Can Kilimanjaro Be Seen From the Serengeti?
can you see Kilimanjaro from Serengeti?

The simple answer is no, not even with binoculars. Nobody has ever claimed to have seen Mount Kilimanjaro from Serengeti national Park, the main reason being the long distance between these two iconic attractions in Tanzania. The well-known lyrics from Toto’s hit song ‘Africa’ have led many to believe that the towering Mount Kilimanjaro can be seen from Serengeti National Park, the tallest mountain in Africa. However, this belief is not accurate as the captivating photographs showcasing wildlife with the mountain in the background are captured in Amboseli National Park in Kenya, not the Serengeti. Amboseli National Park is situated less than 30 miles away from the peak, while the Serengeti is located approximately 200 miles away. Renowned as the world’s most popular safari destination, Serengeti National Park attracts numerous visitors. Mount Kilimanjaro, standing as the tallest mountain in Africa, can be found on the eastern border of Tanzania, near Kenya.

How far can the human eye see?

The capability of the human eye is truly remarkable. It holds the ability to perceive objects at distances that seem almost limitless. Despite its inconceivable distance, the Andromeda galaxy, the farthest object visible to the naked eye, exists in the vastness of space. A staggering 2.5 million light-years separate this galaxy from our home planet, equivalent to an astronomical 14,696,563,853,121,026,000 miles! With this in mind, one might assume that the distance between the Serengeti and Mount Kilimanjaro, a mere 200 miles, would allow for a clear view of the mountain from the plains. However, our visual capacities are limited by the Earth’s natural curvature, wherein the planet itself obstructs our line of sight. When standing at sea level and gazing out into the vastness of the ocean, our vision is restricted to a mere three miles out towards the horizon. Considering the curvature of the Earth, which is estimated to be around 8 inches per mile, we can calculate the extent to which our view is hindered. For every mile of distance between us and an object, the curvature obstructs 8 inches of its height. Therefore, based on this calculation, when standing at sea level, the curvature of the Earth would block an astonishing 26,000 feet in height at a distance of 200 miles. Thus, the peak of Kilimanjaro, reaching 19,340 feet, would unfortunately remain hidden from our sight. However, it is worth noting that the Serengeti is not at sea level, as its elevation varies between 3,020 and 6,070 feet. This difference in altitude significantly alters the viewing angle. At an elevation of 3,020 feet, the curvature of the Earth obstructs approximately 11,740 feet of the mountain’s height. As one ascends to 6,070 feet, this obstruction decreases to 7,300 feet. Consequently, within the boundaries of the Serengeti, the curvature of the Earth does not impede our line of sight, allowing for a clear view of Mount Kilimanjaro from anywhere within the park.

Does anything else prevent us from seeing Kilimanjaro?

The landscape’s topography and elements like trees and rock formations, along with factors like dust, water vapor, air pollution, and weather, can all hinder visibility as the distance increases. Consequently, while it may be theoretically feasible to observe Kilimanjaro from the Serengeti, it is unlikely to be achievable.

What do our safari guides have to say?

In a survey we informally conducted, it was discovered that no one has ever seen Kilimanjaro from the Serengeti. These individuals are highly skilled experts with remarkable vision, and they have gained extensive experience in this field over many years. Despite our relentless endeavors, we were unable to uncover any proof suggesting that it is possible to catch a glimpse of Kilimanjaro from any location within the Serengeti.

Does Mt. Kilimanjaro really rise like an Olympus over the Serengeti?

These two locations, Kilimanjaro and Olympus, are situated approximately 200 miles apart from each other. Kilimanjaro, located around 150 miles away from the nearest part of the Serengeti National Park, cannot be seen from the Serengeti unless you manage to find a high vantage point on a clear day. In comparison, Olympus, the tallest peak in Greece, reaches a height of just over 2900 meters, while Kilimanjaro, the highest point in all of Africa, soars to nearly 5900 meters, making it twice as tall. Despite being close to the equator, Kilimanjaro supports glaciers and is one of the world’s tallest volcanoes. With a prominence of almost 5000 meters, it completely dominates the surrounding skyline for miles. On the other hand, Olympus is relatively unremarkable as a mountain peak, not even making it to the top 10 most prominent peaks in Europe. If it weren’t for being Greece’s tallest mountain and the subject of ancient Greek mythology, Olympus would be relatively unknown and hidden away in a corner of Europe. So why does the song claim something that is clearly inaccurate? Well, it was done on purpose. Jeff Porcaro, one of the songwriters and singers, revealed that the idea for the song came to him while he was watching a documentary on the suffering and hardship faced by people in Africa. This deeply affected him, and he tried to imagine how he would feel and what he would do if he was there. Porcaro explained that the lyrics are written from the perspective of a white boy who is trying to write a song about Africa but can only rely on what he has seen on TV or remembers from the past. Therefore, the intention behind the lyrics is not to provide accurate information, but rather to convey a sense of innocent and uninformed perspective.

What is the song actually about?

David Paich, another songwriter involved in the creation of the song, reflects on its genesis. He explains that while he had the musical component in place, he initially lacked the verses. However, the chorus came to him quite effortlessly. As he sat down to play it, the iconic line “It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you… I bless the rains down in Africa” just flowed out of him. Paich was taken aback by this unexpected inspiration and felt a strong urge to jot it down. He admits that, at the time, he wasn’t entirely certain about the meaning behind these words. However, he goes on to clarify that the song is more about expressing a man’s deep love for the entire continent of Africa, rather than solely focusing on a personal romance. Paich further provides context, describing a scenario of someone flying in to meet a lonely missionary, which adds depth to the overarching theme of the song.

Africa lyrics:

I hear the drums echoing tonight
But she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation
She’s coming in, 12:30 flight
The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation

I stopped an old man along the way
Hoping to find some old forgotten words or ancient melodies
He turned to me as if to say, “Hurry boy, it’s waiting there for you”

It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had (ooh, ooh)

The wild dogs cry out in the night
As they grow restless, longing for some solitary company
I know that I must do what’s right
As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti
I seek to cure what’s deep inside, frightened of this thing that I’ve become

It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had (ooh, ooh)

Hurry boy, she’s waiting there for you

It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
I bless the rains down in Africa (I bless the rain)
I bless the rains down in Africa (I bless the rain)
I bless the rains down in Africa
I bless the rains down in Africa (ah, gonna take the time)
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had (ooh, ooh)

Songwriters: David F. Paich / Jeffrey T. Porcaro

Africa lyrics © Spirit Music Group, BMG Rights Management

Fun Facts

At a staggering altitude of 29,029 feet above the vast expanse of ocean, standing on the summit of Mount Everest affords you an awe-inspiring view that extends a remarkable 211 miles in all directions. Now, let’s turn our attention to Hindu Tagh in China, which reaches a height of 21,115 feet, and Dankova in Kyrgyzstan, standing at 19,600 feet. If one were to draw an imaginary line connecting these two points, it would span an impressive distance of 334 miles. However, it is worth noting that this claim remains unverified. Are you interested in embarking on a remarkable adventure to conquer Kilimanjaro? We offer a diverse range of trip dates and prices to suit your preferences.

Distance from Serengeti National Park to Mount Kilimanjaro

The distance from the Serengeti to Kilimanjaro is approximately 200 kilometers (124 miles) as the crow flies. However, the actual distance traveled by road or air may vary depending on the specific starting and ending points within the Serengeti and around Kilimanjaro.

Here are the main ways to get from the Serengeti to Kilimanjaro:

  1. By Air:
    • The fastest and most convenient way to travel from the Serengeti to Kilimanjaro is by air. Several domestic airlines operate flights from airstrips within the Serengeti, such as Seronera Airstrip or Kogatende Airstrip, to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). These flights typically have a stopover in Arusha or another nearby airport before continuing to Kilimanjaro. From Kilimanjaro Airport, travelers can easily access the Kilimanjaro region by road.
  2. By Road:
    • Traveling by road from the Serengeti to Kilimanjaro involves a longer journey but allows for flexibility and the opportunity to experience Tanzania’s diverse landscapes. Visitors can hire a private vehicle or book a guided tour that includes transportation from the Serengeti to Kilimanjaro. The journey typically involves driving through the Serengeti National Park and other scenic areas before reaching the Kilimanjaro region. The exact route and duration of the journey will depend on the starting point within the Serengeti and the chosen mode of transportation.
  3. Combination of Air and Road:
    • For travelers seeking a balance between speed and convenience, a combination of air and road travel may be the best option. This involves taking a flight from the Serengeti to an airport near Kilimanjaro, such as Arusha Airport, and then completing the journey to Kilimanjaro by road. This option allows travelers to minimize travel time while still enjoying the flexibility of ground transportation in the final leg of the journey.

Overall, the choice of transportation from the Serengeti to Kilimanjaro will depend on factors such as budget, time constraints, and personal preferences. Whether traveling by air or road, visitors can look forward to experiencing the breathtaking landscapes and diverse wildlife of Tanzania along the way


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