The Marangu route is a classic trek to the top of Kilimanjaro. However, it has the least scenic variety of all routes (ascent and descent are done on the same path) and is the most crowded for that reason.
Known as the “Coca-Cola” route, the Marangu route approaches Kilimanjaro from the southeast. It is the oldest, most well established route.
Many favor the Marangu route because it is considered to be the easiest path on the mountain, given its gradual slope and direct path.
Marangu is the only route which offers sleeping huts in dormitory style accommodations. There are 60 bunk beds each at Mandara and Kibo Huts, and 120 bunk beds at Horombo Hut.
Guests are supplied with mattresses and pillows, but sleeping bags are still required. The huts have communal dining halls and basic washrooms, ranging from flushing toilets and running water at the lower huts to long drop toilets and buckets of water at Kibo Hut. Also available for consumption are soft drinks, bottled water, and beer.
The minimum days required for this route is five, although the probability of successfully reaching the top in that time period is quite low. Spending an extra acclimatization day on the mountain is highly recommended.
Itinerary Distance :100 km
Start – Nairobi
End – Arusha /Moshi/Nairobi
DAY 1 : NAIROBI – ARUSHA ( APPROX. 4HRS DRIVE)
07.15 am – 8.00 a.m. Depart for Arusha aboard the shuttle bus, lunch enroute. Spend the afternoon organizing any gear you may require for the trek. Overnight at Arusha or Moshi Hotel booked on bed and breakfast basis. Lunch and dinner on own arrangement.
DAY 2: ARUSHA – MANDARA HUT
Elevation :1700m to 2740m
Walking Time:4-5 hours
Habitat: Montane Forest
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 located at 9000 ft / 2740 m. 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 Colubus monkeys.
DAY 3 : MANDARA HUT – HOROMBO HUT
Elevation:2700m to 3700m
Walking time: 6-8 hours
After about 1 hour, you will 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 will start 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.
DAY 4: HOROMBO HUT – KIBO HUT
Elevation:3700m to 4700m
Walking time: 6-8 hours
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.
DAY 5: KIBO HUT –SUMMIT(UHURU PEAK 5895M) – HOROMBO HUT
Elevation:4700m to 5895m to 3700m
Distance: 4 km up / 14 km down
Walking time :10-15 hours
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 at 18640 ft / 5861 m (4-7 hours). Continuing, we now ascend to Uhuru Peak, which is the highest point in Africa: 19340 ft / 5895 m (1-2 hours). Unbelievable views at every turn. Get your picture taken at the summit to show your friends. From here, we now descend, stopping for lunch and a rest at Kibo before continuing on to the Horombo encampment for dinner and a tired but happy overnight (1-2 hours).
This 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. “Pole pole” and an optimistic attitude will get you there!
DAY 6: HOROMBO HUT – ARUSHA OR MOSHI
Elevation:3700m to 1700m
Walking Time: 5-7 hours
After breakfast, A steady descent takes us down through moorland to Mandara Hut (2700m / 8858 ft), the first stopping place at the Marangu route. Continue descending through lovely lush forest on a good path to the National Park gate at Marangu (1830 m / 6004 ft). 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 the Arusha or Moshi Hotel .Dinner on own.