Route Duration – 5 Days Hiking (20km)
The Marangu Route is also known as the “Coca Cola” or “tourist” route. It is the easiest and shortest route to the summit.
This is also the only route with the comforts of sleeping huts at every camp site with solar lights and comfortable beds. The huts are communal, and the bunks have a sponge mattress and pillow. There are 60 beds at both Mandara and Kibo Huts and 120 beds at Horombo Hut.
Bathrooms and running water are available at the two lower huts. Mens’ and ladies’ latrines are available at the last camp but are very basic.
All climbing groups, often from several countries around the world, share meals in dining huts providing a jovial and energetic atmosphere. Soft drinks, bottled water, and beer are for sale at the huts. Bring small Tanzanian bills to purchase these items (prices increase with elevation).
This route is usually done on 5 days but can be done in 6 days for better acclimatization. The extra day can be spent resting at Horombo or climbing the small peak of Mawenzi.
Elevation (m):1700m to 2740m Elevation (ft): 5500ft to 9000ft
Habitat: Montane Forest
After breakfast, briefing, and drive to the Kilimanjaro National Park Gate (45 minutes), register and commence the climb. Walking through the rainforest to the Mandara encampment located at 9000 ft / 2740 m. A side trip to Maundi Crater is a good way to see the surroundings including Northern Tanzania and Kenya.
Elevation (m):2700m to 3700m Elevation (ft): 9000ft to 12,100ft
We now leave the glades of the rainforest and follow an ascending path on the open moorlands to the Horombo encampment. Views of Mawenzi and the summit of Kibo are amazing.
If you wish to extend you trek, here you can spend an extra day resting at Horombo or climbing the small peak of Mawenzi.
Elevation (m):3700m to 4700m Elevation (ft): 12,100ft to 15,400ft
Habitat: Alpine Desert
Ascending, we now pass the last watering point, walking onto the saddle of Kilimanjaro between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi. Vegetation begins with upper heathland but then disappears into “moonscape”. Dinner, rest, and prepare for summit climb
Elevation (m):4700m to 5895m (and down to 3700m) Elevation (ft): 15,400ft to 19,300ft (and down to 12,100ft)
4 km up / 14 km down
Habitat: Alpine Desert
Very early in the morning (midnight to 2am), commence the climb to the summit on steep and heavy scree or snow/ice up to Gilman’s point located on the crater rim at 18640 ft / 5861 m (4-7 hours). Continuing, we now ascend to Uhuru Peak, which is the highest point in Africa: 19340 ft / 5895 m (1-2 hours). Unbelievable views at every turn. Get your picture taken at the summit to show your friends. From here, we now descend, stopping for lunch and a rest before continuing on to the Horombo encampment for dinner and a tired but happy overnight (1-2 hours).
This beginning of this climb is done in the dark and requires headlamps or flashlights. It will be very cold until you start descending, so you will need all of your warm layers. This is, by far, the most difficult part of the trek with many switchbacks. “Pole pole” and an optimistic attitude will get you there!
Elevation (m):3700m to 1700m Elevation (ft): 12,100ft to 5500ft
The descent continues past the Mandara encampment (lunch) back down to the Park Gate. This is where successful climber may now collect their well-earned certificates (2-3pm). Drive to Moshi for overnight.