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 Gillman's Point at dawn can be spectacular. Uhuru Peak lies a further 1h30min. 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 from where there are various walks to enjoy.
Day 1 : Kilimanjaro National Park Gate to Mandara Hut
After breakfast and briefing, drive to the Kilimanjaro National Park Gate (45 minutes), register and commence the climb. Walk through the rainforest to the Mandara encampment. A side trip to Maundi Crater is a good way to see the surroundings including Northern Tanzania and Kenya. In the rainforest, look for towering Eucalyptus trees, bird life, and Colobus monkeys.
-5,500 ft / 1,700 m to 9,000 ft / 2,740 m
Overnight: Mandara Hut
Day 2 : Mandara Hut to Horombo Hut
You leave the glades of the rainforest and follow an ascending path on the open moorlands to the Horombo encampment. Views of Mawenzi and the summit of Kibo are amazing. Look for giant lobelias and grounsels. You may begin to feel the affects of the altitude.
- If you wish to extend you trek, here you can spend an extra day resting at Horombo or climbing the small peak of Mawenzi.
-9,000 ft / 2,700 m to 12,100 ft / 3,700 m
Overnight: Horombo Hut
Day 3 : Horombo Hut to Kibo Hut
Ascending, we now pass the last watering point, walking onto the saddle of Kilimanjaro between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi. Vegetation begins with upper heathland but then disappears into "moonscape". Dinner, rest, and prepare for summit climb.
-12,100 ft / 3,700 m to 15,400 ft / 4,700 m
Overnight: Kibo Hut
Day 4 : Kibo Hut to Summit then Horombo Hut
Very early in the morning (midnight to 2am), commence the climb to the summit on steep and heavy scree or snow up to Gilman's point located on the crater rim. Continuing, we now ascend to Uhuru Peak, which is the highest point in Africa. There are unbelievable views at every turn. Have your picture taken at the summit to show your friends and family. From here we descend, stopping for lunch and a rest at Kibo before continuing on to the Horombo encampment.
The beginning of this climb is done in the dark and requires headlamps or flashlights. It will be very cold until you start descending, so you will need all of your warm layers. This is by far the most difficult part of the trek with many switchbacks. Going slowly "pole pole" and an optimistic attitude will get you there!
-15,400 ft / 4,700 m to 19,300 ft / 5,895 m
-19,300 ft / 5,895 m to 12,100 ft / 3,700 m
-4 km up / 14 km down
Overnight: Horombo Camp
Day 5 : Horombo Hut to Moshi
After breakfast, a steady descent takes us down through moorland to the Mandara Hut. Continue descending through lush forest path to the National Park gate at Marangu. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts will probably be plenty to wear (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy).
A vehicle will meet you at Marangu village to drive you back to your hotel in Moshi or Arusha. Don't forget to tip your guides and porters. It is time for celebration!
-12,100 ft / 3,700 m to 5,500 ft / 1,700 m
-5 to 7 hours
Overnight: Hotel in Moshi