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The Ecosystem of Mount Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania

The Kilimanjaro Ranges are made up several types of vegetation zones. There are about five distinct vegetation types on the Kilimanjaro.

Every vegetation type runs about 100 meters. In the range of about 800 to about 1800 meters there will be human settlement and human activity

The first part of the mountain which is the base has temperatures ranging between 21 to 27 °C.

As you approach the peak, temperatures will drop to between 20 and -20°C.Just like all the other mountains, there temperatures at the Kilimanjaro are very hard to predict therefore hikers should make sure they are prepared for all the conditions, be it extreme cold or extreme  heat as both of these can happen in the same hike.

As much as it is advised to hike the Kilimanjaro during the dry season, this being a tropical rain forest, it can snow and rain any time of the year and any time of the day.

The temperatures can vary as you hike up the peak; the temperatures vary, with minutes of extreme rays of sun and minutes of extreme cold.

The mountain Kilimanjaro stands at about 19,341 feet above sea level, this mountain has the ability to have its own system of weather.

Cultivation Zone

The Cultivation Zone is usually the base of the mountain and it’s called so because of the human activities that takes place here due to the fertile soils of the mountains.

These areas also receive a lot of rain fall and this is the reason why farming is the most common activity here.

Altitude: 800 to 1,800 m
Precipitation: 500 to 1,800 mm

Forest Zone

This level is the Semi-Alpine (Forest) vegetation. At this level you will see a lot of Lobelias, giant goundsel, colorful red pokers and Senecios trees.

This area of the mountain mainly receives rain through the mist which usually covers the area without notice. The temperatures here of course will be below 0 degrees.

Altitude: 1,800 to 2,800 m
Precipitation: 2,000 to 1,000 mm

Heath/Moorland Zone

After you have gone through the forest, you will meet the heath and moorland vegetation zone. This is made up of giant heathers and Tall grass. This will however expose you to more winds unlike the previous section.

This zone has hot temperatures during the day with very low temperature at night. Since t hares receives more sunshine, the tails here are abit more dry compared to the forested zone. The sun rays are stronger since there is no canopy cover.

Altitude: 2,800 to 4,000 m
Precipitation: 1,300 to 530 mm

Alpine/High Desert Zone

Then Further up we shall meet the Desert zone which has basically a few small plants ad here the speed of the wind continues to increase since there are no wind breakers. The rain fall amounts are also low due to little winds with moisture.

Altitude: 4,000 to 5,000 m
Precipitation: 250 mm

Arctic Zone

Altitude: 5,000+ m
Precipitation: 100 mm

At the level of about 5000 meters above sea level, we find the arctic zone which is characterized by the frozen moonscape. This pace is covered in rocks and ice.

The nights usually cold to the extreme and the sun has scotching rays during the day. This area has no life that survives and those small plants that try to grow can’t go beyond.

The lower mountain levels that have forested lands have good animal presence and birds like Green Wood Hoopoes, Hartlaub Turacos, and Silvery cheeked, tropical Boubous.

There will be primates like olive baboons and more, mongoose monkeys. There is presence of elephants and duikers.

Animals and plants struggle to survive in the higher altitudes of Moorland and the Heath vegetations. But you will see some mouse, doves, ravens and sun-birds at this altitude.

The mice may be had to locate as move in the undergrowth.

The rest of the vegetation zones above 4000 meters above sea level are too harsh for any animals to survive and so you won’t find animals in the Arctic and Alpine zones.


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