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Coastal and Beaches
Kilimanjaro National Park takes in the area above the 8,850
feet, or 2,700 meters, on the mountain. It includes the moorland and highland
zones, Shira Plateau, Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. In addition, the Park has six
corridors or rights of way through the Kilimanjaro Forest Reserve. The Forest
Reserve, which is also a Game Reserve, was established in 1921; the Park was
established in 1973 and officially opened in 1977.
Kilimanjaro stands a slight 205 miles south of the
equator, on the northern boundary of Tanzania. Its location on an open plain
close to the Indian Ocean, and its great size and height strongly influence the
climate, vegetation, animal life and the climbing conditions.
It is made up of three extinct volcanoes: Kibo 19,340 feet
(5,895 meters), Mawenzi 16,896 feet (5,149 meters); and Shira 13,000 feet
Even though you can climb throughout the year,
January, February and September are the best months, with July, August,
November and December also being good.
Equatorial to arctic conditions are present on Kilimanjaro.
The range begins with the warm, dry plains with average temperatures of 85°F,
ascends through a wide belt of wet tropical forest, through zones with
generally decreasing temperatures and rainfall, to the summit where there is
permanent ice and below freezing temperatures.
The rainiest period is March to June. The fact that most
months of the year have so few rainy days makes it possible to climb in
relatively good conditions year round. During the rainy period of March to May,
clouds tend to pile up and over the summit, dropping snow on top and rain at
the base. Visibility can be limited by cloud cover even when no rain falls. The
temperature at this time of year is relatively warm. The dry season, beginning
in late June and through July can be very cold at night, but usually is clear of
clouds. August and September are also cool and can have completely clear days,
but usually a dripping cloud belt girdles the mountain above the forest and
The summit can be totally clear and the successful
climber looks down on a vast sea of clouds with distant mountain peaks poking
through like islands.
The shorter rainy period of October to December often
has thunderstorms that pass over the mountain, dropping rain as they go.
Typically the clouds disappear in the evening, leaving nights and mornings
clear with excellent visibility. January and February are usually dry, warm and
clear with brief rain showers which make for good climbing conditions.
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