In the early 20th century, Mount Kilimanjaro and the adjacent forests were affirmed a game reserve by the German colonial government. In 1921, it was nominated a forest reserve. In 1973, the mountain above the tree line (about 2,700 meters (8,900 ft.)) was reclassified as a national park. The park was affirmed a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 1987. In 2005, the park was extended to include the entire montane woodland, which had been part of the Kilimanjaro Forest Reserve. Kilimanjaro National Park is family to the uppermost mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world.
Mount Kilimanjaro contains three volcanoes, that is Shira in the west (4,269 m) Mawenzi in the east (5,280 m) and the youngest volcano Kibo (5,895m). Shira and Mawenzi are nonexistent and the last major eruption of Kibo was between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago. Today Kibo is inactive but could awaken any day. A variety of animals can be found in the park. Above the timberline, the Kilimanjaro tree hyrax, the grey duiker, and rodents are normally encountered. The bushbuck and red duiker give the impression above the timer line in places.
Cape buffaloes are found in the montane woodland and rarely in the moorland and grassland. Elephants can be found between the Namwai and Tarakia rivers and sometimes occur at higher heights. In the montane woodlands, blue monkeys, western black and white colobuses, bush babies, and leopards can be found. The flora on the mountain is also very diverse and some 2,500 species of plants originate here including the pervasive and striking red and yellow impatiens kilimanjari as well as the interesting violet viola. The lower regions of the park are controlled by lush green montane woodlands with almost 140 species of trees. A bit complex up, unique giant lobelias grace the moorland zone. Above 4,000 m visitors find the moonlike desert, where not abundant grows and the land is full of pillars and grime. Nearer to the summit, hikers will be pleased with attractive sights of glaciers and a deep crater.