Visiting the Kilimanjaro region is a thrilling and exhilarating experience. You will see a part of the world that is filled with natural beauty and breathtaking vistas, with plenty of exciting activities to take part in. While Kilimanjaro safaris and climbing the namesake mountain may be the biggest draw-cards for the area, there is something for everyone to enjoy in the Kilimanjaro region.
Climb Mount Kilimanjaro
We could not have a list of things to do in Kilimanjaro without including a climb to the top of it! It is the crowning glory of the national park and is a huge tourist attraction for Tanzania in general. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is an achievement that many people have on their ‘travel bucket list’ and so is one of the most popular things to do in the Kilimanjaro regions.
Solo trekkers are not allowed on the mountain, so you will definitely need a guide for this adventure. There are various routes to choose from, each offering their own difficulties and scenery to enjoy. The Marangu Route and Machame Route are the most popular, and the treks should take anywhere from four to seven days to complete. Be prepared and bring plenty of drinking water and food with you to last for the entire duration.
Visit Chala Crater Lake
Some guides on a safari near Kilimanjaro will take you to see the awe-inspiring Chala Crater Lake, which lies on the border between Kenya and Tanzania in a caldera that was likely formed after volcanic activity on the mountain.
Depending on the season in which you go, the crystal clear waters of the lake could be a brilliant turquoise blue, a deep midnight blue or a stunning emerald green. You can go hiking around the lake down the crater walls and discover the endangered Chala tilapia that are only found in this mesmerising pool of water. Swimming is permitted but it is important to note that no lifeguards are available.
See some safari parks
Kilimanjaro safaris are popular among locals and tourists alike, with the Ngorongoro Conservation Area being a must-see for those who want to see the ‘Big Five’ while in an African country. Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a World Heritage Site which is formed in an inactive volcanic crater.
The Serengeti National Park is one of the most famous in the world, and you should be sure to see the famous Hippo Pool, where hippopotami laze in the muddy waters under the hot African sun. The largest national park in Tanzania is the Ruaha National Park and it is the perfect safari venue for those who enjoy birdwatching. There are several parks you can visit for safaris and game drives to fully immerse yourself in the stunning scenery of the area.
Make coffee with locals in Moshi
Moshi is an often underrated tourist destination in Tanzania, known mostly to travellers as a gateway for Kilimanjaro climbs. It is a diverse area full of coffee plantations, and when you hike the paths to the waterfalls you will be walking through lush banana and coffee plantations.
If you are a coffee lover, then you will definitely enjoy the experience of making coffee with the locals who live in Moshi. A visit to one of the private coffee plantations will allow you to roast and brew coffee from scratch, cooking it on a fire the traditional Tanzanian way. You can also buy coffee beans directly from the farm to take home and enjoy, reliving the delicious aromas and sensations of freshly ground Tanzanian coffee.
Experience authentic Maasai culture
One of the best ways to enjoy a country is to immerse yourself in its culture, and a visit to Olpopongi is highly recommended when on safari near Kilimanjaro. It is a cultural village and museum where you will be able to see the Kraals where early settlers lived in for generations, as well as learn about Maasai family traditions.
Olpopongi is one of the most authentic Maasai experiences in Africa, and you will find yourself intrigued by the traditions, buildings, food and daily life on display in this village. One of the best aspects of this village is that you will not be interrupting the daily lives of the Maasai, and you will avoid intruding into their private homes and villages. You will need to enter the village with an open mind and be sure to buy some of the stunning handmade Maasai jewellery on sale.
Take a walk on the wild side
A safari, hike or visit to the Kilimanjaro region is one that will surely give you many happy and unique memories. While climbing the impressive Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the highlights of the journey, it should not be the only activity you take part in. You can visit the stunning lakes and national parks of the area, drinking in the gorgeous African scenery. Making coffee with locals and seeing a true Maasai village are other highlights to look forward to when visiting the diverse Kilimanjaro area.