Trekking holidays to Tanzania are often about climbing Kilimanjaro. After all, the 5,895 m African peak has a number of routes for hikers of all abilities, each approaching the mountain from various sides and offering daily walks of different lengths. While you should take the opportunity to ascend the peak when in the nation, don’t forget there are loads of other sights and activities in the Kilimanjaro National Park, which was established in 1973.
These will add to the already awe-inspiring experience of taking in the view of 4 km of plains from the summit of Kilimanjaro, with the top five unmissable attractions listed below.
1. The wildlife
Tanzania is home to the Big Five – the buffalo, elephant, lion, rhino and leopard. While it’s not guaranteed you’ll see all or even one of these majestic creatures, you’ll certainly stand a good chance. Kilimanjaro National Park is connected to the Amboseli conservation area in Kenya, making it the ideal place to go on a safari or a bird-watching tour. Should one of Tanzania’s beautiful animals cross your path, it’ll be a moment you’ll always cherish. You’ll hopefully have managed to capture some stunning shots on your camera, which will look fantastic blown up on to canvas and hung in your home.
2. Mount Kilimanjaro
While many people who visit the national park focus on getting to the mountain’s summit, you should also take some time to appreciate how beautiful it is at a distance. It is perhaps at its most breathtaking during sunset, when the Tanzanian plains flit between spectacular colours. The daily nine-to-five grind back home will feel a million miles away as you enjoy a meal at your campsite with the sun setting over Kilimanjaro. This is one sight that definitely matches up to the claims of tourist literature!
The town of Moshilies at the base of the mountain and produces coffee – a lot of it! Plantations surround the town and wholesale coffee buyers come here to bid on the produce. Pop into an auction to see something that not many tourists get to – it’s certainly an experience to watch people haggling over the beans, rather than the usual antiques and art on sale at these places. Take a tour of a plantation and visit local nearby villages along the way.
4. Lush forests
Lush montane forest is nestled within Kilimanjaro National Park, and buffalo, elephant, antelopes, leopards and the endangered Abbot’s duiker (a small antelope) all call the green space home. The montane forest belt goes around the mountain between 1,300 m and 2,800 m, so you’ll still enjoy a good walk if you explore the area. In total, the park’s forests boast seven species of primate, 25 different types of antelopes and 25 carnivore species. You should also keep an eye out for birds fluttering between the trees.
5. Lake Chala
Make sure you visit the stunning Lake Chalaon the eastern edge of the mountain. The colour of the water changes depending on what time of the year your are here, switching from green to blue to turquoise. Located in a volcanic area, the brilliant blues of Lake Chala appear to come out of nowhere. It’s easily accessible from Moshi if you decide to head here after a tour of the town.
So, while there’s nothing wrong with heading to Tanzania so you can complete the hike up Kilimanjaro, make sure you also check out these five top attractions. After all, you’ve travelled all that way, you might as well fit in as many things as possible!