Geoparks Africa
World Heritage Sites

Kilimanjaro: 50 Years Journey to the Roof of Africa

The world’s largest free standing mountain hits a 50 years milestone since becoming a National Park in Tanzania.

Mount Kilimanjaro is also clocking ten years since it was named among Africa’s new ‘Seven Wonders of Nature,’ in February 2013.

It won the title alongside its Tanzania tourism siblings, the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater.

Herman Bathiho is the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA)’s Deputy Conservation Commissioner in charge of Conservation and Business Development.

“We are organizing an international symposium on March 15, 2023 where experts can debate on the achievements gained and challenges faced during the 50 years journey of Kilimanjaro as a National Park,” he says.

And on the following day of March 16, 2023 the climax event to celebrate the golden jubilee of the National Park which hosts the mountain will be held at the Marangu entry gate where the Kilimanjaro National Park’s Headquarters are also located.

And by that time it will be 20 years since the epic adventure film, ‘Kilimanjaro to the Roof of Africa,’ was officially launched at the other gate, the Machame entry on the opposite side of the mountain.

Endemic to Kili: Giant groundsel, prehistoric plants, found on Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, below 4,000 metres (Geoparks Africa).

Shot on the then advanced Imax technology, ‘Kilimanjaro to the Roof of Africa’  is an adventure of the human spirit that follows five trekkers and a local guide to the top of Kilimanjaro, the largest freestanding mountain in the world.

Mount Kilimanjaro and its environs is also chalking up more than a century since it was made a conservation entity, starting out as a forest reserve in 1921, under the German colonial Government.

But even before that, Africa’s highest peak and the adjacent forests were already designated to be a game reserve in the early twentieth century by the Germans.

In March 1973, this time in an independent Tanzania, the mountain area above the tree line, some 2,700 metres, was declared a national park.

Fourteen years later, in 1987 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared the Kilimanjaro National Park to be a World Heritage Site.

Later, in 2005, the Mountain footprint expanded, Kilimanjaro National Park was extended to cover the entire montane forest, which had been part of the Kilimanjaro Forest Reserve.

Highest Mountain also yields Tallest Tree in Africa

In 2016, the ‘New Scientist,’ reported that a 267-foot-tall tree the Entandrophragma excelsum which had been discovered in a remote valley on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, is officially the tallest known tree on the continent.

And as the Roof of Africa celebrates its National Park’s 50th Birthday, Kilimanjaro is already on the line-up for UNESCO consideration for a Global Geopark status.