Mount Kilimanjaro’s zones.
Mount Kilimanjaro national park has 5 ecological climatic zones each having its own height exceeding 1000 m in height. These include civilization (800 m – 1800m), rainforest zone ( 1800- 2800m), heath/ moorland zone ( 2800m – 4000m), alpine desert zone ( 4000m – 5000m) and finally arctic zone ( 5000m – 6000m).
These zones arise due to the fact that it stands high at 5895m which makes it able to have its own climatic zones. All these climatic zones different uniqueness like weather, temperatures, terrain, vegetation, fauna, flora among others. Climbers should be prepared to glimpse and enjoy all these zones through mountain climbing to the summit, Uhuru. Let me explain to you these climatic zones in details beneath.
Civilization zone (800m – 1800m): Altitude wise, this is the lowest climatic zone of Kilimanjaro mountain. This zone is made up of rivers formed by run off the glaciers on the mountains top. The southern side of the mountain has more rainfall and coupled with the fertile volcanic soil makes it ideal growing conditions. This zone provides climbers a chance to view natives performing their activities like livestock, farming among others.
Rainforest zone (1800m – 2800m): Encircling the whole of the mountain is a montane or tropical rain forest. Dense and damp, this forest is home to many different bird and animal species. Due to the increase in human activity, it is rare to see any big game these days, but monkeys and birds abound. Among the animals to be seen at this zone include black and white colobus monkeys, baboons, small antelopes, bush pigs among others.
Heath/ moorland zone (2800m – 4000m): When the climber reaches this stage, the rainforest comes to an end bringing new sightings of heath and moorland. This zone is characterized by shrubs, giant heathers, giant lobelias among others. Only these can survive these harsh environments. Besides the fauna, this zone has less animals of small antelopes to none. This is a high altitude zone where the climbers begin to show signs of altitude sickness. Oxygen levels drop hence a great zone for acclimatization. The temperatures rise to about 100 degrees during day and drop to the freezing point during the night. Climbers should therefore have enough sunscreen protection creams to apply on their bodies during day.
Alpine desert zone: This one of the most fascinating climatic zones in Mountain Kilimanjaro. It can a also be warm and hot during day and very cold during the night. Due to its harsh temperatures and rugged terrain, few plants survive like groundsel tree, mosses and lichens. Its land is barren meaning that you will be so much exposed. Sunscreen protections are also recommended at this zone. Views of Kibo and the summit of Mountain Kilimanjaro are also provided at this point.
Arctic zone: once you take part in Kilimanjaro climb, this is the last zone that brings you to the summit made of ice, snow and scree, which is so hard to climb. It from this that the push to the summit of the mountain is commenced at midnight where the evening due is settled. The summit routes brings the climbers to the crater rim at Gillman’s point and later to Uhuru. At this zone, there is no plant life and animal due to the below freezing temperatures and harsh radiations from the sun.
Having known what it is like with the climatic zones in Mount Kilimanjaro, you therefore ought to extremely be prepared for each weather condition in each zone.