of the abundant game in the park.

Getting There

128 km (80 miles) from Arusha. About one hour’s drive from Kilimanjaro International Airport.

Kilimanjaro Safaris

The most popular activity is an attempted hike to the summit, which requires a minimum of five days using the Marangu Route, the most popular and easiest option, but also the most crowded and ecologically compromised. There are several trekking routes to reach the summit and most of them traverse a landscape that is unforgettable and a wildlife that is amazing. Major routes are Marangu route, Mweka route, Machame route, and Shira route.

Commissioned as a national park in 1970, Tarangire National Park is the sixth largest national park in Tanzania after Katavi, Mikumi, Mkomazi, Ruaha, and Serengeti. It covers 2,850 sq km of grassland and floodplains, and a large proportion of tall acacia woodland just south of the open grass plains of southern Masai land. The Park has an incredible ecosystem, which shelters a wide variety of wildlife. It boasts a mixture of verdant, green grass, highlands and huge trees that are a perfect habitat for several rare species of birds. The most popular of these trees being the gigantic African Baobab tree, dotted around the park in tremendous populations.

Tarangire National Park derives its name from Tarangire River which crosses at its center. The river is the only permanent source of water for the wild animals, especially during the dry spells. During such seasons, that is around mid-August all animals congregate at this point, which is their last reliable water source.

Location

Famous for its huge number of elephants, thousands of baobab trees and tree climbing African pythons, Tarangire lies south east of Lake Manyara and covers an area of approximately 2,850 sq km. Although it is relatively small, the park enjoys easy accessibility and boasts with some of the greatest concentrations of game in Tanzania -second only to the Ngorongoro Crater also an added bonus which makes it a truly incomparable scene attractive to many tourists than other Tanzanian parks. It is the vast number of baobabs that first capture the eye as you enter Tarangire National Park. The gently rolling countryside is dotted with these majestic trees, which seem to dwarf the animals that feed beneath them.

Lake Manyara

Lake Manyara

Geography

Tarangire has regions of a pretty dense bush, but with high grasses and massive aged baobab trees unlike green forests of Manyara. The land is hilly and dominated by the imposing valley of the Tarangire River and attracts good numbers of migrant animals during the dry months, more commonly between July and September. The National Park, however, is a quiet, seasonal park with wide views to distant volcanic mountain ranges.

Wildlife

Tarangire is also the best place in Tanzania to observe buffalo and huge numbers of an elephant (up to 300 at one spot). In reality, the game numbers overall are overwhelming: 3,000 elephants, 5,000 buffalos, 2,500 Masai giraffes, 25,000 zebras, 25,000 wildebeests plus over 1,000 fringe-eared Oryx. Predators range from lions (tree-climbing just like their in Lake Manyara), cheetah and leopards. During the dry months, the concentration of animals around the Tarangire River doubles as in the Ngorongoro Crater. There are a few resident lions, which are easier to spot when the migration arrives to excite their taste buds since they don’t tend to abandon their territory. Tarangire is a great spot for elephant gatherings at the end of the rainy season in June, and zebra and wildebeest return together through July.

Birdlife

Black-collared Lovebirds

Black-collared Lovebirds

There are a fantastic number of colorful birds flying down and blustering along the rough paths throughout the year, with likely spots including the Paradise Whyder and endearing Yellow-collared lovebirds. In other months they look quite mean and lean and slip easily between the lengthening grasses. The park is also known for its great avian diversity, in which it is surpassed only by Lake Manyara. Tarangire is also a great place for spotting vultures. Many of these ragged scavenger birds hide on the dead looking trees waiting for predators to take all they want from their last victim’s carcass. Bird enthusiasts to the Park are also guaranteed sight of the endemic ashy starling, Rufous-tailed Weaver, and the black-collared lovebird.

Best Time to Go

The best times to visit are undoubtedly the dry season from mid-June to February. During this time concentrations of wildlife in the park get to stunning levels as migratory herds of wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, and elephant roam within the park in search of water sources, the Tarangire River and the Silale Swamp. As the land dries and the smaller rivers stop flowing, the herds head south towards the permanent water in the Tarangire River and its surrounding swamps. Predator animals such as the lions, leopard, and others also see this as a prime season for their prey around the river.

Tarangire Park Safaris

Guided Walking Safaris

Guided walking safaris in this area range from a gentle stroll near Tarangire Safari Lodge to a full day out on foot across the Park exploring the recently opened wilderness sections.

Guided Walking Safari

Guided Walking Safari

Birding

Because of the amazing bird life in this park and a safari visitor keen on bird watching is certain to spot about 100 different birds on a days trail.

Travel Alert

Be warned though, the going can be rough and many of the tracks are impassable in the rainy season.