This is definitely the easiest and probably the most popular route for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. It’s often called the Coca Cola Route because this is the only one where climbers can buy soft drinks and snacks at each stop on the way up. For what it’s worth, this route is also considered to be a bit of a joke by serious climbers, and in fact many of the more experienced operators don’t run trips up Marangu because it’s the least spectacular in scenery and it seems to attract the most people who aren’t really committed to doing it properly.
You can do Marangu in 5 or 6 days, and just as with the other routes, people tend to have a much greater rate of success if they choose the longer option. Having that extra day on the mountain to acclimatize can make a huge difference in your ability to make the summit on that final grueling day. The first few days are each around 5 hours of climbing, and each night you’ll reach a camp that has cabins full of bunk beds that can hold around 60 climbers in total. All the other routes require camping in tents, so these mountain huts make for a much different experience.
Leave Nairobi for Arusha by shuttle bus arriving in time for lunch. Afternoon spent at leisure and shopping for the provisions needed for the mountain. Dinner and overnight in an Arusha Hotel.
Distance: About 12 km’s
Habitat: Montane forest
The drive from Moshi to the Kilimanjaro National Park gate, takes about 50 minutes. The journey passes through the village of Marangu, which is located on the lower slopes of the mountain. Once you reach the park gate, all hikers are requested to sign in at the Park office and make their final preparations for the climb. Porters will be seen arranging and loading their packs, containing the food, water, cooking gas as well as most of your equipment. Make sure that you have all your daypack items (containing at least drinking water, your lunch pack and extra clothing) with you as the porters ascend a lot quicker than the hikers. Our guides will be available to assist with any additional information or needs you might have. You now leave the Park gate and ascend on a cleared ridge trail through the rain forest. The forest, suffused with mist and dripping with beards of moss, is also where most of Kilimanjaro’s animals are found. (An alternative and more scenic parallel forest trail, branches off the to the left a few minutes after the gate. This trail follows the edge of a stream through the undergrowth and offers you the option to rejoin the main trail either, after 1,5 hours hiking, or 1 hour before Mandara hut.)
Your first night stop, Mandara hut, is 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..
Distance: About 15 km’s Habitat: Moorland
From Mandara hut the trail passes through a short stretch of forest, then skirts the base of the Maundi Crater and then emerges into the transition from rain forest to moorland. It is well worth a short detour to scramble up the rim of the Maundi Crater for your first really impressive view of the Kibo Crater. On a clear day, Kibo will glimmer in the distance, showing off her majestic glaciers in the morning sun. Once you are in the open moorland you will get the chance to see some of Kilimanjaro’s most spectacular plants – the endemic giant lobelia which grows up to 3 m in height and the giant groundsel (Senecia Kilimanjaro), which can reach heights of 5m! After about 6 hours from here you reach the Horombo hut, where you will have hot washing water, rest; an evening meal and overnight.
Horombo toilet. Horombo hut is a village of huts perched on a small plateau, with buildings similar to Mandara, but with a total capacity of 120 climbers! Normally bustling with hikers, guides, porters and with an atmosphere of adventure and excitement. You will meet both ascending and descending hikers here. This extra day and night at Horombo is for additional acclimatisation. A hike towards the Mawenzi hut, passing the Zebra Rocks on the way (about 3 hours up and 1,5 hours down), is strongly recommended. This hike will further assist with the process of acclimatisation. Remember to drink enough water and move slowly! All meals for the day are provided at the hut. Retire to bed early and get a last good night’s rest.
Distance: About 15 km’s
Habitat: Alpine desert
Kilimanjaro Hikers. After breakfast you now continue your ascent into the Alpine desert habitat. From Horombo there are two trails to the “Saddle” (which refers to the area located between the peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo). There is an upper route (right hand fork) and lower route (left hand fork) to choose from. The upper route (right hand fork) will be very familiar, as you will have climbed most of it the previous day towards Mawenzi hut. It is very stony and eroded. The recommended lower route (left hand fork) is much easier and nearly an hour, and it also passes the last watering point at 4130m. You will have to fill your water bottles with all the water you will need until your return to Horombo hut in two night’s time (unless you are willing to buy Mineral water at Kibo hut). Once again remember to slow down and drink enough water!! Situated in the barren Alpine desert is Horombo hut, a stone build block house which has bunk beds for 60 climbers, but no streams with water nearby. It is however possible to buy mineral water and soft drinks at the camp office. There are platform toilets behind the hut. The summit is now a further 1195m up and you will make your Sleeping hikers at Kibo hut. final ascent the same night. Prepare your equipment, ski-stick and thermal clothing for your summit bid. This should include the replacement of your headlamp and camera batteries and make sure you have a spare set available as well. To prevent freezing it will be wise to carry your water in a thermal flask. Go to bed at round about 19h00 and try to get as much rest and sleep as possible.
Kibo hut (4700m) – Uhuru Peak (5895m) – Horombo hut (3720m)
Hiking time: 8 hours to Uhuru – 6 hours to descend to Horombo
Distance: 6 km’s ascent – 21 km’s descent
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
You will rise around 23h30, and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the night, and this is where the going really gets tough. The first section of the On the Summit. trail consists of a rocky path to the Hans Meyer Cave (5150m), also a good resting spot. The path then zigzags up to Gillman’s point (5 681m), which is located on the crater rim. This section is very steep with a lot of stone scree, requiring a great physical and mental effort. Probably the most demanding section of the entire route. Do the Kili shuffle and move slowly.
Group at Gilmans Point. From Gillmans Point you will normally encounter snow all the way up to Uhuru peak (5895m), the highest point in Africa. Total exhilaration and satisfaction – you made it. Weather conditions on the summit will determine how long you will be able to spend, taking photographs, before the 3 hour descent back to Kibo hut. After a short rest you gather all your gear you left behind for the ascent and head down to Horombo hut (3 hours) for your overnight. The return to Horombo hut will seem surprisingly fast compared to the ascent. The total time spent walking on this day is around 14 hours, so be prepared for a very tough day. Later in the evening you enjoy your last dinner (with soft drinks and beer for sale at the camp office) on the mountain and a well-earned sleep, filled with memories and stirring emotions.
Distance: About 27 km’s
After breakfast you continue your descent (6 hours), passing the Mandara hut, down to the Marangu gate. It is strongly recommended not to pay your porters any tips until you and all your gear have reached the gate safely. At Marangu gate you sign your name and details in a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Those climbers who reached Gillman’s Point (5685m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m), receive gold certificates. You now drive back to Moshi for a long overdue hot shower, dinner and celebrations!! Overnight in a hotel.
After breakfast, leave for Nairobi by morning or afternoon shuttle bus. Transfer to a Nairobi Hotel or Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for your flight back home.
-Transfer to and from the base of the mountain
-Machame Route trek as per the itinerary
-Full board accommodation in tents whilst on the trek.
-2 nights hotel accommodations in Arusha before and after the trek and in huts on the mountain as per the itinerary
-All park entrance fees to include government taxes
-Service of an English speaking professional Mountain guide on the mountain, porters and skilled cook/s
-All services begin and end at Kilimanjaro Airport as per the itinerary
-Return airport transfers from/to Kilimanjaro Airport or Nairobi Return Shuttle transfers
-Tips, laundry, sleeping bags, drinks and climbing gears
-Medical evacuation, USD 30 per person value
-International flights and taxes
-Items of a personal nature and any other extras not detailed in the above itinerary.
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