KILIMANJARO – MARANGU ROUTE (5/6 DAYS)
The oldest route on Kilimanjaro, the Marangu route or ‘Coca Cola route’ is the shortest (in days) and therefor cheapest way to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. It’s also considered the easiest Kilimanjaro route, as the trek will take you over accessible paths, making this an ideal route for less experienced climbers. Careful, this doesn’t mean you can do it without any form of preparation or fitness! It’s the only route that provides hut accommodation, as all other routes are camping only.
It is however the route that allows for the least acclimatization, with an average height difference of around 1000 m or 3300 feet per day. Extending the standard 5-day itinerary with an extra day, providing an acclimatization day on day 3, will allow for a better adaptation to the altitude, and increase your chances of making it to the top of the tallest mountain in Africa.
- Cheapest route.
- Considered the easiest route, with accessible paths, ideal for less experienced climbers. A few steep sections, but in general a gentle ascent. Careful, you still need a good level of fitness!
- Hut accommodation, no camping.
- Average acclimatization on the standard 5-day climb. This can however be increased by extending the trip with an extra day.
- Climb and descent over the same route. You get to see the same scenery twice and this also makes the route more crowded.
- South-east side of the mountain, which makes it less ideal to use this route from mid-March to mid-May because of the weather.
- Total distance: around 60 km / 37 mi for the 5-day tour and 73 km / 45 mi for the 6-day tour.
MARANGU ROUTE ITINERARY
Day 1: Moshi – Marangu Gate (1860m/6000ft) – Mandara hut (2715m/8900ft)
We pick you up at your hotel and drive about 45-60 minutes to Kilimanjaro National Park. After signing in at the Park Office, you start hiking through the rainforest, where lots of animals can be found. You’ll likely spot different types of monkeys like the black and white colobus and several bird species.
You’ll reach your first destination, the Mandara hut, after 4 to 5 hours of hiking. The camp consists of huts with 6 to 8 sleeping bunks, and has a total capacity of 60 people. It has all the necessary facilities like water and flush toilets.
A small excursion to Maundi crater can be organized here, it’s only a 15 minutes’ walk and offers some amazing views.
Hiking time: 4-6 hours
Distance: 8 km / 5 mi
Day 2: Mandara hut (2715m/8900ft) – Horombo hut (3705m/12200ft)
After an early breakfast, it’s time to start hiking again. You’ll soon leave the forest and enter the moorland vegetation zone. Here you’ll see some of the area’s most impressive plants, like the giant lobelia and giant groundsel. The last one can reach heights of 5 m / 16 ft!
More or less 6 hours after the start of your trek, you’ll reach Horombo hut, which is similar to Mandara but twice as big, offering room for 120 hikers. Both ascending and descending hikers overnight here, creating a nice busy atmosphere, and the opportunity to share your best stories. And if that wasn’t enough, Horombo hut offers amazing views of Mawenzi and Kibo.
Hiking time: 6-7 hours
Distance: 12 km / 7.5 mi
Habitat: Low alpine moorland zone
Day 3: Horombo hut (3705m/12200ft) – Acclimatization day (only in 6-day package)
If you choose the 6-day climb, this is your extra acclimatization day. It helps you to get better adapted to the altitude, and will increase your chances or reaching the summit. In the 5-day package, you skip this day and continue climbing to Kibo hut, as described below in day 4.
There are several hikes in this area, and we strongly recommend going on one of them to help you acclimatize. The most popular one is the one that goes towards Mawenzi hut (4310m/14150ft), passing the Zebra Rocks along the way.
You’ll be back at Horombo hut in time for an early sleep.
Hiking time: 5 hours
Distance: 7 km / 4.5 mi uphill, 7 km / 4.5 mi downhill
Habitat: Alpine desert
Day 4: Horombo hut (3705m/12200ft) – Kibo hut (4700m/15400ft)
From Horombo hut, there’s two trails leading to the ‘Saddle’, the area in between the peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo. If you’ve chosen the extra acclimatization day, you’ll have walked a good part of the upper route yesterday. Today, you’ll be walking on the lower trail, which is a lot easier and almost an hour shorter. You’ll start hiking after getting up early to catch the first rays of sun and have breakfast.
During this part of your Kilimanjaro trek, you’ll pass the last watering point, where you’ll have to fill up your water bottles for the next two days, until you return to Horombo hut (although mineral water is for sale at Kibo hut). You might also start experiencing the first symptoms of altitude sickness. Don’t ignore them, and keep your guide informed at all times.
After 6 hours of hiking you’ll reach Kibo hut, the final hut before the summit. It’s a stone house with bunk beds for 60 people, and limited facilities. There’s no running water but you can buy drinks and, although primitive, there are toilets.
It’s now time to prepare for your climb to the summit, that you will start around midnight. Prepare your equipment and go to bed early to get as much sleep as you can. Tomorrow’s going to be a long, but rewarding day!
Hiking time: 6 hours
Distance: 9.6 km / 6 mi
Habitat: Alpine desert
Day 5: Kibo hut (4700m/15400ft) – Uhuru Peak (5895m/19340ft) – Horombo hut (3705m/12200ft)
Today’s adventure starts right before midnight, as you head out into the night and start hiking towards the summit. This is the hardest part of the journey, with some very steep sections and trails that are not always easily accessible. You’ll start climbing towards the Hans Meyer Cave over a rocky path, and then further up to Gillman’s point, on the crater rim, at an altitude of 5681 m / 18638 ft.
From here on it’s another hour before you reach your final destination, Uhuru Peak. You’ll very likely walk through snow during this last part. Weather conditions will determine how long you’ll be able to stay, combined with the fact that you have to get back to Kibo hut to allow for a rest. From there, it’s another 3 hours to Horombo hut, where you’ll spend the night. But don’t worry, you’ll get enough time to realize what you’ve just achieved, and fully enjoy the moment, your moment standing on the ‘Roof of Africa’!
Hiking time: 7-8 hours to Uhuru peak, followed by 6-8 hours to get back to Horombo hut
Distance: 5.5 km / 3.4 mi up, and 15 km / 9.5 mi down
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
Day 6: Horombo hut (3705m/1200ft) – Marangu Gate (1860m/6000ft) – Moshi
Today you keep walking back to Marangu gate, over the same path you used in the other direction. Once you get there, you get to sign your name into a register, and receive your summit certificate – a green one for those who reached Gillman’s Point, and a gold one for climbers who made it all the way to Uhuru Peak. The day ends with a 45-minutes’ drive back to Moshi, and a well-deserved night in a comfortable bed.
Hiking time: 6 hours
Distance: 20 km / 12.5 mi
OUR OFFER – PRICES AND SERVICES
Prices for this climb depend on the size of your group and are as follows:
- 1 person: 1850 USD per person
- 2 people: 1500 USD per person
- 3 people: 1370 USD per person
- 4 people: 1370 USD per person
- 5 people: 1350 USD per person
- 6 people: 1350 USD per person
- 1 person: 2160 USD per person
- 2 people: 1800 USD per person
- 3 people: 1650 USD per person
- 4 people: 1650 USD per person
- 5 people: 1650 USD per person
- 6 people: 1630 USD per person
For this tour, we can try to join you with other guests to form a group. Let us know you want a group tour whilst booking and we will contact you with possible dates, prices and options as soon as possible. Or check out our current open groups to see if there’s an option that suits you.
The cost of your climb explained
- National park fees: entry, camping, forest department and rescue fees
- Transport from your hotel in Moshi to Marangu gate and back
- Professional, English-speaking guides and assistant guides, cooks and porters
- Accommodation in mountain huts (4 nights on the 5-day tour, 5 nights on the 6-day tour). Prices are based on shared accommodation, it is not possible to get private accommodation for this route.
- Three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) while climbing
- Drinking water
- Oxygen cylinder
- Tips for the crew (read our guidelines here)
- Personal gear and equipment
- Travel insurance
- Visa fees
- Flights or other transport to Moshi. We can however arrange airport pickup for you at a reduced price. Let us know your itinerary and we’ll make it happen!
- Alcoholic and soft drinks
- Sleeping bag
- Accommodation in Moshi. If you wish, we can however assist you in finding a place that corresponds to your needs and budget.
- Breakfast on the first day and dinner on the last
- … and all other services that are not mentioned as included above.
TIPS AND PRACTICAL INFORMATION
KILI PACKING LIST
OUR OTHER ROUTES
MACHAME (6/7 DAYS)
LEMOSHO (7/8 DAYS)
Beautiful, remote and unspoilt, Lemosho route is one of the longest routes leading to the top of Kilimanjaro. It partly follows the same trail as Machame route, but offers more chances of seeing wildlife, and will take you over paths only a handful other climbers choose to follow.
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