Two African Lions
Kilimanjaro Marangu Route
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The Marangu Route has the nick-name “Coca-Cola Route” due to the comparison to the drink which is easy to swallow.  It is regarded as the “easiest” route up Kilimanjaro and can be accomplished in 5 days however from our experience, there are no “easy routes” and this one actually has the highest failure rate.  The higher failure rate may be due to the fact that hikers are sometimes not as prepared thinking it is “only a 5 day hike” or the large number of less qualified operators. 

The route starts on the southeast side of the mountain and continually gains altitude, but without the optional 6th day, does not offer the acclimatizing ideal of “hiking high and sleeping low”.  Many hikers find it fairly easy to reach the Kibo Hut camp, but are disappointed that they are not physically or mentally prepared for the summit bid.

This route receives the majority of the traffic which can result in more crowed conditions along with more noise and trash which has resulted in an increasing number of customer complaints.  If you read about customers that are disappointed with their Kilimanjaro experience they most likely were on this route.

This is by far the most popular route up the mountain due in part because it is the least expensive and requires less time than some of the other routes.  A nice feature of this route is that you will be sleeping in huts with bunk beds with relatively comfortable mattresses rather than on the ground in tents as on the other routes.  You will also find mineral water, soft drinks, beers and candies sold at camps along this route.

This route descends on the same route which you ascended on whereas some of the other routes descend via different routes which expose you to more of the mountain scenery.

As with all the routes, you will be constantly accompanied by your guide or guides.  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 daypack.

DAY 1: Arusha to Marangu Gate.
Our staff will meet you at Kilimanjaro International airport and transfer you to your prearranged lodging for the night. Before dinner, your guide will go through all your equipment and supplies; they will sit with you and brief you on the climb ahead.  Turn in early and get a good nights sleep because you are about to start the adventure of a life time!

DAY 2 (Hike DAY 1): Marangu Gate - Mandara hut
After breakfast you will be transferred from your lodging to Marangu Gate where you will the register at the Park office and make your final preparations for the climb. Your team of porters will arrange and load their packs, containing the food, water, cooking gas and most of your equipment. You will have your day pack which should contain the items you will need for the day including water, snacks, extra clothing, rain gear, and your camera.  Your porters will move on ahead with your duffle bag which you will not see until you reach camp in the evening.

When you leave the Park gate you will take a cleared ridge trail through the cultivation zone, where you will see how local farmers manage and produce their goods on the side of the mountain, before you enter the rain forest. This is a beautiful part of your climb where you will be surrounded by lush forest and sometimes thick clouds.  This is where you will also see the greatest number of animals.

After stopping for lunch and a rest, you will head off 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.

Today’s Route: Marangu Gate - Mandara hut
Overnight: Mandara Hut
Altitude range: 1970 meters (6,400 ft) to 2710 meters (8,900 ft)
Hiking time: About 5 hours
Distance: 12 kilometers (7 miles)
Habitat: Rain forest

DAY 3 (Hike DAY 2): Mandara Hut - Horombo Hut.
Early in the morning you will begin your ascent again - from Mandara Hut the trail ascends out of the forest and through a alpine meadow to the moorland zone.  Here you will be able to enjoy views of Mawenzi and Kibo peaks ahead.
You also will see some of Kilimanjaro’s most spectacular and strange plants the giant lobelia and groundsel growing to heights of 3 meters and 5 meters.
Later in the afternoon you will reach the Horombo Hut for your next overnight stay.

Temperatures during the night could be around freezing point.

Today’s Route: Mandara hut - Horombo hut
Overnight: Horombo Hut
Altitude range: 2,710 meters (8,900 ft) to 3,725 meters (12,200 ft)
Hiking time: About 6 hours
Distance: 15 kilometers (9.3 miles)
Habitat: Moorland

Optional DAY 4 (Hike Day 3): Extra acclimatization day
If you like, and we highly recommend this as it can improve your chances of success by 75%, day 4 can be spent as an acclimatization day. This day will be based out of Horombo Hut. Your guide will take you for a leisurely walk to Mawenzi, which is just over 4000 meters (13,100 ft) above sea level where the views are spectacular. You will return to Horombo Hut where you will get a chance to rest and allow your body to recuperate.

DAY 4 or 5 (Hike DAY 3 or 4): Horombo hut - Kibo hut
Today the climb gets a little more difficult with your walk up to Kibo Hut.  The atmospheric pressure decreases as you increase in altitude and you will really start to feel the effects. Today takes you through the last part of the Moorland and into the highlands desert where the trail becomes rugged and rocky.  You will be taking a trail to the "Saddle", located between the peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo.  There are actually two trail options and your guide will determine the best route for you.

Once you reach camp spend some time looking around camp as you will be heading out in the dark for the summit all too soon.  Also prepare your equipment, as you will be making your final ascent tonight starting before midnight!  You will need your walking-sticks, mittens, extra thermal clothing, thermal water flask, headlight and camera with working batteries including spares.  Make sure you are in bed by 19:00 (7PM) as you will need all the sleep you can get before your very early wake up call in only 4 ½ hours time.

Today’s Route: Horombo Hut - Kibo Hut
Overnight: Kibo Hut
Altitude range: 3,725 meters (12,200 ft) to 4,710 meters (15,400 ft)
Hiking time: 6 hours
Distance: 15 - 16 kilometers (9.5 miles)
Habitat: Alpine desert

DAY 5 or 6 (Hike DAY 4 or 5): Kibo Hut - Uhuru Peak - Horombo Hut

Today will by far be your toughest day, you will rise at around 23h30, and after some tea and biscuits you head off into the cold night with a headlight up a rocky path which will become strewn with scree, making it difficult to make forward progress.  This is the most demanding section of the entire route and it is important that you use caution as it is steep and slippery.  You will be glad when you finally arrive at Gillman's Point, which is located on the crate rim, where you will take a short rest and perhaps have some hot tea.  One of the goals of rising so early is to time the hike so that as you reach this spot the sun will be rising and you will be treated to one of the most spectacular sight most have ever seen - the sun rising over all of Africa.

From Gillmans Point, you will more than likely be walking through snow as you hike around the crate rim until you reach you goal the summit of Uhuru Peak at 5895 meters (19,340 ft).

CONGRAULATIONS you made it - the highest point in all of Africa.

Don’t get too relaxed and spend too much time on the summit, even if the weather is good. Cold and fatigue can set in quickly and you may find it very difficult to get started again. Do spend some time to enjoying your accomplishment and document your success with your cameras but you will need to get started down as you still have a long ways to go.

While the going is much easier heading down take extra caution as you scramble down the scree as you don’t want to turn an ankle now.  After about 14 hours total hiking time you will return to Horombo Hut where you will spend the night.

Enjoy your last dinner on the mountain. You will no doubt sleep well, feeling exhilarated and proud of your achievement.

Today’s Route: Kibo hut - Uhuru Peak - Horombo hut
Overnight: Horombo Hut
Altitude range: 4,700 meters (15,400 ft) - 5,895 meters (19,300 ft) - 3720 meters (12,200 ft)
Hiking time: About 14 hours
Distance: About 27 kilometers (16.7 miles) in total
Habitat: Stone spree and ice-capped summit

DAY 6 or 7 (Hike DAY 5 or 6): Horombo hut - Marangu Gate
After breakfast, you will continue your descent passing the Mandara Hut.  As you descend your body will feel exhilarated as oxygen rushes back into your muscles.  It will take about 6 hour to reach the Marangu Gate.

At Marangu Gate you sign your name and details in the register. 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 be transported back to your hotel. A hot shower, good dinner, and comfortable bed will feel GREAT.

Today’s Route: Horombo hut - Marangu Gate
Overnight: Arusha.
Altitude range: 3,720 m (12,200 ft) - 1,980 m (6,500 ft)
Hiking time: 6 hr
Distance: About 27 kilometers (16 miles)
Habitat: Moorland and Rain forest


Day 7 or 8: Departure

After breakfast our staff will transfer you from your lodging back to Kilimanjaro International Airport or the start of a safari.

Click Picture to Enlarge
JRO Airport

JRO Airport

Lodge

Lodge

Mawenzi peak crater

Mawenzi peak crater

Saddle Horombo - Kibo hut

Saddle Horombo - Kibo hut

KIBO HUT

KIBO HUT

Marangu Trail

Marangu Trail

kili from Kibo Hut

kili from Kibo Hut

Glacier

Glacier

Summit

Summit

Mandala Hut (2)

Mandala Hut (2)

Mandala Hut

Mandala Hut

Holombo Hut

Holombo Hut