Marangu Route Overview
Marangu route is well-known as the easiest route up Kilimanjaro however we consider from our experience, there are no easy routes. It doesn’t matter which way you take, all climbs are tough and should not be taken as a walk in the park.
A nice part of the climb on the Marangu route is that all accommodation is in huts – this is a much softer and warmer option than sleeping in tents which is the only option you will have on the other routes. You will sleep in bunk beds with fairly comfortable mattresses. Other creature comforts such as mineral water, soft drinks, chocolates and beers are sold at all the camps on this route. All huts have solar power.
Although it is possible to finish Marangu Route in 5 days by any normal fit person – we recommend taking the 6 day route so that you can acclimatize properly on fourth day. By taking time you will increase your chances of reaching the summit by up to 75%. It would be unwise to think that everyone makes the summit because this is one of the easier routes – in fact this route has the highest rate of failure. Unfortunately hikers take it to easy.
Under the leadership of your guide, all your equipment and supplies are carried for you by a team of porters and a cook will prepare all your meals. All you will need to carry will be your day pack items such as drinking water, your lunch pack and some additional clothing.
Day of arrival: JRO or KILIMANJARO AIRPORT- ARUSHA
Our staff will meet you at Kilimanjaro International airport and transfer you to one of the hotels in Arusha where you will spend the evening. Before dinner your guide will visit you at the hotel and explain you all necessary details about the climb. Stay overnight at Arusha.
Day 1: MARANGU GATE – MANDARA HUT
After breakfast transfer from Arusha to Marangu Gate. When reaching the gate it’s important to sign the register at the Park office and make final preparations for the climb. Porters arrange and load their packs, containing the food, water, cooking gas and most of your equipment. It is important to have all your day pack items such as drinking water, a lunch pack and extra clothing with you and not with the porters, as they walk a lot quicker than a group.
First part of the route has a cleared ridge trail through the cultivation zone, where local farmers manage and produce their goods on the side of the mountain. Entering to the rain forest is probably the most beautiful part of the climb, surrounded by lush forest and sometimes thick clouds.
A short rest and lunch, then walk to Mandara Hut where you will stay overnight. This camp consists of a group of wooden A-framed huts situated in a forest clearing, with each hut sleeping 6 – 8 hikers in bunk beds. All the huts are equipped with solar generated lighting and this camp has a total capacity of 60 hikers. Spring water is piped into the camp and you will find flush toilets behind the main hut.
Altitude: 1970 m – 2710 m
Hiking time: app. 3 hours
Distance: 8 km
Habitat: Rain forest
Day 2: MANDARA HUT – HOROMBO HUT
Early in the morning climb from Mandara hut where the trail passes through a short stretch of forest, and then heads around the base of the Maundi Crater leaving the rain forest behind and entering the moorland zone.
On the way, we recommend that you take a short detour up to the rim of the Maundi Crater – from here you see the impressive Kibo Crater, and on a clear day you will also be able to see the glaciers of Kibo – this is a great photographic opportunity, so get your camera ready.
Keep your camera handy because you will encounter some of Kilimanjaro’s most spectacular and strange plants in the open moorland – with giant lobelia and groundsel growing to heights of 3 meters and 5 meters respectively! Later in the afternoon reach the Horombo hut for next overnight stay, where there is hot washing water. Get an excellent evening meal prepared by our cook. Hut is comfortable enough to ensure a good nights rest. Temperatures during the night will be around freezing point.
Optional: Extra acclimatization day We highly recommend an extra acclimatization day. This will increase your chances of success by 75%. On extra day you can go for a leisurely walk to Mawenzi, which is just over 4000 meters above sea level. Your guide will use this walk to assess your strength and stamina for the following day’s summit. This also assists your guide in determining the pace you should summit at and what time to wake up to begin hiking for the summit. The walk is for 3 hours and the views are spectacular. Stay overnight at Horombo Hut again.
Altitude: 2710 m – 3725 m
Hiking time: app. 6 hours
Distance: 15 km
Day 3: HOROMBO HUT- KIBO HUT
This day is a little bit more difficult while walking up to Kibo hut, which is approximately 4,700m. The oxygen at these altitudes begins to thin out considerably. The climb is about 5- 7 hours and goes through the last part of the Moorland and into the highlands desert, taking one of the two trails to the “Saddle”, located between the peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo. Stick to the lower route which is much easier and has the last watering point. This a barren area of extreme conditions, with temperatures at night sometimes dropping to below freezing point and daytime temperatures being relatively high. Stay overnight at Kibo hut. Have a dinner and try to have a really good night’s rest.
Unless you are willing to buy mineral water at Kibo hut, you should stock up with all the water you will need – the next watering point will be at Horombo hut when you return there on your descent the night after next. Once again remember to take it slowly and drink enough water.
After lunch you will reach Horombo hut, a large stone house which can comfortably sleep 60 hikers in bunk beds – remember there is no water supply at this camp, although you can buy mineral water and soft drinks at the camp office. There are toilet facilities behind the hut.
Spend time this afternoon preparing your equipment as you will be making your final ascent tonight – you will need your ski-stick and extra thermal clothing for your summit bid – also ensure that your headlamp and camera batteries are in order and make sure you have spare sets of batteries available as well. Carry your water in a thermal flask otherwise it will freeze later. Make sure you are in bed by 19h00 – you will need all the sleep you can get before your very early wake up call in only 4 ½ hours time.
Altitude: 3725 m – 4710 m
Hiking time: 6 hours
Distance: 15 – 16 km
Habitat: Alpine desert
Day 4: KIBO HUT- UHURU PEAK- HOROMBO HUT
Today will by far be your toughest day, you will rise and hopefully shine at around 23h30, and after some tea and biscuits you head off into the cold night up a rocky path towards to the Hans Meyer Cave at 5150 meters – you may take a short rest here before continuing your ascent up to Gillman’s point at 5 680 meters. Probably the most demanding section of the entire route as it is very steep and stony – go slowly and carefully here.
From Gillmans Point, you will more than likely be walking through snow for the next 2 hours, when you will finally reach the summit of Uhuru Peak at 5895 meters. Well done – you have conquered Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world! Don’t get too relaxed and spend too much time on the summit, even if the weather is good. Cold and fatigue will set in quickly and you may find it very difficult to get started again. So spend a little time to enjoy the fact that you have conquered Kilimanjaro, get the camera out and take some pictures, then it will be best that you get moving again – it’s a long way down!
The first part of your descent to Kibo hut will take almost another 3 hours. After a short rest you will begin the next part of your descent – it will take another 3 hours of hiking to get to Horombo hut where you will spend the night. Later you can enjoy your last dinner on the mountain. You will no doubt have a good sleep, feeling exhilarated and proud of your achievement.
Altitude: 4700 m – 5895 m – 3720 m
Hiking time: app. 14 hours
Distance: app. 27 kilometers in total
Habitat: Stone screed and ice-capped summit
Day 5: HOROMBO HUT- MARANGU GATE
After an early and well-deserved breakfast, you continue your descent passing the Mandara hut, down to the Marangu gate – this will take the best part of 6 hours. At Marangu gate you sign your name and details in a register. To make your achievement official, you will receive a summit certificate. If you reached Gillman’s Point you will be presented with a green certificate, and if you made it all the way to Uhuru Peak you will have earned yourself a gold certificate.
You will then take a road transfer back to Arusha where you will be welcomed back to your hotel. Take some time out for a long hot shower, and indulge in a drink or three to celebrate before getting a decent night’s rest in a comfortable bed. Final Descent
Altitude: 3720 m – 1980 m
Hiking time: app. 6 hours
Distance: app. 27 kilometers
Habitat: Moorland and Rain forest
Day 6: BACK HOME
Our staff will transfer you back to Kilimanjaro International airport for your onward flights to either Zanzibar or Dar Es Salaam or Arusha for your national parks safari.
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