Marangu Route - Climb Kilimanjaro

Short Overview

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.

Kilimanjaro Trekking: Marangu Route
Tourcode: KL08LTZINST
From: Arusha
To: Arusha
Min. number to guarantee tour: N/A
Max number of participants: private safari
Departure day: any day of your choice
from 1445 USD (4-6 pax)
from 1295 USD (2-3 pax)
NOTE : The price listed above are per person

When to visit?
  • All year round
Included in the price
  • All meals on the safari.
  • All Park entrance fees.
  • All prices are quoted in US Dollars.
  • Camping equipment if applicable (tents
  • mattresses
  • sleeping bags
  • pillows
  • table and chairs)
  • Flying Doctors rescue insurance for the time of the tour with Shadows of Africa.
Excluded from the price
  • Any sightseeing
  • excursions and optional activities other than those specified
  • Entry visas
  • International flights
  • Laundry
  • Please
  • read our Terms and Conditions
  • Tips and gratuities to safari crew – recommended: 15-20 USD per day to safari driver
  • 10 – 15 USD per day to safari cook
  • Travel insurance
Itinerary Note
  • Note that for transfer from Nairobi Airport we use Impala Shuttle Service with departures daily at 0800 and 1400 or we can arrange private shuttle or a flight from NBO to JRO

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.

7 days Trekking / Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro Marangu Route – Day one 

Transfer from Moshi town to Marangu Gate (1980m) – Mandara hut (2700m).
Hiking time: 5 hours.
Distance: About 12 km’s.
Habitat: Montane forest.
Elevation change: + 720 m

Early in the morning after breakfast you will be getting a briefing of your hiking from Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro guides before been transfer to Marangu gate around 9:00 am in the morning which takes about 45 minutes to reach there. On your arrival to Marangu gate which is located at the Marangu village normal formality of registration for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro will take place. A backpack is important for you to carry few things which will be useful for the particularly day trekking such as camera, extra cloth, skin oil, rain jacket and other things which you will be directed. Porters will carry other things for your climbing Mount Kilimanjaro such as food, drinking water, clothes and cooking gas and normally they walk faster than you so they can be in a position of preparing of dinner for you on time.

After all the formality our guide will show you a clear trail and assist you with any additional information or needs you might have. You now leave the park office and ascend on a cleared ridge route through the rain forest.  The forest covered with mist and saturated with beards of moss. This trail follows the edge of a stream through the undergrowth and offers you the option to rejoin the main trail either, after one and half hours hiking, you will reach Mandara hut.
The weather at Mandara hut isn’t much cold and normal dressing and a jacket is enough. With an exception of Kibo hut the other huts have a group of wooden A-framed huts in a forest clearing. Each hut features 6-8 sleeping bunks with solar generated lighting. The total capacity of the camp is 60 climbers. Water is piped into the camp from springs above and there are flush toilets behind the main hut.

7 days Trekking / Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro Marangu Route – Day two 

Mandara hut (2700m) – Horombo hut (3720m)
Hiking time: 6 hours.
Distance: About 15 km’s.
Habitat: Moorland.
Elevation change: + 1020 m

Early in the morning after your breakfast you will starts climbing towards Horombo hut with your picnic lunch. From Mandara hut the trail passes through a short stretch of forest, and then heads around the base of the Maundi Crater where you will leave the forest and enter the moorland.

We recommend 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. In the moorlands you will also encounter some of Kilimanjaro most spectacular and strange plants in the open moorland – with giant lobelia and groundsel growing to heights of 3 and 5 metres respectively! Later in the afternoon you reach Horombo Hut to stay for hot dinner and an overnight. Your hut will be comfortable enough to ensure a good nights rest. Temperatures during the night will be around freezing point.

7 days Trekking / Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro Marangu Route – Day three

Horombo hut (3720m) 

Horombo Hut – OPTIONAL acclimatization Day

your choice – an extra day at Horombo Hut will improve your chances of reaching the summit but of course it does add to the cost and you may not have the time??

Today is acclimatization day so you will stay based at Horombo hut. A great way to spend the day is to hike out past Zebra Rocks to Mawenzi hut. This will take about 3 hours on the ascent, and a further one and half hours for the descent back to Horombo hut. Remember to keep your water intake levels up, and not too rush this hike.

Horombo hut is actually a village of huts with double the capacity of Mandara hut – both ascending and descending hikers meet here with all the guides, porters and cooks on their respective routes – so this camp is normally full and buzzes with activity and excitement. All meals for the day are provided at Horombo hut. Tonight you will have a good opportunity to get to bed early for a good night’s sleep – make the most of it because you will need all the energy you can get for the next couple of days.

7 days Trekking / Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro Marangu Route – Day four

Horombo hut (3720m) – Kibo hut (4700m)
Hiking time: 6 hours
Distance: About 15 km’s
Habitat: Alpine desert
Elevation change: + 980 m

The climb is becoming more difficult as the oxygen at these altitudes begins to thin out considerably. To begin today you can take 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 added benefit of taking you past the last watering point. 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. It will take from 5 to 7 hours to reach Kibo Hut where you will rest and have dinner. This is a barren area of extreme conditions, with temperatures at night sometimes dropping to below freezing point and daytime temperatures being relatively high. Kibo is a large stone house that can comfortably sleep 60 hikers in bunk beds – remember there is no water supply at this hut. 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 7:00 pm – you will need all the sleep you can get before your very early wake up call in only four and half hours time.

7 days Trekking / Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro Marangu Route – Day five

Kibo hut (4700 m) – Uhuru Peak (5895 m) – Horombo hut (3720 m)

Hiking time: 10 hours
Distance: About 27 km’s
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit

Elevation change: + 1195 m, – 2175 m

Today will by far be your toughest day, you will be woken just before midnight and soon head off into the cold night up a rocky path towards to the Hans Meyer Cave at 5150 metres – you may take a short rest here before continuing your ascent up to Gillman’s point at 5680 metres. Probably the most demanding section of the entire route as it is very steep and stony – go slowly and carefully here. From Gillman’s 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 metres.

Cold and fatigue will set in quickly here 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 which will be accompanied with heavy breakfast, you will begin the next part of your descent – it will take another 3 hours of hiking to get to Horombo hut. Arriving Horombo hut at afternoon for hot hut lunch and rest as well as dinner and spend overnight there. You will no doubt have a good sleep, feeling exhilarated and proud of your achievement.

7 days Trekking / Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro Marangu Route – Day six

Horombo hut (3720 m) – Mandara hut (1980m)
Hiking time: 6 hours
Distance: About 27 km’s
Habitat: Moorland + Rain Forest
Elevation change: – 1740 m

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  six 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 then take a road transfer back to your hotel where you have certainly earned a long hot shower and a drink or three to celebrate before getting a decent night’s rest in a comfortable bed.

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