Mount Kilimanjaro is an unforgettable adventure destination where you can enjoy the thrilling climb and get the best photographs on Mount Kilimanjaro.
Many tourists choose Kilimanjaro for their adventure in Tanzania, not only for the thrill but for the beautiful and unique sceneries that capture all eyes and hearts. For those who don’t know, Mount Kilimanjaro is considered to be the highest free-standing mountain in the world and the tallest mountain in Africa.
It’s 19,340 feet high and is made from lava, ash, and rocks. It was formed due to the eruption of three volcanic centres—Mawenzi, Shira and Kibo, over 750,000 years ago.
The mountain has five distinguished ecological zones, namely:
- Cultivation Zone
- Forest Zone
- Heather-Moorland Zone
- Alpine Desert Zone
- Arctic Summit climate zones
Given these five distinct zones, Mount Kilimanjaro offers picture-perfect opportunities that will surely grab anyone’s attention. In this article, we’ll show you the top ten places on Kilimanjaro where you can take breathtakingly beautiful pictures.
1. The Barranco valley
The Barranco Valley is located South of Kilimanjaro’s summit. This is one of the places where you can get the best photographs on Mount Kilimanjaro.
The valley’s base is a moorland habitat dominated by Dendrosenecio kilimanjari—giant groundsel found at 4,000 metres (13,000 feet) of Mount Kilimanjaro.
These giant succulents on Kilimanjaro look like they’re from another world due to their unique look and size. Make sure to take a picture of this scenery as proof and remembrance of your Mount Kilimanjaro climb.
Trekkers who use the Lemosho Route, Machame Route, Shira Route and Umbwe Route will camp in this valley.
2. The Shira plateau
Due to the close proximity to Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, the Shira Plateau is popular for its fauna landscapes. The plateau extends out for around 13 km to the west of Kibo summit, which is a caldera—a collapsed volcanic crater, making it a great spot to take some of the best photographs on Mount Kilimanjaro.
It has an elevation of 3,800 metres (12,500 feet). The Shira Plateau is filled with the remains of three volcanoes—Mawenzi, Shira and Kibo, that erupted over 750,000 years ago. Trekkers on the Shira, Lemosho and Northern Circuit routes will have their first sight of Mount Kilimanjaro from the Shira Plateau.
3. The Barranco wall
The Barranco Wall is one of the most iconic locations on Mount Kilimanjaro. It’s a steep ridge nearly halfway up Kilimanjaro, at the Southern base of Kibo.
Furthermore, the Barranco Wall offers some fitting challenges that most adventurous climbers are looking to experience. It was formed during the collapse of the Kibo’s crater rim part.
From the Barranco Valley, this structure is massive (843 feet) and intimidating to look at. However, it’s easier and safer to navigate than you may expect. As you climb closer, you’ll see a stair-like trail, zig-zagging up the steep Barranco Wall.
Even if you’re not exceptionally fit, you can successfully climb the Barranco Wall at a slow and steady pace. The hardship and challenges will all be worth it once you reach the top and see the majestic view.
The trekkers from the Shira, Machame, Lemosho and Umbwe routes will mount the Barranco Wall. This part of Mount Kilimanjaro is known to be dangerous, so it requires extra focus and persistence.
4. The Lava tower
The Lava Tower is a tower-like structure formed from the lava that erupted from Kilimanjaro when it was still an active volcano. It’s a 300 feet tall lava formation that burst out from a vent, cooled, hardened, and plugged up the vent beneath.
The tower is also called the Shark’s tooth and lives in the high altitude desert. There’s no vegetation in the area, only a pool of rocks, scree and specks of dust.
Today, the Lava Tower is a massive, visible landmark on Kilimanjaro’s trail. Before, it was permitted to go to the top of the tower until the park authorities considered it to be too risky.
Trekkers on the Shira, Lemosho, Machame and Northern Circuit routes will have the opportunity to pass and take breathtaking pictures of the Lava Tower.
5. The saddle
The Saddle is a barren, plain, alpine desert located between Kibo and Mawenzi. The Saddle area is approximately 14 square miles, making it Africa’s largest high altitude tundra.
Trekkers on the Marangu and Rongai routes will traverse the Saddle on their way to the summit.
6. The Mawenzi peak
The Mawenzi Peak is one of the three peaks on Kilimanjaro. This is the second-highest peak with an altitude of 16,893 feet, comprised of loose rocks and very steep terrains.
Due to fatalities that have transpired in the past, the peak has been closed. However, it was recently re-opened ONLY for technical climbers willing to face possible accidents.
Mawenzi can be observed on all the routes of Kilimanjaro.
7. Crater camp
The Crater Camp is located near the summit at 18,865—the highest campsite on Kilimanjaro. For those who can stand physical discomfort, you can add a day here to explore the Furtwangler Glacier—the last surviving glacier of Kilimanjaro.
This area is the closest you’ll ever get to stepping onto the moon. The summit’s floor is covered in raw volcanic rock lumps and deep ash sands.
8. The Southern Ice Field
Kilimanjaro is famous for its peak crowned with ice, despite its proximity to the equator. All the routes on Kilimanjaro traverse the Southern Ice Field, where you will witness its awe-inspiring beauty and shot the best photographs on Kilimanjaro.
However, due to global warming, the ice is quickly thinning, so it would be a good idea to visit and take a snap while it isn’t completely gone.
9. The Uhuru peak
The Uhuru Peak is the highest peak on Kilimanjaro, approximately 19,340 feet (5,895 metres) above sea level. It’s settled on the volcanic cone of Kibo and offers the most breathtakingly beautiful views that you won’t ever forget.
Apart from the picturesque views that you can take and see, you’ll also feel a sense of accomplishment, knowing that you’ve conquered the highest mountain in Africa.
10. The Reusch crater
The Reusch Crater is located on Kibo—the highest cone in Kilimanjaro. It contains the innermost crater, known as the Ash Pit.
This volcano remains dormant and could have the possibility of erupting again. The Reusch Crater is an hour hike from the Crater Camp.
Kilimanjaro’s beauty is worth more than a thousand words. Thus, describing it is almost an impossible task.
Its beautiful and majestic statures are awe-inspiring, and you’ll encounter five ecological zones with different climates.
But how do you take picture-perfect shots at these places? Before we get into that, make sure to bring:
- Extra batteries and SD card
- Thin gloves for taking a picture
- Small camera bag
- Cap string of lens
- Tripod for a more stable shot (optional)
When you stumble on the perfect scene on Kilimanjaro, it’s easy to pull out your camera and snap some pictures capturing the beauty of the place. However, if you want to take a breathtaking landscape photo, you need to be methodical.
Thus, we’ve compiled photography tips that you can use on your Kilimanjaro adventure.
Wait for the right light
Waiting for the right light will do the trick of capturing a good picture. For example, a bright day will create a lot of scenic contrasts, getting dark shadows and bright contrasts.
Meanwhile, taking pictures early in the morning and late afternoon will give you less contrast and a beautiful warm glow. If the weather is particularly cloudy, you don’t need to wait for the right light since the clouds will help in filtering out the sunlight for a soft, even picture.
Use a tripod
Using a tripod will help you get sharp shots. It’ll eliminate the camera shake that will likely happen a lot in a handheld shot whilst on the mountain. You can also get much longer and faster shutter speeds, resulting in amazing Kilimanjaro landscape shots.
Place the horizon strategically
Many beginners simply point to the scene that attracts them and takes the snap. Although there’s nothing wrong with that, you won’t get the best possible picture if you don’t strategically place your horizon.
Thus, instead of shooting carelessly, put the horizon in the frame. In taking a Kilimanjaro landscape picture, make sure to put the horizon on the upper third quadrant. However, if you’re taking pictures of the sky, too, set the horizon to the lower third quadrant to include more of the sky in your shot.
Add a filter
Adding a filter won’t hurt your photos, however, make sure not to overdo it. You can add a lens filter to your camera that will help enhance your landscape photography shots.
Lens filters are inexpensive camera accessories that can help you achieve exceptional shots. For example, a polarizing filter can help you manage how blue the sky will appear in your photos.
Meanwhile, a graduated density filter will restrict you from overexposing the sky. This keeps all the details intact, giving you a beautiful shot.
1/3 Way up the frame focus
Getting sharp shots matters a lot in taking landscape pictures. However, the focus matters a lot too. Thus, it’s essential to use single-point auto-focus, or a manual focus and set the focus of the shot to 1/3 of way up the frame.
Climbing Kilimanjaro is an unforgettable experience. It’ll challenge you to push your limits and experience the beautiful views of the tallest mountain in Africa, something you will dream about for the rest of your life.
Many trekkers also take this Kili adventure as a spiritual journey due to its remote location and being alone with nature and the universe.
If you would like some more advice on photography for Kilimanjaro or any other on safaris in Tanzania, get in contact with our team of professional Kilimanjaro and Safari Specialist today.