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, 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, then skirts the base of the Maundi Crater and then emerges into the transition from rain forest to moorland. After about 6 hours from here you reach the Horombo hut, where you will have hot washing water, rest, an evening meal and overnight.
Horombo Hut (Acclimatisation)
Altitude (ASL): 3720, Habitat: Moorland, Hiking time: 4½ - 5 hours.
This extra day and night at Horombo is ideal for good acclimatisation. A hike towards Mawenzi, passing the Zebra Rocks on the way (about 3 hours up and 1½ hours down), is highly recommended as it will further assist with acclimatisation.
Horombo Hut / Kibo Hut
Altitude (ASL): 3720m / 4700m, Distance covered: 9.5km, Trekking time: 5 - 6 hours. Habitat: Alpine desert, Altitude gained: 980m.
After breakfast, you now continue your ascent into the Alpine desert habitat and pass the last water point at 4130m. You will have to fill your water bottles with all the water you will need until your return to Horombo hut in two night's time (unless you are willing to buy Mineral water at Kibo hut). The summit is now a further 1195m up and you will make your final ascent the same night. Go to bed at round about 6:30 pm and try to get as much rest and sleep as possible.
Kibo Hut / Summit (Uhuru Peak) / 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: 5 - 6 hours, Change in Altitude: (-1800m).
Early morning after breakfast, you will proceed with descent down across the Alpine moorland to passing Mandara Hut on the way to Marangu Gate; a descent of about 6 hours. Once at the Marangu Gate, you will sign for checking out and followed by summit certificates representation. Here, you will be handed a Green Certificate for having reached Gillman’s Point (5685m) or Silver Certificate for Stella Point (5732m), or a Gold Certificate for Uhuru Peak (5895m). After a short session of jubilation and farewell with your crew (guide/s, cook/s, and porters); and tipping of course, and having lunch you will take a waiting car and be transferred back to Arusha town where you will check in at your hotel/lodge in for a welcome shower, dinner and overnight. [2 hour drive]