5 Days Marangu Route

This is the easiest route to the summit of Kilimanjaro, sometimes called the Coca-Cola Route. The Marangu route takes you at a gentle pace through forests, moorlands and then across The Saddle, a high-altitude desert separating the main summit, Kibo, 5896m, from craggy Mawenzi, 5149m, to Kibo Hut. From here an early start is made for the ascent to Uhuru Point (the highest top of Kibo). The path zig-zags up steep scree which is easier to climb when frozen. The views from the crater rim at Gillmans Point at dawn can be spectacular. Uhuru Peak lies a further 1h. around the rim.

Accommodation on the mountain is in comfortable huts. You will need a sleeping bag, warm clothes and walking poles. This is a tough walking trip but within the limits of a fit individual used to walking in mountain areas. An extra day for acclimatisation to the altitude is recommended at Horombo Huts from where there are various walks to enjoy.

Route Itineraries

Marangu Gate – Mandara Hut
Altitudes (ASL): 1830m – 2720m, Distance covered: 8.7km, Trekking time: 3 – 4 hours. Habitat: Montane Forest, Altitude gained: 890m.

After early breakfast, drive from Hotel to Marangu Gate, the headquarter offices for Mt. Kilimanjaro National Park. On arrival here, you will sign and make the final preparations for starting the climb. Make sure that you have with you the daypack and all the items you will need to use on today’s hiking as the porters ascend a lot quicker than the hikers. You now leave the Park gate and ascend on a cleared ridge trail through the rain forest. The forest, covered with mist and dripping with beards of moss, it is also in this zone where animals like: Blue monkeys, Black and White Colobuses, Vervit monkeys, Duikers, etc. and birds like: Hartlaub’s turacos, Silvery-cheeked hornbills, Bee eaters, Flycatchers, etc. are found. First overnight at Mandara hut, is a group of wooden A-framed huts in a forest clearing. Water is piped into the camp from springs above and there are flush toilets behind the main hut.

Mandara Hut – Horombo Hut
Altitudes (ASL): 2720m – 3720m, Distance covered: 12km, Trekking time: 6 hours. Habitat: Moorland, Altitude gained: 1000m.

From Mandara Hut the trail passes through a short stretch of forest, skirting the base of the Maundi Crater emerging into the transition zone from rain forest to moorland. After about 6 hours from here we will reach Horombo Hut where will we stay overnight. Make the most of the hot washing water available here.

Horombo Hut – Kibo Hut
Altitudes (ASL): 3720m – 4700m, Distance covered: 9.5km, Trekking time: 5 hours, Habitat: Alpine desert, Altitude gained: 980m.

We continue our ascent into the Alpine desert zone passing the last place where water is available at 4130m. We will fill our water bottles with all the water we will need until our return to Horombo Hut in two night’s time.  From Kibo Hut, the summit is now a further 1195m of ascent. We will make our summit ascent tonight so we will go to sleep at 18:30pm and try to get as much rest as possible.

Kibo Hut – Summit – Horombo Hut
Altitudes (ASL): 4700m / 5895m, Distance covered: 6km / 6km / 9 ½ km, total 21 ½ km, Trekking time: 6 – 7 hours ascent, 3 hours descent to Kibo Hut, another 3 hours descent to Horombo Hut,  Habitat: Stone screed and ice-capped summit and Moorland, Altitude gained (Kibo Hut – Summit): 1195m; Summit – Horombo Hut: (-2175m).

This day is the “Big day”. It starts at midnight when you wake up and some light snack and tea or coffee you are off for the summit attempt. Here when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. Habitat here is just stone scree and the trail consists of rocky path until the Hans Meyer Cave at 5150m where you take a short rest. The path keeps on zigzagging towards the Gillman’s point at 5685m and even reaching here is huge achievement and there is a certificate for that waiting for you. As from the Gilman’s point onwards to the Summit; Uhuru Peak at 5895m you got be cautious, slowly up but sure and with courage and consistency you are at the highest peak in Africa and the highest free standing mountain in the world. Jubilation and Satisfaction songs of hurray and a session of photos prevails lasting as long as the weather can allow. Sometimes weather conditions can be so harsh and you will just spend a few minutes then embark on your descent. Back at Kibo Hut, you will have a hot soup and some snacks, toasts, and a rest then continue on your way down to Horombo Hut where you will spend the overnight. Here you are lucky you can grab a drink sold at the Camp. Later in the evening you enjoy your last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep, filled with memories and stirring emotions.

Horombo Hut – Marangu Gate
Altitudes (ASL): 3720m – 1920m, Distance covered: 18 km, Trekking time: 6 hours, Change in Altitude: (-1800m).

After early breakfast, you will continue your descent (6 hours), passing the Mandara hut, down to the Marangu gate. On arrival there, you will sign for checking out and receiving your summit certificates.  The successful climbers who reached Gillman’s Point (5685m) are issued with silver certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m), receive gold certificates. Our vehicle will meet at Marangu Gate and transfer you back to Arusha or Moshi for a hot shower, dinner and overnight at the hotel/lodge.

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