The highest mountain in Africa, the Kilimanjaro, is located in both Tanzania as well as Kenya. Don’t fancy a strenuous hike up the mountain but you do want to get a glimpse of the beautiful peaks? It’s your lucky day since there are some great spots in both Tanzania and Kenya where you have the best view of Kilimanjaro.
Facts about the Kilimanjaro
Like said before the Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa. It’s officially part of Tanzania due to the fact that the highest peak is located in Tanzania. It’s the world’s tallest free-standing mountain at 5,895 meters. Driving inland from the coast all of a sudden this huge mountain pops up in front of you. The three highest peaks were once volcanic cones: Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira. Kibo is the tallest and is a dormant one, it can still erupt. Since the mountain is relatively accessible you don’t have to be an extremely experienced hiker and hence there are a lot of tourists trying to reach the top. There are six routes that lead to the top and all starting point are located in Tanzania. You can pick one of the dozens of tour operators, one that has been around for a long time is ShahTours.
Best time to see the Kilimanjaro
During the day the Kilimanjaro is usually covered with clouds and you’ll only see a glimpse of the highest peak if you’re lucky. At that time it’s difficult to distinguish the snowy peak and the clouds. Your best bet to see the mountain is right before sunset. Or between December and June early in the morning just after sunrise.
Best places to see the Kilimanjaro in Moshi
Moshi is a small city on the Southern side of the Kilimanjaro. Although its relatively small size it’s pretty touristy and busy with lots of hotels, restaurants and supermarkets as it’s the go-to place for climbers. There are a number of great places to see the Kilimanjaro at its best. Be sure to drive down Uru road and park your car along the road. Another option is to go to the garden of the Maembe Cafe & Lounge. While you’re there you can enjoy a lovely lunch and homemade juices.
If you want to get up close it’s also an opportunity to drive towards the Kilimanjaro National Park. We drove towards the Mweka Gate to see if we would make it to the top by car ;-). While the road is pretty as you’re driving through fields of banana trees, coffee plants, casave and corn. There’s not that much to do once you’re near the top. You can park your car at a touristic shop and there’s nothing to be seen at the gate itself. Since you’re that close to the mountain itself the view is actually pretty disappointing. It is fun though to see the climbers that are about to start there journey to the top and climbers that are just coming down after a tough hike. If you take the T2 towards Arusha you’ll have a final opportunity to spot the mountain to your right.
The view of Kilimanjaro from Kenya
The best view of Kilimanjaro in Kenya must be Amboseli National Park. We camped right next to the park and when we arrived we didn’t see anything because of the clouds. The local Masaai assured us that we were really close to the Kilimanjaro and that this really was the best place to stay…
When we woke up the next morning we were so surprised. The Kilimanjaro was actually there! The great thing about Amboseli is that it’s pretty flat which means you have a chance of seeing the complete mountain range. One of the most iconic photos of the Kilimanjaro is that shot where there’s a huge elephant right in front of the mountain. Often times this photo is also used to promote Tanzania but now you know this is ‘fake’ since Amboseli is in Kenya ;-). If you want to take a shot like this you’ll have to be there as early as you can because when the sun rises to its fullest clouds start to cover the mountain.
A ranger told us we were lucky to even have a view of Kilimanjaro cause there are a lot of days where the mountain can’t be seen at all. I guess it all comes down to be there early and have a little bit of luck.
Let us know for more great spots!