In 1910 the area was declared as a game reserve and a forest reserve in 1921 before being gazette as a national park in 1973. It was not until 1977 when Kilimanjaro was opened for public access. The park was declared by UNESCO as a world heritage site in 1987 and voted as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa in 2013. Kilimanjaro is located in Northern Tanzania 48 km from Moshi town and covers an area of 1,668 square km.Climbing Kilimanjaro is not just a climb but a journey from the tropics to the Arctic. The higher you climb, the colder it gets with change in vegetation zones.
ROUTES AND CAMPSTITES ON KILINAMJARO:
There are 31 camping sites along the seven hiking routes: Off all the camping sites are wilderness with toilets and a park staff house
Londorosi Route -This is an ascending route located on the western side of the mountain and it comprised of five stations namely Shira I, Shira II, Baranco, Karanga and Barafu. It also offers the chance of using the Northern circuit and Western breach.
Lemosho route -This route is also for ascending located on the western side of the mountain and it comprised of six stations of MtiMkubwa then join Londorosi route at Shira I.
Machame route -This is an ascending route as well located on the South-West of the mountain and it has five stations namely Machame hut, Shira cave, Baranco, Karanga and Barafu.
Umbwe route -It is an ascending route located on the South-West of the mountain and it has four stations, the Umbwe cave inside the forest belt and the other three after join Machame route at Baranco camp
Mweka route -This is a descending route located on the southern side of the mountain. It comprised of three stations namely Mweka hut, High camp (Millenium) and Barafu. Visitors form Londorosi, Lemosho, Machame and Umbwe descent using this route
Kilema route-This route is for cycling. It has three stations namely Kilemamchele, Maua and Kibo; it is two way traffic.
Marangu route -This is route is for ascending and descending with provision of huts along the trail. It has three stations namely Mandara, Horombo and Kibo. On the mountain stations, there are toilets, kitchens, dinning and rooms for clients. Advance booking through a licensed mountain tour operator is mandatory.
Rongai Route -It is ascending route with an option of using four or five stations depending on the choice of the climber. Visitors who ascend through this route will descend through Marangu route. Option of four stations includes Simba camp, second cave, third cave and school hut and the second option for five stations is Simba camp, second cave, Kikelelwa, Mawenzi tarn hut and School hut.
Cycling-Kilema route takes you to the highest point in Africa while cycling. This route has three stations of Kilimamchele (9km), Maua 12km and kibo 21km from Kilema gate. Also there is a non-summit bound route/circuits totaling 44.3Km in shira plateau were one can have an itinerary of one to four days depending on their time and budget.
Shira Plateau -After collapsing, the Shira peak formed a plateau of outstanding scenic beauty on the mountain. This plateau has an open grassland, heath and moorland with a large concentration of endemic plants including Senecio and lobelias. While on the plateau, one can visit the Shira central cone, the Cathedral and the Needle. Several kinds of migratory mammals such as buffaloes, elephants and elands use this plateau for feeding or salt licking.