Home Travel Adventure 7 Kilimanjaro Experiences (From Hiking & Beyond)

7 Kilimanjaro Experiences (From Hiking & Beyond)

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Imagine standing at the highest point of the African continent; looking out over sprawling wilderness. Surrounded by the formidable lands of the Amboseli National Park, the great Rift Valley and the Maasi Steppe, Mount Kilimanjaro stands tall, beckoning travelers from around the world. It’s surrounded by what is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Kilimanjaro National Park, and the sight of the mountain standing tall amidst 291 acres of grassland is truly breathtaking.

With a height of 5,896 meters, Kilimanjaro the tallest mountain in Africa. It’s also the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, rising dramatically in isolation from the surrounding coastal shrubland. It has three main volcanic peaks — Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira — and they are truly a sight to behold, if for no reason other than that this is one of the few places in Africa with a permanent ice cover, despite its proximity to the equator.

One can truly experience a range of Africa’s climatic conditions on a trip to Kilimanjaro. From the savannahs that it looks over to its snow covered peaks, you get the whole package. If the volcanic nature of the mountain worries you, breath easy; the last eruption was over 100,000 years ago and Kilimanjaro is now considered inactive.

While the mountain is definitely the highlight of most trips — and with good reason — there are several places around the area that offer some interesting experiences as well. Here are some of the places you visit in and around Kilimanjaro:

Table of Contents

  • 1. Lake Chala
  • 2. Materuni Waterfalls
  • 3. Mount Kilimanjaro Trek
  • 4. Kilimanjaro National Park
  • 5. Rundugai Hot Springs
  • 6. Rebmann Glacier
  • 7. Victoria Falls

1. Lake Chala

Also known Dschalla, Lake Chala is a crater lake that was formed in a caldera. Located on the border of Kenya and Tanzania, on the eastern slope of Mount Kilimanjaro, it’s about an hour’s drive from Moshi (one of the access points to the surrounding National Park).

This lake is a popular spot for visitors as the view is magnificent; the blues of the lake set dramatically against the background of Kilimanjaro. Waters transition through different hues of blue depending on the time of the year, home to several species of marine life like the critically endangered Lake Chala Tilapia. If you fancy a stay at the lake there are several options, from luxury safari camp sites to lodges. Activities include kayaking, hiking around the area and swimming in the azure waters!

2. Materuni Waterfalls

Nestled in the lush foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, the Materuni Waterfalls are a spectacular sight to behold. It is an ideal option for people who are short on time, but want to experience nature nonetheless. The waterfalls are over 70 meters in height, with clear glacier water thundering over the edge.

The waterfall can be accessed via a hiking path. Note: it’s difficult in some places, so wear appropriate gear if you’re heading there.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is an epic experience

3. Mount Kilimanjaro Trek

The jewel in a much studded crown, the trek to the “roof of Africa” is truly the experience of a lifetime.

While trekking to the top requires limited technical expertise, do not underestimate the challenges that the mountain will throw your way. There are seven main trekking routes that vary in intensity, facilities offered and scenery, so you should do your research before you head out to conquer its slopes. For example, while the Marangu Route is the easiest route, many note it’s one of the least scenic. On the other hand, the Machame Route is more beautiful but also more intense. Think about what kind of experience you want before choosing.

Wildlife is one highlight of Kilimanjaro National Park. Photo via Jesiane/Pixabay.

4. Kilimanjaro National Park

If you’re heading to Kilimanjaro, do not miss the chance to check out the surrounding National Park. Accessible from the city of Moshi and covering an area of 291 square kilometers, it’s home to herds of elephants, giraffe, zebra, leopards, buffalo and several small primates.

5. Rundugai Hot Springs

6. Rebmann Glacier

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