Kilimanjaro National Park
At 5,895 m, Kilimanjaro is the highest point in Africa. This volcanic massif stands in splendid isolation above the surrounding plains, with its snowy peak looming over the savannah. The mountain is encircled by mountain forest. Numerous mammals, many of them endangered species, live in the park.
Outstanding Universal Value
Kilimanjaro National Park covering an area of some 75,575 ha protects the largest free standing volcanic mass in the world and the highest mountain in Africa, rising 4877m above surrounding plains to 5895m at its peak. With its snow-capped peak, the Kilimanjaro is a superlative natural phenomenon, standing in isolation above the surrounding plains overlooking the savannah.
Criterion vii: Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the largest volcanoes in the world. It has three main volcanic peaks, Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. With its snow-capped peak and glaciers, it is the highest mountain in Africa. The mountain has five main vegetation zones from the lowest to the highest point: Lower slopes, montane forest, heath and moorland, alpine desert and summit. The whole mountain including the montane forest belt is very rich in species, in particular mammals, many of them endangered species. For this combination of features but mostly its height, its physical form and snow cap and its isolation above the surrounding plains, Mount Kilimanjaro is considered an outstanding example of a superlative natural phenomenon.
Kilimanjaro National Park, established in 1973, initially comprised the whole of the mountain above the tree line and six forest corridors stretching down through the montane forest belt. At the time of inscription in 1987, the main pressures affected mostly the forest reserve which acted as a buffer zone to the park. The World Heritage Committee recommended extending the national park to include more areas of montane forest. Following a 2005 extension, the National Park includes the whole of the mountain above the tree line as well as the natural forest (montane forest) which was under Kilimanjaro Forest Reserve, and as such fulfils the criteria of integrity. It is important that the extension of the National Park be reflected in the boundaries of the property.
The wildlife of the property is important to the experience of Kilimanjaro, although the property is not inscribed in relation to biodiversity criteria. Pressures on elephant, buffalo and antelope, and logging in the Forest Reserve area, were noted as integrity concerns at the time of inscription. The park is connected to Amboseli National Park, however corridors to Arusha National Park and Tsavo National park have been encroached, impacting on wildlife migration.
Protection and management requirements
Kilimanjaro National Park is protected under national legislation as a National Park and a management plan is in place. The property requires an effective and managing organization, including sufficient well equipped ranger presence to be able to carry out surveillance and implementation of the management plan. A key management issue is maintaining the aesthetic quality of the property as a spectacular natural site. Protecting its visual integrity and sustaining its natural integrity are key management issues. Key viewpoints to the property also need to be protected, including from Arusha and Amboseli where the most famous views of the property can be seen. An effective programme of research and monitoring of the property is also required.
Threats to the property include increasing and cumulative stress from sources such as adjacent land uses, downstream effects of air and water pollution, invasive species, fire and climate change. The glaciers of the property are vulnerable to retreat, and are cited as a feature of particular vulnerability to global climate change. The impacts from these threats need to be closely monitored and minimized. Tourism poses a significant threat and careful planning of related infrastructure and access development is required. Human pressure on the property needs to be managed, which can result otherwise in illegal harvest of its resources, encroachments to park boundary and blockage of migratory routes and dispersal areas. Education programmes and integration of park management with all involved partners and stakeholders, including the surrounding rural population, is essential.
The national park and forest reserve occupy the upper part of Mount Kilimanjaro adjacent to the Kenyan border just north of Moshi. The national park comprises the whole of the mountain above the timberline and six forest corridors stretching down through the montane forest belt.
Kilimanjaro is a volcanic massif (last showing signs of major activity in the Pleistocene) which is not only the highest mountain in Africa, rising 4,877 m above the surrounding plains to 5,895 m, but also one of the largest volcanoes in the world.
It stands alone but is the largest of an east-west belt of volcanoes across northern Tanzania. It has three main volcanic peaks of varying ages lying on an east-south-east axis, and a number of smaller parasitic cones. To the west, the oldest peak Shira (3,962 m), of which only the western and southern rims remain, is a relatively flat upland plateau of some 6,200 ha, the northern and eastern flanks having been covered by later material from Kibo. The rugged erosion-shattered peak of Mawenzi (5,149 m) lies to the east. The top of its western face is fairly steep with many crags, pinnacles and dyke swarms. Its eastern side falls in cliffs over 1,000 m high in a complex of gullies and rock faces, rising above two deep gorges, the Great Barranco and the Lesser Barranco. Kibo (5,895 m), is the most recent summit, having last been active in the Pleistocene and still has minor fumaroles. It consists of two concentric craters of 1.9 km by 2.7 km and 1.3 km in diameter, with a 350 m deep ash pit in the centre. The highest point on the mountain is the southern rim of the outer crater. Between Kibo and Mawenzi there is a plateau of some 3,600 ha, called the Saddle, which forms the largest area of high altitude tundra in tropical Africa. There are deep radial valleys especially on the western and southern slopes.
Since 1912 the mountain has lost 82% of its ice cap and since 1962 55% of its remaining glaciers. Kibo still retains permanent ice and snow and Mawenzi also has patches of semi-permanent ice, but the mountain is forecast to lose its ice cap within 15 years. Evidence of past glaciation is present on all three peaks, with morainic debris found as low as 3,600 m. The mountain remains a critical water catchment for both Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania, but as a result of the receding ice cap and deforestation several rivers have dried up, affecting the forests and farmland below.
The mountain has five main vegetation zones: savannah bushland at 700-1,000 m (south slopes) and 1,400-1,600 m (north slopes), densely populated submontane agroforest on southern and south-eastern slopes, the montane forest belt, subalpine moorland and alpine bogs. Above this is alpine desert. The montane forest belt circles the mountain between 1,300 m (about 1,600 m on the drier north slopes) to 2,800 m. Forests above 2,700 m are within the National Park. According to a 2001 study there are 2,500 plant species on the mountain, 1,600 of them on the southern slopes and 900 within the forest belt. There are 130 species of tree with the greatest diversity being between 1,800 and 2,000 m, as well as 170 species of shrub, 140 species of epiphyte, 100 lianas and 140 pteridophytes.
The forest between 1,000 m and 1,700 m in the south and east has been extensively farmed with remnants of natural forest left only in deep gorges.
The whole mountain including the montane forest belt, part of which extends into the National Park, is very rich in species: 140 mammals (87 forest species), including 7 primates, 25 carnivores, 25 antelopes and 24 species of bat. Above the timberline at least seven of the larger mammal species have been recorded, although it is likely that many of these also use the lower montane forest habitat. The most frequently encountered mammals above the timberline are Kilimanjaro tree hyrax, a vulnerable species, grey duiker and eland, which occur in the moorland, with bushbuck and red duiker found above the timberline in places, and buffalo occasionally moving out of the forest into the moorland and grassland. An estimated 220 endangered African elephants are distributed between the Namwai and Tarakia rivers and sometimes occur on the higher slopes. Insectivores occur and rodents are plentiful above the timberline, especially at times of population explosion, although golden moles (Chrysochloridae ) are absent. Three species of primate are found within the montane forests, blue monkey, western black and white colobus, and bushbaby, and among mammals there are leopards as well as some of the species listed above. Abbot's duiker, another vulnerable species, is restricted to Kilimanjaro and some neighbouring mountains. The critically endangered black rhinoceros Diceros bicornis is now extinct in the area and mountain reedbuck Redunca fulvorufula is probably extinct.
Although 179 highland bird species have been recorded for the mountain, species recorded in the upper zones are few in number, although they include the occasional lammergeier, mainly on the Shira ridge, hill chat, Hunter's cisticola and scarlet-tufted malachite sunbird. The white-necked raven is the most conspicuous bird species at higher altitudes.
The area surrounding the mountain is quite heavily populated, principally by the Chagga people, and the northern and western slopes of the Forest Reserve surrounding the National Park have 18 medium to large 'forest villages'. Although it is illegal, these people still use the forest for many household and medicinal products, for fuelwood, small-scale farming, beekeeping, hunting, charcoal production and logging. Some 12% of the forest is plantation, some almost reaching to the moorland. The shamba system of tree plantations interplanted with crops comprises over half the planted area but over half of it is not replanted with trees at all.Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Mt Kilimanjaro and the surrounding forests were declared a game reserve by the German colonial government in the early part of this century, and this area was further gazetted as a forest reserve in 1921. This designation has been confirmed by the legislation of subsequent administrations. Part of the area was reclassified as a national park in 1973 by Government Notice 54. Designated a World Heritage site in 1987.Source: Advisory Body Evaluation