The primary purpose of tourists' visit to Kilimanjaro National Park which occupies about 75,353 hectares is to climb the roof of Africa. Standing approximately 330 kilometers south of the equator on the northern boundary of Tanzania, Mt. Kilimanjaro 5895 meters above sea level is the highest mountain in Africa.
It is one of the world's largest free standing mountains. Mt. Kilimanjaro is composed of one extinct volcano: Shira, 3,962 meters and two dormant volcanoes: Kibo 5,895 meters and Mawenzi 5,149 meters. Changes are evident when hiking through the unique flora and fauna in the park. The vegetation changes according to the environmental condition at a particular altitude depending on the temperature and the amount of rainfall. Mount Kilimanjaro ecosystem comprises of five major ecological zones as follows, lower slopes, mountainous forests, heath and moorland, alpine desert and the summit. Kilimanjaro National Park is one of the Tanzania's popular northern tourist circuit.
National Parks located 56 kilometers from Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA). Kilimanjaro National Park can be reached by flying into KIA and driving through Moshi, the capital town of Kilimanjaro Region.
Although there are various options to climb to the snow peaked dome of Mt. Kilimanjaro, most hikers use Marangu Trail, which is climbable without special equipment. This is the only route that has "huts" for accommodation and is the headquarters of the park. Other routes include Machame (technical but most of the hikers using this route manage to reach the top), Umbwe, Mweka, Rongai, Shira Plateau (Londorosi Gate), Great Western Breach, Mawenzi Peak (technical climbing therefore equipment is required) and Summit circuits. Tents are used for accommodation in all these routes. Any physically fit person from a 13 year old to an 80 year elderly can climb this world's heritage mountain site to the top.
The minimum days to reach the summit are 5 days spending 4 nights. Acclimatization days are recommended. Hence some trails take up to 6 days to reach the top. The high season for climbing Mountain Kilimanjaro is between June and February during the dry season. This is considered to be a suitable time for climbing. However, people still climb the mountain during lower season (rain season) from March to May.