Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is one of the most famous dormant volcanoes, also recognized as a mountain worldwide. This is also the highest mountain in Africa. As beautiful as the mountain is, there is much more to explore for a nature lover about Mount Kilimanjaro. This mountain is also home to a huge amount of wildlife. And the variations of wildlife you can find in Kilimanjaro will take you aback.
There is so much to discover about Mount Kilimanjaro. If you are eager to know more, stick with us till the end of this article.
Wildlife on Mount Kilimanjaro
Kilimanjaro is possibly one of the rarest places where you can find the rarest yet the widest range of wildlife. Many beautiful and unique-looking animals in Mount Kilimanjaro will thrill you in every way.
If you are ever around Mount Kilimanjaro, you will be going around on a safari ride. Kilimanjaro National Park will provide you with a view of different animals in the area. However, you will get to see a wide variety of animals as you go higher for mount climbing.
Not only the daytime but nighttime also serves to be the best to find some nocturnal animals in the Kilimanjaro area. Animals and birds are easily spotted on the slopes on the lower sides of the mountain.
District zones in Mount Kilimanjaro to find wildlife
There are five district zones in Kilimanjaro where you can find wildlife, namely; cultivated zone, rainforest zone, Afro-alpine moorland zone, alpine desert zone, arctic zone at 800 m to 1,800 m, 1,800 m to 2,800 m, 2,800 m to 4,000 m, 4,000 m to 5,000 m, and above 5,000 m respectively.
Mammals on Mount Kilimanjaro
When you are in the lower ranges of Kilimanjaro, you will get to see several mammals like, elephants, bush babies (galagos), cape buffaloes, black rhinos, giraffes, leopards, servals, hyenas, baboons, monkeys, antelopes, aardvarks, mongooses, porcupines, honey badgers, and tree hyraxes.
The larger animals like cape buffaloes, black rhinos, and elephants roam around the lower range. While you may spot them around the lower range of the national park, it is least likely for them to go to higher ranges which lowers the chances of you seeing them anywhere around the base camp. The dangers of being attacked by such animals around the night while ascending Mount Kilimanjaro, hence, aren’t probable. But, in exceptional cases, you might want to watch for such animals even when you are in the higher ranges, as you always have to remain safe regardless of the low chances of them being there.
Monkeys on Mount Kilimanjaro
Kilimanjaro is famous for the widest range of the rarest monkeys in the world. Old-world monkeys in the area are very common. These monkeys are often found in the rainforest belt of the wildlife reserve. The ever enthusiastic breed of monkeys called blue monkeys or diademed monkeys are always around. They are not very afraid of humans. Hence you can encounter them up close around the national park.
Another common breed of monkey is the black-and-white colobus monkey. They are, however, more timid in comparison to the blue monkeys. Regardless, finding them around the Kilimanjaro area will not be as hard.
Antelopes on Kilimanjaro
You will find many types of antelopes on Kilimanjaro, including red and grey duikers, Abbot’s duikers, mountain reedbucks, common elands, klipspringers, and bushbuck. Common elands (or oryxes) are the bigger antelopes in the area. These species are 1.6m tall and can weigh up to 940 kg ranging from 400 kg.
Likewise, there are extremely small species like klipspringers who only weigh a maximum of 18 kg. Klipspringers are monogamous to their mates and are nocturnal. Another amazing fact about this species is that they walk on the tip of their hooves.
Similarly, the most endangered species on Kilimanjaro is Abbot’s duikers. They can only be found in Tanzania. These animals are likely to hide in their thick vegetation. They are, again, nocturnal by nature.
Chameleons on Kilimanjaro
Chameleons can be found widely on Kilimanjaro. One of the rarest types of chameleon, three-horned chameleons, are in big numbers on the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro. The female of this species does not have any horns. These chameleons are the natives only in East Africa.
Kilimanjaro two-horned chameleon or Dwarf Fischer’s chameleon are found in northern Tanzania and southern Kenya. These are just as rare to find in general. However, it can be found in good numbers in Kilimanjaro.
Nocturnal wildlife on Kilimanjaro
Nocturnal animals are the ones that are wide awake during the night time in contrast to the daytime. Some of the most common nocturnal animals on Kilimanjaro are klipspringers, bush babies, and tree hyraxes.
Bush babies have the appearance of innocence because of their big and round eyes. However, they are harder to spot because of their timid nature. Tree hyraxes or tree dassies are Kilimanjaro’s most common and noisy nocturnal animals. Their screeches can be heard not just in the lower ranges but also in the upper ranges. Likewise, while they look similar to a rabbit, they are far relatives of elephants and manatees. They tend to way up to only 2 kg.
Birds on Kilimanjaro
There are about 179 different species of birds in Kilimanjaro which includes; vultures, buzzards, ravens, hornbills, turacos (Laurie), shrikes, hornbills, cuckoos, flycatchers, barbets, chats, woodpeckers, bee-eaters, and sunbirds.
In the moorland area of the base camp, you will spot White-necked ravens. Another beautiful species of bird in Kilimanjaro is the African pygmy kingfisher. Abbot’s starling can be found only in some areas of Kenya and Tanzania. Therefore, if you are around the Kilimanjaro wildlife area, you will surely get a rare sighting of this bird species. Emerald malachite sunbird is terrific-looking birds that are rare but can be spotted in the Kilimanjaro area.
And you will not want to miss out on the unique African pitta in Kilimanjaro.
Which routes should I take to find wildlife on Kilimanjaro?
While there are quite many routes that you can take on your way up to the top of Kilimanjaro, there are some routes that are better than others. The most commonly taken route will be The Northern Circuit or Grand Traverse if you want to find sightings of birds and animals. A large number of animals roam around the northern part of Kilimanjaro. This gives you the option of exploring more animals and birds in this circuit. The nine-day route of the Northern circuit allows one to spot and explore various animals and birds in Kilimanjaro.
The Rongai route in the northeast also provides you with an impressive range of wildlife. The Lemosho and Machame routes are other great routes to find wildlife on Kilimanjaro. You will be ascending through the rainforests. Whatsoever, the trekking and walk-up will be gentler than you may think. The Shira route and the Marangu route are also an option for you. But, these routes have a comparatively difficult ascend and descent which makes the former routes more convenient and better options.
Do lions live on Kilimanjaro?
You will not encounter animals as large and dangerous as lions in Kilimanjaro. Mount Kilimanjaro has a wider range of mammals and giant animals; however, predators like lions are not present in the mountain area or the base camp either. Besides, you are safe from lion attacks even around the national park area.
Whatever, you must be aware enough to find animals like elephants, monkeys, antelope, and Abbott’s Duiker in the lower ranges of Kilimanjaro.
Do gorillas live on Mount Kilimanjaro?
No, you will not find any gorillas on Mount Kilimanjaro. However, if you take a 1-and-a-half-hour flight to Kigali, you will find mountain gorillas there. In Kilimanjaro, there are no such primates as gorillas, though.
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