Kilimanjaro Ecosystems

Ecosystems of Kilimanjaro -One of the most interesting things about climbing Mt Kilimanjaro is the unique ecosystems. Generally speaking, in the lower elevations, there is a belt of forests and as you proceed up the mountain, there is less and less vegetation. Below is a breakdown of each ecosystem and what to expect.

CULTIVATION: This is was once shrubbery and dense forests and is now farms, pastures, plantations, grasslands. The cultivation area has heavy rainfall, is very great, and has major volcanic soil. You will notice the cultivation area when you are driving to the various gates.

FOREST: The forest is usually the area that most climbers pass the first day and part of the second day. It’s very lush dense vegetation with heavy rainfall. There are no settlements pass this point. This is generally from 1,800 to 2,800 meter.

HEATHER: The heather zone is a transition from the forest to the moorland. Generally there is midst and fog close to the forest. There is low-growing shrub growing in dense masses. This is day 2

MOORLAND: This is an open area with peaty soil covered with heather and bracken and moss. It’s very cool and clear climate and it’s where you really start to feel the elevation changes. Frost is regular and the sun can be very intense. This is day 3, day 4.

ALPINE DESERT: This is generally anywhere above 14,000 ft and is usually toward the end of your trip. It has very intense radiation, high evaporation and big fluctuations in the temperature. At nights it can be below 32 degrees Fahrenheit and above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. There is little to no water and pretty much no plant life. This is Day 4, and after.

SUMMIT: This is your last day and is the cold artic conditions with half the amount of oxygen you are used to. It’s hot, intense sun during the day and extremely cold, freezing temperatures at night. There is little protection from the sun and no surface water.


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