What animals will I see on Kilimanjaro?
Kilimanjaro National Park is home to many fascinating, beautiful and unusual animals, like the black-and-white colobus monkey. We tell you what animals and birds to look for and where, as well as the climbing routes that are best for wildlife spotting.
A wonderful diversity of animals
Animals on Kilimanjaro
cultivated zone (800 m to 1,800 m) rainforest zone (1,800 m to 2,800 m) Afro-alpine moorland zone (2,800 m to 4,000 m) alpine desert zone (4,000 m to 5,000 m) arctic zone (above 5,000 m)
Mammals on Kilimanjaro
elephants Cape buffaloes black rhinos giraffes leopards servals hyenas baboons monkeys antelopes aardvarks mongooses porcupines honey badgers tree hyraxes bush babies
Honey badgers are incredibly ferocious and fearless carnivores, and you should count yourself lucky they don't hang around the Kilimanjaro climbing routes!
Old World monkeys
red and grey duikers Abbot's duikers mountain reedbucks common elands klipspringers bushbuck
Astoundingly, tree hyraxes – which are small nocturnal animals weighing around just 2 kg – are distantly related to elephants!
vultures buzzards ravens hornbills turacos (lauries) shrikes hornbills cuckoos flycatchers barbets chats woodpeckers bee-eaters sunbirds
Best Kilimanjaro routes for seeing animals
The Northern Circuit
The route ascends the mountain's western slope before traversing the northern slope. After summiting, you descend along the southeastern Mweka route. This means you don't walk the same route up and down the mountain, as is the case with the Marangu . The more habitats you experience, the better from a wildlife-spotting point of view. The route takes you around the quiet, lesser-visited northern slope of the mountain. The fewer trekkers here mean the animals aren't being disturbed and frightened away so much. There large mammals of Kenya's Amboseli National Park roam the plains to the north of Kilimanjaro. So trekkers on this route are more likely to see herds below them. Also, occasionally some of the game wander up the slopes too. Elephants even enter the forest at times. Finally, the Northern Circuit a nine-day route, which naturally offers more wildlife spotting opportunities than a short route like, say, the five-day Umbwe .
The Northern Circuit is arguably the best route for seeing animals on Kilimanjaro.
Lemosho and Machame
Day hikes on Kilimanjaro
If you're all about the animals, we suggest going on a guided day's walk in the forest around the base of Kilimanjaro.
Day hike attractions
Lake Chala , a beautiful filled caldera that sits on the far eastern edge of the park and forms part of the border with Kenya. Marangu Falls , a gorgeous waterfall with a rich cultural history not far off the Marangu route. Ndoro Waterfalls , another gorgeous waterfall on the western slope of Kilimanjaro where you can swim in its chilly pool.
Did you know that the name marangu is a Chagga word meaning 'place of water'?