Marangu Route - Climb Kilimanjaro - 5 days
Marangu Route is the most popular, least difficult and the shortest way to Uhuru Peak. This route is also called the Tourist Route or the Coca Cola Route. 70% of all climbers choose this route, because most of the route consists of easy hiking. This route is fairly easy but the final part to the summit is still difficult. Although this rout is the easiest, it has the highest failure rate due to bad preparation. It is advised to take this route seriously enough, to be well organized and to take all possible safety measures.
All the camps on this route sale goods such as chocolates, beer, soft drinks and mineral water, and they all have a radio contact to the Park Office. This route can be done in 5 days but it is advised to take an extra day for acclimatization at the Horombo hut which is also the only campsite on Kilimanjaro with beds and mattresses.
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Details of Marangu Route – Climb Kilimanjaro – 5 days
Day 1: Marangu gate to Mandara Hut
Walking distance: approximately 12 km Duration: 5 hours
Altitudes: Marangu gate (1,980 m) – Mandara Hut (2,700 m)
Vegetation zone: Montane forest, low alpine zone (heath and moorland)
You will start your journey after breakfast. Our driver will wait for you in Arusha/Moshi to transport you to the village of Marangu.
Choosing this route your journey will start at the Machame gate (1,980 m), where you should sign in at the Park Office. Porters will load all the necessary packs with water, food, cooking gas and most of the other equipment, but you should carry some drinking water, lunch pack and extra clothing for the day with you, because the porters are hiking very quick.
On your path you will pass a little stream and a couple of beautiful waterfalls. You will walk about an hour and a half to reach the Kisamboni picnic area, where lunch will be served. You will need about another hour and a half to reach Mandara hut (2,700 m). The vegetation at this campsite changes to the low alpine zone with heathers and moorland. In this vegetation zone you will see the first heathers as well as lichen on all trees and shrubs.
Mandara hut, where you will stay for the overnight, lies in a forest clearing and consists of a group of wooden A-framed huts. This camp has a total capacity of 60 sleeping bunks and each of the huts has 6 – 8 of this sleeping bunks. This campsite has drinking water from a spring above it and flush toilets. If you still have enough time and energy, you can even take a little walk (about 15 minutes) to the Maundi Crater where you will in good weather conditions have the possibility to see Mawenzi. At Maundi Crater you might also spot blue monkeys and black-and-white colobus monkeys. Before going to bed, the porters and cooks will prepare something for dinner.
Day 2: Mandara Hut to Horombo Hut
Walking distance: approximately 15 km Duration: 6 hours
Altitudes: Mandara hut (2,700 m) – Horombo Hut (3,720 m)
Vegetation zone: moorland
Your second day will begin with a light breakfast. Here you will start your hike in the last patches of forest. You will pass behind Maundi Crater and will soon enter the moorland vegetation zone. In this vegetation zone you will see the dominating plant, the heather, as well as the beautiful Dendrosenecio kilimanjari and Lobelia Deckenii. If the weather conditions are good, you will have great views of Mawenzi and Kibo.
You will have a short stop for lunch and rest. Here you should eat well and drink enough water, since today’s journey is long with a big distance and altitude gain. From here you will need about an hour and a half to reach Horombo hut (3,720 m), where you will have hot washing water, an evening meal and luxurious sleeping opportunity in beds. Horombo hut is a village of huts with a total capacity of 120 beds. The nights at this campsite tend to be very cold. It is important to take an extra day at this campsite for proper acclimatization.
Day 3 Horombo Hut to Kibo Hut
Walking distance: approximately 15 km Duration: 6 hours
Altitudes: Horombo Hut (3,720 m) – Kibo Hut (4,700 m)
Vegetation zone: Alpine desert
You will start your day after breakfast. There are two ways to reach the Saddle, the area between Mawenzi and Kibo. The upper route is very stony and eroded. The lower route is recommended, because it is easier and it passes near the “Last Water Point” (4,200 m) of this route. We recommend that you fill your water bottles with enough drinking water, since it is the last watering possibility before reaching Horombo hut again, unless you want to buy mineral water or soft drinks at Kibo hut. You might also take a little break at this “Last Water Point” and sit down at the picnic area for lunch.
After two hours you will reach Kibo hut (4,700 m), located in the barren Alpine desert. The only plants which you will see here are some hardy grasses and everlasting flowers. Kibo hut consists of a stone build block house with 60 bunk beds. The hut has platform toilets.
Day 4 Summit Attempt: Kibo Hut to Uhuru peak to Horombo Hut
Walking distance: approximately 6 km ascent and 21 km descent
Duration: 8 hours to Uhuru and 6 hours to Horombo Hut
Altitudes: Kibo Hut (4,700 m) – Uhuru peak (5,895 m) – Horombo Hut (3,720 m)
Vegetation zones: rocky, ice-capped summit
You will make the final part of your journey in the night, so make sure to prepare all the necessary equipment before going to bed, this should be around 19 o’clock. Among the things which you should prepare before attempting to reach the summit are: ski-stick, thermal clothing, hand warmers, thermal flask for your water and replacing your headlamp and batteries. You will wake up at about 23:00 and 23:30. You will have some tea and biscuits.
The first part of the climb is very tough consisting of a rocky path. You will pass Williams Point (5,000 m), Hans Meyer Cave (5,150 m) and Gillman’s point (5,681 m) located on the crater’s rim. From Kibo hut you will need about two and a half hours to reach Hans Meyer Cave. Gilman’s point is not so far away from Hans Meyer Cave, it takes only about an hour to get there. From Gilman’s point you will need about an hour and a half to reach the summit. The rest of the climb is usually snow covered all the way up to Uhuru Peak and you will be walking along the crater’s rim. You will also pass Stella point (5,752 m), this is the point where the other routes reach the rim.
Now you are not far away from the summit but it can be very challenging. At Uhuru peak you will take some photographs and you shouldn’t expect to remain at this altitude for longer than a few minutes. You will now start your journey back down towards Kibo hut (4,700 m) where lunch will be served. From here you will need about three hours to get back to Horombo hut (3,720 m) where dinner will be served. You will stay at the Horombo hut for the overnight in luxurious beds.
Day 5 Horombo Hut to Marangu gate
Walking distance: approximately 27 km Duration: 6 hours
Altitudes: Horombo Hut (3,720 m) – Marangu gate (1,980 m)
Vegetation zones: low alpine zone (heather and moorland), montane forest
You will start your last day on Kilimanjaro with a breakfast at the Horombo hut. On the way back down to the Marangu gate you will pass Mandara hut (2,700 m) where you will have a short stop for lunch. You already know this path from your first day on this route. When you reach the Marangu gate you will sign your details into a register and receive a summit certificate, a green certificate for reaching Gilmann’s Point and gold certificate for Uhuru Peak.
We recommend that you tip the porters when you and all your equipment reaches the gate. At the gate a driver will be waiting for you to transport you back to your hotel.
Itinerary in Brief
- Day 1: Marangu gate to Mandara Hut
- Day 2: Mandara Hut to Horombo Hut
- Day 3 Horombo Hut to Kibo Hut
- Day 4 Summit Attempt: Kibo Hut to Uhuru peak to Horombo Hut
- Day 5 Horombo Hut to Marangu gate